Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The History of the Upturned Collar or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Popped Collar

Douchebag.....or genius?
"An upturned collar is an otherwise flat, protruding collar of either a shirt, jacket, or coat that has been turned upward."

The origins of the upturned collar point back to before the 20th century, when almost all collars were "popped" (we're not sure if quotes were necessary there....but we wanted to use them anyway).  --------->

But really, we're more concerned in modern times.  The modern popped collar is actually based in functionality (who knew?).  It began with the tennis shirt as developed by Frenchman RenĂ© Lacoste, the 7-time Grand Slam tennis champion.  Lacoste designed the shirt so that the collar, when upturned, would protect a tennis player from the harsh rays of the sun.  A fun side note: RenĂ© Lacoste was nicknamed The Crocodile (gives that shirt in your closet some context, huh?)  Soon, Lacoste's shirt found its way into other upper class activities like golf, polo and sailing, thus forever linking it to preppy culture (don't say we never taught you anything).

The look found particular prominence as a pop culture trend during the 1980's (also known as the greatest decade in history...).  It disappeared soon after only to resurface recently (its all cyclical, baby).  Unfortunately, nowadays, the look can often come with negative connotations.  Some people have ruined it for everyone (you know who you are).  

So, has the look been forever tainted?  We would argue no.  Its too great to go down like that.  We won't let it.  

It all depends on how you wear it.  It has its place (and that place does not allow sunglasses indoors).  A tennis shirt (also know as a polo shirt), can be popped....when you're playing tennis.  Or at the beach, on a boat, etc.  Inside?  Maybe, but you might be pushing it.  A button down shirt and blazer, both collars popped, with a pair of jeans and a handkerchief in the jacket pocket?  We could see that.  Obviously, we think it looks great with a pair of Lock Sickers ;)  

But the popped collar walks a thin line.  At the end of the day, we think it comes down to confidence.  If you aren't completely at ease with your popped collar, no one else will be either.  Nonchalance is required.  So if you're not sure if its for you, it probably isn't.

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