The early 1920s were a time when hemlines in vintage clothing went above the ankle, and women began to express freedom through style. Back then, this was quite scandalous and was often the topic of derision.
But it wasn't just hemlines and beads that often caused old-fashioned women to clutch their pearls and marvel at the new styles in women's clothing. New necklines and collars framed this underappreciated part of the women's body, bringing it to light.
This isn't to say that the décolletage and neck weren't fairly displayed during the 18th and 19th centuries.
But with the Edwardian era pushing fashion toward a conservative view, necklines started to become hidden to satisfy society's standards.
During and after the 1920s, we began to see people shed that conservative view, using different necklines and collars to upgrade and improve their looks. Let's have a look at what those collars and neckline styles were!
16 Types of Collars and Necklines in Vintage Clothing
1. Notched Keyhole Neckline
The notched keyhole neckline is a modern take on a halter top neckline. It features a small keyhole style construction in the front of the neck, right below the collarbone. This type of neckline isn't as deep, meaning you can still wear it without worrying about your cleavage showing.
The notched keyhole neckline could be seen as daring, thanks to the neckline's construction. But the halter neck covered enough of the neck area to allow women to wear this style with ease.
2. Illusion Bodice Neckline
The illusion bodice neckline was a very bold style, considering it started at the bodice and used sheer material to cover the neck. However, the illusion bodice wasn't ever regarded as too scandalous.
Designers would often use embroidery and detailing to cover the sheer material, allowing it to shine while covering what needs to be covered. Although racy for its time, women favored the illusion bodice more because it provided extra support and comfort and gave the dress a sparkly, sensual look.
3. Rounded Sunburst Neckline
Anyone who's lived through the early 2000s knows how popular the rounded sunburst neckline was. Well, you have your vintage clothing designers to thank for that.
Rounded sunburst necklines, by design, cover the bodice and the neck, sometimes coming up in a high neckline that fastens in the back. The round sunburst neckline was a favorite in retro clothing because of the added texture and style. From dress shirts to formal dresses, the round sunburst neckline would adorn all types of fashion styles and continues to improve even the simplest of clothing.
If you're looking for something fashionable but formal, you'll find plenty of sunburst necklines in that section.
4. Low V-Back Neckline
The low V-neck back neckline was often used to feature a trinket or a brooch in the back of an otherwise simple dress. The V-neck typically wasn't too deep, but it would show a bit of skin below the nape. The low V-neck is now paired with an equally deep V-neck at the front, or slightly less in modern fashion.
The purpose of this V-neck typically is to create a sense of balance. If the dress is too plain, the added embellishment in the back works as an eye-catching feature.
5. Rolled Collar Neckline
The rolled collar neckline stands up a little from where it is attached and folds forward, lying over the fabric.
This collar style is trendy and is even featured on runways. The rolled collar is very sophisticated and comfortable and adds a formal layer to the dress or shirt. You'll typically find rolled collar necklines in women's fashion, but it has transcended into men's fashion, especially for winter wear.
6. Shawl Collar Neckline
The shawl collar neckline is a widespread feature in formal fashion. This turned-over collar forms a curved line that remains unbroken from the lapel, creating a flawless, elegant look.
This neckline style was prevalent in the 1940s and would often adorn formal women's dresses and coats. And while time has gone by, this neckline choice surprisingly still retains its position as a formal fashion choice.
7. Raised Wingtip Collar
The raised wingtip collar or winged collar was popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
Designers would accomplish this collar look by heavily starching the collar's tips to make them stand up and point horizontally. These collar tips would resemble wings, thus the name.
Many filmmakers would also dress their artists in dresses with the wingtip collar because they would add texture and style to an otherwise simple outfit. It would also give the artists space to wear necklaces and pearls without looking overdone.
8. Cape Collar Neckline
The cape collar is still used for children's formal dresses.
Featuring wide circular flaps that would cover the upper arms and shoulders like a cape, this 1950s neck design would cover the bodice, giving the dress a further touch of modesty.
The cape collar neckline is customizable, so many designers would lower the neckline's mid-section with the flaps covering both shoulders. Whereas others would bring the neckline up, creating the illusion of a cape covering the shoulders down to the elbows.
9. Scalloped V Neckline
The scalloped V neckline is a fun, funky style that you probably might even have in your wardrobe at the moment too!
This neckline depends on the classic scalloped technique, which uses convex curves on the edge of the fabric. Designed in a V-shape, the scalloped V neckline works well for special dresses for formal occasions. The scalloped motif brings the eye to the neckline, given its unique design. That's why many designers pair it with a gorgeously embroidered bodice to give the dress an elegant look.
The Mandarin collar is an androgynous style choice, so you often see it used in men's and women's fashion.
The mandarin collar or standing collar features a short, stand-up starched collar that rests snuggly around the neck. Because of its conservative nature, the mandarin collar is often used for formal dresses and clothing, so you'll often see it in traditional suits.
Even with casual clothing, the only way a mandarin collar will work is to pair it with full sleeves. Otherwise, it may be best to stick with a turtleneck.
Other Necklines and Collars in Vintage Clothing
Of course, these are not the only choices when it comes to vintage clothing.
There are plenty of other options such as the u-shaped neckline, the contrast yoke neckline, draped bow neckline, small collar neckline, sweetheart necklines, oval neckline with rounded collars, and wing collars.
But, in terms of fashion, the ten listed above take the top spots as the necklines most often used by the industry.
When it comes to various fashionable elements like necklines and collars, most of us don't pay attention until we see how useful they can be.
These necklines are pretty popular and are used in haute couture even today. However, if you're one to only love vintage clothing, all it takes is a search for the right source to get the perfect dress.
At Wardrobe Shop, we stock a range of vintage dresses from every decade. Whether you need a gorgeous white dress with an illusion bodice or something entirely different, we have everything you want to look and feel beautiful.
Vintage clothing has the power to make you feel exquisite and unique. It all depends on what choice of dress you make. If you want to try any of the necklines and styles listed above, shop at our store today, and find a dress that takes you back in time!
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