When To Turn It Up


"Popped collars", or in sophisticated circles an "upturned collar" (which is the term I prefer to use as it is the more universal / European term), is a trend that people either love or hate. Most of time you see it used on polo shirts. This style choice makes me cringe, so don't get me started on the trend of layering polo shirts with popped collar. When I see a polo with an popped collar, I find myself cursing upturned collars... that is until I remember there are a few instances that upturned collars make me swoon or nod my head to give props to the to the wearer. There are four situations that spring to mind as acceptable and stylish ways to upturn your collar. Hope you enjoy and maybe even find inspiration to trying something other than a polo for this long running trend.

1. Period Pieces

Upturned collars are not a 20th century invention. Any period piece addict know this well enough, but for those who do not watch and re-watch every period piece mini-series, I give you Example A (as in Armitage, Richard Armitage as Mr.Thornton in North & South).


Oh yes, upturned collars are a cravat or a waistcoat's best friend. Thank you, Mr. Armitage for illustrating this point spectacularly. I think without explanation, that all of you can agree - this is a suitable way to pop a collar (of course, this is limited to actors in BBC miniseries production, historical rein-actors, and steampunks who touch on the Victorian use of the upturn collar.) 

*If you have not seen North & South (2004), I suggest you make time today or in the near future. It is a lovely adaption and deserves you attention. I also recommend the actually book by  Elizabeth Gaskell (even Charles Dicken's adored her writing). 

2. White Button-ups


An upturned collar on a button up is definitely the modern take on the period piece ensemble, as seen above. And yes, men and women can both rock this look, but I think we can all agree Audrey Hepburn did it best. Most people go straight to her inspiration for all of us owning an LBD, but she also demonstrated the importance of a white button up in a woman's wardrobe. A simple white shirt made dramatic (as seen in the above 1956 photo by Jack Cardiff) by the upturn of a collar. I image her pairing her upturned shirts with her other favorite items: cropped pants or a circle skirt with ballet flat. 

2. 1980s style Courtesy of Duckie

Now, I know James Spader adorned the preppy-pop collar of the 80s, but for me the upturned collar works best with the quirky style, whose icons would be Elvis Costello, Deborah Harry, or David Bowie. Enter the Duckman. As a child, John Cryer as Duckie may have won my heart with Otis in Pretty in Pink (1986), but he also impressed with his fearless 1980s thrift-inspiration edgy style. For a girl who grew up in a small town in Virginia - this was how the cool kids in London or New York dressed at the time. Quirky always finds a way for trends, which is why the upturned collar has a place in an 80s throw-back world.

3. Jackets, Coats, and Trenches

 An upturned collar on a wool coat, a classic trench or simply a jacket can turn many heads. Not only does it work for men and women, but it also has a function. Ever walk down a windy street or step out on a day where your neck needs more projection than just a scarf? That's right, turning up your collar on a coat actually keeps you warm. It is also simple, stylish, and attractive. You can look put together, mysterious, quirky, rebellious, tough - you name it. The adjectives are limitless in this classic style staple.