How to wear the victorian collar?

I am really into this staid attitude you get when you wear a victorian collar.

Your chin stands a bit higher, you back is straighter… you feel like a romantic heroine.

This shape first appeared under the reign of queen Victoria and became a hit around Europe in the 1880’s.

In those prudish times, the idea was to hide the decolletage .

I still love this actually. Hiding can be very fashionably interesting. This way, it does set the focus of something often forgotten: the beauty of your neck itself.

How to recognize, choose and wear this style which comes straight from a time machine?

I. Definition

The victorian collar goes straight up from the basis of the neck. It can go up to the jawline or just be 2 centimeters high.

Victorian collar

Extra high, probably vintage victorian collar

Anne Fontaine chemise victorienne

Modern shorter version by Anne Fontaine (<3 <3 <3)

It is rather close to the neck or hugs it.

It may have a volume created by flounces or pleats.

It shall not roll up (turtleneck) or create an empty space around the neck (chimney collar).

The victorian collar you’ll find often have a romantic style. They are embellished with english embroideries, flounces and are made of lace of poplin.

But they can be of any style: sporty, baroque, minimal…

And made of any fabric: jersey, mesh, silk, etc.

F Hard V collar

Sweater flounced victorian collar on Françoise Hardy

Most of the victorian collar items you’ll find in stores are blouses.

To start with, they are definitely an easier pick than a dress which instantly looks more dramatic.

II. How to choose your collar? 

1. What victorian collar for your neckline?

If you have a long and thin neck with a defined jawline the victorian necklace is your best ally: it will enhance those beautiful features. The very high and neck hugging ones will suit you. As will any other shape.

If you have a shorter neck, choose a victorian collar that does not climb too high on the neck.

If you have big breasts with a thin bone structure, you may be able to rock it. Just make sure your top has some fluidity to it (approved and tested on a client ^^).

If you are petite, avoid collars that have big volume (flounces, pleats…)

Do not worry about the wrinkles on your neck. It is all about how your neck stands. Just, remember to mix it with modern elements in order not to look like Maggie Smith in Downtown Abbey.

Maggie smith victorian collar

(even though I love this outfit actually ^^)

If you have a chubby or extra skinny neck, a double chin, almost no jawline, large or plump shoulders/arms , I recommend you to avoid victorian collars that’ll set the focus on this area.

2. Have it tailored

If you have a very thin neck, your victorian collar may hang loose,  I recommend you to have it tailored.

Trust me, you won’t regret it!

3. Choose the style you like

So many, so many. Pick the one that feels the most like yourself.

Some see-through fabric or lace on the top make the overall style look lighter and therefore easier to pull of.

Capture d’écran 2016-03-30 à 11.29.03

Sporty victorian collar by Mother of pearl

III. How to wear your victorian collar?

1. Hair

I really like to wear the hair up, just like ladies did back in 1880. This kind of hair styling reveals your beautiful collar in the best manner possible.

You could choose a voluminous hair-do, just like hair were styled as this time.

Capture d’écran 2016-03-30 à 15.43.25

But a sleek ponytail, a messy bun or sophisticated braids are also options.

Of course, short hair and bobs cut will look great with it! They’ll create a fashionable style clash.

Untied hair can also look good, they’ll create a less uptight style (but I am an uptight girl sometimes ^^).

Caroline de Maigret They all hate us

Caroline de Maigret

2. Jewels

I love earrings with the hair up or short hair. They contribute to this “all about the neck style”.


My own &otherstories lace victorian collar with minimal earrings

You could also ornate your collar with a necklace. The shape of if really depends of the collar and the chest design.

The necklace shall never pull on the collar.

valentino ah 15-16


Giambatista valli

Giambatista Valli

3. Layer

Lots of victorian blouses do not have a lot of volume on them and have jewel like neckline.

Use them as a decorative layer element and wear them underneath:

  • round neck tops like sweaters or T-shirts
  • V neck tops

Victorian collar 3 vogue

  • V neck closed jackets or kimonos

Zsa zsa bellagio

Unknown jewel victorian collar (<3 <3 <3)

  • Unbuttoned button-up (you can unbutton a lot)
  • Opened jackets such as blazers, bombers, jean jackets, army jackets, etc

Dustjacket v collar

Under a masculine looking blazer. (Unknown)

4. Overall styling

The diversity of the victorian collar blouses and dresses does not allow me do be exhaustive.

Victorian collar blouses can actually be worn with pretty much everything.

Most of them are already pretty sophisticated so something basic on the bottom will be perfect.

If you feel like you are overdressed, create a style clash with something casual like jeans, or an army jacket layer.

Mango and salt

Mango and Salt

If your rocker soul feels lost in so much romanticism, think Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent and add some leather, some pointy toed shoes, some skin tight pants/mini skirts…

Vanessa Jackman v collar

By Vanessa Jackman

If you feel too girly, mix it with some masculine classic items such as tailored pants/ jacket, loafers, etc.


And you? How do you feel about the victorian collar?

Cover collage: Style scrapbook, Natalia Vodianova

12 Responses to “How to wear the victorian collar?”
  1. ClothChapel says:

    Enjoyable work! Excellent explications! I’ll shared it on my Facebook! Wish you many many clients who want to dress in a good-tasted parisian style.

  2. Isabella says:

    I absolutely adore victorian collars. In fact, I adore most victorian inspired items…. I must have read too much 19th century literature as a kid. Yet as much as I love the period influence, in a way they are strangely timeless.
    …And I happen to have the winning combo of a short bob and long, slender neck. 🙂

  3. Evelyn says:

    This style has always been amongst my most favourite styles and I’m wearing it for years! I love it in black (easy-peasy for a goth lover like me), but even white and soft blush colours look amazing. It has the same visual effects like a corset, it’s ultra flattering and ultra feminine, drawing the eye to very sensual parts of the body. I’m lucky to have a long, delicate neck and small bone structure, paired with a well-balanced bustline, as all these features get accentuated and highlighted.

    Despite not wearing a too romantic and feminine look overall, I love these high collars in very delicate material and cut (oh the back buttons… <3 <3), and even love pleats on them – just stay away with the voluminous ruffles. I own a white tuxedo shirt with high, pleated and tapered collar, looking like a dream.
    It looks best when paired with short skirts (a bit 70ies) or knee length A-line-skirts (but as it really looks a bit grandma-ish, it's rather for the daring ones like me. If you throw in an unusual material or colour/pattern for the skirt, it makes all the difference!) or slim pants (trousers). A pullover on top of this is also very sophisticated and looks fine.
    I especially like, that a lot of these tops have tapered sleeves at the ankles, focusing on this very delicate and unbeatably sensual (yet modest!) part of the female body. Rings or bangles can do well here, too.

    I think, overall, it's the mixture of "former days fashion" and the great sensuality which makes it so desireable for me. Everlasting love! <3

  4. Claire says:

    C’est très très sympa ! Je commençais à lorgner du côté de ce type de cols mais sans trop savoir quoi comment… Donc merci !
    Néanmoins, pourriez-vous développer la partie “forte poitrine” ? D’emblée, je me dis que ce type de col ne va pas du tout ? Ou alors porter juste un col, pas un corsage complet avec col ?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Si vous avez une forte poitrine sur un petit tour de dos, je pense que vous pouvez porter le col victorien du moment que la partie près des seins n’est pas moulante. Nous en avons trouvé un pour une cliente avec cette morphologie en shopping l’autre jour et c’était très joli.
      Avec une forte poitrine et un dos plus fort, j’ai peur que celà fasse un effet massif du au manque “d’aération” de la tenue

      • Claire says:

        J’ai raté votre réponse, veuillez m’en excuser.
        J’ai une bonne carure alors je tourne définitivement le dos au col victorien. Tant pis ;-( merci en tout cas.
        Votre blog est vraiment très bien, j’attends vos papiers avec impatience !

  5. I have never given the Victorian collar much thought till now, it was just not on my radar. So your post opened my eyes to a new interesting element. I especially love the see-through ones you have posted.

  6. Stine Friis says:

    It’s really beautiful! I love something that makes you stand up straighter, and is a contrast to plunging necklines (which I’m quite tired of). It’s something weirdly sensual to it – altough it covers up more. Haha! Love it with an up-do. Guess I’m kinda uptight myself!

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