MCM: Haaaard Edwardian Collars

31

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about Just How Hot biiiiiig Regency collars are. I mentioned in that post that Edwardian collars did a similar thing, but decided to make that a separate post — and now, here you go!

While Regency collars swallow up a man’s neck in a way that makes you want to pull his hair and call him Sally, there’s something different about Edwardian collars. They’re not quite as big, but they are STARCHED. And I think there’s something about a man who’s all buttoned up, starched and proper, that just pings my GRRRR nerve. Men wore these kind of collars from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th (in later decades, more for formal wear). But the pinnacle of this look for me is the 1900s and 1910s, when King Edward VII was on the throne of Britain, and men looked excessively uncomfortably ramrod straight (not, like, heterosexual; like a straight line), underneath which just lurked a manly specimen of manliness (or not, as you prefer).

So, in semi-alphabetical order by movie title because I wanted an organizational scheme, I give you:

The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box (2013)

Ioan Gruffudd in The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box (2013).

2004 Arsene Lupin

Romain Duris doesn’t always do it for me, but he looks fine as all hell in Arsène Lupin (2004).

2004 Arsene Lupin

I mean, that lavender silk taffeta with that collar? DIES!

Eddie Redmayne in "Birdsong" (2012)

The movie may be a snooze, but I Do Not object to that collar.

Eddie Redmayne Birdsong
2018 Colette

Dominic West‘s collar and goatee were probably my favorite thing about Colette (2018).

Ok, so Knightley’s suit has great embroidery — WHAT’S UNDER THAT COLLAR!!

2000 The Golden Bowl

Jeremy Northam has consistently rocked the starched collar, here in The Golden Bowl (2000).

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey (2010-2015)

Oh Downton Abbey (2010-15). Your men’s formalwear NEVER disappointed — like here on Hugh Bonneville.

Hugh Bonneville Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey (2010) Kemal Pamuk

Or here on Theo James.

Theo James Downton Abbey Allen Leech Downton Abbey

Even Dan Stephens passes muster!

1990 Fools of Fortune

Michael Kitchen suits this era SO well, like here in Fools of Fortune (1990).

Anthony Hopkins, Howards End (1992)

Collars say a lot about the men in Howards End (1992), including Anthony Hopkins.

1999 An Ideal Husband

There’s a lot to love about An Ideal Husband (1999), but Jeremy Northam and his collars is probably #1.

1999 An Ideal Husband

Rupert Everett’s collars is probably #2.

1999 An Ideal Husband

I MEAN, COME ON.

2002 The Importance of Being Earnest

One of two pinnacles of Edwardian collars is probably The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), which included not only Colin Firth

But ALSO RUPERT EVERETT. IN AMAZING FORMAL WEAR.

There was a lot about The Knick (2014-15) that freaked me out, but the collars was not one of them.

2014-The-Knick

Blood and gore? Check. Clive Owen all starched up to here? CHECK.

2015 Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Who cares about Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2015), let’s talk about James Norton in white tie!

John Malkovich, Marcel Proust's Time Regained aka Le temps retrouvé (1999)

You want John Malkovich all pressed? Check out Marcel Proust’s Time Regained (1999).

1997 Mrs Dalloway

Michael Kitchen again in Mrs. Dalloway (1997).

You want Hugh Grant in a tailored Edwardian suit? I give you Merchant/Ivory’s Maurice (1987).

Michael Collins (1996)

Alan Rickman as Irish revolutionary Michael Collins (1996).

1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream

A glorious two-fer: Christian Bale AND Dominic West all tied up in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999).

1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream

Bale again in Midsummer. That collar + that jawline!

I just tried to make Trystan watch My Brilliant Career (1979), and she didn’t make it very far. Which is too bad, because she missed dapper AF Sam Neill!

A Promise (2013)

Alan Rickman going full bore, and Richard Madden not quite up to snuff, collar-wise, in A Promise (2013).

2016 The Promise

The Promise (2016) is a different movie, with My Boyfriend Oscar Isaac all pinstriped and starchy.

2016 The Promise

I question Christian Bale’s facial hair in The Promise, but not his collars!

The other pinnacle: Daniel Day-Lewis in A Room With a View (1985), perhaps the pinnacle of starchy Edwardian collar wearers.

Oh yes he’s poncy, but he’s SO BUTTONED UP.

A Room With a View (1985): Cecil Vyse

Rupert Graves in A Room With a View (1985) may be more boyish and casual, but he still dresses for the occasion.

2014-16 Mr Selfridge

I think a lot of us are turned off by Jeremy Piven, but at least he’s got his collars sorted as Mr. Selfridge (2013-16).

Lo scandalo della Banca Romana (2010)

It’s pretty hard for Vincent Perez to do me wrong, and this picture of him from Italian film Lo scandalo della Banca Romana (2010) stays true to form.

1980 Somewhere in Time

Christopher Plummer done up right in Somewhere in Time (1980).

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Christopher Reeve isn’t usually my cup of tea, but in Somewhere in Time (1980) he’s beautifully dressed.

2014 Testament of Youth

I have little desire to watch Testament of Youth (2014), except now that I see it includes Dominic West in that collar… I may need to revise that decision.

Leonardo di Caprio may leave us cold, but at least he looked good dressed up formal in Titanic (1997).

Titanic (1997)

Of course, I much prefer Billy Zane in the same film.

Billy Zane Titanic
1999 The Winslow Boy

For the BEST Jeremy Northam collar action, check out The Winslow Boy (1999). You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Did we miss any key hard Edwardian collar films? Let us know in the comments!

Tags

About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

31 Responses

    • Janet Stoker

      Good idea👌🏻. Glad I have most of these film in my dvd collection. And a post like this makes me wanna watch some of them again…just for the starched collor action 😉😁✌🏻

      Reply
  1. Roxana

    Do you remember the time travel/Jack the Ripper movie Time After Time? Mary Steenburgen undoes Malcolm MacDowell’s starched collar, looks up at him and asks. ‘My God, is the rest of this outfit this interesting?’

    Reply
    • Boxermom

      Love that scene! “Herbert, if you don’t take me in your arms this minute, I’m going to scream.”

      Reply
        • Boxermom

          Don’t forget, he once wrote an article on “Free Love” for the Pall Mall Gazette. :)

          Reply
          • Roxana

            I keep thinking about all the fun Any must have had peeling Herbert’s layers. Very distracting……

            Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      That was the first time I realized Malcolm MacD could be charming. He and Mary were a perfect couple.

      Reply
      • Al Don

        For a while he was typecast as the rogue/borderline evil incarnate. if…., A Clockwork Orange, Caligula. It really threw me off to see him play a genuinely wholesome character. Shows he is a versatile actor who should have been offered even more beefy roles.

        Reply
  2. EA Gorman

    I think it’s the suit attached to the collar, not just the collar itself. And the man in the suit. Can you do capes next, please?

    Reply
  3. Susan Pola Staples

    What about Michael Kitchen in Out of Africa, also Klaus Maria Brandauer and Robert Redford?

    Reply
  4. SarahV

    “There’s a lot to love about An Ideal Husband (1999), but Jeremy Northam and his collars is probably #1.”

    No. No. no no no.

    The #1 thing to love in An Ideal Husband is Minnie Driver’s vermillion taffeta dress in the second to last scene, #2 is Jeremy Northam and Rupert Graves shirtless in the sauna and #3 is probably Jeremy Northam and his collars. #4 is probably Julianne Moore and her scintillating gold dress.

    Reply
    • SarahV

      wrong Rupert. Rupert Everett. “Jeremy Northam and Rupert Everett shirtless in the sauna ”

      Coulda been worse – I could have said “Jeremy Northam and Rupert Grint shirtless in the sauna”

      Reply
  5. Saraquill

    What I want to know is how many men cut or choked themselves by looking down while wearing these collars.

    Reply
  6. Joan

    Aldo Ray in We’re No Angels, after he shed the prisoner’s rags for a dapper suit. He’s a baaaad boy but I’ll swoon anyway.

    Reply
  7. Rowen G.

    Caveat: you said, “Alan Rickman as Irish revolutionary Michael Collins (1996).” Alan Rickman played Eamon de Valera; Liam Neeson was cast Collins. :-)

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Rickman and Neeson? In the same movie? They must have been handing out icepacks in the theatre lobby.

      Reply
  8. Lily Lotus Rose

    Love this post! Gotta say, more so than the collars, the men wearing them made me swoon. Seriously, 90% of these guys are hotties!!

    I feel like my boyfriend, James Purefoy, is missing from this list, although I have no sartorial examples to offer. I just think he should be in any ‘yummy’ lists! Also, I think Robert Pattinson wore this kind of collar in Bel Ami and Daniel Day-Lewis in The Age of Innocence.

    Reply
    • Lily Lotus Rose

      Also maybe Daniel Radcliffe and Ciaran Hinds in The Woman in Black–unless you disqualify it for being a horror film.

      Reply
  9. Janet Stoker

    Thank you for sharing this long list of beautiful starched collars on some really handsome men.
    My thoughts went straight to British 1995 TV series ‘The Buccaneers’ with Michael Kitchen & Greg Wise looking dapper as father & son duo. Ronan Covert, Mark Tandy cut a fine figure as well. BUT James Frain was truly the pinnacle of “starched and buttoned-up” in the whole story😁
    Costume designer Rosalind Ebbutt sure knew what she was doing👌🏻.

    Reply
    • SarahV

      Greg Wise in The Buccaneers was part of my awakening as a woman. Even to this day I find him sooooooooooooooooooooooooo dreamy.

      Fun fact! He’s married to Emma Thomspon. Who knew? Lucky gal.

      Reply
  10. Elise

    How fun! Thank you! So may films listed, and most I have seen.

    Of course, we all look for things that we know, and I didn’t see Peaky Blinders, the Anne movies and the Avonlea show, the 1993 (better) Lady Chatterley, Forsyte Saga…So many collars! So many films! And it’s neat that so many other readers talk about other collars on other shows! Magnificent!

    Reply
  11. Aleko

    A few years ago other half acquired a role in the City of London that a couple of times a year requires him to attend a white-tie dinner. When he saw a complete 1930s outfit for sale on EBay, he reckoned that would be a lot cheaper than hiring one twice a year, and bought it. It turned out to fit him like a dream, and of course – unlike a modern version – it comes from a period when gentlemen wore their tailcoats every evening: they expected them to fit like a glove and be not only graceful but comfortable. He looks AMAZING in it. Utterly edible. And yes, the starched wing collar is an important part of that.

    But my other half has previous form in high neckwear: we actually met in Napoleonic reenactment, and when I first saw him in a dog’s ears collar and a starched muslin neckcloth I wanted nothing more than to drag him into a bedroom by it and undo it with my teeth. Which, in fairly short order, is what happened (#evil grin).

    Reply
  12. SPAFFY

    Not too keen on Piven being in there after the horrific sexual assaults he has committed over the decades.

    Reply

Feel the love

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.