Help a guy look dashing sexy cool with his collar up.
September 17, 2012 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Don't guys wear the collar up on suit jackets anymore?

No. I didn't think so. But my fiance has that as an absolute requirement for a suit jacket. He needs a new suit for our wedding, and so far, everything we've looked at gets ruled out immediately because the first thing he checks is the collar. He insists on being able to "pop" the collar, but it appears all new suit jackets have this felt lining underneath, so that really won't work to upturn it at all. He likes the old Dean Martin style of clothes, so it's probably a problem with modern styling...

Where can we find a suit that has a jacket with a collar without the felt lining? I really have no other style requirements right now—finding one that he can upturn the collar is the first and most important thing.

Bonus points if it's a suit we can get for $100–200. (I know they exist!) This isn't something that has to last forever, he just needs to look good for one day. :)
posted by Eicats to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried just going to Men's Warehouse and browsing the racks? They (or a similar store) must have something cheap that fits your needs...

Men's Wearhouse
(Retail Apparel and Tuxedo Rental)

posted by Wretch729 at 10:19 AM on September 17, 2012

Just to answer your first question: no, guys don't do that anymore. Unless they're trying to imitate douchy characters in 80s movies, like the rich dudes in Pretty in Pink.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:24 AM on September 17, 2012 [22 favorites]

Sounds like he might want to shop for a vintage suit?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:25 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could try a rental place if it's only for one day.
posted by Magnakai at 10:28 AM on September 17, 2012

Yes, people still do it. I see men doing it when it's very cold and they don't have an overcoat. And I've done it myself on a nippy day. Outside of that context you don't see it so much. I don't think anyone considers the felt lining to be a problem. No lining is a sign of a cheap suit.
posted by idest at 10:30 AM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Given that the felt underside is supposed to be there, to reduce wear on the collar itself, you're going to have a hard time finding one without.

At your price range, I would suggest an outlet store if there's one nearby, or Target. Target has suits which are... passable.

But in response to your first question -- no. This isn't done. Sometimes to fight cold outdoors if you happen to be caught without a coat, but no. The collar on an overcoat -- sure. Suit collar, no.

Seeing as how Frank would chew out guys for wearing brown shoes after six, I doubt he would hung out with Dino if he wore his suit collar popped up.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:43 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

The main thing your fiance should understand is that the ability to turn up the collar with no different colored material showing is absolutely not an indication of good quality. Indeed, as idest points out, it's more likely to be an indication of cheap construction and poor quality. Unless he plans to pop his collar at the wedding, what's the point anyway?

Generally speaking, I'd say that it can be okay to turn up the collar of a shirt, sports coat, blazer or overcoat under certain conditions (e.g., cold, blustery, rainy, outdoors) but is never okay to turn up the collar of a suit jacket or formal jacket.
posted by slkinsey at 10:44 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Just a data point, that might not actually help you in your search: I have had several vintage suits, and they had different fabric lining the back of the collar/lapels. Not felt, but not the same fabric as the rest of the suit.

Also, Dino didn't turn up his collar. At least not habitually. Like BlahLaLa I see the iconic suit jacket turned up look belonging to '80s soc, ike Steff in Pretty in Pink (Although his collar is down in this clip, this is the scene in mind?) and Burke in Aliens (a 1986 vision of a soc in 2182), so if you do look for vintage suits, maybe go mid '80s?
posted by dirtdirt at 10:45 AM on September 17, 2012

As I understand it, the felt is there to help maintain the collar's shape. It's not at all a new fad; it's been there at least as long as the modern suit itself (I found references going back to the Edwardian period).

Fashion rules are meant to be broken, sure, but if, say, your fiance is planning to pair that popped collar with a fedora, I suggest you DTMFA.
posted by sportbucket at 10:56 AM on September 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

You wouldn't do this with a suit, you might with a heavier blazer, trench coat or hunting jacket. That's because a gentleman wouldn't be wearing a suit jacket in inclement weather. You'd have a trench coat or overcoat of course.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:07 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

If he really wants to be able to do that, he wants a cheap suit. Like really, really cheap. Decent suits, even department-store suits, have the felt there for a reason.

But really, he doesn't want to do that, because popping the collar on a suit is about the douchiest thing you can possibly do. It's the sort of thing that would be escalated by the Fashion Police up to Fashion INTERPOL, and eventually land you in Fashion Court in the Hague, next to whoever the sartorial equivalent of Slobodan Milošević is.

You should just buy him one of these (and a fedora) instead, it's in better taste.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:18 AM on September 17, 2012 [13 favorites]

Once, when I was in a rush to get out the door to an appointment, I put my jacket on so quickly and without looking that the collar was accidentally popped for the entire subway ride to the interview. I am still mortified at the memory. Thankfully, the receptionist at the office gave me the fix your collar sign which is similar to the "your fly is unzipped" sign that a woman gives a man, just a lot higher up.

So no, popping a collar was never and is not now acceptable behavior for a gentleman.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:29 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Although if what he's looking for is something like Burke in Aliens (ref. dirtdirt's link above), that's more reasonable: although uncommon, there are suits that exist with "Nehru" or "Mandarin" collars which look similar to that. Although typically not with lapels; typically a jacket with a standing collar will have an 6-8+ button, full-length closure. (Though not always. Here's an off-the-rack example with only two buttons, but without lapels.)

Getting the standing collar plus traditional European lapels a la Burke would probably require going to a tailor and paying for a custom jacket, or modifying the collar on an existing one, but it's certainly doable.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:29 AM on September 17, 2012

Best answer: Popped collars really only work on blazers or sport-coats. A suit-jacket is a different kettle of fish, tho it is sometimes mis-used as a blazer. The proper popping with a suit is the shirt collar over the jacket - so select as small a jacket collar as you can find. Think Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop - bonus points for carelessly tied and loosened skinny tie. It will achieve the proper '80s renegade look for your nuptials.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:30 AM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

People do pop their suit collars to sport the contrasting melton, and it looks ridiculous beyond words. Etro suits, for instance, have wacky melton collars (hot pink, etc.) presumably as a douche magnet. Ted Baker does this too.

So your intended is almost certainly going to need to buy a suit from the Don Johnson era if he wants a suit collar that's designed to be popped and show the exterior suiting fabric rather than a melton reinforcing facing. Good news: it will be cheap. Even an Armani suit from that era (which Johnson wore on "Miami Vice") is likely to be cheap. Bad news: the shoulder pads will have to be taken out and the line tailored if he doesn't want it to look costumey.

You are a marvel of tolerance and serenity not to be bothered by this. And your intended's wrong about Dean Martin popping his suit collars. Nobody in the 1950s and 1960s popped their suit collars unless they were actually outside in the wind and were doing it for utilitarian reasons. GIS "Dean Martin" and you will find nary a popped suit collar.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:36 AM on September 17, 2012

I thought Burke's suit in Aliens was meant to be a cross between a Western suit jacket and a Mao jacket and/or Nehru jacket. Which is a fairly decent metaphor for future globalism. But it also came out looking like a Trachten jacket, which is what it is.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:40 AM on September 17, 2012

Response by poster: Aw, you guys don't have to be mean about it! My first sentence was more of a rhetorical question. And yes, Dean Martin isn't a proper example of the collar thing, but I just gave that as an example of the style he likes (disregarding the weird collar preference). Yes, I know the collar up thing is typically a fashion DON'T, but it's his thing. It's the one little, totally insignificant thing he wants when otherwise he doesn't have a care in the world other than being there with me and saying I do. This is someone who never asks for anything. I figured it's the least I could do to indulge him on a special occassion. Hell, I don't care if he showed if in jeans and sneakers—I'm just thrilled to be marrying him. :)

But point taken about the felt being a sign of quality; I will pass that thought along to him. Thank you much though, to Kadin for a wonderful example that I think is a great compromise. Slap*Happy, too, is dead-on with the Spike Spiegel example—that is one of my fiance's favorite characters. Perhaps, I can suggest that style in lieau of the upturned collar.

Any additional links in the spirit of those two would be greatly appreciated, rather than just shooting down the idea. Thanks, Meta-ites!
posted by Eicats at 12:20 PM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Wretch729: haven't checked there yet, just department stores. But we will, thanks for the reminder!
posted by Eicats at 12:23 PM on September 17, 2012

And yes, Dean Martin isn't a proper example of the collar thing, but I just gave that as an example of the style he likes (disregarding the weird collar preference).

It is important to know when popped suit collars were A Thing, though, if he is going to shop for a vintage suit. He'll want a late 1970s-mid 1980s suit if he wants one that was designed for wear with a popped collar (back of collar interfaced with matching suiting fabric rather than wool melton). A 1950s or early 1960s suit will have melton.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:23 PM on September 17, 2012

Best answer: "Just to answer your first question: no, guys don't do that anymore. Unless they're trying to imitate douchy characters in 80s movies, like the rich dudes in Pretty in Pink."

Or, you know, a century of men's fashion before the late 1980s. Just because for many their cultural awareness doesn't extend to before their clearly delayed adolecence, doesn't mean your fiance won't look every bit as fabulous and confident as he wants to be
posted by Blasdelb at 1:25 PM on September 17, 2012

Jackets, shirts -- yeah, people do it (see upturned collar at Wikipedia) but I've never heard of such a thing with a modern suit-jacket/sport coat. I think your groom should be investigating renting a 19th century costume of some sort, in order to minimize ridicule on your big day.
posted by Rash at 1:35 PM on September 17, 2012

Best answer: Can I use my special groom-to-be powers on this one, and guess that he's not actually clearly describing (or remembering) the style he's thinking of? Because I just spent some time on Google image search and I can't find a single picture of a suit jacket with the collar popped. That makes me think either:

(1) He's invented a brand new style of his own, and you should encourage him to go for it, if that's what he wants, and be his dashing sexy cool self. Possibly not until the dancing starts though. The felt will come off with scissors.* Or,

(2) He's thinking of a style that does not in fact involve a popped suit-jacket collar. This seems much more likely. I'd guess he's thinking of the louche Cowboy Bebop thing above, although it could be the stuffy 19th-century thing. Or both -- it could be the louche 19th-century thing! (Scroll down to "The Popped Collar.") An old-fashioned outfit with a cravat and a collar on the less starchy side could be perfect.

So my advice would be, do some google image searches with him and get him to point to actual people whose style he likes, and depending what that turns out to be, maybe search some old-fashioned-dress sites to get some terminology. Once you know what you're actually looking for, you can start round 2 of finding the thing in your price range.

* OK, it's not necessarily that simple, but if you or your tailor get crafty you can make it work. If all he wants is to be able to pop the collar sometimes for reasons of his own, it'll be easiest and cheapest to find the suit you want and then commit a collar modification on it. Maybe replace the felt with similarly stiff black fabric or something? Speaking as someone whose proposal netted a nice homemade quick-change tux in addition to a fiance, I heartily recommend quirky garments as keepsakes.
posted by jhc at 2:38 PM on September 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

The last image on this page shows Don Johnson in costume for "Miami Vice" with a popped sports jacket collar, with linen suiting fabric rather than melton showing. This picture shows Don Johnson in costume for "Miami Vice" with a popped sports jacket collar, with wool melton backing showing.

I have no idea what this adds to the discussion except that, yeah, my memory of Don Johnson popping the collar of sports jackets is correct.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:38 PM on September 17, 2012

Eric Cantona was famous for popping the collar on his football shirt. Pretty sure even he does not pop his suit collar, though.
posted by mippy at 10:03 AM on September 18, 2012

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