After using the mandarin collar as our term of the day, I thought, why not explore it more for the week’s throwback thursday. If you’re looking to create something that is simple but still has some interest, this type of collar can give your garment an unexpected update.


The mandarin collar is a short unfolded stand-up collar style on a shirt or jacket (as seen above). It has been known to have a number of precarious names such as the “Chinese collar” or the “cadet collar.” But despite being invented in China, the collar has managed to find it’s way to the west, not just for style but also for practical reasons.

The collar, which is used in both male and female garments, originated from a region in northeast China of Manchuria. The collar (from mandarin tunics) isn’t as traditional of a garment as most would think and hasn’t existed for thousands of years like the Han outfits have. There are two situations in which the mandarin tunics came of popularity. After the defeat and fall of the Han Ming Empire by the Qing Empire, the Han outfits were outlawed,  causing the fashion of the Qing Empire, which included the mandarin tunic, to be adopted.


Throughout Mao Tse-tung’s rule over China one of Mao’s colleagues named Sun Yat-sen developed a suit that represented the nationalism of the Chinese and integrated the collar into a suit form. This allowed the style of the collar to adjust and expand it’s chances of being popular in the future. The suite was quite different than the other articles worn during the Qing dynasty, especially in regards to color and theme.

Although the style of collar was associated heavily with political views, the Chinese dress still managed to flourish and adapt in regions like Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Qipao, a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women is one of the garments that adopted the mandarin collar style.  Today we see the mandarin collar used in different ways and has become the preferred collar in a lot of locations and occupations worldwide. The US army uses a version of the collar as a way to scale down chafing with the body and carrying tools, it is seen in button down women’s shirts instead of using a formal shirt collar, and in the business world (primarily in Asia) one will opt for the mandarin collar/tunic since they do not need to wear a tie and is still respectable in the culture.



What are some ways you would incorporate a mandarin collar in your designs? Check out our Pinterest for more mandarin collar inspiration.