Way back at Resort 2020, Virginie Viard, in her first ready-to-wear Chanel show since Karl Lagerfeld's death, sent a model down the catwalk in the perfect outfit. A black balloon-sleeved blouse tucked into leather tapered calf-skimming shorts might not sound like much but by supersizing the contrasting white collar, the designer kickstarted our favourite micro trend of recent years. Since then, the giant collar has cropped up everywhere from Miu Miu and Comme des Garçons to Urban Outfitters and Zara. Meanwhile Copenhagen Fashion Week favourite Ganni has grown its cult following for its cotton poplin blouses and denim dresses with XXL collars, loved by the likes of Tamu McPherson and Lotta Lavanti.
A prominent collar is nothing new, of course. Sitting somewhere between dog ear, Peter Pan and sailor-style necklines, it's very pilgrim-esque (see Gucci's magical AW20 show), a little bit Victoriana and yet feels so right for 2021. Why? We've embraced a chaste femininity over the past few years, from long hemlines and high necks on prairie dresses to the chintzy florals of vintage Liberty London and Laura Ashley, further fuelled by last summer's cottagecore trend. It makes sense that we'd become hooked on a playful extension of this sweeping aesthetic.
The beauty of a big collar is that you needn't go all-out vintage (despite unearthing some of our favourite pieces on Etsy and at Beyond Retro). Wear your best knitwear over the top, tuck it into bleached denim, pile on the necklaces and button it over a rollneck when it's a bit nippy. It's a minimum-effort, maximum-gain look for those endless Zoom calls.
Click through to see the best blouses and dresses with enormous collars to shop now.