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Emerging Trend – Updated Mandarin Collars

Starting a new section! I realized during the Oireachtas preview that there are a lot of trends that are on the cusp on becoming a new trend, but haven’t really been proven among the mainstream Irish dance community. In this section, I’ll explore the trend, my favorite ways of styling it, and then get your take on it! The key, of course, is making constructive comments and focus on the design elements. Remember, someone does love this dress and we don’t want to hurt any feelings!

For the first one, I’ll take a look at updated mandarin collars!

Before there were soft skirts, asymmetric designs or even a shaped dress hem, there were mandarin collars.  In the late 90s and early 2000s, mandarin collars were all the height of Irish dance fashion. They were very stiff and had a distinct rectangular hemming and look. This adorable dress is a great example of what the original mandarin collars looked like. Sadly, these collars faded away from the Irish dance fashion world by the mid 2000s.

However, proving the age-old fashion idea that trends are cyclical, Doire has revamped the mandarin collar and thrust it back into the spotlight. The updated look has several key differences that keep Doire’s collar from looking dated.

1. A higher collar. The new collars actually extend a good half inch further than the old styles.

2. A slightly deeper V. One of the main complaints with the old style was that the collar was very constraining, itchy and didn’t frame the face well. The new style is wider in the middle which should allow for more movement and not clutter the face.

3. A more rounded look. Instead of a rectangular edge, the new style has more of a circular shape that rolls into the V.

4. A less clear seam. In the old style, the line dividing the dress from the collar was very obvious and there was a clear connection line there. In the new style, it looks like the collar is actually from the same piece of fabric as the dress. I can’t tell if that’s actually the case, but that’s the way it’s styled.

5. Patterns and folding to make it less intense. Along the same lines, patterns and folds in the collar blur the line between dress and collar and make it a more seamless (literally!) transition.

Here are two of my favorite Doire dresses that have the new collars:

These dresses both work and look very fresh because of the elements I mentioned above! The dress on the left is actually the dress Doire is currently using as their “Latest Dress Design” dress. It looks like it’s a design element they’re going to be utilizing going forward! I’ve heard from a few people that they’re new dresses will have a collar, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on for the Oireachtas! The only dresses that I’ve showcase are Doire dresses, because I’ve only seen them on Doire dresses. If you seen other designers start to use it, let me know!

I personally love this style and think it’s very elegant. It would work best for more flowing and elegantly designed dresses because the collar gives it that extra bit of formality. However, I can see it making a bold statement with a more “wild” dress, depending on how it was styled. Like any design element, it’s all in the styling and making sure that it complements the whole design and overall look of both the dress and the dancer.

So, now it’s your turn! What do you think of the new collar? Have you seen any dresses you love with them? Are you planning on adding a collar to your new dress? Any guys getting in on this trend? Remember to stay constructive!

Stay Fashionable, Feisers!



  1. Pingback: Emerging Trend – Updated Mandarin Collars | Diddlyi Mag - September 8, 2011

  2. Pingback: 2011 Oireachtas Lines from Irish Dance Designers – Doire Designs « Feisonista - December 16, 2011

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