• The Velvet Collar Coat
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The Velvet Collar Coat

“Next he tried the velvet collar, and smiled a smile of such contentment that it was plain to see that he regarded that as the daintiest thing about an overcoat.” - Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872

The velvet collar first became a popular sartorial feature on gentlemen’s overcoats in the 1840s, but it was likely used more practically earlier in the 18th century. At that time, the wearing of powdered wigs or “Perukes” was common, and it was said that excess powder settling on the collar was easier to bush off velvet than typical dress fabric.

Crombie Velvet Collar Young Man 1790 Portrait of a Young Bewigged Gentleman Circa 1790 - Note the Powder on His Coat’s Velvet Collar

In the early 1800s, a gentleman’s evening clothes often included a cut-away tail coat with velvet collar. Even the original fashionista Beau Brummell was a devotee of the device.

“In the morning his outward man was quiet, and never varied; it consisted of a snuff-coloured frock coat, with a velvet collar a shade darker and a real cashmere waistcoat” - Captain Jesse on Beau Brummell circa 1800

However, it was with the introduction of “The Chesterfield” coat in the 1840s that the velvet collar rose to prominence.

Crombie Velvet Collar Gentleman's Coats 1853 Gentlemen of 1853 Sporting the Traditional Frock Coat (left) & Early Versions of its Successor The Chesterfield

The velvet collar was also featured on the Covert Coat, introduced in the late 19th century for hunting, riding and other gentlemanly pursuits. The traditional four rows of stitching on the cuffs and hem, known as railroading, were intended to avoid snagging when on horseback. The velvet collar added a distinctive decorative touch to this essentially utilitarian outerwear.

Country Gentleman Hunting 1890 Country Gentleman Hunting Circa 1890

As overcoat styles evolved, the velvet collar remained a constant feature; included when a sense of refinement and elegance were desired. Bolder sartorial statements could also be made by employing contrasting or intensely coloured velvets.

“That evening he was dressed with elaborate dandyism and a sort of florid sobriety. His coat had a black velvet collar.” - Ada Leverson on the arrival of Oscar Wilde at the first performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, 14th Feb 1895

Crombie Velvet Collar Chesterfield The Evolved Gentleman’s Overcoat with Velvet Collar, Circa 1913

Embraced by stars of stage, screen and music, modern popular culture is no stranger to the velvet collar. From James Bond to the Beatles, a velvet collar has been used to imbue the wearer with a sense of individuality and style.

“The Beatles impacted fashion with mop-tops, mohair suits, Cuban-heeled boots and velvet collars…” - Scott J Allen, Encyclopedia of Leadership, 2004

Today’s iconic Crombie Coat also embraces the velvet collar and its heritage without reservation. Teamed with the distinctive red lining, the understated tonal velvet collar provides a classic and timeless look. Our Covert Coats and seasonal limited edition coats are also testimony to the longevity of the velvet collar as the gentleman’s choice.

Crombie Velvet Collar Retro Coat The Iconic Crombie Retro Coat Featuring Tonal Velvet Collar

 

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