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Mandarin Collar Suit: 10 Facts You Must Know

Published on: 2019-02-25

Mandarin collar suits

High impact, statement-making suit lapels such as curved wide peak lapel/broad notch lapel and double-breasted lapels are dominating the fashion market. But the humble, the elegant and the timeless round/mandarin collar suit have never gone out of fashion. These round collar suits are widely popular across geographies. We thought we will bring it to your attention. We bet you have seen someone you know wear it, but just didn't notice.

A hundred different names

Mandarin What? Did the term "mandarin collar suit" confuse you? The other commonly used names are Chinese collar suit, Nehru/Jawahar jacket, Mayo collar suit, Jodhpuri suit, grandad collar suit. You may also use terms like stand/round/closed/band collar and high collar suits. So many names, right? But these suits truly embody Shakespear's epic statement - What's in a name?

Sweat-not my friend. Let's move on.

The art is the round collar

In a Mandarin collar suit - the collar is a short unfolded stand-up style on a shirt or jacket. The collars start at the neckline and typically rise vertically 2? - 5? centimeters. To fit the neck beautifully, the length along a mandarin collar is curved. The center front closure is either straight or rounded edge for royal elegance. The edges of the collar either barely meet at the center front or overlap slightly. This suit is all about the subtlety.

Mandarin collar suit dates back to 220BC

Origin stories are always great. Be it wolverine or spiderman. For the inquisitive, the history of their clothing is of utmost importance. The fashions of China and the Far East have historically influenced these suits. A mandarin collar suit has now become more popular within the Western world than you can even imagine. Though, you can safely consider China as the birth place of the mandarin collar.

China - ( Chinese collar suits ) Period: 221-206 BC - traced back to Imperial China
The Mandarins (bureaucrats) wore round collars as part of the traditional garment of Manchu. These collars worn by the Mandarins in China eventually began to be known as 'Mandarin Collars'. Unarguably, the Chinese have contributed a lot to our modern day fashion wardrobe and to the round collar shirt in your wardrobe! Mind == Blown.

The Military Connection

Period: Since 10th Century - Across Military & Navy
Mandarin collar suits have a long standing tradition in military uniform tailoring. They have been in use in Europe for more than 300 years. The British Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps have all had a history with round collar uniforms. Mandarin collars are also utilized heavily in modern-day military combat uniforms. The presence of the mandarin collar on the Army Combat Uniform makes the wearing of body armor more comfortable by lifting the collar up to prevent chafing.

When in Rome, do as the Romans

The cassock, or soutane, is an item of Christian clerical clothing used by the clergy of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Reformed churches, among others. The cassock derives historically from the tunic that in ancient Rome was worn underneath the toga and the chiton that was worn beneath the himation in ancient Greece.

The royal tradition from India - ( Bandhgala Suits)

Round collar was a staple in India since the 10th century. The wealthiest - and I mean crazy wealthy - families in India have a long standing love affair with the powerful Bandhgala suit. 'Bandhgala' translates to 'Close Neck'. The choice of material: silk, wool or any other super expensive fabrics. Normally, the material is lined at the collar and at the buttons with embroidery. The trousers match that of the coat. There is also a trend now to wear contrasting trousers.

It is distinguished, masculine and makes any body shape look good. The staple wear of Rajasthan's aristocracy, the bandhgala makes every Indian man look regal. So hear's a toast to the Maharaja's of India!

Loved by Hollywood

Think all famous pop-culture movies and you can surely recollect your favorite action stars wearing a round collar suit/shirt. From IP Man to Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan - they have all starred wearing a round collar suit in their movies.

Some notable feature films have had many stars wearing a Mandarin Collar Suit. Be it a futuristic fashion style or as a distinctive appearance for sinister characters, these suits have always created a wow factor. For example: the title character in the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No, as well as Bond's nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld can be seen in this attire. They have also been parodied by Doctor Evil in the Austin Powers series of films. Don't you remember the uniform of the Empire's officers in the Star Wars films? Do or do not - there is no try!

Rock and Roll on the stage

In the mid-1960s, Mandarin suits began to be marketed as the Nehru jacket in Europe and America. It was briefly popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The growing awareness of foreign cultures and the minimalism of the Mod lifestyle bought these styles into mainstream fashion. Notably, the Monkees and the Beatles, largely popularized the garment. When the Beatles styled up - the world noticed. Hey Jude - have a look now!

Run On the Runway you Mandarin collar suit fan

Fashion-forward oriental-style and minimalist-style clothing often sport bold Mandarin Collars. Women's mandarin-collared jackets often include other vaguely oriental elements, such as silk knots as closures instead of buttons.

Mandarin collars are short and do not fold over. Hence, neckties are not worn with mandarin-collared dress shirts. It is fashionable to wear a mandarin-collared shirt with a suit at many moderately formal occasions. Yes, even without a tie! This lack of ties has led to the recent rising popularity of mandarin collars in the post-dotcom casual era. (Have a look at our round collar shirts )

Finally - Get your hands on it - one simple way!

It is now super easy to get yourself one of these amazing suits. Be quick to check out this Black Dandy Nehru Suit. Or how about this Bandhgala Suit for Men? Looking for some great contrast options in mandarin collar suits? Browse through our amazing mandarin collar suit collection here.

Written by:
@Sak (Sakshi J, CoFounder & CDO, Hangrr)  

Sakshi J

A marathoner, new-mother, yoga-aspirant - Sakshi started her career as a Management Consultant in London. At the same time, she was also smitten by the bug to build Hangrr. Today, she heads the design direction for the brand globally.


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