What is a Pop Collar? Get the Scoop on the Trendy 2023 Fashion Statement!

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what is a pop collar

The Origin of the Term “Pop Collar”

The term “pop collar” originated in the 1980s and refers to the act of flipping up or popping the collar of a shirt or jacket. This trend gained popularity among young people, particularly those involved in preppy subcultures. The exact origin of the term is unclear, but it is believed to have emerged from college campuses and then spread to mainstream fashion.

Preppy Subculture

The preppy subculture, which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, heavily influenced the popularity of popped collars. Preppy fashion was characterized by a clean-cut and polished look, often associated with wealthy Ivy League students. Popping the collar became a way for these individuals to add a touch of rebelliousness to their otherwise conservative attire.

Influence from Polo Players

Another theory suggests that the trend of popping collars originated from polo players. Polo shirts typically have a button-down collar, which can be easily flipped up for added sun protection during matches. This practicality may have translated into a fashion statement outside of the sport.

Overall, while the exact origins of the term “pop collar” remain somewhat elusive, it is clear that this trend gained traction through various subcultures and fashion influences.

How the Trend of Wearing Popped Collars Became Popular

The trend of wearing popped collars became popular in the 1980s as part of an overall preppy aesthetic that was embraced by youth culture at the time. It was seen as a way to make a fashion statement and stand out from more traditional styles.

One reason for its popularity was its association with wealth and privilege. The preppy style was often associated with affluent Ivy League colleges and private schools, where students would wear their collars popped as a signifier of their social status. This aspirational aspect of the trend appealed to many young people who wanted to emulate the lifestyle of the upper class.

Additionally, the trend gained traction through popular culture and media. Movies like “The Breakfast Club” and television shows like “Miami Vice” featured characters sporting popped collars, further cementing its place in mainstream fashion.

Overall, the trend of wearing popped collars became popular due to its association with affluence and its representation in popular culture. It allowed individuals to express their personal style while also conforming to a larger fashion movement.

Preppy Fashion Movement

The rise of preppy fashion in the 1980s played a significant role in popularizing popped collars. The preppy style was characterized by clean lines, bright colors, and an overall polished look. Popping the collar added a touch of rebelliousness to this otherwise conservative aesthetic, making it appealing to young people seeking both conformity and individuality.

Influence from Music Icons

Music icons of the 1980s, such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, also contributed to the popularity of popped collars. Their bold fashion choices influenced a generation and encouraged experimentation with different styles. Popped collars became synonymous with coolness and edginess, further fueling their popularity.

In summary, a combination of factors including association with wealth and privilege, representation in popular culture, and influence from music icons contributed to the widespread popularity of wearing popped collars in the 1980s.

The Origin of the Term “Pop Collar”


The term “pop collar” originated in the early 2000s and is believed to have derived from the action of popping or flipping up the collar on a shirt or jacket. This trend gained popularity among young adults and was often associated with preppy fashion styles.

Popularity Surge

The exact origins of the trend are unclear, but it is believed to have been influenced by various factors such as popular culture, fashion magazines, and celebrity endorsements. The term “pop collar” quickly caught on and became widely used to describe this specific style choice.

The act of popping one’s collar was seen as a way to add a touch of edginess or rebellion to an otherwise traditional outfit. It became particularly popular among college students and young professionals who wanted to make a fashion statement while still adhering to dress codes.

Some argue that the term may have also been influenced by the rise of pop music during this time period, as many musicians were known for their bold fashion choices, including popped collars.

Overall, the origin of the term “pop collar” can be traced back to the early 2000s when this trend started gaining momentum and becoming a prominent feature in contemporary fashion.

How the Trend of Wearing Popped Collars Became Popular

The trend of wearing popped collars became popular in the 1980s and 1990s. It originated from preppy fashion, which was influenced by Ivy League style. The look gained traction among young adults and college students who wanted to emulate a sophisticated and affluent image.

One theory suggests that the trend started when tennis players began popping their collars to protect their necks from the sun during matches. This practicality soon turned into a fashionable statement, with people adopting the style even outside of sports activities.

Describing the Look of a Pop Collar

A pop collar refers to a shirt collar that is folded up or turned outward instead of being neatly pressed down. When worn this way, it creates a more casual and relaxed appearance. The collar stands away from the neck, adding an element of dimension and visual interest to an outfit.

This style can be achieved with various types of shirts, including polo shirts, button-down shirts, and even jackets or coats with collars. The height at which the collar is popped can vary depending on personal preference, ranging from just a slight lift to a more exaggerated fold.

Why Some People Choose to Wear Their Collars Popped

There are several reasons why some individuals choose to wear their collars popped. Firstly, it can be seen as a fashion statement or a way to express personal style. Popping the collar adds an edgy touch to an otherwise traditional outfit.

In addition, wearing a popped collar can provide some practical benefits. It can help protect the neck from sunburn or wind chill in certain weather conditions. Furthermore, for those who feel self-conscious about their necks or want to create the illusion of a longer neck, popping the collar can be a flattering choice.

Fashion Styles and Subcultures Associated with Pop Collars

The trend of popped collars is closely associated with preppy fashion. Preppy style originated from the Ivy League colleges in the United States and is characterized by clean-cut and classic clothing choices. Popped collars became particularly popular among preppy subcultures, such as yacht club members or fraternity/sorority members.

However, the trend also transcended preppy fashion and found its way into other subcultures. It became a staple in the 1980s New Wave and punk scenes, where individuals would pair popped collars with leather jackets or band t-shirts for a rebellious look. Today, it can still be seen in streetwear fashion, where people mix high-end designer pieces with casual elements.

The Changing Popularity of Pop Collars Over Time

The popularity of popped collars has fluctuated over time. In the 1980s and 1990s, it reached its peak as a mainstream trend. However, as fashion evolved and new styles emerged, the popularity of popped collars declined in the early 2000s.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in retro fashion trends, including popped collars. Many designers have incorporated this style into their collections, bringing it back into the spotlight. While it may not be as widespread as before, there are still individuals who embrace this trend as a nostalgic nod to past eras or as a unique statement piece.

Celebrities and Notable Figures Known for Sporting Pop Collars

Throughout history, several celebrities and notable figures have been known for sporting pop collars. One iconic example is John F. Kennedy, who often wore his polo shirts with the collar popped. His effortless style and influential status helped popularize the trend during his presidency.

In more recent years, pop culture figures like Kanye West and Justin Bieber have been seen rocking popped collars, adding a modern twist to the trend. These celebrities’ fashion choices often influence their fans and followers, leading to increased interest in popped collars among younger generations.

Alternative Names and Terms for Popped Collars

Popped collars are known by various alternative names and terms depending on the region or subculture. In some areas, it is referred to as “upturned collar” or simply “up collar.” Others may use terms like “flipped collar” or “turned-up collar.”

Additionally, within specific subcultures, there may be slang terms associated with popped collars. For example, in the preppy community, it is sometimes called “preppy flip” or “frat flip,” highlighting its association with fraternity/sorority culture.

Differences in Meaning and Symbolism of Pop Collars Across Cultures or Regions

The meaning and symbolism of popped collars can vary across different cultures or regions. In some places, it may be associated with a sense of sophistication and elegance, representing a refined fashion sense. On the other hand, in certain subcultures or regions where popped collars are seen as outdated or pretentious, it can carry negative connotations.

Furthermore, cultural norms and values play a role in how popped collars are perceived. In some conservative societies, wearing a popped collar might be considered inappropriate or disrespectful. Understanding these cultural nuances is essential when considering the appropriateness of this style choice in different settings.

Fashion Rules and Etiquette Guidelines for Wearing a Pop Collar

While fashion rules and etiquette guidelines for wearing a pop collar may vary depending on personal style and context, there are some general considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to ensure that the collar is clean and well-maintained, as a wrinkled or dirty collar can detract from the overall look.

Additionally, when wearing a popped collar, it is advisable to pair it with appropriate clothing choices. For example, in more formal settings, such as business meetings or black-tie events, it is generally best to avoid popping the collar. However, in casual or creative environments, it can be a stylish addition to an outfit.

Lastly, confidence is key when rocking a popped collar. Embrace your personal style and wear it with pride. Remember that fashion should be fun and expressive, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make the trend your own.

In conclusion, a pop collar refers to the act of flipping up the collar on a garment, typically seen in preppy fashion. It is a style choice that can add a touch of flair or sophistication to an outfit.

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