Chin Up

>> Disneyrollergirl has already made the unsurprising connection between 90s Helmut Lang collections and A/W 11-12.  From the comparison between the high white polonecks that pepper Celine's A/W 11-12 and the ones seen in Helmut Lang's A/W 98 collection, I then found myself on a much MUCH older tangent… 

Photos from Celine and

Celine's tight white high-cut polonecks seem to raise the stance of the models – like a much more refined neck brace.  Me with my slouchy mc slouch posture can only peer up and admire the 'hauteur' instilled by what is basically a well-fitting poloneck.  Then I did my catch up of BBC4 (I say BBC4 needs to be on 24/7…) and found myself watching the part-irritating, part-endearing Lucy Worsley presenting a series about the Regency period (loosely defined as between 1795 to 1837).  As she touched on the subject of Regency Dandyism, she delved into the strict and elegant attire of Beau Brummel, the man credited with introducing the man's modern suit.

As the twinkly-eyed Worsley jibes about Brummel's daily routine of taking FIVE hours (he also polished his boots with champagne…) to get dressed, the dandy historian Ian Kelly demonstrates how to tie the perfect Brummel cravat, termed so because Brummel was so meticulous about tying this rectangular linen cloth around the neck so that you get a taut unrumpled cylinder around the neck with a neat tie at the front.  The Celine A/W 11-12 polo neck seems to me a modern convenienced version of this more arduous predecessor.  






The self-importance of the cravat meant that even in its day, it was made fun of, most famously by this illustration here.  On the other hand, some people took it DEATHLY seriously and there's even a penned book published in 1828 entitled 'The Art of Tying the Cravat'.  According to its reasoning for the importance of the cravat…

"When a man of rank makes his entree into a circle distinguished for taste and elegance, he will discover that his coat will attract only a slight degree of attention, but that the most critical and scrutinising examination will be made on the set of his Cravat.  Should this unfortunately, not be correctly and elegantly put on – no further notice will be taken of him."

Gotta love the way men get bitchy in the 19th century…  


Worsley spoke of 'hauteur' when talking about the cravat how it forced her to raise her neck and lift it up with deliberate haughtiness.  I had to then reference these Cecil Beaton images taken in the 1920s (Beaton himself is in them too…) where a group of Bright Young Things have taken to interpreting Regency dress in their own foppish way.  I've been looking at the incredibly dilligent set up of these photos a lot, thinking how they were bothered to go to these lengths to stage these photos… 



My cravat Google search led me to a period clothing website that is a little bit on the shonky side but here is a page of collars that are all incredibly tempting to buy as neck layering devices that nod to Celine's pop of white at the neck in a more interesting way.  At ¬£10-20 a pop, even though they're sized for men's necks, I've bought a few to see how they will sit on top of shirts and jumpers.  I have Worsley to thank for this historic tangent that has bought me to an unlikely shop source.  A report on whether they're A/W 11-12 neckbrace material will come as soon as they arrive… 


14 Replies to “Chin Up”

  1. haw haw ‘darcy clothing’ and barrister collarettes. Who’d have thought. I’m looking forward to the results though. I vetoed watching this programme in favour of reading in the bath and now slightly regretting that decision. Still I very much enjoyed having this Cravat History 101 to fill me in.

  2. OH Jesus, I just wrote a post about finding the correct t shirt and I almost passed thru the shirt issue because there are too many cuffs, collars, etc etc and then I read this, it was like AAAAAAAA (heavenly chorus). Once more, great approach!
    And I was obligated to read the why and how about the new layout, I am loving it all the way! The drafts about the “lines” in every outfit is brilliant. Your sister and her boyfriend definitely came out quite philosophic and geometrical about every aspect.
    Very much mature in a way, and simple enough to not get confused. Bloggers (or whatever that supposed to mean) intend to put a lot of crap ads in their blogs, I mean for what if the clic thru rate is low as 1% and makes it look cheap as a floor cleaner TV ad.
    Susie, I must say, there is no other way than doing it the right way. Congrats!

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