Saturday, October 8, 2011

Collar Popping: A brief history of Asshole Iconography from the late 1800s to Present

In the apocrypha of haberdashery, popping one’s collar, known technically as "an upturned collar," was first invented by Walter Makepeace Scantleberry in 1889, during a cold windy night in London while stagecoaching. Legend has it that Scantleberry mentioned to his passengers that the wind was whipping up and that he was going "to pop up my collar" so as to protect himself from the cold.

Since that time, the practice of collar popping has enjoyed a long association with the obnoxiously over-privileged and self-entitled asshole. It became so popular during the turn of the 20th century in Europe and America that manufacturers began to make detachable collars that would button in the front and in the back of the shirt, elevating the popped collar from practical application to useless fashion icon of wealth. In his 1902 book Kipps, writer H.G. Wells, a futurist and a practical man, railed against the wearing of the popped collar, pointing out that it was another sign of the elite and that popular application, except for in the cold, was pointless. He further pointed out that it "made [the] neck quite sore and left a red mark under [the] ears." For his part, Wells swore off of them for good.