Patricide is not a word you generally want associated with your choice of fashion. Unless, of course, you are entirely ignorant of what the word patricide means–which probably accounts for about 99% of those in the fashion industry and an only slightly smaller percentage of those whom the fashion industry has duped into buying everything from leisure suits to the idea that Christian Laboutin can actually “own” the color red. Others who might not mind wearing a piece of clothing known as the Patricide Collar are those whose fathers have much in common with certain Catholic priests, if you know what I mean.
The 1800s style Patricide Collar is not currently in fashion, but its legacy can even today be found inside tuxedo stores in the much less formidable form of the wingtip collar. Everything fashionable comes around eventually, however, so get ready for that magical day when the Patricide Collar does hit it big as a trending topic on Twitter. It might be hard for you to believe that very pointy and highly starched collars on men’s shirts would ever come back into fashion, but I urge you to look down at the feet of many men today. See that line where the toes go that runs straight across the shoe? If pointy toed shoes that follow the natural line of the foot’s topography can go out of style and be replaced by the ugliness that is shoes with a straight line across the toe, then believe that Patricide Collars may one day come back.
The name Patricide Collar derives from an urban legend. The highly starched and ultra-pointed shirt collar in question was the height of fashion among young men in the know during the late 1800s. A less stiff version of this collar came back big time during the 1980s when skinny ties mercifully killed off the widening of neckwear that reached absolutely ridiculous proportions in the late 1970s. The fact is that a Patricide Collar is exceptionally natty, but, according to the urban legend, also dangerous.
At least in its original 1800s form. You see, you have to picture in your mind the short collar that still remains popular among tuxedo shirts. This type of shirt collar is a felicitous companion to bow ties. That short, pointy arrangement gives the urban legend its conceptual verisimilitude.
Imagine a collar starched to such a degree of rigidity that it could probably stand up on its end without slinking down. Forget the plastic stays found in collars: starch could make these things weapons of individual destruction. Or so the legend goes. Because, you see, whatever name the Patricide Collar was originally known by has been lost to followers of fashion. The Patricide Collar has gone down in history as the result of the urban legend of a young college man showing off his taste in fashion being embraced by his father upon returning home from the university.
The movement inward for the embrace result in the father’s neck making contact with the stiffly starched collar resulting in, apparently, the severance of dear pater’s carotid artery. Here’s one urban legend that gives new meaning to a killer fashion choice, but most likely is entirely apocryphal.