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A convertible collar is a type of collar that can give a garment a rather versatile look. Found in garments with front openings, this is a collar that can be worn in either of two ways, in an open style and in a closed style. Convertible collars are attached to the garment neckline, and the collar facing, which incorporates the raw edges of the material during the sewing process, ensures that the garment looks good whichever way the collar is being worn. This means that there is no right side and wrong side to a convertible collar, but both sides are equally well-finished.
When worn in an open style, a convertible collar folds back into lapels. Lapels are the front part of the garment that descend from the collar and fold back on either side. They can be of varying shapes, lengths and widths. Generally, in all convertible collars, the lapel width is just enough to close the garment. Apart from this basic design, a convertible collar can be used with a variety of neckline styles. The quality of the fabric used to make the garments usually determines the general shape and look of the collar.
Three common convertible collar styles are stand collar, roll collar and flat collar. A stand collar, as the name suggests, has an part toward the bottom of the collar that stands up from the neckline and a part at the top of the collar that folds back over the upright section. A rolled collar is attached to the neckline with a band and the width of the collar's outer edge determines how much and in what manner the collar will roll over. Flat collars have the same neck edge shape as the garment neckline.
An open convertible collar with small lapels is known as a sport collar. When kept open, this collar can make a shirt look like a sport shirt, and when closed it can give it an almost formal, dressy appearance. Closed convertible collars may be fastened with buttons, hooks or zips.
Convertible collars have a strong following in both the men's and women's fashion markets, with some of the top fashion designers using these collars in many of their garments. Some garments that often feature convertible collars are shirts, blouses, shirtwaists, wraparound dresses, jackets and trench coats. The convertible collars influence the general design of the garment and also serve the functional purpose of providing warmth and protection when worn closed, particularly in the case of winter clothing.