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Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.
If you’re trying to look more polished, one of the classic looks is the layered look for sweaters. It seems like a simple idea in theory — button-front shirt + sweater, BOOM, right? But then you run into problems with static cling and bulk.
One of the classic ways to solve this problem is with the humble fake collar, aka the dickie. (Sometimes also spelled dickey!) Each generation seems to discover these anew, so I thought I’d round up a few that are out there right now.
What Are Dickies?
If you are unfamiliar with dickies, these are what can best be described as fake collars — they are more than a clip-on collar, but not the full shirt. In general, they have a partial shoulder and usually some type of elastic strap “sleeve” to keep the whole thing anchored to your chest and lying neatly.
(As we are in the age of crop tops, do not be confused – these are not crop tops. Do not wear them by themselves. Especially not to work, but, really, I’d recommend against it anywhere; a dickie is never going to look as cool as an actual backless shirt.)
What Are the Benefits to Wearing Dickies Instead of Shirts?
There are actually a number of benefits to wearing dickies or fake collars with work outfits. They’re a lot less bulky than blouses, for example, and they’re far easier to get things to lay properly. Because you’re unlikely to be spilling food on the fake collar or sweating on it (although it depends on the specific dickie), you can get away with dry cleaning them less.
Cost is another big benefit — everything in this Hunt is under $100.
They also fit no matter what size you are, generally — and you can even keep them at the office if you want to instantly make your outfit feel more polished.
A Final Note on Finding Dickies for Work Outfits
I will note that this was quite a Hunt because, haha, everyone hates the term dickie. Which, hey, 1000%. But hunting for “collar” on websites is… less than helpful. (If you try to go this route, make sure you don’t end up buying an actual dog collar. Sigh.)
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Some Great Fake Collars for Layered Work Outfits
If you’re looking for a crisp collar, Amazon is one of the easiest places to find one — there are a ton of sellers with shirts in basic white and pastels, as well as plaid options, faux jeweled options, and more.
(You can also find faux turtlenecks!)
The pictured one is from seller Tatuo; you can get a two-pair in either size medium or large for under $16.
I’m sure you will be shocked to hear that Etsy has a ton of great options for fake collars, all for really affordable prices.
I’m picturing this lacy one with sleeves just to show that they do sometimes come with sleeves — this one notes in the description that it could be worn under a dress; I also like the look of the collar matching the cuffs. (Such as, for example, this frilly collar with matching cuffs (pictured on our home page), although you have to hunt a bit to find the matching cuffs.) (The Etsy seller here, bloominglace, seems to specialize in these kinds of collars — ooh, and she has cuffs available separately.)
They’re not really selling this one with the photo, now, are they? Still: Anthropologie has a few “collar bibs,” as they call them, and they’re all on sale for $30 right now.
I’m in love with this black and white option — although here she’s wearing it on top of a shirt (?), if it were tucked in beneath a sweater as it should be it would be really cool, I think.
The Victorian-inspired, lacy collar above is from Lele Sadoughi — she has a bunch of cute, ultra-twee collars with lace and pearls and gems, most under $100. You can find them at stores like Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and of course her own website.
Admittedly, everything else in the roundup is a bit buttoned-up and kind of girly — so I thought I’d include this interesting cashmere dickey in fun colors from Guest in Residence. I think the colors are really fun, although I think I might be bothered if the knit of the dickey contrasted with the knit of the sweater I was pairing it with. But maybe that’s just me.
(If you, like me, were unfamiliar with Guest in Residence: it is a “direct-to-consumer cashmere brand founded in New York by Gigi Hadid, who serves as creative director.”)
The pictured dickie is $95, and also comes in a taupe/lime combo.
Readers, do you like faux collars if you’re going for a layered look for sweaters? Where have you found great ones?
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Social media images (woman with ponytail wearing plaid blazer, beige sweater and white collar) via 123rf / serezniy.