High Neckline: Use Dramatic Styles to Camouflage Wrinkles

A high neckline can hide a feature that is rarely a woman’s best after a certain age.

Tie neck blouses and Asian-inspired Mandarin collars are two classic designs that are trendier some years than others.

Clever Concealment Can Be Dramatic and Sexy

From the 1950s through the 1970s, a black turtleneck sweater was a fashion-must for urbanites, arty sophisticates, and edgy political activists.

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I adored turtlenecks when I lived in the north, because they kept my long neck warm, without a scarf or muffler.

And all the best cat burglars wear them, do they not? Or have I been watching too many Pink Panther movies?

Audrey Style

This sexy high turtleneck collar was often seen on Audrey Hepburn, who had a nice long neck. It is less comfortable for women with short necks and too much underchin flesh.

A funnel neckline is a looser-fitting version of a turtleneck. A mock neck is a turtleneck that doesn't rise very high.

A cowl neckline has a broad, foldover collar. It will not cover much neck, if that is what you want.

A close rival for sexist high neckline is the Mandarin collar shirts.

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This Asian influence is named after an ancient Chinese elite. A stand-collar that is often slightly open at the front, Mandarin collar shirts often are heavily embroidered design or a beautifully patterned silk.

These elegant design features also provide dramatic touches focus eyes away from a neck trouble spot.

Tie Neck Blouse and Ascot Front Divert Attention

The tie neck blouse usually has an attached ribbon-like band in the same color as the top fabric.

Astrologer Pam Gregory wears different beautiful silk Mandarin collar jackets in her youtube.com videos.

The ascot front is a long, thin scarf that is added to the top of a collarless blouse or top.

If the tie neck blouse is a loose circlet around your neck or a v-neck, you will not be able to tie it closely to conceal wrinkles.

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As ascot allows you to choose whatever scarf you like to flatter your complexion and tie it more tightly, if you wish.

Draw Eyes Downward and Away from Neckline

The bow neck blouse, whether it is close to the neck or a V, draws the eyes downward and away from the area you want to downplay.

Mandarin collar shirts, turtlenecks, and ascots are the kind of high neckline that offers greatest coverage and concealment.

A lovely scarf also may simply be flung backward, over the shoulder, with one tail hanging down the front. It both draws the eye downard and conceals neck wrinkles.

Heat and Sweat and the Magic of Hydrogen Peroxide

If you live in a hot climate, as I do, tie necklines quickly wilt.

I don't dare buy an expensive scarf, because I know it simply is not going to be pristine for long, and they rarely wash well.

A better choice may be the a sculpted neckline, with a collar that rises on either side of the neckline.

Funnel necklines, in addition to the Mandarin collar, exemply this solution.

I recently discovered the magic of blotting hydrogen peroxide to remove ring-around-the-collar from shirts and suit jackets.

It works a treat and does not leave a water mark, either.

Be careful with colors that can run, because this definitely will happen when you wet the fabric.

Can You Name That Neckline Style?

black skirt in day and evening outfits
These are from the Fashion Source Book (2nd Ed.) by Katheryn McKelvey, a collection of royalty-free illustrations.

Clockwise from top left, the styles shown are:

  • barbette. It appears to be a turtleneck insert, called a dickey when I was young.

  • carcoille. This seems closest to today's funnel neckline, more popular in coats than blouses, to keep out chilly and wet weather.

  • cascade jabot, one of my favorites, especially when the ruffles are cut more fully than pictured. Look for a sensually draped fabric.

  • ascot. This often is a separate scarf, tied in a knot.

  • bow tie blouse. In its most recent fashion incarnation, this high neckline is being called the pussy bow.

  • central stitch ruffle. We are seeing a lot of variations on the ruffle front in recent years.

Miracle Fabrics Make Long Sleeves Year-Round Apparel


In addition to the high neckline, long sleeve blouses are often sought by older women to conceal what may be another trouble spot -- flabby underarms.

Cotton gauze and silk are long-time favorites for warm-weather long or three-quarter sleeve tops. Today, new microfibers -- scientifically engineered fabric blends -- even offer sunscreen and wicking properties.

Ruched tops are another contemporary way to highlight figure assets and camouflage what you'd prefer people not notice.

Whether you are looking for a nice blouse with a high neckline or a romantic blouse with a scarf top, ruffles or something plainer, you are sure to find something that will please.

A nice thing about blouses, shirts, and tops is that they provide an instant new look when worn with wardrobe standards, such as expensive business suits, slacks and skirts you've had for what seems like forver.

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