A mandarin collar is a short unfolded stand-up collar style on a shirt or jacket. Mandarin collars start at the neckline and typically rise vertically two to five centimeters. The style originated from dresses worn by Mandarins in Imperial China.
The length along a mandarin collar is straight, with either straight or rounded edges at top of the centre front. The edges of the collar either barely meet at the centre front or overlap slightly. Overlapping mandarin collars are often a continuation of a shirt's placket and have a button on the collar to secure the two sides of the shirt together.
A similar style known as the Nehru collar is also found in some modern Indian men's clothing, such as the Nehru jacket. (Named for Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India 1947–1964, who commonly wore clothing with this type of collar.)
A band collar is often a mandarin collar. This term is also used for shirts that have only a flat finishing around the neckline; originally such garments were designed for use with a detachable collar, a largely forgotten usage.
In contemporary Western dress, mandarin collars are found in fashion-forward oriental-style and minimalist-style clothing. Women's mandarin-collared jackets often include other vaguely oriental elements, such as silk knots as closures instead of buttons.
Since mandarin collars are short and do not fold over, neckties are not worn with mandarin-collared dress shirts. It is socially acceptable (and fashionable) to wear a mandarin-collared shirt with a suit at many moderately formal occasions — even though no tie is worn. This lack of ties has led to the recent rising popularity of mandarin collars in the post-dotcom casual era.
Mandarin collars are also utilised heavily in modern-day military combat uniforms like the US Army's Army Combat Uniform. The presence of the mandarin collar on the Army Combat Uniform makes the wearing of body armor more comfortable by lifting the collar up to prevent chafing. Stand collars are also common on historically based military dress uniforms, such as dress uniforms of the British Army, US Navy and US Marine Corps.
Mandarin collars are also the proper shape for a single-breasted Greek cassock, or anterri, for Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic clergy. Russians and other Slavic Churches typically have a high, band-style collar, buttoning to the side or on the shoulder, while Greeks have the "notched" Mandarin pattern with a closing loop or hook at the bottom of the "V" in the collar.
Lastly, mandarin collars feature in costumes in some notable films, where they are employed either as a futuristic style fashion or to create a distinctive appearance for sinister characters. For example, the title character in the 1962 James Bond film Dr. No, as well as Bond's nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, both parodied by Doctor Evil in the Austin Powers series of films. The mandarin collar can also be found in the uniform of the Empire's officers in the Star Wars films.