Grown-Ups Are Rediscovering the Charm of Peter Pan Collars

From bibbed button-downs to round-neck leather jackets, this year's takes feel more sophisticated than sweet.

A collage of women wearing Peter Pan collar button-down shirts and coats.
(Image credit: Future)

Whether you’re on TikTok or not, you’ve borne witness to the girlhood aesthetic. Bows are now ubiquitous. Baby pink has become as common a color as black. And Peter Pan collar shirts, a style fundamentally linked to never growing up, are trending once more.

Scroll through a fashion tastemaker’s Instagram or the “Just Added” tab of your most frequented online retailer, and you’ll find a slew of softly rounded collars. The Peter Pan neckline is also proliferating the street style scene: Stockholm-based street style photographer Susan Stjernberger describes them as a near-constant sighting on European sidewalks. “I actually saw a girl wearing a Peter Pan collar shirt today during my lunch break,” she shares with Marie Claire.

However, the curved collar was a fixture in the fashion world long before the evocative girlhood trend came to be.

A woman walking down a sidewalk wearing a trench coat with a black Peter Pan collar.

For your transitional spring dressing consideration: a trench coat with an oversized black lacy collar.

(Image credit: Future)

The flat, rounded neckline traces back to the actress Maude Adams in her titular role in the 1905 Broadway production of Peter Pan. As the mischievous little boy "became a cultural icon—so did the collar,” explains fashion historian Heather Vaughan Lee. Since then, “it's reappeared in nearly every decade in some form or another: in 1930s formalwear, in 1940s and 1950s daywear (often with a string of pearls), on mod mini-dresses of the 1960s, and even on baby-doll dresses of the grunge era,” the author of Artifacts from American Fashion details.

That brings us to the 21st century, where the curved collar remains just as ever-present. You’ll recall oversized, often detachable collars trending during the 2020 lockdown when making a strong torso-up impression for a 30-minute Zoom call was the highlight of your day.

Graphics of women wearing peter pan collar shirts made by Future

Danish fashion influencer Pernille Teisbaek wearing a frilly white Peter Pan collar atop an olive green day dress.

(Image credit: Future)

Four years later, now fueled by a girlish mood sweeping throughout the zeitgeist, Peter Pan collars are trending once again. Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2024 collection included cantaloupe-colored coats with rounded necklines, and Miu Miu’s Fall 2024 line was punctuated with crystalized Peter Pan-collared leather jackets. Sandy Liang has made the collar a coquettish code, while New York-based Sea incorporates the trend in an antique, old-school way. “I love vintage and have a particular soft spot for doilies,” Monica Paolini, co-founder of Sea, shares over email. “An eyelet Peter Pan collar is like a little ornamental treasure that evokes a feeling of nostalgia just like all the doilies I fall in love with.”

However, no brand today is more synonymous with Peter Pan collar shirts than Ganni. The label, beloved for its easy-to-wear maximalism and Scandinavian style, has made frilly supersized collars its signature. If you sample 10 women across the style spectrum, the odds are that half of them have Ganni's bib-collared button-down hanging in their closets. (If it’s not already in their possession, they have, at some point, pinned it to an aspirational board of outfit ideas.)

Darling Peter Pan collars seen at Chanel Pre-Fall 2024, Miu Miu Fall 2024, Sandy Laing Spring 2024, and Sea

From tweed lady jackets to retro-reminiscent button-downs, the Peter Pan collar shirts of 2024 cover a range of styles.

(Image credit: Chanel, Miu Miu, Sandy Liang, and Sea)

The designs themselves may vary, but the appeal is the same: Peter Pan collar shirts invite childlike whimsy into grown-adult wardrobes. Stjernberger remarks that the clear throughline from observing them on the street style crowd is that they are worn by “women of all ages,” from “Grece Ghanem to Pernille Teisbaek.” The youthful shirt, she asserts, has no discernible age limit.

Mackenzie Fitzgerald, an advertising creative director with an affinity for archive fashion, enjoys the playful detail more so now as a 32-year-old than she ever did as a young girl. "I find that the older I get, the more delightful the collar becomes," Fitzgerald says. "It's cheerful and feminine, both saccharine and childlike, which presents an interesting dichotomy when it's not worn by a very young girl."

Cloe See wearing a peter pan collar shirt in a graphic made by Future

Gen Z creator Cloe See teams her Peter Pan collar shirts with leather jackets, black trousers, and neckties.

(Image credit: Cloe See)

Inviting a twee piece from childhood into your adult style can even feel liberating. Cloe See, a fashion content creator known as @zillennialgirl on TikTok, adores Peter Pan collar shirts precisely for this reason. “Girls growing up tend to either suppress parts of themselves that weren’t cool”—which, she notes, is often code for feminine in today’s society—“but as adults, you have more freedom and capital to be authentically you and enjoy things you liked as a kid.”

Beyond connecting with your younger self, reclaiming the collar as an adult also gives you the freedom to style it as you wish. Fitzgerald, for one, advocates for rebelling against the collar’s childlike connotations. A self-described disciple of Miuccia Prada, she references Miu Miu Spring 2008, a collection proliferated by sheer Peter Pan collar blouses, as an example. “Miu Miu is always walking that fine line between adolescence and adulthood, and [Spring ‘08] is one of my all-time favorite collections because it's the perfect blend of sultry and sanguine. The sweetness of the Peter Pan collars is balanced by the do-not-bend-over micro-mini dresses," she says.

A Peter Pan collar shirt worn underneath a thigh-grazing mini dress in Miu Miu Spring 2008.

A black Peter Pan collar shirt worn underneath a thigh-grazing mini dress in Miu Miu Spring 2008.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

That juxtaposition—taking an inherently youthful style and styling it outside its original context—helps elevate the collar to a more intriguing, adult level. A sharp blazer or knit top featuring a Peter Pan collar paired with great blue jeans or a pleated midi skirt offers a more sophisticated impression than the itchy taffeta dresses and bibs you wore as a tot.

Without a parent dressing you, you'll find that your entire closet becomes a playground of possibilities. Keep scrolling to shop Marie Claire’s favorite Peter Pan collar shirts with everlasting appeal.

For the Office

Playful but professional, the below button-down shirts will add some joy to your workwear rotation.

For the Weekend

On your off days, opt for a flouncy style covered in frills or done in a springy floral print.

For Grabbing Drinks

Peter Pan might not be drinking age, but the cropped, cutout, and sheer shirts below are ideal for a night spent sipping cocktails.

For Chilly Days

A round-edge collar coat offers warmth and a youthful spin.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, who writes everything from trend reports to fashion featurettes and long-form profiles. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, writing shopping e-commerce guides, assisting with market for fashion photo shoots, and assigning and editing fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking in her tiny NYC kitchen.