The blouse collar known as un col Claudine is named after the fictional schoolgirl created by legendary French author Colette (pictured below). From the moment Claudine burst onto the French popular culture scene, with the 1900 publication of Claudine à l’École, French women strove to emulate most everything about this alluring minx of a character, including Claudine’s traditional schoolgirl uniform of a black dress trimmed with a rounded white collar.
The monochrome look became a kind of uniform for a new and modern generation of French women. It was sassy, prim and business-minded all at once, and let’s not deny the schoolgirl fetish wink (the wily Colette certainly did not).
To this day, a Claudine Collar remains a classic, and suit-all, style essential for Parisiennes, who often layer a jumper over a white blouse, or own a little black dress set off with such a collar — like the one Catherine Deneuve made famous in this iconic 1963 image by Walter Carone:
You can often tap into the Claudine look at boutiques that excel in Parisienne chic, such as Claudie Pierlot, Agnès B and Sézane. They’re also easy to find on the Parisian high street, and on websites such as La Redoute: