After a conversation last night after compline with fellow clergy over bourbon we moved from serious topics to the somewhat less serious but still needful question of the obtaining, care, and maintenance of linen clergy collars. Here are a couple of the salient points:
Wippell obviously carries them. I have also had great success with J R Evans which makes the coveted 1″ high linen collar (http://www.jre-best-religious-supplies.com/studio-shirts.html)
You might also try Trevor Floyd (http://www.trevorfloyd.com/linencollars.html)
Yes, they are well worth the effort. Undoubtedly, you will invest more time in them than a collar that can be tossed in the dishwasher but they are decidedly more comfortable. “Clericool” which is the name Almy has given their plastic collar is quite the misnomer – having a plastic band around your neck in the heat is definitely not a cooling sensation.
You can achieve the tab look with a hint of white showing over the black band by obtaining a collarette – Almy and Wippell both make them. The Wippell is slightly superior as it does not have snap.
They are easy to use and the collar simply slides into them.
There are a couple of options for caring for collars.
You can wash and starch them yourself – which gives a high degree of personal satisfaction. Great instructions for this may be found on Fr Mark Collins’s blog: http://fathermarkcollins.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-starch-clerical-collars.html
You can send them off to a specialty company that will do a fine job of getting them back into tip-top shape: I commend Barker Group in Dorset (http://www.barkergroup.info/stiff_collar_laundering.html) as they have a wonderful tradition of laundering stiff collars.
You can take a chance by trial and error with a local launderer. I would take one that is in good shape along to show them what they should look like.
For keeping your blacks black – Perwoll is recommended (http://www.amazon.com/Perwoll-Black-Darks-Formally-Magic/dp/B0035YK7ME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316455349&sr=8-1)
It is a detergent that is specially formulated to keep black colorfast and comes highly recommended!