Collar Colour.

For many years I’ve seen “blue” collar and “white” collar as terms, but I actually never understood where these terms came from.

So here we go!

Blue-collar refers to manual work or workers, typically in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining, or maintenance.

White-collar refers to office workers or professional service work, such as consultants, administrators, management, and anyone who tends to do mental rather than physical work.

Where do these phrases originate from?

Blue-collar originated in the 1920s when manual laborers tended to wear darker clothes to hide the dirt — things like jeans, and overalls.

White-collar originated a decade later, in the 1930s, and clearly refers to the typical white dress shirt that male office workers wore back then.

Related Essays