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How To Choose Your Dress Shirt Collar Style

Posted on July 11 2016

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to selecting collar styles.

This is especially true when trying to outfit different face shapes and sizes.

When selecting dress shirts, your collar choice is by far your most important choice because when properly selected, a man’s shirt collar can greatly increase the appeal of his face.

But to make a collar work for you, you have to know your necklines. Different collars suit different gents, and different collars suit different occasions. The seemingly straightforward collar comes in many arrangements: the classic point, the button-down point, the wing tip, the spread, the English spread, and the cut-away. To appreciate them all, we may need a lesson is collar semantics.

THE SPREAD

The spread of a collar refers to the distance between the end-tip-points.

The points, also known as the tips, are, as you would expect, the pointy tip at the end of the collar. The amount of spread and the length of your points can crate a myriad of collar looks for you to play with. 

A classic point collar, with limited spread between the tips, can work wonders on a rounder face. Conversely, a spread collar can broaden a narrow neck and add the appearance of girth to a slim face. The king of all collars, the cut-away, has a very wide spread and adds a dressy touch to a dinner suit. This collar is for the bespoke, the brave, and the very formal. If you choose to wear a tie with your cut-away, a big knot is in order to fill the space.

1. The Cut-Away
The widest of all spread collars, literally ‘cut away’ as the collar is so shot. Popular in all countries. Meant to be worn with a tie with a wide knot.

2. English Spread
Brooks Brothers call this collar the one ‘the Windsor knot was made for’. Slightly wider than its main spread collar, it’s considered a traditional English look.

3. Spread
Flatters a narrower face. Edward, the Prince of Wales in the 1900s, is credited with making this collar popular, which nicely accommodates the Windsor knot.

4. Forward-point
Also called a straight-point or narrow-point collar. Generally should be worm with a tie. Narrow opening flatters a rounder or wider face. This collar graced most military-issue dress shirt since WWI.

5. Snap-tab
Tabs fasten under the tie’s know to hold the collar’s point in place, hence the name. Popular in the 20s and 30s with periodic revivals since. Style has evolved from formal to more sporty.

6. Abbreviated spread
A smaller, more modern and sporty version of the classic-spread collar. Designed to be work without a tie with the top button undone under a sport coat or sweater. The shirt can also be worn with a tie.

7. Club
Also know as a golf collar or rounded collar. Required at English boarding school Eton in the mid-19th Century. Came to be known as club collars to signify exclusive membership

8. Button down
The roots of the Oxford button-down shirt are sporty and casual. Generally worn without a tie, though some designers are promoting dressier versions to wear with suits.  

Now that you know the origins and styles of today's dress shirt collars, start seeing for yourself which style suits you. You can always contact us for styling help.

Remember that collar selection is the most important decision when selecting your dress shirts and can directly enhance or worsen your first impression with potential clients and first-time acquaintances.

Make sure to reach out if extra help is needed!

Always Best in Style, 

TB

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