Note: This is the second part of the series on dress shirt collars for men. If you want to start right from the beginning of these series, please read first the post, in which I explain in detail the anatomy of a dress shirt collar, and then come back here. Not interested and just want to know about the different shirt collar types? Read on, then.
The most important piece of information any gent should know about shirt collars, besides which is the best fit for his face and neck, is the amount of collar types that are available and what makes them different from each other.
It’s true the amount of shirt collar types can be overwhelming, so I chose what I believe to be the 9 types of collars that you will surely come across at some point in your life. In a few words, these are the collar styles you should really, really know about.
The 9 Dress Shirt Collars Every Man Needs To Know
Let’s take things slowly. Here’s a bulleted list of the nine shirt collar types that I will be covering in this guide, followed by a more detailed description and comments for each.
- Point Collar
- Semi-Spread Collar
- Spread Collar
- Cutaway Collar
- Deep Cutaway Collar
- Button-Down Collar
- Club Collar
- Tab Collar
- Pin Collar
How many of these are you already familiar with? A few? Many? All of them? Keep reading…
The point collar is a very traditional, conservative and quite common collar. The collar spread in a point collar is very narrow, which lends itself better to slim, thinner tie knots. Ideally you should always wear a tie with a point collar shirt as it can look a bit off when this collar is left unbuttoned. So if you don’t feel like wearing a tie, I recommend going for a wider spread collar instead. Point collars can be paired effectively with a bow tie for a more original look, if that’s what you’re going for. It seems this collar and its close variants used to be much more commonplace a few years ago (think the 90’s), but they have since fallen out of favor (if not for the general public, at least for the more style-oriented men) for other collar types.
The collar spread in a semi-spread will have a wider spread than the point collar, but won’t really reach a wide enough gap for it to be a true spread collar. You can expect the vast majority of off-the-rack shirts you will find at any given store to have a semi-spread collar, which makes complete sense since the semi-spread collar is a very safe choice for most men. It can welcome most tie knots given there is enough tie space available and it can safely be worn unbuttoned. It’s also worth mentioning that a semi-spread collar will flatter most type of faces.
Another very common collar, which I can safely guess most of your shirts have. The spread collar has been popular for some time now and its acceptance will surely keep growing amongst the most dapper gents. With a wider spread than the point collar (obviously) and the semi-spread collar, this is a great companion to most tie knots, but you’re safer avoiding very small, tiny knots – windsors and double windsors will shine with a spread collar. Pairing this collar with a bow tie is a risky choice, but I’ve seen it done successfully on my occasions.
Approaching the most adventurous areas of shirt collars, we find the cutaway collar. A quintessential collar for the most courageous sharp dressers. These are definitely not as common as the collars we have already explained, but they add a lot of style and sophistication to a chic outfit. At this point you’re better off avoiding bow ties altogether and stick to regular neckties, which again, work better with larger knots, although a 4-in-hand might work just fine if you like to show some collar band – a look I’ve grown to like.
Deep Cutaway Collar
The most extreme spread you can find in a dress shirt collar. If original and stylish is the look you are going for, then by all means give this collar a fair try – a warning: it might not be easy to find it OTR, but it’s always a nice feature to go for on tailored or made-to-measure shirts. Again, avoid the bow tie and try to have fun with different neck tie knots – I feel with a deep cutaway collar any tie knot will add to the personality of the outfit, so feel free to be audacious. Last, this might not be a very flattering collar for short guys who want to avoid horizontal breaks on their ensembles, although pairing it some vertical lines on ties and suits can reduce the shortening effect of the collar.
You can easily identify a button-down collar by the buttonholes and buttons right at the tip of each collar point. Button-down collars will usually have a point collar shape and are definitely much more casual than the collars we have already talked about. Wearing ties with button-down collars is possible, but certainly not optimal since they detract from the elegance of the knotted tie. An exception can be found in semi-casual outfits, in which case you can go ahead and put that tie on. Personally, I like them open collared for a more preppy look.
Easy to identify by the rounded collar points. The club collar is by no means a prominent collar, but it can be a great addition to any man’s wardrobe provided he already has a good number of shirts with more traditional collars. Not ideal for men with rounded faces or with some overweight as it will accentuate the round features already present. Can be paired with any medium-sized tie knot and will surely attract lots of attention, so wear with aplomb.
The tab collar, as the name suggests, makes use of two tabs that get hooked together, thus bringing the two collar leafs closer together. These tabs will normally be hidden behind the necktie knot, therefore they will hardly be seen, but their effect on the shape of the collar will be very obvious, not only because of the tightness of the collar around the neck and tie, but will also make the tie knot jut out for a very classy, almost modern-vintage look. Careful: do not even attempt to wear without a tie. Ever.
The last one in our list. Very similar to the tab collar in terms of the end result, the pin collar has two tiny holes in the middle of each collar point. The purpose of these holes is to insert an adorning collar pin through them. The pin sits right behind the knotted tie in the same fashion as tabs do in a tab collar – and so the same rules will apply: do not ever wear without a tie. Moreover, forget about an open collar being an option when wearing pin collared shirts. I love this type of collars with a bold tie, worthy of all the attention it will get.
The Endless Options Of Style Types
I am perfectly aware this list is not completely inclusive of all the different options that exist in dress shirt collars – it’s just that the different variants available would make for a much, much longer list and in reality, most of the collar types not included here are very rare. Frankly, chances are you will never even see them, let alone consider them for a look of your own.
Still, if you would like to know some more or at least the basics on all the different shirt collars available, you can check this Wikipedia article and expand your knowledge.
If there is a specific collar type you would like to know more about, please let me know in the comments and I promise I’ll take all ideas into consideration. All feedback is appreciated.
So What’s The Best Collar Type For My Face Shape?
I’m glad you asked! Part three of these series is coming really soon, in which I will go into much more detail including how you can make sure you always choose the right collar type for your face and neck besides providing some guidance on what tie knots will work the best for each collar.
The idea was to release the third part next week, but with the holidays right around the corner I guess it would be better to wait until you guys have more time to dedicate to learning next year. Not to say I won’t be publish some more stuff on the blog, which I will be doing, just not the third part of the series.
Anyway, expect lots of useful, practical advice. But that’ll have to wait til next time, so make sure you subscribe to my email list and stay on top of everything new that’s coming to the blog! 🙂
Questions? Leave a comment below. Ideas? Leave a comment below. Hate and criticism? Please, leave a comment below.
Until next time.