Chin Up: Our Guide to Shirt Collars
The shirt collar: barring any noggin accessories, it’s the uppermost aspect of your ensemble. It can frame your face in a flattering manner, put that new tie into context and help set the tone for your whole look.
There are several choices, so we set up a handy guide to help you differentiate. Keep plenty of the first ‘core four’ in stock, focusing on the one that works best for you, and then rotate in more distinctive styles.
Thought of as the most traditional, the point is more or less the default setting for collars. That’s by no means a bad thing: The collar’s simply angled points let it work as a canvas for a variety of tie knots.
The point collar is perfect for a streamlined look, pairing well with a classic blazer. This collar will stay low-key, so long as you remember your tie—leave the collar unbuttoned and you risk unruly, flapping collar points.
This style is quickly becoming the new standard, and for good reason. Modern and versatile, the spread collar is able to move between casual looks and formal occasions with ease.
The name refers to the space between collar points, and a medium or semi-spread is a safe bet. It supports common tie knots and makes every guy look distinguished. Pair with a light sweater and sportcoat for a new-classic look.
Spread can vary, and one designer’s “medium” may be a bit wider than the next. Once a certain distance is crossed, however, you end up with the…
A collar with practically horizontal points that can appear as if the shirtmaker has ‘cut away’ small triangles. You can think of it as a ‘super-wide’ spread, but don’t let superlatives make the style seem unapproachable: The cutaway is bold, and a current staple in its own right.
Wearing your cutaway with a patterned tie and double-breasted jacket gives an effortless yet sharp, continental look.
Holes in your collar are usually inadvisable, but they’re necessary for the American-preppy coolness of a button-down collar. Having your points fastened down adds visual texture, especially if the buttons themselves are of handsome quality.
Button-downs look excellent in plaid and/or with a knit tie (pairing with neckwear leans into the Ivy look). If you’re looking to leave your collar open, a button-down is certainly a snappy choice.
The rounded club collar was once quite common, but it fell out of favor and nearly disappeared from wardrobes until recent years. Resurrected and on-trend, the club collar is a great choice for those who crave options in men’s style. Rounded points look fresh while maintaining an old-school dapper vibe. Balance it within your look so that it doesn’t lean too stuffy or too novel.
Flip-side to the cutaway, the tab collar uses a hidden button or snap to draw the collar further inwards and accentuate the points. This is an excellent option for slim silhouettes, perky tie knots and dressers who enjoy subtle details. Your look needn’t be super formal, but it should be ‘tight’.
The defining factor here is the ‘lack’ of collar, or more accurately, the absence of a fold in the cloth. For obvious reasons, ties aren’t an option here (though a scarf can add to the stylishly artistic appearance). Perfect if you can’t get enough of Henleys and want to translate that feel into a high-casual look.