What Shirt collar is right for you?
The collar of your dress shirt is the most important component. It frames your face and to be complementary, should be in proportion to your body size, width, and height, with a nod to personal style.
Let’s start by exploring collar point length. The Modern Spread Collar is considered a younger, more fashion-forward but still professional collar. It has a shorter point length, ranging from 2.5 inches at the shortest to 2.75″, as opposed to its “parent” collar, a regular Spread Collar with a point length of 3″, possibly 3.25″. Shorter collars look well on smaller, slimmer men. Also, shorter point length collars are in correct proportion with a narrower (2.5″ to 3″) jacket lapel width found of most modern slim suiting.
Plan on tying a 4-in-hand (links to Gentleman’s Gazette on YouTube) or a Half Windsor tie knot with these smaller collars, to get the proportions correct. BTW, love Rafael at GG, he includes history and demonstrates nicely.
The next important element to consider is the “spread” of the shirt collar. Pictured here is a Classic Collar, a conventional, traditional, elegant, and completely appropriate selection for any occasion and most body types. The “spread”, or the distance between the collar points is about 4 inches. Wider-spread collars ranging all the way up to the almost horizontal English Cutaway Collar have been gaining popularity on designer shirts for several years now. The dimension from point to point ranges from 5″ to 6″ and more. Wider collar spreads are better for larger gentlemen, with larger neck sizes, wider faces, and (since they know how to dress) wider jacket lapels. This collar should be worn with a larger knotted tie – a Full or Double Windsor. Spread collars are classic, English Cutaway collars are considered the most “stylish”.
There are many other options as well as the four above, including finessing your Collar Stance – that is the height of your collar band in relation to the length of your neck. Long neck = higher collar band. Who knew there were so many options?!
Last but not least, did you figure out the “missing collar” not pictured above? It’s the “button-down”! This collar is a New England classic for sure but used improperly in a professional office setting. The button-down collar is actually a sport or military shirt feature, the buttons avoid your collar flying in your face when you are playing polo or charging the enemy on your horse. Yes really. Button-down shirts are perfect under sweaters, and with a tweed sport coat, or with a tweed tie, but when the silk ties come out, defer to its more dressed-up “straight collar” options, and leave the more casual button down for the weekends.
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