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Article: Beginner's Guide to Men's Shirt Collar Styles

Mens Smart Shirt

Beginner's Guide to Men's Shirt Collar Styles

An Introduction to all things collars! 

When it comes to men's fashion, one of the most important aspects of a shirt is its collar. The collar not only adds structure to the shirt but also plays a significant role in defining your personal style. Choosing the right collar style can greatly impact your overall look and give you a polished and put-together appearance. Whether you're dressing for a formal event or a casual outing, understanding the different types of men's shirt collars is essential.

In this beginner's guide, we will explore the basics of men's shirt collar styles, including their role in fashion, how they affect your look, and the different types of collars available. We will also provide tips on how to choose the right collar for your personal style, how to measure for the perfect collar fit, and how to style different collar types.

By the end of this guide, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of men's shirt collar styles and be well-equipped to choose the perfect collar for any occasion.

Print Shirt

Understanding the Basics of Men's Shirt Collars

When it comes to men's shirt collars, there are a few key terms you should be familiar with. A collar shirt refers to a shirt that has a collar attached to it. Collar points are the outer edges of the collar that either come to a point or have a rounded shape. Your personal style and the occasion you're dressing for should dictate the type of collar you choose. Different collar styles can greatly impact your overall look and help you achieve the desired aesthetic.

The Role of Collar Styles in Fashion

Fashion is all about self-expression and personal style, and collar styles play a significant role in defining your overall look. The type of collar you choose can convey different vibes and enhance your personal style. A classic point collar exudes sophistication and elegance, while a spread collar adds a touch of modernity and versatility to your outfit. The button-down collar offers a more casual and relaxed aesthetic, perfect for everyday wear or weekend outings. The unique appeal of the club collar adds a vintage and timeless charm to your look, making it a favourite among fashion enthusiasts.

No matter the occasion or your personal style, there is a collar style that can perfectly complement your outfit and help you make a fashion statement.

How Collar Styles Affect Your Look

The collar style you choose can have a significant impact on your overall look and how your face is perceived. Collar points, whether they are sharp and pointed or rounded, can enhance or soften your facial features. For example, a point collar with sharp and elongated collar points can create a slimming effect and accentuate your jawline, making it a great choice for those with round faces. On the other hand, a spread collar with wider collar points can add width to a narrower face, creating balance and proportion.

Additionally, collar styles can also reflect your personal style and the occasion you're dressing for. A button-down collar offers a more casual and laid-back look, perfect for weekend outings or casual events. A spread collar, on the other hand, is a popular choice for formal occasions, as it provides a more sophisticated and refined aesthetic. Understanding how collar styles affect your look can help you choose the perfect collar for any outfit.

Types of Men's Shirt Collars

There are several types of men's shirt collars to choose from, each with its own unique style and purpose. Some of the most popular collar styles include the point collar, spread collar, button-down collar, and club collar. These collars offer different looks and can be paired with various tie knots and accessories to create a polished and fashionable appearance. Understanding the characteristics and features of each collar style can help you choose the right collar for any occasion or personal style preference.

The Classic Point Collar Explained

The point collar is the most traditional and timeless of all collar types. It has narrow collar points that come to a point and meet the lapels on both sides. The elongated and pointed tips create a thinning effect, making it a great choice for those with wider faces and shorter necks. Here are some key features and additional advice for the classic point collar:

  • Narrow distance between collar points
  • Elongated and pointed tips
  • Suits most face sizes and shapes
  • The most versatile collar, equally elegant with a tie or worn open

The point collar is a classic choice for formal occasions and can be paired with various tie knots, such as the Windsor or four-in-hand knot. It adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to any outfit, whether you're wearing a long sleeve dress shirt or a more casual button-up shirt.

The Elegance of the Spread Collar

The spread collar is a popular choice for those looking for a more modern and versatile collar style. It has a wider distance between collar points, giving it a more open and spread appearance. The spread collar originated in the 1920s and was popularised by the Prince of Wales, who favoured wider tie knots and thicker tie materials. Here are some key features and additional advice for the elegant spread collar:

  • Middle-size spread of 5" (although this can vary between sizes)
  • Collar points start and end where it meets the jacket
  • Designed to be worn close with a tie
  • Can be worn with a variety of tie materials and knots
  • Among the most formal styles of collar

The spread collar is a versatile choice that can be worn with formal shirts for a polished and sophisticated look or with casual shirts for a more relaxed and modern aesthetic. Its wider collar points accommodate wider tie knots and thicker tie materials, adding a touch of elegance and style to any outfit.

Understanding the Button-Down Collar

Button Down Shirt

The button-down collar is a classic and timeless collar style that originated from the world of sports. It was introduced in the 19th century by American clothier John Brooks, who observed how English polo players buttoned down their collars to prevent them from flapping in their faces during matches. Here are some key features and additional advice for the button-down collar:

  • An unlined collar is buttoned to the shirt via buttonholes in collar tips
  • Pair with a sports coat for a preppy look
  • Can leave the collar buttons open or closed
  • Can be worn with a tie if required
  • Well-suited for casual shirts and polo shirts

The button-down collar offers a relaxed and casual look, perfect for everyday wear or casual events. Its versatility allows it to be worn with or without a tie, depending on the level of formality required. The buttons hold down the collar points, ensuring a casual yet smart appearance. Whether you're dressing up for a casual Friday at work or going for a weekend outing, the button-down collar is a stylish and comfortable choice.

The Unique Appeal of the Club Collar

The club collar is a distinctive and unique collar style that was popularised among the privileged denizens of Victorian gentlemen's clubs in London. It is widely considered anachronistic and rarely seen today, but it still holds a unique appeal for those who appreciate its old-school charm. Here are some key features and additional advice for the club collar:

  • Rounded collar points
  • The club collar is a distinctive look that can come across like a costume piece
  • Suits semi-formal occasions such as a fancy night out or a cocktail party

The club collar adds a vintage and timeless charm to any outfit, making it a favourite among fashion enthusiasts. It is a great choice for those looking to make a statement or add a unique touch to their wardrobe. Pair it with a collar pin for a more traditional and formal look, or wear it in a more modern and casual way for a touch of versatility.

Beginner's Guide to Choosing Your Shirt Collar

Choosing the right collar for your shirt is an important aspect of dressing well and expressing your personal style. The collar you choose should not only complement your face shape and personal style but also be appropriate for the occasion and match well with the rest of your wardrobe. In this guide, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to choose the perfect shirt collar based on your personal style, the occasion you're dressing for, and your existing wardrobe.

What You Need to Get Started

Before diving into choosing the perfect shirt collar, there are a few things you'll need to consider. Firstly, assess your personal style and the image you want to project through your clothing choices. Understanding your personal style will help you narrow down the collar options that best suit your aesthetic. Secondly, take stock of your existing wardrobe and identify the types of shirts you already have. This will help you determine which collar styles you might be missing and need to add to your collection. Lastly, consider the accessories you'll be pairing with your collar, such as ties, bowties, or collar pins. These accessories can greatly enhance the overall look and impact of your collar choice.

Button Down White Shirt

Step 1: Assessing Your Face Shape and Size

One of the key factors to consider when choosing a shirt collar is your face shape and size. Different collar styles can accentuate or soften certain facial features, creating a more balanced and proportionate look. It's important to assess your face shape and size to determine which collar styles will work best for you.

By understanding your face shape and size, you can choose collar styles that enhance your best features and create a more harmonious look.

Step 2: Matching the Collar to the Occasion

The occasion you're dressing for is another important factor to consider when choosing a shirt collar. Different collar styles convey different levels of formality and are suited for different occasions. Here are some general guidelines to help you match the collar to the occasion:

  • Formal occasions: Point collar, spread collar, wingtip collar
  • Casual occasions: Button-down collar, club collar

For formal events such as weddings, black tie events, or business meetings, opt for collar styles that exude sophistication and elegance, such as the point collar or spread collar. For casual events or everyday wear, collar styles like the button-down collar or club collar offer a more relaxed and laid-back look. Matching the collar to the occasion ensures that you dress appropriately and create the desired impression.

Step 3: Coordinating with Your Wardrobe

Lastly, when choosing a shirt collar, it's important to consider how it coordinates with the rest of your wardrobe. Your collar choice should complement your existing wardrobe and personal style to create a cohesive and polished look. If you primarily wear suits and formal attire, collar styles like the point collar or spread collar are classic choices that pair well with tailored clothing. On the other hand, if your wardrobe is more casual and laid-back, collar styles like the button-down collar or club collar offer a relaxed and versatile aesthetic. By considering your wardrobe and personal style, you can choose collar styles that seamlessly integrate with your clothing choices and create a well-rounded and stylish look.

How to Measure for the Perfect Collar Fit

Measuring for the perfect collar fit is essential to ensure comfort and a polished look. Your neck size will determine the collar size you need. Using a flexible measuring tape, wrap it around the base of your neck where the collar would sit. Make sure to leave some space for comfort and movement. The collar size should correspond to your neck size, allowing for a comfortable fit that is not too tight or too loose.

Tools Needed for Accurate Measurement

To measure for the perfect collar fit, you'll need a few tools to ensure accuracy. Here are the tools you'll need:

  • Flexible measuring tape: This will allow you to measure the circumference of your neck accurately. Make sure the tape is flexible and not too tight.
  • Mirror: A mirror will help you see the measuring tape and ensure that it is positioned correctly around your neck.
  • Collar gauge: A collar gauge is a tool specifically designed for measuring collar sizes. It helps you determine the appropriate collar size based on your neck measurement.

Having the right tools will ensure that you can measure your neck accurately and choose the perfect collar size for a comfortable and tailored fit.

The Process of Measuring Your Neck

Measuring your neck for the perfect collar fit is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Wrap a flexible measuring tape around the base of your neck, where the collar would sit. Make sure the tape is positioned just above your Adam's apple.
  2. Hold the ends of the measuring tape together and take note of the measurement in inches or centimetres.
  3. Add half an inch or 1 centimetre to the measurement to allow for comfort and movement. This will give you the collar size you need.
  4. When purchasing a shirt, choose the collar size that corresponds to your neck measurement, taking into account the added half inch or centimetre.

By measuring your neck accurately and choosing the appropriate collar size, you can ensure a comfortable and well-fitted collar that enhances your overall look.

Styling Tips for Different Collar Types

Once you've chosen the perfect collar type, it's important to know how to style it to complete your outfit. Whether you're wearing a point collar, spread collar, button-down collar, or club collar, here are some styling tips to elevate your look:

  • Pair collar types with suitable tie knots: Point collars and spread collars are best paired with larger tie knots like the Windsor knot. Button-down collars can be worn with a variety of tie knots, while club collars can be styled with or without a tie.
  • Consider the occasion: Choose collar types that match the formality of the occasion. Point collars and spread collars are more formal, while button-down collars and club collars offer a more casual look.
  • Coordinate with your outfit: Ensure that your collar type complements the other elements of your outfit, such as your suit, tie, or accessories. Opt for cohesive colours and patterns to create a stylish and put-together look.

By following these styling tips, you can make the most of your chosen collar type and create a polished and fashionable outfit.

Pairing Collars with Ties and Bowties

Pairing collars with ties and bowties is an essential part of styling your shirt. The collar type you choose will influence the tie or bowtie you select. Here are some tips for pairing collars with ties and bowties:

  • Point collars and spread collars: These collars are best paired with larger tie knots like the Windsor knot. Opt for wider ties to complement the collar spread.
  • Button-down collars: These collars can be worn with a variety of tie knots, from smaller knots like the four-in-hand to larger knots like the Windsor. They also work well with bowties, creating a preppy and stylish look.
  • Club collars: Club collars can be worn with or without a tie, depending on the occasion. When pairing with a tie, opt for smaller knots to match the rounded collar points.

Experiment with different tie and bowtie styles to find the perfect combination that complements your collar type and completes your outfit.

The Right Collar for Casual vs. Formal Settings

Different collar types are suited for different settings, whether casual or formal. Here's a breakdown of the right collar choices for casual and formal settings:

  • Casual shirts: Button-down collars and club collars are popular choices for casual shirts. They offer a relaxed and laid-back look, perfect for everyday wear or weekend outings.
  • Formal shirts: Point collars and spread collars are more formal choices for dress shirts. They exude sophistication and elegance, making them ideal for formal events, business meetings, or black tie occasions.

Choosing the right collar type for the setting ensures that you are appropriately dressed and creates the desired impression. Whether you're going for a casual or formal look, there is a collar type that will suit your outfit and personal style.

Collar Choice Counts....

If you're ready to up your shirt game, understanding men's shirt collar styles is key. Embrace the classic point collar for a timeless look or opt for the elegance of a spread collar for a sophisticated vibe. If you're feeling unique, the club collar might be your go-to choice. Remember, collar styles play a significant role in your overall fashion statement, so choose wisely based on your face shape, occasion, and wardrobe. Measure for the perfect fit, and don't forget to style your collar with the right ties and bowties for that extra flair. Your collar, your style – make it your own!

Matching the right shirt to the right linen suit is a game changer for any man looking to turn heads in a smart casual setting. Read more in our guide: '
The Gentleman's Guide to Wearing Linen Suits'.

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