What do different types of collar styles mean?


Who would have thought that shirt collars can be such a big deal? Aren’t they just the same on every shirt? Surprise! Surprise! Collar styles, though such a small element of the entire shirt, plays the leading role of making that shirt look fantastic or horrible on you! Read on to find out how.

Simply put, a collar is the part of the shirt that frames the neck, and thus its shape, cut and size has a direct effect on portraying the structure of your face. The wrong collar style can accentuate facial abnormalities, making you look awkward and tardy, while the right collar style can enhance your features, making you look dapper. There are two broad types of collar styles- the turndown and the winged collars. The winged collars are always only worn with a tuxedo. However, within the turndown collars, there is a huge variety, so we have grouped them into three distinct categories.

Turndown Collar Styles That Differ in their Tips

Turndown collar styles that differ in their tips are commonly called the collar points. The largest majority of men’s dress shirt collars have a pointed tip, called the Straight Point Collars. This neutral collar style can be worn with any suit and in any style, making it extremely versatile (as well as boring). Variation to the point collar comes in terms of its spread (discussed next) and its length. A moderate length encompasses the tie to give an arrow-pointing-at-the-face effect, while longer more closely set points tend to have an elongating effect that draws the eye away from the face. A long point collar style is therefore most suitable for shorter and rounder men, but it’s a big NO-NO for tall and thin men.

Another collar type is the Rounded collar, also known as Club collar, and traces its roots to the uniforms of the prestigious Eton College in the 1800s. This type of collar is considered dressy and can be worn with an elegant suit or well-cut sports jacket. Rounder men should definitely avoid this collar type as it will emphasize their circular features.

Turndown Collar Styles that Differ in their Spread

Turndown collar styles that differ in their spread are referring to the distance between collar points. Unlike the straight point collars seen on most shirts, the spread collars have their points cut away so that more of the shirt is revealed. This also makes it more suitable for bigger tie knots. This type of collar style has a widening effect, thus, is most appropriate for men with thinner and taller faces. Men with rounder faces can manage the narrow to moderate spread collars but should avoid wearing ties.

Like the point collars, spread collars vary in their spread and length. The Moderate Spread Collar is the closest to the regular point collar except that it is slightly more flared. This type is meant for the shy men who are just venturing out. The Wide Spread Collar also known as the Windsor or Classic originated from the English royalty. The Spread Collar adds individuality to personal style and creates a confident impression.

Spread Collar Shirt For Men

A Wide Spread Collar Shirt

Turndown Collar Styles that are Held in Place

Button Down Collar Shirt

Button Down Collar Shirt

Did you know that the Button-down Collar was inspired by the polo shirt in England? Hence, this type of collar, which is held down to the shirt with small buttonholes at the points to prevent flapping, is associated with less dressy shirts. It goes perfectly with a sports jacket for a smart casual event. For a more professional look, this type of collar will look great with a bowtie, and even a tie. The only caveat to this collar type is that it must never be worn with the buttons undone.

The Tab Collar has a buttoned or snap connection in the middle that pulls the two collar points closer together. The tab creates a snug fit for the tie knot and pushes it forward. This type of collar cannot be worn without a tie and is most suitable for men with extra long faces as the tie takes the attention away.

The Eyelet and Pinned Collars are held together with a decorative collar pin that connects the points behind the tie. This type of collar accentuates the tie knot, and therefore, looks better on men with a medium to long necks. Regarded as dressy, this collar type is associated with the fashion-conscious men who clearly make an effort to stand out with stylish collar pins. It is a bold collar meant for the confident men who can thrive in the extra attention.

Eyelet Shirt Collar

Eyelet Collar

Pinned Shirt Collar

Pinned Collar

Key Takeaway about collars you should know

  • The first step in knowing different collar styles is knowing your facial features in determining what collars you can and cannot wear
  • Stay away from collars that are the same shape as your facial structure so as not to accentuate the wrong features

With that simple rule in mind, explore away!


About Author

Dhawal Shah

Through Art of Style Club, Dhawal Shah is educating himself on lifestyle matters affecting everyday men and bringing a fresh perspective to answer their questions. He is also the co-founder of 2Stallions Digital Marketing Agency, and an expert on web development, SEO, SEM, Marketing Automation & Social Media.

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