Dress Shirt Anatomy: The Collar

Posted on October 19, 2010


Simple as they may seem, the truth is that the collar can actually make or break the whole look of a men’s dress shirt or the outfit altogether. This is because they help frame the face of the wearer. And wearing the wrong type of collar can drastically change the look of the whole get-up, as well as your appearance as a whole. That is why it’s important to know which collar type is best for your facial features and body type.

There are different types of collars used for men’s dress shirts, which are:

  1. Straight Collars. This type is the most basic type found in most men’s dress shirts. It has the look at spreads out at a diagonal beneath the chin and has about 2.5 to 3 inches of gap between the ends. This spread is small enough that it is acceptable to not wear a tie with a straight collar, making it more suitable in casual occasions. This type is perfect for those with average body type and face size
  2. Spread Collars. This type of has a wider spread than that found on the straight collar. Anything over 3 inches is considered a spread collar, with spreads that can go up to about 6 inches. Men with wider and rounder faces should avoid this type as it has the tendency to accentuate the bigger size of their face and head.
  3. Button-down Collars. As it name implies, button-down are collars that can be buttoned to the dress shirt. The spread for this type of collar may vary, just as with non-button ones. This type is also more suitable for casual occasions as they are considered to be a less formal tie.
  4. Tab Collars. Compared to the other types of collar, this one has a very slim spread. The tab collar gets its name because behind the tie knot, there is a tab which is used to bring the edges together. This is done to press out the tie knot and make the tie more prominent than the other types. Slender men, men with long necks and wide-faced men are often more suited wearing dress shirts with tab collars.
  5. Rounded Collars. Also known as club collars, this type is the most distinctive among all the types. While most dress shirt collars have straight edges, the edges of the this type are, well, rounded. Generally, this type has a very small spread and tend to give off a stubby look to the wearer.
  6. Pinned Collars. This type is called pinned collar because it uses a pin to bring the two sides together. The pin, which is interchangeable most of the time, can provide variety. Just like with the tab collar, the tie knot on this type makes the tie more prominent because of the pin attached to it.

After familiarizing yourself with the different types of dress shirt collars, how do you choose which one to use. Well the golden rule is to pick one that not only makes the shirt look good, but also make your face look good. Remember that different types go perfectly with different faces. However, there are instances that they do not always apply. That is why it is still better to try out different collar types and find out which suits your face and body type. Lastly, you should also know when you’ll wear a particular type because some types go better in formal situations, while others on more casual occasions.

To always get the best in dress shirts and men’s fashion, try the latest from Pal Zileri Shirts and Pal Zileri Sartoriale.

Posted in: Fashion 101