The Ultimate Guide To Shirt Collar Types

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The Ultimate Guide To Shirt Collar Types

Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher

9 August 2020

When it comes to choosing a , some decisions are easy – loose fit or slim fit? Pale blue or pink-and-white striped? Other decisions, namely shirt-collar style, can cause rather more trouble. While choosing a collar shape is predominantly a question of personal taste, each design has a history and sartorial connotations to consider, and each look complements different outfits in different ways. Here, we have assembled a quick guide to every type of shirt collar worth knowing about – more or less, anyway – and how to wear each one well.

01. Wing collar

When eveningwear is the order of the day, the wing collar offers a traditional, dressier alternative to the turn-down collars found on most contemporary tuxedo shirts. A band collar with starched points that protrude outwards like wings, which give the collar its name, this is an appropriate choice for black-tie dress codes, but is a requirement for the more formal white-tie dress code.

02. Button-down collar

Invented, it’s said, for polo players who needed something to prevent their shirt collars flapping as they galloped around the field, button-downs are also indelibly associated with the casual elegance of the American East Coast, as epitomised by and his brothers. Later on, the Italian industrialist popularised the style out and about in Europe. It remains a favourite among men who want to bring a hint of sprezzatura to their tailoring.

03. Narrow-point collar

The tab-collar shirt has a certain Art Deco swagger. The button tab makes a tie flow out from the collar with a proud flourish, adding attitude to otherwise conservative outfits. It looks great with clothes that reference 1930s flamboyance and flair, such as double-breasted suits from  or . The tab-collar shirts worn by  street-style star  are made from chambray by Beams F.

04. Spread collar

The spread collar is one of the most versatile. It can be worn with a wide variety of  or  and looks good with or without a tie. Italian brands such as  now offer piqué cotton  with a soft-spread collar, which, while casual, look good next to a softly tailored .

05. Cut-away collar

The extreme version of the spread collar is the cutaway collar, with points angled back towards the shoulders. This design has a clean and contemporary effect. The virtue of the cutaway collar is that it looks as good without a tie as it does with one. When worn with a jacket, the points are hidden under the lapels and when worn with a tie, there’s lots of silk exposed either side of the knot.

06. Club collar

The rounded club collar (also known as the penny collar) is regarded as a casual option, with its youthful and relaxed look. It remains an element of the school uniform at England’s exclusive Eton College, albeit as a starched separate collar that has to be fixed to the shirt with two studs. The style’s more laidback connotations come partly because it lacks the harsh lines of more formal collars and partly because it doesn’t lend itself to wearing a tie. There’s a nicely old-fashioned feel to the design that puts us in mind of the early 20th century’s Bloomsbury Set of artists and writers.

07. Grandad collar

Known by some as the band collar, the has enjoyed an unexpected revival in the past few years, due to the fact that it perfectly captures the sartorial zeitgeist by combining the pleasure of a well-made shirt with easy informality. Now that ties are almost always optional, so the collar itself is perhaps becoming optional, too. The style puts us in mind of drinks by the harbourside in the South of France. Want to know how to tell the difference between a grandad collar and a mandarin collar? Look at the grandad collar’s characteristic button closure. While similar in shape, the mandarin collar – named after the gowns worn by mandarins in Imperial China – does not meet at the front and has no button closure.

08. Cuban collar

A key component in 1950s-style bowling shirts and – your sartorial touchpoints are Mr John Goodman in The Big Lebowski and Mr Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii – this breezy open collar has established itself as a summer staple for stylish guys around the world and is a favourite collar style of our in-house brand, Also known as a , it lends any shirt a pyjama-like comfort, especially when combined with short sleeves. How to wear it? Double down on that mid-century cool by pairing a Cuban-collar shirt with turned-up and high-top basketball , or just throw it over a pair of when you’re heading to the beach.

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