The Complete Guide to Men's Shirt Collar Types and How to Choose The Right One

Who would’ve thought that a collar would leave its spot as an underdog to become a style statement? In the vast landscape of men's fashion, the shirt collar is a small yet impactful detail that can significantly influence your overall appearance. With a myriad of collar types to choose from, understanding the nuances of each style becomes essential for creating a look that aligns with your style and the occasion at hand. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore various shirt collar types for men and provide insights on how to choose the right one to elevate your sartorial game.

Explore Various Shirt Collar Types for Men:

  1. Classic collar
    • Characteristics: The classic collar, also known as the straight-point or point collar, features points that are angled outward.
    • Versatility: This timeless design is versatile and suitable for various occasions, making it a staple in every man's wardrobe.
    • Face shape: Complements a wide range of face shapes and tie knots.
  2. Spread collar
    • Characteristics: The spread collar has points that extend farther apart than those of the classic collar.
    • Formality: Slightly more formal than the classic collar, it provides ample space for larger tie knots.
    • Appearance: Lends a contemporary and sophisticated look, making it a popular choice for business attire.
  3. Button-down collar
    • Characteristics: Originating from Ivy League style, the button-down collar has small buttons at the tips to fasten it down.
    • Casual charm: Ideal for a casual, preppy look, preventing collar points from flaring out.
    • Occasions: Suitable for business casual settings or weekend outings.
  4. Mandarin collar
    • Characteristics: The mandarin collar white shirt, also known as the band collar, stands upright without folded points.
    • Sophistication: Provides a sleek and minimalist option, often seen in more formal attire with a touch of Chinese-inspired elegance.
    • Styling: Ideal for dress shirts or suits, exuding a refined and distinctive look.
  5. Wingtip collar
    • Characteristics: Reserved for formal occasions, the wingtip collar features small wings that fold down in the wing collar shirts.
    • Formality: Specifically designed for tuxedo shirts, creating a crisp and polished appearance.
    • Pairing: Worn with a bow tie, it is an essential element of black-tie attire.

Choosing the right collar type

Before you select a collar type, here are some considerations to look for.

  1. Consider the occasion
    • For formal events such as weddings or black-tie affairs, opt for a wingtip or classic collar.
    • Business settings may call for the sophistication of a spread collar.
    • Casual outings can be enhanced with a button-down or mandarin collar for a relaxed vibe.
  2. Face shape matters
    • Those with round faces may benefit from the elongating effect of a spread collar.
    • Classic collars suit most face shapes, offering a balanced and timeless look.
    • Mandarin collars can complement angular or oval face shapes with their sleek lines.
  3. Necktie or no tie
    • If you frequently wear ties, consider collars with a wider spread for a bold tie knot.
    • Button-down collars work well for a more laid-back tie style, while mandarin collars can be worn tie-less for a modern twist.
  4. Personal style and preference
    • Embrace your style – classic collars for timeless elegance, spread collars for a contemporary touch, or mandarin collars for a unique and cultural flair.
    • Experiment with different collar types to find what suits your comfort and style preferences.
  5. Collar and lapel harmony
    • Ensure harmony between your shirt collar and suit lapel. A wide-spread collar pairs well with a wide lapel, while a classic collar complements a narrower lapel.

Choosing the right shirt collar type is an art that involves understanding your style, the occasion, and the nuances of each design. Whether you opt for the timeless appeal of a classic collar, the contemporary sophistication of a spread collar, or the cultural charm of a mandarin collar, each choice contributes to the narrative of your style journey. By considering factors such as face shape, tie preferences, and the formality of the occasion, you can navigate the diverse world of shirt collars with confidence.

Also, now that you know which collar to select, here’s some trivia for those who want to know more about collars.

The evolution of shirt collars is a fascinating journey that spans centuries and reflects the ever-changing landscape of fashion, social norms, and practical needs. Shirt collars, as we know them today, have a rich history that can be traced back to different periods and cultural influences.

  1. Ancient origins: The concept of collars dates back to ancient times when garments with collars served both practical and symbolic purposes. In ancient Egypt, for example, high collars were worn to protect the neck from the sun, while in ancient Rome, collars were used to signify social status.
  2. Medieval Europe: During the Middle Ages, collars continued to evolve in Europe. Men's collar  shirts were typically long, reaching down to the knees, and featured a standing band collar. These collars were more functional than decorative, protecting the neck from the elements.
  3. Ruffs and ruffled collars: By the 16th century, elaborate ruffled collars known as ruffs became popular, especially among the European aristocracy. These collars, made of fine linen or lace, were intricate and often accompanied by complex starching techniques to maintain their shape. Ruffs were a symbol of status and fashion, worn by both men and women.
  4. 17th to 19th century: As fashion evolved, collars went through various changes. In the 17th century, the falling band collar became fashionable, transitioning from the upright ruff. By the 18th century, cravats and stock collars gained popularity, and men began wearing more structured and detachable collars, often made of stiffened linen or muslin.
  5. Industrial Revolution and the birth of the modern collar: The 19th century, particularly during the Industrial Revolution, witnessed significant changes in the production of clothing. The advent of sewing machines allowed for more efficient and standardized collar production. Around this time, the detachable collar became a common feature in men's fashion, allowing for easier laundering and customization.
  6. The Birth of the turn-down collar: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the turn-down collar, which we recognize in modern shirts, gained popularity. This style provided a more relaxed and versatile option compared to the previously rigid and formal detachable collars. The button-down collar, associated with the Ivy League style, also emerged during this period.
  7. Mid-20th century to present: The mid-20th century witnessed various collar styles, from the spread collars popularized by Hollywood icons to the pointed collars of the mod era. Collars continued to evolve, reflecting the changing tastes and styles of each decade. Casual styles, like the button-down collar, became synonymous with a relaxed yet polished look.
  8. Contemporary trends: In recent times, there has been a resurgence of interest in classic styles, and designers often draw inspiration from various historical periods. Modern shirt collars come in a diverse array of styles, including classic, spread, button-down, mandarin, and more. Each collar type is chosen to convey a specific aesthetic, from traditional elegance to contemporary flair.

The evolution of shirt collars is deeply intertwined with cultural, social, and technological changes over the centuries. What started as a functional element has evolved into a key fashion detail, reflecting the diverse tastes and preferences of individuals across different eras.