Having written so many “How To” posts from picking the perfect suit, tying a tie to how to properly accessorize your outfit, there is one crucial element that is almost always forgotten, your shirt! More importantly, the style of collar on the shirt. It’s all in the details gentlemen, all in the details. Do you wear the Straight Collar, Spread Collar, the Button Down, or how about the Tab Collar? And let’s not forget about the always formal, Wing Collar.
This may seem a bit trivial, but trust us, each brings something unique to the table and can drastically influence your ensemble. The perfect collar shirt will turn your look from casual to dressy, and formal to professional and polished in a flash.
Here is your guide to looking better…
the different collar styles
• The straight collar will complement nearly any facial structure, so it’s a rather safe choice for those of us who prefer simple shirts without too much risk and thinking.
• Straight collars are generally considered conservative and are easy to find at most suiting shops.
• You can find straight collars in two styles: traditional and European. The difference is the stitching. Traditional styles are stitched in a quarter-inch from the edge of the collar, whereas the European straight collars are edge-stitched.
• Straight collars grant for a little extra experimentation with colour and design. Look for subtle patterns and inventive colours in shirts with straight collars.
• Spread collars are considered dressier than straight collars, so consider more formal tie knots to accompany them such as the Full Windsor Knot. This would also be ideal for any look that requires a bit of elegance.
• Spread collars look particularly good with contrasting collar and cuffs, such as a blue shirt with white details.
• Spread collars have a sharper angle than the straight collar cut. This style of collar shows more fabric near the top of the placket (the double layers of fabric that hold the buttons and buttonholes in a shirt).
• There are two types of spread collars to choose from: the Windsor and Varsity spread. The Varsity spread collar is characterized by a slightly arched edge, while the Windsor spread has a straight edge.
• Tab collars look like straight collars, but there are two small pieces of fabric that are affixed with a snap or button on each side. Tab collars have a slightly smaller collar size than the straight ones.
• Your collar will lie flat and look neater when wearing the tabbed style. The points of the collar lie flat on the body of your shirt and look very precise.
• The button-down collar is less formal than other collar styles, and can be worn with or without a tie. It’s intention is for more of a relaxed look.
• You can wear your button-down collar shirts in a business-casual setting, but you won’t be able to experiment much with colour as they are mostly found in basic blues and pinks.
• The wing collar gets its name for its appearance. The front of this collar has folded-down tips that look just like a pair of wings.
• Wing collars are usually worn with formal outfits, such as tuxedos and other formal wear.
• For the most traditional wing collar look, buy your dress shirt collarless and then purchase separate wing collars to attach. Collarless shirts are purchased with a collar band that measures a half inch smaller than your usual size. Your wing collar will still be worn in the usual size.
choosing the right collar based on your face
Besides the occasion, you’ll need to consider the shape of your face:
- If you are leaner and more angular, you may like the spread collar, which can make your face look slightly fuller.
- Straight or button-down collars are recommended for those with full faces.
- Wing collars are sophisticated and can flatter any man who craves a contemporary appearance.
One of the most crucial elements when choosing your collar shirt (and when shopping period), it is the difference between a chic and well versed man, or a man that pays little attention to his appearances. For most men, it is a confusing system that involves numbers that resemble a question one would find on a mathematical exam back in school. To solve this equation, the following is a simple and basic chart of standard US sizing for men’s shirts.
|Shirt Size||Neck Size||Sleeve Length|
|Small||14 – 14 ½||32 – 33|
|Medium||15 – 15 ½||32 – 33|
|Large||16 – 16 ½||34 – 35|
|X-Large||17 – 17 ½||34 – 35|
|XX-Large||18 – 18 ½||35 – 36|
As you will notice, in order for you to locate your size on this chart, you have to take your measurements to know which size to opt for. Here are a few tips on how to take your measurements in the right way. A measuring tape is all you need to check which size amongst the various men’s shirt sizes is right for you.
First, lay the tape measure flat and keep your posture straight. Remember to measure in inches to match the men’s shirt sizing.
Measuring your Chest Size:
Keep your arms by your sides. Place the tape across your shoulder blades and under arms and measure around the fullest part of your chest.
Measuring your Sleeve Size:
Keep your arms relaxed at your sides and slightly bent. Measure from the centre of the back of your neck till your shoulder and down the arm to the outside of your wrist.
Measuring your Neck Size:
Take a shirt which fits you perfectly. Measure the collar of this shirt. Before you measure it, button the collar and place the measuring tape, starting from the button. Wrap it all the way around the inner side of the collar until it meets the starting point.