How much attention do you pay to the collar on your shirt?
There are so many different types of collars, and understanding the difference between them all can help you choose the right one to achieve the look you’re going for.
The main differences between collars are the collar spread and collar length.
Spread refers to the distance between the points on the collar. A large spread is usually more formal and a smaller spread more casual. Length refers to the length of the collar point from the tip of the point to where they meet the collar band.
There are also differences in construction that can change a collar from formal to casual, such as interlining. This gives the collar extra structure and a stiffer feel, improving the way it stands up.
Collar stays are also a feature of some shirts and can be fixed or removable. They are little pointed pieces of plastic or metal that are inserted into pockets within the collar. These help to keep your collar pointed and stop it from curling.
Let's have a look at some of the most common collars, and whether they're more suited to casual or formal wear.
Probably the most traditional (and most popular) of all collars, the middle spread collar has a middle spread between the points and is not too deep. It can be worn both open or buttoned up and is suitable for standard tie knots such as the four in hand or half windsor knot. This type of collar is found on almost 90% of men's dress shirts and originated from the military uniforms of the early 20th century.
One of the most popular collars, the medium cutaway collar is the perfect business or formal shirt. As its name suggests, there is a large spread between the collar points. The larger distance is designed to accommodate larger ties (such as knit ties) and knots, such as the Windsor knot.
Bolder than the medium cutaway collar, the deep version of the cutaway is much larger, with a very pronounced spread. It's a good choice if you prefer to tie your tie with a fuller knot. Try it with a contrasting collar for a different look.
Think of the British Royals and you'll understand exactly why this collar style has been popular for almost a century. This is a classic that's been worn by royals such as The Duke of Windsor and Prince Charles, and actors such as Douglas Fairbanks. Most commonly worn as a middle point collar, there are both short and long point variations, where the collar point varies in length. A short point will flatter someone with a smaller neck, and a large point, someone with a longer or thicker neck.
One of the most popular collars, the button-down can be worn casually or with a tie for a preppy look. It's the perfect combination of modern and classic and works well for casual shirts. The collar is characterised by very small buttonholes at the tip of each point, which fasten onto buttons on the shirt front. Any collar style can become a button down, however the most common is a middle point collar.
The rounded collar, or club collar, as its name suggests is a casual collar. It has all the characteristics of the point collar, with a casual twist of the rounded points. This makes it perfect for casual, check or work shirts.
The banded collar is known by several names, including the Mandarin or Nehru collar, as it's typical of the shirt collars worn in the Far East and India. This collar has a slimmer collar band without a collar blade or fold, and can either be used for extremely formal shirts or for more casual styles.
The winged collar is a heavily starched collar with the tips standing up and pointing horizontally (resembling wings). Almost entirely reserved for formal occasions, the winged collar is a very dressy option, which should be paired with a bow tie and a tuxedo.
Whether your preference is for classic points or deep cutaways is all down to taste but, whatever you choose to wear, remember your collar should always fit you well. Check out our measurement guide to ensure you find the perfect fit.