Love them or hate them, collars serve a distinctive and essential job on any long tail dress shirt; they finish the shirt and hold the tie or other neck wear in place. But did you know that there are different types of collars that all work on dress shirts but that have a slightly different look and fit to them? Let us take a look at the most popular.
Anatomy of a collar
When discussing collars there are a number of terms often used to describe the parts that make up the whole collar. These include:
- Band – the strip of material that fastens around the neck
- Points – these are the corners of the collar, the place where buttons are placed on a button-down collar and
the size and shape of which often give the collar its name
- Spread – distance between the points
If you were to look up ‘collar’ in an encyclopaedia, you would see a whole list of terms referring to the different types of collars through history. The vast majority of these will have been trends that were popular for a time and for the modern dress shirt would be considered inappropriate – and even a little weird!
The most common collar on modern dress shirts is called the classic collar. This is the type of collar found on the majority of shirts and works perfectly with a four-in-hand tie knot as the smaller knot sits well against the shape of the collar. It is also the shape of collar recommended for people with larger faces.
The cutaway collar is popular for its style and also for its ability to work well with the full or half Windsor tie knot, said to be the easiest knot to master. It is also known as the spread collar and has slightly wider collar points. This means it works well for taller and narrower face shapes. There are also semi-cutaway collars that work as well without a tie as with one to adapt the shirt from formal to casual and extreme cutaway collars that are best with thin ties and for very narrow face shapes.
The button down collar is seen as another that can work with or without the tie. It sits well under the business suit but also the casual blazer and features a button on each point of the collar to keep it in place, also perfect for people who find moving collars to be irritating.
Another option to consider is the detachable collar. These work by attaching to the shirt with small studs and are generally white. This allows a collarless shirt to be styled into any of the different looks achieved with different collars without the need to buy a new shirt each time. The type of shirt that works with a detachable collar has a short, upright band of fabric around the neck that allows the studs to attach to collar, then the tie is added under the collar as normal.
There are also special collars designed for a specific job such as the wing tip collar. This collar features much shorter points than a standard collar as it designed to be worn with a bow tie.