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A Guide to Collar Styles of Men’s Dress Shirts

On the hunt for the perfect men’s dress shirt? The collar makes a huge difference, and this guide tells everything you need to know for a flawless impression. Whether you’re attending an important conference, meeting with a client, or simply going about your regular activities, you must present a striking impression. For that, you’ll need a great dress shirt to make you look confident and trustworthy. In terms of visual impact, the collar significantly radiates professionalism by framing your face and providing comfort. With many designs to choose from, picking one can be overwhelming, even for the most elite professionals. To simplify matters and help you find the perfect style for any occasion, here is a simple guide exploring collar details you need to know before picking out your next dress shirt.

Anatomy of a Shirt Collar

Before diving into the styles, it is essential to understand that collars share similar parts that affect the overall look and feel of the shirt. Here is a closer look at the anatomy of a typical collar to help you make an informed decision when picking your shirt.

  • Collar Leaf - the part that lays flat against the shirt. It is generally thick and stiff to maintain the collar's shape.

  • Collar Points - the two parts of the collar extending outward from the shirt, either flat or curving around.

  • Base - the back section of the collar that provides support to the collar leaves and points.

  • Front Band - the part that attaches to the shirt's front placket. It helps frame the collar and keep it in place.

  • Point Spread - the measurement between the two collar points. This can range from very wide to narrow and affect how the shirt looks.

7 Types of Dress Shirt Collars

Point Collar

One of the most popular collar styles, the pointed collar is a versatile choice for a formal office setting. It features two sharp pointed collar tips that extend beyond the collar band. It is often worn with a necktie but can also look smart and stylish without one. While there may be slight variations in the collar's shape, remember that a narrower point spread will give your shirt a more polished and classic look.

Spread Collar

Contrary to a pointed collar, the spread collar highlights a bigger gap between the collar points. This is ideal for individuals with long faces because the spread can help widen the face's appearance. A broader collar spread is called a cutaway which perfectly accommodates large tie knots. This style is typically associated with a casual impression since the wider space between the collar points gives you a relaxed demeanor. Best pair it with thick ties and a vest, cardigan, or blazer.

Button-Down Collar

The button-down collar is identified by two small buttons that attach the collar's points to the shirt. Produced in 1896, this style was initially designed as a sports shirt for polo players to avoid collar movement during a match. Over time, it has become a staple for both casual and formal shirts. Its versatility makes it ideal for any occasion, but the slim design is best accompanied by thin ties for a laid-back Friday at the office.

Club Collar

Characterized by small, rounded corner points that are slightly flared, the club collar never fails to make you look well-groomed and confident. It has a vintage feel, recalling the 1920s era of style and panache. First worn by British and American schoolboys, it's commonly paired with casual shirts made from softer fabrics such as linen or cotton. Despite its vintage origins, it has recently made a comeback with the newer generation finding its vibe unique and elegant.

Mandarin Collar

Also known as a band collar, the Mandarin collar is a unique style without any collar points. It stands up around the neck, resembling a band, and is usually paired with Chinese long-sleeve designs. This style originated in China and was first worn by mandarins, a class of civil servants during the Ming Dynasty. Despite its minimalistic appeal and apparent lack of collar points, many people consider it formal attire due to its classic look and traditional heritage.

Wingtip Collar

The wingtip collar has a band with two tiny wings pointing down the neck. It is typically seen on formal shirts and pairs best with a bow tie and tuxedo or dinner jacket as part of a modern-day black tie dress code. The tips of the collar should line up precisely with your lapels to maintain a clean composure while giving off a sophisticated aura of your own.

Tab Collar

Originating from British and getting popular after worn by Prince of Wales in the 1920s, tab collars consist of two small fabric tabs that are fastened together behind a tie knot. This collar style presents a more formal vibe than the button-down, and it's designed to keep ties neatly secured against the shirt. The crisp look makes it an ideal choice for sharp business attire. Thanks to its flexible design, you can pair it with bowties or slim ties, depending on the occasion.

A Quick Summary of Each Collar Style

  • Point Collar - The most common type of collar with pointed collar tips. Compatible with most tie knots.

  • Spread Collar - Features wider point spread that best pair it with a broader tie knot and thicker fabric.

  • Button-Down Collar - Rocks two small buttons attached to the collar points. Closing the buttons creates a roll that goes nicely with the tie knot.

  • Club Collar - Designed with rounded points to give you a more classic yet stylish alternative. Matches ideally with a narrow tie knot.

  • Mandarin Collar - Also known as the band collar, it provides a modern and minimalistic style without looking too casual.

  • Wingtip Collar - Accentuated by sharp tips pointing downward, resembling a wing. It’s worn for the most formal occasion and goes perfectly with a bow tie.

  • Tab Collar - The tab pulls the collar points closer and lifts the tie knot. Pair it with a narrow tie knot.

Wrapping Up

That’s about it. Different collar types convey different levels of personality and style. How a collar integrates into your shirt makes the difference in imposing a solid impression among colleagues and peers. Lucky for you, our team here at DETERMINANT has already done the research and meticulous handiwork so you don't have to. Our design of 5cm collar spread simplifies your steps and is tailored for any circumstance, making shopping for your next shirt a breeze. Hope you find what you’re looking for!

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