Have you ever noticed how many dress shirt collar types there are?
The differences between dress shirt collars may not be immediately noticeable to most people, but they do.
It helps to know the parts of a collar if you want to discern the different collar types.
A collar point is the tip of your collar, pointy, as the name implies.
When we talk about collar spread, that’s the width and the angle between the two points.
Collar length refers to the points’ length, usually between 2.75″ – 3.5″.
The band is the strip of fabric around the base of your collar and wraps entirely around your neck.
Your shirt collar’s height is how high up it sits on your neck.
And finally, the tie space is the spot at the top of your collar where the tie knot sits. This space can vary in width.
Classic Straight-Point Shirt Collar
A straight-point collar is a traditional type of shirt collar characterized by long points.
The collar points average two to three inches in length.
Straight-point collars have only a small spread, between 1.5″ and 3.5″.
Who Can Wear a Classic Straight-Point Collar
The versatility of this shirt collar makes it a good match for all face shapes.
However, the narrowness of this collar spread has a slimming effect, making it most flattering for people with round faces.
Best Tie Knots for Classic Straight-Point Collar
Because it has such a narrow spread, this is an excellent shirt to wear with small tie knots.
A simple or double knot would work well with a classic straight-point collar.
Consider wearing a narrow tie or one made from less bulky material.
Wide Spread Shirt Collar
Wide-spread collars are another very common shirt collar type.
Its name is a complete spoiler alert because it tells you all you need to know; it’s very widespread.
There is typically a 4″ – 6″ space from point to point.
A wider collar spread makes your shirt more formal, so this is a very dressy shirt.
The collar points measure around 2.5″.
Who Can Wear a Wide Spread Collar
This shirt collar style is also appropriate for nearly every face type but is especially well suited for people with long and narrow faces.
The wide spread makes faces seem more full, so this shirt style may be one that people with very broad faces want to avoid.
Best Tie Knots for Wide Spread Collars
The shirt collar style has a rare ability to work well with both small and large tie knots.
Because of the extra room between the spread, heavy fabrics, like wool, are a good fit because they have some space for their bulk.
The perfect knots for this collar are the Full Windsor knot and the Balthus knot.
Semi-Spread Shirt Collar
A semi-spread collar is similar to a wide-spread one but (again, spoiler alert) less wide.
Where the wide-spread collar can go up to 6″, the semi-spread never goes above a 4″ spread.
Because of the smaller spread, this dress shirt would be less formal than the one with a broader spread.
Who Can Wear a Semi-Spread Collar
This shirt collar still has a widening effect on faces; therefore, people with broad faces might want to skip this type of dress shirt collar.
However, this is a good style for you if you have a long, thin face, like an oval shape.
Best Tie Knots for a Semi-Spread Collar
Since this is a middle-of-the-road collar spread, medium knots are ideal for wearing your tie with this dress shirt collar.
Therefore, a half-Windsor tie knot is your best match when wearing a semi-spread collar.
Cutaway Windsor Shirt Collar
This modern and very fashion-forward shirt collar style is the widest collar available for dress shirts.
Its spread is between 6.5″ – 8.5″, but it also has the shortest points on a dress shirt.
Because it’s so trendy, it’s not especially suitable for your most conservative offices, even though it has an elegant formality.
You won’t find this look on a dress shirt off-the-rack. Instead, it’s mainly found on custom or high-end dress shirts.
Who Can Wear a Cutaway Windsor Collar?
With the super-wide spread, this is a definite look that people with round faces need to avoid.
However, long and narrow face shapes perfectly match this shirt collar style.
Best Tie Knots for Cutaway Windsor Collar
The cutaway Windsor collar is begging for your fattest tie knots possible.
Work on making your very large knots, like full Windsor, Balthus, and Trinity knots, as large as you can make them.
You can also work with ties with very thick fabric for a boost in bulk.
If a tie isn’t working for you with this shirt collar, you are free to leave it off. Just be sure to leave the top button undone.
Button-Down Shirt Collar
The small buttons at the shirt collar points define this dress shirt.
There are tiny buttonholes on the points and small buttons directly underneath.
This shirt collar style originated on sports shirts, so it’s a rather casual fashion by nature.
They can come as either long-point or short-point, but remember that the shorter points are considered more youthful.
You can wear a tie with a button-down dress shirt or leave it casual without one.
Whichever way you opt to wear a button-down collar, you must always leave your collar buttons fastened.
Who Can Wear a Button-Down Collar?
There isn’t anybody who should not wear a button-down collar; it doesn’t look bad on any face type.
That being said, it is most flattering for people with wider faces.
Best Tie Knots for Button-Down Collar
Again, you can wear this shirt either with or without a tie.
If you opt for the tie, make sure you have a very simple style, like the Small knot.
Hidden Button-Down Shirt Collar
This is a very rare variation of the standard button-down collar dress shirt.
It is nearly identical to the button-down collar; only the button holes are located under the collar points, keeping them out of sight.
The result is that your collar resembles a point or spread collar, but it doesn’t ever move out of place.
Ties look better with this type of button-down collar than with a regular one.
Who Can Wear a Hidden Button-Down Collar
There is a hidden button-down collar dress shirt out there for everyone.
Because the shirt collar for this style can come in either spread or point, you simply need to find the most suitable version for your face shape.
Best Tie Knots for Button-Down Collar
The type of tie knot you use for this collar style depends on how large of a spread you end up with.
To err on the safe side, stick with a medium tie knot, such as a half-Windsor.
Club Shirt Collar
A club collar is the most unusual of the dress shirt collars; it has short, rounded edges instead of the traditional points.
As with the button-down collar, you can find club collars in either spread or point style (despite having no points!).
This collar style is very reminiscent of the 1920s and feels charmingly old-fashioned.
Who Can Wear a Club Collar
This dress shirt collar shape is best for people who have smaller heads with sharp angles.
Square or diamond-shaped faces perfectly complement the soft, rounded edges of the collar.
If your head is large, this collar might look out of place since it’s on the smaller side. It would accentuate the size of your head.
Best Tie Knots for a Collar Club
A collar club dress shirt is an excellent candidate for wearing without a tie with the top button undone.
If you decide to add a tie, it should be on the thin side.
Go for a small, clean knot, such as an Oriental or Simple tie knot.
Wingtip Shirt Collar
You’ll only ever wear a wingtip collar with a formal dress, as it isn’t a collar appropriate for everyday dress shirts.
The wingtip shirt collar style was designed explicitly for tuxedos.
Its points fold out and up, resembling wings, and are very short.
The points are only located at the front of the collar; there is not any material that folds down in the back.
Wingtip collars have a very, very broad spread.
Who Can Wear a Wingtip Collar
Everybody can easily pull off wearing a dress shirt with a wingtip collar.
However, people with narrow faces benefit the most from this style since the broad points help their faces seem fuller.
Best Tie Knots for Wingtip Collar
A bow tie is the only tie appropriate for a wingtip collar dress shirt.
You should have a real bow tie that you tie yourself, or a pre-tied one is acceptable if you don’t know how.
Never wear a clip-on bow tie, and never wear a necktie with a wingtip collar.
Band Shirt Collar
A band collar is an unusual shirt collar because it essentially isn’t a collar at all.
It has no points or folds, only a 3cm tall band that wraps around the neck of the dress shirt.
Instead, it has only one button in the front center of the band.
Band collars are an Eastern style and very unique in the Western hemisphere.
Who Can Wear a Band Collar
Long necks look awkward with a band collar since it’s so short and accentuates the neck’s length.
Instead, people with short necks and small heads are best suited to this collar style.
Best Tie Knots for a Band Collar
There is no way to add a tie to this type of shirt collar. So, leave the tie at home.
If you want to dress this shirt up, you can pair it with a sports jacket or a blazer for an unusual but stylish look.
Tab Shirt Collar
A tab collar features a small strap under the collar folds with a button to fasten the two sides of the collar together.
It’s intended to fasten together underneath your tie, giving your tie a slight boost, so it sits higher.
Because the tab pulls and connects each side of the shirt’s collar, it has a relatively narrow spread.
Tab collars are pretty dressy and are usually only a custom feature on dress shirts.
Who Can Wear a Tab Collar
The boost your tie gets from being raised slightly makes this type of collar good for people with long necks since it might make short necks look even smaller.
The narrow spread makes tab collars flattering for people with wide jaw lines.
Best Tie Knots for a Tab Collar
There’s no wiggle room for ditching your tie when you wear a dress shirt with a tab collar.
The entire point of the tab is to accentuate your tie, so you must wear one with this collar.
A medium or small knot is best for your tie, so it doesn’t overwhelm the narrow spread.
Pinned Shirt Collar
A pinned collar is similar to a tab collar, only using a pin as an accessory instead of a tab.
Each side of the shirt collar point has small holes for a tie bar to slide through.
The tie knot rests on top of the bar.
You will see the metal posts on the outside of your collar, so be sure you match the metal of your tie bar to any other metal in your outfit, such as your watch or belt buckle.
Who Can Wear a Pinned Collar
The size and shape of the collar resemble that of the tab collar. So this is again best suited for people with long necks.
A very short neck might look squashed with this style.
Best Tie Knots for a Pinned Collar
Again, the purpose of adding the pin to your collar is to elevate your tie.
You need to wear a tie with this type of collar, or else you have an empty tie bar across your throat.