For The Boys Part II: Collar Styles

by Tracy James

The general guideline is not to wear a collar that is the same shape as your face. Men with long, narrow faces should avoid long pointed collars. Men with a round face should avoid spread collars. However, keep in mind that many variations exist and these guidelines (notice I didn't say rules) do not apply to every man and every situation. The key is to find a collar style in which you are comfortable, is office and/or occasion appropriate and, of course, is in keeping with your style aesthetic. (Don't know your style aesthetic? You may need an advance lesson. See my Style Services page.)

First, let's talk about the parts of a collar:

1.  Collar Points - The tips of the collar.

2.  Collar Point Length – The distance from the Collar Points to where they meet the Collar Band.

3.  Collar Band - the piece of fabric that wraps around the neck.

4.  Collar Height - The height of a folded collar as it fits on the neck.

5.  Tie Space – The distance between the top of the folded collar parts when the shirt is buttoned.

6.  Spread – The distance between Collar Points.

Next, how to achieve proper fit: Check your neck! Some guys just buy their shirts in small, medium, or large. No wonder they don't fit well. You should know your measurements—neck size and arm length—and not just for the sake of it. These numbers are the key to making you look better. If your collar is so loose it hangs off your neck, or so tight it makes your face blush, you're stuck with it. So take action—get measured. And remember The One-Finger Rule: make sure you can comfortably fit one finger between the collar and your neck. If two fingers fit, the collar's too big.

Don't forget the details: The smallest weapons in your style arsenal are collar stays. They keep your collar standing at attention. Stays should come out before your shirts get laundered and go back in when the shirts return clean. Keep one set on your dresser and one in your Dopp kit.

And finally, the collars themselves

Next up...Cuffs. Stay tuned.