How many different types of shirt collars are there? Which ones should I wear with my suit?

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A facet of menswear ignored by most, including yours truly, is the veritable plethora of dress shirt collars that exist. From the traditional collar to the round collar, by way of the wing collar, there are around a dozen unique varieties of the classic dress shirt collar that has always been such a ubiquitous element in menswear.

Despite the surprising number of options that are available to men when it comes to choosing the most appropriate dress shirt collar for a specific occasion, the most popular choices are certainly the classic straight point collar (i.e. the traditional collar), the button-down collar that features small buttons that secure the collar to the shirt, and the round collar (also known as the club collar that was featured in an earlier post). The other most notable types of shirt collars are the band collar (the circle collar usually adorned by clergymen), the pin collar that attaches both edges with a small pin, the snap-tab collar that fastens the collar to the actual shirt, and the curved wide spread collar.

The other variations actually arise from modifications to the spread of the traditional dress shirt collar. In other words, with the spread being the distance between each of the two pointed edges of the collar, the width can range from an extra-wide spread to a super-narrow spread that is even smaller than that of the classic dress shirt collar.

Remarkably, there are so many different types of shirt collars because each alternative is supposed to fit a particular shape of face! For example, the original spread collar, mostly used by English royalty during the 20th century and now an intrinsic element to bespoke menswear, is most suitable for a man with a thin face. In that manner, the width of the collar contrasts with the slender face in a manner that truly exudes a certain sense of regal confidence. Another great example is the narrow collar which is made to complement a rounder face because it gives the impression of a slimmer profile.

When it comes to choosing the best dress shirt collar to wear with a suit, I would instantly recommend sticking with the traditional classic straight point collar because of its timeless nature and its undeniable versatility. By being the most popular option, this shirt collar can suit any shape of face, from the thinnest to the roundest. The classic straight collar is dubbed “straight” because it features a spread that is neither too wide nor to narrow, but that is just perfectly in the middle and suitable for all. Consequently, the classic element of the traditional shirt collar makes it the safest bet for a suit because it evokes quintessential formality in a fashion that will never become outdated.

If one desires to attempt a more youthful approach in suit-dressing, I would then suggest using the rounded club collar seeing as it conserves the versatility of the traditional collar’s spread while adding a certain sense of exuberance that emanates from the rounded edges of the collar.

With over a dozen different variations that are made to suit a great variety of face shapes, the dress shirt collar is one of the more customizable elements in menswear. However, having survived the test of time, the classic straight point collar is the most appropriate one to complement a formal suit seeing as its neutrality makes it suitable for all men. Evidently, classics are classic for a reason!