When & How To Wear 12 Common Shirt Collars

Choosing the right shirt is a matter of color & collar, and since you already know how to match hues like a pro, now's the time to get schooled on which collar you should wear when. We've broken down the fit, features, and implications of 12 common collar types below to make sure your next shirt shopping excursion is helluva lot easier, and that the results are, uh... better-er.

Get in there:

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Casual 

The Button Down: The name refers to the buttons that hold down the collar, NOT the ones up the front. Made famous by Brooks Brothers, the classic American button-down brought a casual, sporty option to the button-up game. Good for most offices, dates, and weekends, you'll look pulled together with or without the tie.
 
Pro tip: The buttons should always be fastened. Always.

Relatives:
Bell: The placement of the buttons, the height of the fold, and the length/thickness of the fabric all influence the collar's "roll". There's a "Liberty Bell" (note the bell shape)...
Dome: …and the half-dome. Both are preppy & professorial, and totally subject to your personal preference. Check Kamakura for for next-level button-down collars like these.
Hidden-Button: Those points are fastened securely beneath the fabric. It's a perfect balance between the utility of a button-down and the professionalism of a point collar.

Semi-Formal

The Straight PointA favorite of Don Draper, the narrower "spread" (distance between collar points) works well with small/medium tie knots and has a slimming effect on rounder faces. It’s a neutral look great for suits and sport coats. With longer collars, be sure your collar points are hidden under your jacket's lapels, unless you’re going for the lounge lizard look. Which you shouldn’t be, unless you're Bruno Mars.

Relatives:

Camp collar: This one-piece collar with no collar band (the fabric that usually buttons around your neck) is meant to be worn open without a tie. President Harry Truman was a fan.
Semi-Spread: The middle ground between the full spread and the straight point works best with a tie under that jacket you bought online, but it is versatile enough to wear alone. Formal but not severe, it looks great on thick & thin faces alike.
Tab Collar: The tab pulls the collar tight in around your neck so that your tie really stands out. Speaking of which: always wear it with a tie.
Robert Sheie 

Formal

The Spread: Get into classier territory with a larger gap between collar points. This allows for a big, elegant tie knot. The horizontal breadth will balance a thinner face.

Relatives:
Winged Spread: A tall, starched & stiff collar worn with a bow tie and a tux. Reserved for super formal occasions, like a wedding, or the Oscars, or even a wedding at the Oscars! Imagine!
Mandarin: An unfolded collar shorter without the tips of a winged spread, this Western interpretation of traditional Mandarin dresses is meant to stand out. It can fly in some formal business settings, but it’s probably best to reserve it for fancy events when you're comfortable making a statement.
Detachable: Fastened by studs to a tunic collar instead of being stitched, it’s usually white and seriously starched. For serious top hat & tails parties only.

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