When you look at a button up shirt, your eyes are usually drawn to very few things. Whether it be the color, the length, or the cut, you aren’t usually looking at the finer details, the details that separate one men's dress shirt from another.
One of the biggest differences when it comes to dressing shirts or button up shirts is the collar. Much like shoes, slacks and jackets, each particular type of collar are suited to a particular look and situation. Before you get too confused, we’ve broken each of them down for you.
The Forward Point Collar
One of the most popular, and well-recognized collars, is the Forward Point Collar. A shirt with this kind of collar is possibly the most common shirt in any man’s closet. It’s simple, traditional, and timelessly stylish.
This type of dress shirt is, if anything, the one shirt every gent should have in their collection. It doesn’t matter if you own one smart shirt, or you are some kind of collector, this is a staple that works with a smart casual, all the way up to incredibly formal.
We like to think that the Button-down Collar is the laid-back, relaxed brother of the Forward Point Collar. It is another staple in any man’s wardrobe, but it is a bit more versatile as it fits right into a Sunday lunch outfit or in the boardroom.
The buttons that secure the collar keep it looking sharp and stylish, but also allow you do not have to wear a tie. This type of collar was introduced on the Polo field, the epitome of casual style, and should make its way into your wardrobe as soon as possible.
The Spread Collar
The Spread Collar is the sometimes overlooked middle ground of collars. It gives you the suave and stylish look of a forward pointed collar and the relaxed, forward-thinking look of the Cutaway Collar. This collar is the perfect middle-man.
The Spread Collar is the most versatile of all the dress shirt collars. It works with a tie, it works without a tie, and in both situations, you will still look stylish, but with a subtle hint of personal flair that will make you stand out from the crowd.
The Tab Collar
The Tab Collar is most definitely one of the lesser known types of collars, but travel back in time, and it was far more popular and much older, than the Forward Pointed Collar. The Tab Collar is for the 21st century Gatsby gents.
The Tab Collar is from back in the days when collars were removable when you would clip it together with a tab that is hidden under your tie knot. This type of collar is for the aficionados, someone who knows what they want out of a shirt.
A Tab Collar dress shirt is very difficult to find nowadays, but it is worth the hunt or having one made to size. It is the more distinguished version of the Forward Point and the more sartorial choice for someone who doesn’t like the Cutaway Collar.
The Cutaway Collar
The Cutaway Collar was a bold style choice in the 1930’s, as it was a massive stride away from the narrower and longer collars of the 1920’s. It is also often referred to as the Windsor collar, as the widespread made it the ideal collar for Windsor knot ties.
The Cutaway Collar can be a big step for some people, as it is the opposite of the classic narrow forms such as the forward point collar, but if you are feeling daring, give it a shot, wearing a Windsor knot with it will get you noticed for sure.
The Band Collar
The Band Collar, or the Mandarin collar, is unique in the sense that is isn’t a collar at all. Simply put, instead of the traditional turn-down collar, the Band Collar is just a band of material that runs around the neck.
The Band Collar can be used for smarter outfits, but it comes across looking very hipster. It is a very cool looking collar, therefore it is more suited for casual days out. It is relaxed, yet stylish.
The Club Collar
The Club Collar came into existence when students from the exclusive Eton College wanted to distinguish their formal wear, dress shirts and school uniforms from their neighboring schools. By simply rounding off the sharp points of the collar, the Eton, or Club Collar, was born.
The Club Collar is a bit tricky to pull off, as you can sometimes look like the angry boss from a comic book. It is most definitely for a veteran of style who knows when and where is the perfect time and place.
If you are a bit of a fashion trailblazer though, the Club Collar is more suited for formal occasions. If you are having a super-sharp formal night out or attending a cocktail party, this collar can be the thing that sets you apart from the suits.
The Pin Collar
The Pin Collar is almost the same as a Tab Collar in the sense that while a Tab Collar has a tab that fastens underneath your tie, a Pin Collar uses a bar. This bar then creates a unique nuance by lifting the tie knot slightly, as well as holding it in place.
Much like the Tab Collar, the Pin Collar is suited for specific occasions, it won’t do for lunch by the beach. Formal occasions, cocktail parties, and even the boardroom will suit this collar well, and give you that stylish edge over your counterparts. Add a tie clip for that extra flair.
If you want to make your tie stand out as well, use this guide for a fancy new knot that will grab everybody's attention.
We hope this guide has given you an insight into the differences and intricacies of an often overlooked aspect of a men's dress shirt. This will definitely give you an idea of which shirt to purchase next, as well as the ideal place to show off your new found knowledge.