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Just like the various other aspects of a dress shirt, whether that be its overall fit, its cuff style, its buttons, and so on, the collar of the shirt also comes in many variations.
Shirt Collar Parameters:
1. Collar Stiffness
From the 1820s to the 1930s, stiff collars were the norm. These collars were detachable for replacement in an era where effective detergents and laundering were not available.
2. Collar Height
Collar height is the measure of how high a collar sits on your neck, measured from the fold down to the point.
3. Collar Size
Related to height is overall size. Some collars, like the cutaway, which we will discuss below, are small and minimalist. Other collars are quite large.
4. Collar Spread
Lastly, there is collar spread–basically, the distance between the points of the collar. The wider the spread, the more aggressive.
Types of Shirt Collars
1. The Point Collar
In North America, the standard or default business collar is likely the point. As evident from the name, this style is characterized by the fact that the collar tips are pointed.
2. The Tab Collar
Speaking of vintage, within the same spread range as the point collar but with a distinctly classic look is the tab collar, which features an underlying tab beneath each collar leaf that fastens on the top button.
3. The Club Collar
This collar originated at Eton College, which had previously been the incubator of Beau Brummell’s stylistic innovations.
4. The Pin Collar
The various collars with a smaller distance between the leaves or points lend themselves readily to the use of collar pins, clips, or bars.
5. The Square Collar
There are also shirt collars that are quite small with a minimal spread, among them the square collar, so called because the collar points are squared off. These were worn, usually in detachable form, in the early twentieth century, but are quite hard to find today.
6. The Button Down Collar
Although it originated on England’s polo fields, the button down collar has become an American favorite after it was introduced by Brooks Brothers, especially as part of Ivy, prep, and trad styles.
7. The Spread Collar
Once the distance between the collar point widens we have a spread collar, noted as the default collar of London (and European) business wear.
8. The Cutaway Collar
The cutaway collar is a type of spread collar that is defined by the wide distance between points (over 6″) or the obtuse angle formed by said points.
9. The Wing Collar
Reserved only for the most formal events is the wing collar, also known as the winged or wingtip, belongs among the minimalist collars because its points are quite small.