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Collars: The Epaulette of Man’s Stature

A good choice of shirt has a big part in the success of your combination. Of course, color is not everything – there are other things that require deep attention: good fabric, good pattern and the collar.

Collars can make all the difference in a garment. You may not want to wear a well-patterned shirt just because you don’t fancy its collar style – or the collar, all by itself, can transform an ordinary garment into a truly appealing part of men’s clothing.

The history of shirt collars points back to medieval Europe. Back in the day, people wore ruff collars as a symbol of nobility. The first form of the modern-day collar was born in the 18th century – also known as the Peter Pan collar, the first shirt collar was similar to what is known as “the club collar” today. As the outfit industry started to create new options for men’s shirts, new styles of collars – such as point collar – came into our lives.

Depending on the collar of the jacket you want to pair off, paying attention to what type of collar you will need is a reasonable start. If the jacket is a narrow-collared one, you had better choose a small-collared shirt and a slim tie. Standard collars usually will have collar stays. This small rigid material stabilizes the collar’s points – giving you the formal stylish look.

No matter how full of surprises it is, collar is the most critical choice in the combination. Take your face shape and your supplementary garments into account and have a look at the tips for your collar choice below.

George Lazenby as James Bond, wearing a classic point collar shirt in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969.

Point collar:

Probably the first tradition in collar styling, the point collar has downward points and is preferred by men with round faces. Adding the lengthy look in a man’s visage, the point collars are featured with rather less space between the collars. You might want to accompany this style with small or medium silk ties for smaller knots and a chequered or plain linen jacket, as its elegant look won’t allow you to overdress it. Reminding us the round-faced, double-chinned tycoons of the 1950s, point collars leave no doubt that there is a magical slimming effect in them.

David Beckham, carrying the olympic torch, dons a classic English spread.


Varying as English, Semi, President or Cutaway, the spread collar is the most common collar type, preferred by men in business and formal lifestyles. Designed specifically to accommodate ties with suits – or simply to leave open with a blazer jacket, spread collars are extremely convenient for different face shapes. Spread is usually considered British – and therefore mostly linked to a feeling of “royal attire” that would demand a prominent tie knot in the large ‘spread’ between the leaves.

However, this cutaway style in modern day is also worn for a bold look in casual occasions without a tie.

Brad Pitt is wearing a wingtip collar for his white tuxedo in Inglorious Basterds.


Resembling a tiny papillon, wingtip collars are possibly the most formal type of collar. Worn with a bowtie and a rather-formal style of suit or tuxedo, this style makes for a perfect evening dress. Present time designers, however, are giving it a more casual aura by using fabrics like denim or cotton. Canvas trousers would be the best fit for these contemporary wingtip collars.

Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli with one of his favorite button-down shirts.


Usually used for soft collars to be fitted with buttons at the points, the button-down collars were first used by polo players. The players took advantage of the buttons to keep the collars from flapping during the gameplay. It didn’t take Brooks Brothers too long to discover this brilliant feature and trademark their button-down shirts as “The Original Polo Shirt.” Since then, the button-downs evolved as a special American garment and remained an alternative style for formal attire. While these collars can be dressed up with ties and jackets, people mostly prefer this style as a casual option. For the ones who don’t like the distinct look of buttons, hidden button-downs can be another option.

One of Daniel Craig's well known tab collars as James Bond.


The small button right in the middle of the collar points makes the tie more explicit in appearance, or there is usually a tab that links and hasps the leaves of the collar tightly to the neckline. Although it’s said that tab collar is a style all by itself, the tab method can be applied to various collar types.

Tom Hardy sports a contrast club collar under a dark jacket.

Club Collar:

The old Peter Pan collar transformed into the Club collar by time. Compared to the old form, it lost its exaggerated volume and took a more courtly, classy shape. It is said that the Eton College in England came up with an idea to dress its students in order to make them stand out and preserve the high-class attribute of having the well-groomed, soigné students of all time. They invented a round-edged collar for the school uniform – which then gave way to the nickname “the club collar,” referring to the privacy of this style that was adopted by this high-class group.

You could easily reach the classy club look with light-colored jackets or trousers for a darker-toned tab-collared shirt, or simply with a contrast collar under a soft-colored jacket.

Ryan Gosling combines his Cuban style shirt with white trousers in Cannes Film Festival.

Cuban Style:

It’s time to show off with your Cuban collar shirts. Also known as “Hawaiian” because of the masculine floral design on the shirt, this type of collar resembles a typical jacket collar. There is no doubt that the cliché floral designs of the season look good on the shirt. However, if you don’t want to take the risk of looking out-of-the-world in the city, you may prefer plain Cuban shirts.

Our suggestion is to go with blue tones – the biggest rescuer of men. For hot summer nights, a good Cuban shirt - with or without design – will be your go-to on your tanned skin. If you are willing to maintain that classy look, but also looking for a casual summer air on your shoulders, try to match your Cuban shirt with its cousin – the Panama hat.

Jude Law as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes, wearing a collarless shirt.

Band Collar:

The band collar is the only type of collar that does not possess any leaf. Typically, it’s just a band that is buttoned up in the middle, creating a casual and relaxed style – and of course, without a tie. Despite being seen as a featureless, ordinary style with a feeble appeal, some say it is the best one among collar types for a decent show-off of masculinity with a little bit of the picture of chest when unbuttoned.