Do you ever wake up and find yourself at a loss for what to wear? You’re standing in front of your closet, garments strewn across the room and you fall to your knees and just cry because what collar goes with this sweater and how do you wear them, and for the love of all that is holy do you have to wear a tie with every collar?
Well, I am here to shake you awake from this nightmare with a rundown of the most popular collars, where you wear them, and for the love of all that is holy, some of them really, absolutely must be worn with a tie.
First things first, get comfortable with the parts of a collar: the base, the collar leaf, the point length, the front band, and the point spread. Although these collars all look a little different, they each still contain these five basic parts.
A banded collar is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s actually a dress shirt that doesn’t really have a collar. You shouldn’t wear this collar with a tie, but it can still be used in more formal settings. Banded collars are great for events that require business casual, or dress down a banded collar with a blazer. Wear a banded collar buttoned up in formal settings, or relax with a couple buttons undone.
A point collar is perfect for office wear. A more traditional collar, it transitions well into casual wear. Although generally worn with a tie, a point collar can be worn without a tie, too. It compliments wider, rounder face shapes the best, as it lengthens and evens out the face.
The forward point collar cannot be worn without a tie, as the points can become unruly and look messy. It is a traditional collar, perfect for those who work in corporate offices.
The wing collar is an exclusively formal collar, used only in conjunction with a tuxedo. This means that the wing collar cannot be worn without a tie or bow tie. A wing collar is heavily starched and short, with the wing tips folded down. These collars compliment any face shapes, so anyone can wear this style. People sometimes refer to a wing collar as wing tip, but those people are wrong because wing tip refers to a type of shoe, not a type of collar.
A spread collar’s best friend is a Windsor knot, or other thick knots like it, although it can be worn without a tie. This is because a spread collar is, well, spread out. The name spread collar refers to the distance between the two points. This is a common collar, but comes in several styles.
A semi-spread collar is a variant of the spread collar. It can be worn without a tie, and is wider than a point, but not quite as wide as a spread. This is the most common type of collar, as it’s very versatile and can go from business to casual easily.
A cutaway collar is similar to the spread, as its points are pushed away from each other. This style, unlike the spread, cannot be worn without a tie. It looks like someone literally cut away at the fabric on the collar, so you should avoid small ties while wearing this collar. Although it’s not very common, it is very stylish.
A deep cutaway collar cannot be worn without a tie. It is similar to the classic cutaway collar, but more extreme. This is a great collar to experiment with different knots.
A tab collar cannot be worn without a tie. This is because it is held together by a tab, which brings the collar leafs closer together and pushes the tie knot out, making it a prominent feature on the wardrobe. Without a tie, the tab would show and look messy. This look is not common, but very classy and provides modern-vintage look to any outfit. This is definitely not a casual collar.
A pin collar cannot be worn without a tie, for similar reasons to the tab. Instead of a tab, the pin collar uses a decorative pin to bring the collar leafs together and push the tie out. There are two holes in each point for the pin. This collar is for more formal styles, and should be worn with more elaborate knots.
The button-down collar is aptly named, as its points are buttoned down to the shirt. Although many use the term “button-down” to refer to shirt that buttons, they are only correct when discussing this specific collar. A button-down can be worn without a tie, and it is the most casual of the collars. Button-downs are perfect for casual suiting, and you can accomplish a preppy look by adding a tie.
The club collar can be worn without a tie, and it has rounded collar points. This collar is stylish and unique, as it was popularized in upper-class British schools in the late 19th century. Wearing it today breaths an air of sophistication and haughtiness into any outfit, from casual wear to formal events.
What’s your favorite collar? Let us know in the comments!