Collars are designed in a variety of styles. The individual style influences the degree of the shirt’s formality and affects the overall look of the shirt. Generally, the larger the collar’s angle or “spread”, the less formal the shirt’s appearance. The same rule applies the other way around. The choice of collar style and the tie knot used are dictated by the specific occasion one is dressing for.
Reflecting a traditional British look, this very classic English styled collar was named after the Duke of Kent. Made popular by the tailored shirt manufacturer, Turnbull & Asser, this collar style has a medium spread. Also called, the English Spread collar, it can be worn for every occasion and with any suit.
Occasion: all formal occasions, fits every suit
Tie Knots: medium sized knots, e.g. Windsor, “Four in Hand”
This collar has a spread of up to 160 degrees. An extremely wide spread, it appears to have been cut off horizontally. One of the most popular collar styles, it looks impeccable both with and without a tie. It provides the shirt with an open, modern look that displays a good part of the upper shirt area. The Cutaway works well with narrow-cut suits and allows for wider tie knots, such as the Windsor or Double Windsor.
Occasion: less formal
Tie Knots: all tie knots, e.g. Windsor, Double Windsor
New Kent Collar
The New Kent collar is a compromise between the Cutaway and the classic Kent collar. Sometimes referred to as the “Windsor Collar”, because of its relatively wide spread, it is a collar that achieves a balanced mixture of tradition and the modern. While this style does well with formal suits, it does not do well with casual suits and sport coats.
Tie Knots: medium and wide knots, e.g. Four in Hand, Windsor
The tips of this collar are rounded off. Made popular by English private school students, this style today still stands for Ivy League chic. While the rounded tips of the collar produce an informal look, this collar is still considered a formal collar.
Occasion: less formal occasions
Tie Knots: narrow and medium tie knots, e.g. Four-in-Hand, Windsor
The Wingtip collar is a combination of a stand-up collar and the Kent collar. The tips have the appearance of wings, hence the name “Wingtip” collar. Because of its elegant appearance it is used exclusively for the white shirts worn with tailcoats or tuxedos for “Black Tie” or “White Tie” occasions.
Occasions: festive and very formal events, such as receptions and balls
Tie Knots: Bow Tie
A traditional collar, the Tab collar has special flaps that can be closed behind a tie knot. This keeps the tie in place and insures that the knot is accentuated visually.
Tie Knots: narrow tie knots, not to be worn without tie
The Pinned collar is a very elegant alternative to the Tab collar. The collar tips are fixated with a metal pin. This metal pin usually has small clips for fastening.
Occasion: elegant, formal
Tie knots: narrow tie knots, never to be worn without tie.
Button Down Collar
A casual collar where the tips are fastened to the shirt with buttons. This style was inspired by polo sport. The polo players needed shirts with collars that did not flap around while they were competing. Intended for leisure, button down collared shirts do not require a tie. Should a tie be worn, a narrow width tie knot is suggested as these shirts usually have a narrow collar spread.
Tie knots: narrow, Four-in-Hand
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