Types of Dress Shirts and Collars

Author: Necktie Advisor

When it comes to men’s dress shirts, any old shirt will do, right? Wrong! There are a variety of different styles of button down shirts, each of which contribute to a different style or complement a different body type. Before buying this essential piece of the men’s fashion puzzle, make sure you know enough to decide what exactly you’re looking for.

Types of Collars on Men’s Dress Shirts

The most important part of a dress shirt is its collar, due to its close proximity to your face. When shopping for a men’s dress shirt, there are a few basic collar types you need to be aware of. The style of collar that you decide on will depend on your face shape and the look you want to achieve.

The Button-Down Collar

The button-down collar is commonly seen, especially in less formal settings. Because shirts with this type of collar are generally not as dressy, men therefore feel a little more relaxed while wearing them. Oxford button-down and hidden button-down are two types of collars in this group.

The Straight-Point Collar

The straight-point collar is usually the one you see on men’s dress shirts. It is a fairly simple design, and a versatile choice for your closet, as it goes with almost any blazer or suit jacket. The straight-point collar is the best choice for men with round or heavy faces, as it has a slimming effect on the face.

The Spread Collar

As its name implies, the spread collar is “spread apart” in the middle: Its points are cut so that they face away from each other, leaving a wider gap in the middle. As you can imagine, this type of collar tends to be dressier. Because of the widening effect a spread collar can have on your face, men with slimmer faces are best suited for this style.

Tab and Pinned Collars

Some straight-point collars have a way of fastening the points. Two types of collars that do this are tab collars, which have a tab or snap on each side for holding the collar points down, and pinned collars, which have a pin or bar that goes across the spread and fastens to each point. The fasteners on both of these collars force the tie upward a little, giving the wearer a dressier appearance.

Styles of Men’s Dress Shirts

The cut of your dress shirt is also important, as it will finish off the look you started with the collar. Again, there are several choices of shirt styles to choose from, ranging from fitted to full.

The French Cut

In men’s dress shirts, the French cut is the most fitted. Although some men are uncomfortable wearing a tapered dress shirt, this look can be very striking on men with lean torsos. However, tapered and too tight are not the same thing, so it is still important to make sure that the shirt fits you well. To prevent your shirt from coming untucked, ensure that the length reaches crotch-level. If your shirt gapes between the buttons when you move around or sit down, it is too tight.

The English Cut

The English cut is the middle-of-the-road style, for guys who like their shirts to be a little bit slimmer than the fuller cuts, but not quite as tapered as the French cut.

The American Cut

Out of all the dress shirt styles, the American cut is the fullest. This style is ideal for men who don’t feel comfortable showing off their torso in a tapered shirt.

As you can see, there are many different styles to choose from in men’s dress shirts, from the collars to the cut of the shirt. Not every look is for every man, but there are plenty of choices to help you find a style that looks as good as it feels. This variety and flexibility is part of what makes button-down shirts one of the staples of men’s fashion.

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