What is the rule on the type of shirt collar one should wear?
The most important “rule” is wear one you like…that fits and isn’t too tight!
The basic collar types are seen below and are referred to as “narrow spread”, “medium spread”, and “wide spread”. You can see that there are subtle differences in the spread (distance between the points) and even the point lengths.
Now, there are some recommendations…first, collars are like molding selections in one’s home. If you live in a low-ceilinged ranch, you don’t want built-up base board molding that could be as high as 8”. The corollary is if you live in a historical Victorian with 11 foot ceilings, you don’t want small, clam shell base molding…so keeping in mind the basics of molding that Joe Matta, Master Carpenter and Founder of Masterworks Custom Kitchens in Goshen, NY taught me but rather than building a house, let’s try applying these concepts to shirt collars. Joe’s website may be seen at http://www.masterworkkitchens.com/
If you are tall with a thin neck, you don’t want a long, narrow collar…that would just serve to elongate your neck. What you should consider is a wider collar…perhaps with some length added to the points…maybe an extra ¼”…that’s all it might take.
If, on the other hand, you have a large, full face and neck, you don’t want a wide spread collar…that would just serve to make you look wider. What you should consider is a normal point collar…perhaps with some length added to the points to elongate your face.
Going back to our molding analogy, if you are wearing a jacket, your collar should bear some relationship to your jacket’s lapel. The size of your lapel is measured horizontally parallel to the floor (typically parallel to your outside pocket square pocket) from the point of the bottom notch to the inside edge of your jacket. Most traditional jackets today have a lapel size in the vicinity of 3 1/2 “. The newer, slim profile jackets…like those featured in Madmen…can be as small as 2 7/8”.
What most custom tailors would call their standard “point collar” or standard “medium spread” collar should work with your traditional jackets’ lapels. You should talk with your custom tailor about the slimmer jacket you have or are ordering to determine what collar would look best on your physique for a jacket with a slimmer lapel. Go to Individualized Shirts website for a great rendering of most types of shirt collars at: http://www.individualizedshirts.com/collars.aspx As the collars make their circular path on your screen, simply click on the collar you want to see…you’ll see lots of choices…this is one of the great features of a custom shirt…getting the perfect collar you want that complements your physique.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific questions you might have.