A Visual Guide to Shirt Collars These six shirts are essential to any man's wardrobe

There are dozens of shirt collar styles for the classic dress shirt. We’ve whittled down the list to the six essentials we believe every man should know. Use this simple guide to educate yourself on the basic options available and the appropriate ways to wear them.

A Visual Guide to Shirt Collars

Straight Collar

This classic standby works for any man, in any suit and with any necktie knot. You can’t go wrong with this time-tested fail-safe.

Button Down Collar

This dapper shirt collar style was invented & introduced to America by Brooks Brothers. It is generally viewed as the most casual of the bunch. Because of the way in which the points are fastened to the shirt, the Button Down Collar features a soft roll instead of a crease at the collar band. This style also looks great unbuttoned.

Spread Collar

The Spread Collar is most common in Britain and Italy. As its name suggests, the points of this collar are spread apart at a very wide angle. This gives the wearer a sophisticated and self-possessed look.

Cutaway Collar

As you may have suspected, the Cutaway Collar looks as if part of the collar has been “cut away.” Due to the extreme distance between the the points on this collar, part of the band and sides of the necktie knot (when worn) are exposed. It takes a man with confidence to wear shirt collar this regal.

Club Collar

The Club Collar enjoyed popularity in the early 20th century. Unlike the other collar styles on our list, the Club Collar features a sloping curve in place of an angular point. We’re convinced that this unique shirt collar style is mounting a comeback.

Club Collar featured on AMC's Mad Men

Club Collar featured on AMC’s Mad Men

Tab Collar

Popular in the 1920s and the 1960s, the tab collar features a snap or button tab that, when fastened, lifts and frames the tie knot. The tab collar saw a small surge in popularity after it was featured in the 2012 James Bond film, Skyfall. This collar must be worn with a necktie.

Daniel Craig wearing a Tab Collar in Skyfall

Daniel Craig wearing a Tab Collar in Skyfall


Most other shirt collar styles are variations on these 6 basics. Length of point, collar spread and height will vary. In terms of wearability, straight collars tend to work best for rounder faces and a wider spread tends to suit narrower or oval faces. Though many believe these rules are absolute, we believe you should choose the collar style that best matches your personal style and attitude. Which is your favorite collar style?