Abolitionist and author Harriett Beecher Stowe said,
"To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization."
While her fervor may seem extreme, we admit that small details make a huge difference in making a good impression.
Maybe you think the topic of the "shirt collar" is a small detail, yet the shirt collar is probably one of the most underestimated style statements in suiting, because the collar sits directly under the face and is impossible to miss.
The rules say you must choose a collar that complements the shape of your face (see Choosing the Right Shirt Collar). But if you're set on expressing a specific style preference, then don't let the rules stop you from trying your preferred approach.
As a woman who writes on men's style through experiencing suits, shirts ties and shoes firsthand, my signature shirt collar (designed by Salvatore Piccolo in Naples) has long points, is soft, and has a curved-cut which flares outwards. The rules say I should choose a wide collar because I have a narrow face, but I navigate around the rules by creating width with the collar tips.
If you remember one thing about a shirt collar, remember it should be long or wide enough to tuck beneath the suit coat lapels. If the collar edges will not fit under your suit coat, make sure the smaller collar lies flush against the body (see Avoiding the Fly-Away Shirt Collar). Collar tabs, pins or hidden buttons underneath the collar should do the trick.
Of course, the button down collar is in a class by itself and many men love a nice raised "S-roll" on their button down shirt collars, which can be particularly appealing, as so:
Yet, the first step to finding your signature shirt collar is becoming informed of your choices.
Can you name these shirt collar types?
(Click to enlarge)
diagram source: mastertailor.com
While the snap-tab, or button-tab collar (#5 above) is not really a typeof collar but rather a fastening system which can be used with different sorts of collars, the next two collars also represent ways to secure the collar against the body and present the necktie in a bolder fashion. For example, notice Hugo's use of the snap-tab collar here, and how his necktie projects-out due to the tab lifting the tie forward:
To get a similar affect, you may try the Collar Pin, which may may be used with different collar types, but looks particularly nice with a club collar:
If your shirt collar is more narrow or smaller than a standard collar (i.e., not enough fabric for the "outline of the collar" to be tucked under the suit coat lapels), then the Hidden Button Down collar is an excellent way to secure the collar flush against the body, to achieve an elegant look:
Returning to the style front lately, is the Spear-Point Collar, which presents a look that channels the golden age--a look that is particularly glorious when worn by a person with a wide head, since this very narrow collar tends to balance out a large cranium :
Take the quiz above a few times over, and you should be well-versed on the more popular types of shirt collars.
Opening photo : Cad & the Dandy Bespoke Shirts