Do you feel like you wear the same boring dress shirt and trousers to work every day? While you may not have a choice about the office uniform, you can improve your overall style by focusing on details like the type of collar in your shirt. You may not know this, but you can choose from over twenty types of shirt collars!
Popular types of shirt collars for dress shirts include the French, Cutaway, Button-Down, and Club collar styles. Women’s shit collar styles include uniquely shaped Peter Pan, jabot, and shawl collars. More casual shirts, such as Hawaiian shirts, may feature collars like the band or camp styles.
In this article, you will learn about the key parts of a shirt collar. You will discover 26 popular shirt collar styles. Finally, you will find tips to help you pick the right type of collar for your shirts.
What is a Shirt Collar?
A shirt collar folds over the edge of the neckline to cover a tie or to serve a decorative purpose. Unlike other common neckline elements such as lapels, collars always use a separate piece of material stitched onto the body of the garment with a seam.
Most shirt collars have three basic forms: standing, turnover, or flat.
- Standing collars stand up perpendicular to the shoulders of the shirt and do not flatten out onto the neck or the shoulders.
- Turnover collars stand up from the neckline of the shirt in a similar manner but have a fold that points back down at the shoulders. This is by far the most popular style for button-down dress shirts today.
- Flat collars, as you might imagine, lie flat around the neck of the shirt. A Peter Pan collar on a blouse is an example of this style.
While collars can feature extremely varied shapes, they also share a few common elements.
- A collar band is a piece of stiffened fabric that circles the neck between the collar and the shirt. Many turnover collars feature a band for added stiffness.
- The spread describes the distance between the points at the front of the neckline.
- The points are tips on a collar, like what you find on a dress shirt. Not all shirt collars have points, but many do.
- The roll line means the folded top edge of a collar where it stands up from the shirt. Only turnover styles typically have a roll line, as the other styles do not fold over on themselves.
Collars can also have many other features, like lace edging, curved edges, or variations in the cut.
26 Types of Shirt Collars
The twenty-six most popular types of shirt collars include variations on men’s dress shirts, collar styles for women’s shirts, and collars for more casual shirts.
Dress Shirt Collars For Men
If you have never closely examined the collars on your dress shirts before now, you may not know that men’s dress shirts can have more than a dozen different shapes and styles!
Button-down collars have tiny buttonholes in the points of the turnover collar, which fasten on two small buttons on the shirt’s body. Polo players made this style popular nearly a century ago when they wore buttons to prevent the points from flapping up as they raced across the pitch.
This style also gives the classic “button-down shirt” its name, and many off-the-rack dress shirts feature button-down collars.
A two-button collar looks almost exactly like a button-down version, except that it has a higher fold and a stiff shape that requires two tiny buttons to keep the points aligned properly on the shirt. This stiff, formal style looks good on white dress shirts worn with two-piece suits.
A contrast collar has a turnover style but features a different color of fabric than the body of the shirt. They almost always use stiff white fabric to blindingly highlight the darker color of the shirt. This can give a pinstripe or other type of patterned button-down a more formal appearance.
A Cuban collar lies flat to either side of the neckline and has a notched, lapel-like shape, though it does use separate pieces of fabric stitched onto the shirt. While Cuban shirts do edge close to looking casual, they usually feature tapered side seams and sleeves for a slightly classier appearance than a Hawaiian or lounge button shirt.
A cutaway collar is another type of turnover style but with less depth. The key feature of a cutaway collar is that the tips of its triangular points spread quite far apart from each other at the front of the neck, reaching as much as 6” away from each other. This looks quite distinctive and different from a traditional spread style.
The main reason to wear this style is to offset a classy knot tie, as the cutaway shape gives you more room for the knot than some smaller or more narrow styles.
A club collar has a turnover style, a band for added stiffness that rests close to the neck, and uniquely rounded points, unlike the sharp triangular points you typically see on button-down shirts. Today this style has a vintage appeal, but you still find it on some modern dress shirts. The softly rounded points make this a great choice for anyone with a narrow face, as the rounded edges will make your face look less sharp.
The name of a detachable collar pretty much says it all–this style can fasten to the neckline of a shirt with snaps or buttons and then come off again later. In the days before synthetic fabrics, people often only owned a few shirts. They would switch to new collars after wearing a shirt one day and get to wear the same garment again without having an old, sweaty collar in place.
The French collar has a wide spread between its points, a deep turnover fold, and elegant triangular points. It is arguably one of the most popular styles for dress shirts, especially formal shirts that would not look right with a button-down model.
The depth of the turnover style makes this style suitable to wear with fancy tie arrangements like a Windsor Knot too. On top of this, the wide line of the Frech style helps to make a narrow face look more averagely shaped.
A hidden-button collar looks almost exactly like a button-down version, except that the buttons hide behind a layer of cloth at the points and do not show from the outside. This style is not as popular as a regular button-down but can work well for more formal shirts.
A Kent collar has a turnover style with a small spread, meaning that the tips of the triangular points stay close to each other at the base of the throat. This style works well with small tie knots because it does not make them seem disproportionate. The tapered angle of the spreading points also helps make a round face look more narrow.
A Mandarin or band collar has a standing style, consisting of just a band with no turnover fold above it. This style naturally has its roots in traditional clothing, such as the Chinese Changshan. This type of collar usually stands about half an inch to an inch high, and the rounded edges do not meet at the center of the throat.
While this style has an ancient history, you see it more often in modern fashion all around the globe today, on dress shirts, traditional clothing styles, and even casual shirts.
Spread collars have a turnover style and a wide distance between the two triangular points, though they do not have a sharp angle to the triangles like a cutaway style. You can also find this extremely popular style with some variations, like the semi-spread that has more closely spaced points. People with thin faces often choose this style because the extra distance between the points helps make thin faces look wider.
A straight point collar–also called a classic, straight, point, or basic collar–is very popular on off-the-rack casual dress shirts. This style features a small spread between the points and a pretty narrow rectangular band and a shallow turnover fold. You can wear this collar with or without a tie.
A tab collar has a special hidden strip of cloth that runs from one point to the other, meant to lie flat beneath a tie. The hidden tab buttons secretly to the second point of the collar. This keeps the points lying neatly in place without any visible buttons, as a button-down style has.
This style has gained more appeal in recent years, but it remains lesser known because you do have to wear it with a tie, or the tab will lie in full view and look odd.
The Windsor or “full cutaway” collar has a turnover style and wide triangular points that spread very far apart from each other to either side of the neckline. This style was designed specifically for the Duke of Windsor to show off the famous “Windsor Knot’ tie style that he made famous.
Today, you typically reserve this formal style for black-tie events or occasions when you want to show off a tie!
A wing tip collar has a unique form with two points that stand out horizontally from the band, giving the shirt an almost Victorian, old-fashioned appearance. Today, this starched style is often reserved for formal or black-tie events.
Women’s dress shirts can feature many styles in the previous section, like a straight or French style, but you can also find a range of other distinct collar styles in women’s clothing.
A bow tie collar features a long band that reaches far past the neck, allowing you to tie the two ends into an eye-catching bow at the throat. You also sometimes see this style called a tie-neck. This style trended like crazy in the 1950s and 60s but has hit its stride again today due to the popularity of vintage-style clothes.
A jabot collar may have both a turnover and a ruffled flat portion spreading down the open throat of the shirt. It comes from a historical piece of clothing called a jabot, which featured layers of ruffled lace draped down the front of a shirt. A jabot collar looks pretty but slightly less formal than other styles today, so you would find this style on a blouse more often than on a dress shirt.
A Fichu collar has a flat style and a very wide circle of fabric that drapes over the whole shoulder and down the front of the shirt in the front and back. This stylized shape comes from a 16th-century style of neck wrap made popular by the square, low-cut necklines of dresses at the time–a fichu kept women warm and allowed them to look more modest when necessary.
A forward point collar has a turnover style with narrow, sharp points spaced closely at the front of the neckline, sometimes only an inch or an inch and a half apart. It looks especially good for people with round faces, as it balances out the circular shape with the more narrow spacing. You usually only see this style on button blouses or shirts.
A Peter Pan collar has a flat style with two rounded, curved points spreading out across the shoulders of the shirt. It got its name from the costume worn by the actor playing Peter Pan in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Plan play in the early 1900s. Today, the whimsical, gentle curve of the Peter Pan style often has an edging of lace and a cute, vintage appeal.
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A ruffle collar has a standing style, much like a Mandarin collar, except that it stands up in small ruffles around the whole neck instead of in a flat band. Sometimes, the ruffle may feature lace, ribbon, or just the same fabric as the shirt. Today, you can find this dainty style on many women’s dress shirts and blouses.
Much like a Fichu-style collar, a shawl collar gets its name from a separate piece of neckwear, the scarf. This is because the flat collar has long, wide tails that drape down the front of the shirt from either side of the throat and often knot just below the chest. This elegant style also has some similarities to the bow-tie version, except that, in this case, you allow the ends to hang straight down instead of tying them in a bow.
Many casual shirts also feature unique types of collars, such as the famous Hawaiian collar. Casual shirt collars usually feature softer fabrics with no starch or lining and have a floppier appearance because of this.
A band collar has a flat style and is formed out of a single band of lined fabric reaching around the neckline of the shirt. A mandarin collar is a standing version of this style, though it rests more closely around the throat. More casual band collars typically have a wider neckline, with the band lying flat across the collarbones and opening at the throat.
A camp collar has a floppy, notched appearance and lies flat to either side of the throat. You can also see this iconic, crumpled-looking shirt style called a Hawaiian or Bermuda collar. It almost always comes attached to a boldly printed, short-sleeved casual shirt.
A knitted collar on a shirt has a floppy turnover style because it features a single layer of ribbed, knit fabric. This is the style you find on most polo shirts, for example. In some cases, the shirt may feature a knitted collar contrasting to the rest of the garment.
While a point collar with its traditional narrow turnover and wide triangular points can also feature on formal shirts, you find this type of collar on many informal shirts like denim or plaid button-downs.
Less Common Collar Types
Now that you know the twenty-six most popular shirt collars check out a few less common types!
A bowling shirt has a boxy cut, short sleeves, and a sash collar, often in a contrasting color to the body of the shirt. The bowling shirt collar has triangular points but a soft, casual-looking turnover style.
A bacon collar is not a particular shape or cut–it describes the neck of a shirt that has skewed or stretched out, creating sideways, folded wrinkles around the throat. You should avoid this sloppy look by turning your shirts inside out and washing and ironing them according to the instructions on the care label.
A Bertha collar has a large, round shape and lies flat across the shoulders and front of a women’s shirt, with an opening and sometimes small bow ties at the throat. This old-fashioned style had a brief re-emergence in the 80s but is out of style again today.
A Byron collar has long, soft V-shaped points coming down either side of the neck, styled to look like the clothes worn by the famous poet in the 1800s.In the 1970s, a similar style of the collar with long, soft points had a brief moment in the sun as well, but today, this style looks pretty retro.
A Dutch collar or neckline has a square opening across the chest and up the shoulders, lined with either a fabric band or a standing ruffle. This style became popular in the early 1900s as a contrast to the high-necked ruffles worn in the Victorian era. Some women’s tops and dresses today still feature a Dutch collar with its more daringly open square neckline.
A disco collar has 70s vibes with its wide turnover and big spread between the generously shaped points. This style is a classic “big collar” with its wide point spread, often accompanied by a shirt unbuttoned at the throat or even halfway down the chest. You see this style most often on tight-fitting, flashy 70’s shirts, but it does make a fashionable reappearance once in a while today.
A “grandad” collar is a band collar made of soft, striped flannel. You can find this in some types of flannel shirts often worn by older generations or in popular styles of pajamas for both men and women today.
A Johnny collar has a knit turnover like a polo shirt but also has a small V-neck opening at the throat. This style is often used in women’s sports shirts like polo or golf shirts.
A Swedish collar has a standing band around the neck and then a placket down the throat of the shirt, often featuring two to four buttons. You can think of it as a Henley-style shirt with the addition of a Mandarin-like collar around the neck.
A Victorian or “Buster Brown” collar is like a much larger, wider version of a Peter Pan collar. It has big half-circles draping out over the shoulders of the shirt, often edged with lace or made out of sheer white fabric.
What are 70s Shirt Collars Called?
One of the shirt collar styles briefly made popular in the 1970s is called a Barrymore Collar, named after the actor John Barrymore, who starred in many silent films in early Hollywood. This style has a turnover fold with extra long, narrow, triangular points, and you sometimes also see this called a “taper collar.”
To make it even more distinctive, in the 70s, men often wore the long collar spread flat over the lapels of a suit jacket. (And often a vividly colored polyester suit jacket, at that!).
Other popular styles in the 70s included disco and Western collars. Western shirts had turnover collars with stylized embroidery. Disco shirts made famous by John Travolta had a close-fitting cut, wild patterns, bright colors, and giant turnover folds with deep triangular points or a notched cut.
The main point of these 70s fashion trends was to appear “peacocky,” with flashy colors, big lapels and collars, and lots of decorative elements in an outfit.
Which Collar is Best for a Shirt?
The best collar for a shirt depends on many factors, like the shape of your face and whether or not you plan to wear a tie with your shirt.
Check out some tips about the best type of collar to wear with your shirt here!
- The best type of shirt collar in terms of popularity is a straight collar, the most common style to wear on a dress shirt or casual shirt with buttons. With its narrow turnover and neat triangular points, this style looks good on many shirts. The runner-up here is the button-down collar, also super common on both casual and formal buttoned shirts for men and women.
- The best collar to wear with a tie is a cutaway, hidden tab, or French collar. These all provide an excellent shape to highlight an elaborate tie knot such as a Windsor Knot. You can also wear a tie with a plainer straight or point collar.
- Of course, you also want to consider the type of collar best suited to the style of the shirt. Casual shirts look good with soft styles like a camp collar, while a crisp dress shirt will match a sharply angled turnover collar like a spread or straight style.
- In terms of comfort, the best collars do not have a lining or use starch and lie flat around your neck. Styles that use stiff fabric, like a Windsor collar, will not feel as comfortable.
- Sometimes the best collar for your shirt depends on the shape of your face. If you feel you have a thin face, balance it with a wide collar that has a long spread between the points. Likewise, if you have a large head or a round face, you don’t want to wear a small collar that just makes your face look larger. Instead, wear a wider, taller collar to make your face look smaller.
- Finally, keep in mind that any collar on the taller, wider, or smaller and more narrow side will draw the eye more because you do not see these shapes and sizes as often as a traditional straight or button-down collar. This also holds true for decorative styles such as a jabot or ruffled style on a women’s shirt or a Windsor or Disco style on a men’s shirt–anything less common will give your shirt a distinctive style.
The twenty-six most popular types of shirt collars include styles suitable for dress shirts, women’s shirts, and casual shirts. The three most common types of shirt collars today include a standing collar that forms a perpendicular line to the body of the shirt, a turnover collar that rolls over itself, and a flat collar that lies down on the shoulders of the shirt. Collars almost always feature key components like a band, points, and a spread.
Popular collar styles for men’s dress shirts include button-down, French, straight, and Windsor styles. Popular collar styles for women’s shirts include a bow tie, ruffle, jabot, and Peter pan style. Casual shirts may feature collar styles like a knitted, band, or Camp/Hawaiian collar.