Shirt Architecture 101 Collars - Featured Image

Shirt Architecture 101 | Part 1 | Collars


I’ve decided to continue my Architecture 101 series with Shirts – In this post I’ll be taking you through all the different types of collars, then in the next part, we’ll cover cuffs and plackets.

Let’s get cracking!

We’ll start from the top, quite literally, with the collar.  Breaking the component parts down first:Shirt Architecture 101 Collars Terminology

  • Band The piece of material that goes around your neck
  • Leaf Folds over the top of the band
  • Points Tips of the leaf
  • Spread Angle between the points

Now we’ve got the lingo down, let’s have a look at the different styles available to you, and where you might want to use them.

Shirt Architecture 101 Collars Forward PointForward Point

The forward point has the narrowest spread and long points, so you’ll usually find it’ll look untidy when not worn with a tie.  It has generally fallen out of fashion to more obtuse spreads, as it’s typically less versatile.

SpreadShirt Architecture 101 Collars - Spread

Probably the most popular collar type, the spread is wider and the points shorter.  As a result, it can be worn with or without a tie, and will suit larger tie knots (such as a full-Windsor).

Shirt Architecture 101 Collars - Wide SpreadWide Spread

Variation of the spread, only with a bigger angle.  Works well for thicker ties that will form wider knots, but with a spread this wide, will look a bit weird without a tie.

Cut-AwayShirt Architecture 101 Collars - Cut Away

An extreme spread – the angle between the points is close to a full 180 degrees.  So wide, in fact, that you’ll be able to see the parts of your tie that would normally be covered in smaller spreads, so you better make sure your tie-tying game is strong.

Shirt Architecture 101 Collars - TabTab

Effectively a forward point with a hidden tab that buttons the two points together under the knot of the tie.  This has two effects: one, it makes the points sit closer to the body and closes the angle of the spread a little, and also lifts the knot of the tie.  You don’t see them often, and you shouldn’t wear them without a tie.

Button-DownShirt Architecture 101 Collars - Button Down

A more smart-casual style, the button down literally buttons the collars down onto the front of the shirt.  You can wear them with or without a tie, and dress them up or down.  Just don’t be that guy who doesn’t button down his button-down. Please.

Shirt Architecture 101 Collars - ClubClub

A spread with a rounded point.  I find that they don’t sit very well due to the short leaves with an open collar, so should normally be worn either with a tie, or buttoned up without (if you’re feeling suave).

MandarinShirt Architecture 101 Collars - Mandarin

Sometimes also known as a grandad collar.  Effectively just the band with no leaves.  Wear it casually and layer it up.

Shirt Architecture 101 Collars - WingWing

What most people know as an evening shirt for black-tie events.  A band with two small points at the front.  Most people wear a wing collar with a bow-tie (and learn to tie your own, chaps), but you can also wear them with a high-quality slim tie if you really want to stand out (in a good way).


So, that’s your lot! All you need to know about collars! Next time we’ll have a look at cuffs and plackets, so stay tuned!

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