Shirt collars aren’t something that come up often in men’s fashion advice, but when you’re looking to create an outfit that will make you stand out from the crown the devil is in the details.
Shirt collar options have branched out a lot in recent years with spread collars spinning off into medium and extreme spreads and the return of styles that had long fallen out of favor like the snap-tab collar. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to limit the discussion to the broad terms of narrow and wide spread collars and let you pick your favorites from there.
The general rule in choosing a shirt collar is to counterbalance your face shape with the aim of creating proportion. You’ll also want to pair it with a tie knot that matches the width of the collar spread to complete the effect.
The Round Face
Someone with a round face generally has fuller checks and a shorter neck. If you fall into this category you’ll want to opt for a narrow collar spread to give the perception of a longer more defined face. The same concept applies to the tie – you should pair the shirt with a skinny tie with a narrow knot like the four-in-hand.
Here’s an example of Jack Black playing by these rules.
The Angular Face
This shape usually comes in two flavors, high cheekbones ending in a pointed chin or a longer face with a pronounced U-shaped chin. Either way, people with this face type will want to wear wider spread collars to soften and widen the appearance of their facial features. A full tie knot like the Windsor pairs well with these collars.
This picture of Ashton Kutcher should give you the right idea.
The Oval Face
Folks that fall into this category are in luck. Their faces are longer than they are wide with the cheek bones set at the widest point. This symmetry affords a lot of flexibility in choosing a shirt collar allowing you to wear both wide and narrow spread collars equally well.
Will Smith is a good example of this. Here you can see him in his ultra-narrow Men In Black collar and tie alongside him pulling off a wide spread collar with a Windsor knot.
The lead image gives you an idea of the collar types that fall into wide, narrow and in between, but it's by no means comprehensive. Let us know your favorite in the comments!