Mens dress shirts not only come in a wide range of patterns, colors, and cuts, but also in a wide range of collar styles. This brief guide will help you match the right collar style to suit, tie, and the occasion.
The Traditional “Turn-Down” Collar
The turn-down collar is the most common collar style on a mens dress shirt. It is best suited for traditional business attire consisting of suit and tie. When worn without a tie and with the top button left un-buttoned it is also a great choice for leisure and business casual attire. Keep in mind that this collar style comes in different types of so-called collar spreads (referring to the width between each collar tip). The type of necktie knot worn in part depends on the width of the collar spread. The wider the collar spread the larger of a tie knot you should wear. For more information please read our guide on How to Tie a Necktie.
The “Button-Down” Collar
Besides the traditional “turn-down” collar, the button-down collar is the second most popular collar style used in business and leisure. As the name suggests, the tip of the collars are buttoned to the shirt. This style of dress shirt therefore does not need collar stays to prevent the tips from “popping up”. When worn with suit and tie, the button-down collar usually looks best when matched with a Four in Hand or Half Windsor tie knot. Also great are traditional striped neckties such as British regimental ties and repp-stripe ties. A common fabric for button-down collar shirts is a slightly coarser cotton fabric known as “Oxford Cloth”.
The “Wing-Tip” Collar
The Wing tip collar is only worn for formal events such as Black Tie Attire or Formal White Tie Attire. This type of dress shirt is only worn with a bow tie and never with any other type of neckwear as well as never without a tie. This type of dress shirt usually also has a pleated front and French cuff collars that are worn with cuff links.
The “Mandarin” Collar
As the name suggests, the mandarin collar originated in southern Asia. It is a slightly stuffer (commonly heavy starched) collar that is not folded over. The mandarin collar is usually worn on formal occasions in combination with a high-buttoned mandarin jacket, and a decorative stud instead of a bow tie. When worn correctly, the mandarin collar shirt is acceptable for black tie functions but not for the most formal white tie dress code.
Your Bows-N-Ties Team