Dress shirt collar styles are one of those topics that a certain kind of menswear pundit relishes taking on, telling you that you should match your collar to your facial structure. And so portly guys are advised to eschew rounded club collars, and skinny guys with gaunt features shouldn’t wear spread collars.
Nonsense. We strongly encourage you to wear any kind of collar you like. What’s more, we like diverse wardrobes, and encourage you to try every collar style we offer to add maximum variety to your work wardrobes.
Now there’s one rule (that’s really more of a guideline, to quote an old pirate) that makes sense, and it’s this: make sure that the size of your collar matches your face. Now notice we said size, not style. Cary Grant was known to have a large head, and you never saw him, even in the early ‘60s when they were popular, in a shirt with a tiny collar. Using the same logic, a smaller-faced guy would probably look foolish in giant exaggerated collars from the ‘70s.
More useful to keep in mind about different dress shirt collar styles is that they form a spectrum of formality, with buttondowns on the informal side, straight collars in between, pinned collars a notch more natty, and spread and cutaway collars the most formal. So to keep things in harmony, you’d pair a sportcoat and sweater with a buttondown collar, and a double-breasted suit with one of the more formal options.
But style often comes from contrast, and Fred Astaire used to wear buttondowns with his double-breasted suits to soften-up his look. Likewise, you could wear a spread-collar shirt and tie under an argyle v-neck sweater if you’ve got the style to pull it off.
What they say about rules holds true: You’d best know what they are before you start breaking them. Learn more about Fred Astaire’s style at AskMen.com.