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What Types of Shirt Collars are Right for Your Face?

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Q: I have an incredibly round face. In fact, back in Fifth grade, I won the Pi Day contest for having the roundest face in my class. What type of shirt collar should a guy with a round face like me wear? – James D.

Types of Shirt Collars – How to Decide

A: James, if you’re looking for a shirt collar that’ll do the Pi Day champion justice, we recommend the Point Collar (or “Narrow Straight Point”) as an excellent choice for the slimming effects it has on rounder face shapes. In a Point Collar, the space between the collar points (tips of the collars) will be less, creating the illusion of a slimmer face. As for a tie to complement this collar style, the Four-in-Hand knot has a smaller, longish shape to the knot that is perfect for narrow spread collars.

For an oval-shaped face, the Classic “Semi-spread” Collar is an unbeatable duo. For those who are uncertain about your face shape (or don’t care about going that extra mile in sartorial flattery), this is usually a “can’t go wrong” starting place for most of your dress shirt staples. As for complementary tie knots, the Half-Windsor’s (The Windsor’s Smaller Brother) equilateral triangular knot is a perfect candidate for the medium spread collar. (For those of you who failed geometry, an equilateral triangle is one where all sides are the same length.)

Finally, for angular face shapes with a narrow chin, the wider Spread Collar is a perfect pairing to balance out all the angles. The Windsor Knot (“Full Windsor” or “Double Windsor”) has a larger and wider-based triangular knot that is most appropriate for this collar’s spacious spread.

And remember, these are only tips for taking your shirt game up a notch, not definitive “rules” you must live and die by. With that said, knowing what pieces work best for your body (and face) type is one of essential pillars of dressing well!

Hope that helps James!

Got more questions on shirt collars? Leave a comment below or shoot us a message at concierge@blacklapel.com! 

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30 thoughts on “What Types of Shirt Collars are Right for Your Face?”

  1. What if you have a thin face and narrow neck like xs-s shirt size and a reasonably regular neck length? Does the wideness of the spread collar balance the narrowness of the neck?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The spread collar will help balance the entire upper half of your body if you have a very thing, narrow face. We refer to this as “angular” in the story. If you want to ensure a totally balance look, tie yourself a Windsor Knot on top of the spread collar shirt.

  2. If I had to give a prime example of great quality content, this article would be one. It’s well-written material that keeps your interest well.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s always our goal! Thanks for reading :)

  3. i’ve been trying to read up on collars recently because i’m planning on buying a couple of new shirts. Thanks for a very informative article.

    My question is, for someone who has a somewhat oval shaped face, i think you’ve said that a medium spread collar is ideal. However, i also seem to have a rather long neck (even though i’m not particularly tall otherwise: just 175 cm). So i was thinking of maybe experimenting with something wider like a spread collar or say, even a cutaway collar. What do you think?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we could be helpful to you, V.

      An oval shaped face gives you a lot of choice, when it comes to collar. That said, if you’ve got a long neck, you may want to stay away from the point collar, which can make it look even longer. A spread can really work. A cutaway is a stronger style statement, but we’re all for it.

      If you’d like more one-on-one assistance, feel free to send a photo to one of our stylists who can offer you some advice on getting the perfect shirt for you. To do that email us at concierge@blacklapel.com.

      1. Hi again, and thanks for the reply.
        (and happy 2016, by the way!).

        To be honest,I’m not 100% sure that it’s oval. I’ve taken several pictures from many angles, and the shape seems slightly different every time, so it could be one of the variations to an oval shaped face…

        Thanks for the email too, that sounds like a great idea! I’ll mail you in a few moments.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          Glad we could help.

          1. Hi again,

            Just to let you know that I sent an email with pictures to the above mentioned address on January 8 but so far have not received a reply. I wonder if you may not have received it?

          2. Black Lapel says:

            Hey V, sorry for our delayed response! We’ve just located your email and will respond shortly.

          3. Hi, no worries. Glad to hear it reached you. In case the pictures didn’t come through correctly, please let me know and I shall send them again.

            Cheers!

  4. M.P. Connelly says:

    I dare say I must disagree. Many of these collars result from trends as well as the formality of the occasion they are being worn to. Personally, I would never recommend anything other than a spread collar for a job interview. Let the shape of your head/face determine your knot-size, not your collar. A spread should almost always be worn with suits, whereas a point or semi-spread are far more appropriate for casual appearances and outings in sport coats. With suits that are properly fitted, a spread collar’s peaks or “tips” will JUST reach the inside edge of the coat’s lapels and create a negative inset that serves to draw focus to the tie and knot as well as create a fluid and defining shape below the wearer’s face. In essence, the spread collar in combination with a coat creates a frame within which the tie is seated. Nothing less than a half-windsor should be used with a spread-collar as a four-in-hand looks sloppy and can be seen as childish when offset by such a wide collar. A pratt knot works effortlessly for the average face, while some rounder faces benefit from the half-windsor and those of narrower faces are favored by the full-windsor.

    Allow your face to determine how you tie your tie, NOT what shirt collars you select. Each shirt collar has its place as determined by the outfit and the level of formality the occasion said outfit is being worn to demands.

    Though one last thing should be noted; fashion is a malleable precept. You must also allow room for your preferences. Confidence in appearance is the strongest element of pulling off ANY look. If you see yourself in a mirror and love how you look in a point collar, wear point collars. The experts at Black Lapel know their stuff, and I frequently refer my customers to the site for further advise outside of my locale, but much of this is opinion as is even my own post now. Industry standards change and the current model focuses far more on wearing collars with appropriate attire and then selecting the tie knot to compliment the shape of your face.

    My background: I sell these things for a living. My job has always been to make you look your best when you walk through my doors. If you don’t, then why would you EVER shop with me again? Customer retention relies on trust and honesty. I may be able to convince you to buy a suit you don’t need, but you WILL come to realize you didn’t need it, and then I won’t get to continue doing business with you.

    1. This is certainly a well thought out and cogent argument. While we’re still not convinced, that a spread collar and windsor knot is the only choice for anyone wearing a suit, we appreciate the thought and energy you put into your comment, M.P.

  5. What about for someone that has a square jaw line?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A point collar works well for the square-jawed gent because it balances out your face much like it does for the round-faced man.

      These rules are not hard and fast. There is some leeway. For instance, the square-jawed Alec Baldwin cuts a dashing figure in a collar that is more like a Black Lapel semi-spread than a point collar.

  6. I have an oval face and a very large neck (18 3/4). What collar and tie knot do you recommend?

    1. As recommended above, an oval face means a semi-spread collar is your best bet. Since you’ve got a large neck, don’t over-emphasize it with a spread collar that will make your neck look even wider.

      A four-in-hand knot will likely be dwarfed by your large neck and look odd. A half-Windsor knot should be your go-to. It’s big enough to balance out your face, but not so big as to draw too much attention to your thick neck. On occasion, with a thinner tie, you might want to experiment with a full Windsor knot, but consider the half-Windsor your smallest knot and don’t dip into any smaller ones.

  7. jim wood says:

    I’ve been wearing a double four in hand with a semi spread collar lately; I think it looks nice, and I’ve gotten many compliments from those I care about impressing.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The semi-spread is a fine choice for a middle of the road collar and a double four-in-hand is a great way to tie it. If we make the list of people you care about impressing, then consider this a digital compliment.

  8. Agreed with this, except for the tie knots. A four in hand looks great with spread collars, as the James Bond movies and Prince Charles demonstrate.

    1. The truth is, a four in hand looks great with most collars. We just decided to play a little matchmaker here and remember, this is just a starting point. :)

  9. Patrick Darby McClintock says:

    A very 50’s concept. If you like it. Wear it. The dictators of fashion died out over fifty years ago. I happen to own and wear all of these styles and many many more. It’s about you as a person. Ya’ know…personal style. Or have we forgotten about becoming interdependent from the retail fashion mavens?

    1. Patrick, we’ve always championed the idea of developing your own style. At the end of the day, its about self-expression and having fun and it sounds like you’re pretty far along on that same path. However, there are certain shapes that do look better in conjunction with others. Now we don’t profess to be geometry experts but we do enjoy looking sharp. Think of this guide as just a starting point for our readers so they can learn and expand on these very basic suggestions!

  10. Some one should develop an app to determine face shape and best collar selection.

    1. Find a techie friend, go code the app and we’ll be some of your first users!

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