One of my clients recently reached out to me and asked me what the best collar for his face shape would be. It’s actually something I don’t cover often here, regrettably. Sometimes, it's enough of a challenge getting a guy to put on a collared shirt at all.
The shirt collar is an important element in your whole getup. Like a well chosen haircut, a good collar will enhance your face. Think of it (and your hairstyle) as a frame for a beautiful piece of art - that art being your mug. A good picture frame should enhance the work, not clash against it, and it should certainly not distract from it. A good frame looks good without announcing it’s there. This is what a collar should be.
This isn’t always the case though. Sometimes it’s good fun to draw some sartorial attention to an area you normally wouldn't. A club collar with a pin is a unique look you won’t see every day - giving you a look that is perfect in classic menswear outfits. However, in most day to day scenarios, you’ll look like a goof.
You need a collar that won’t raise an eyebrow but at the same time, suits your face as best as possible. You need to find your perfect frame.
Like most aspects in menswear, your clothing choices should enhance your greatest physical features and mask your weakest. We want to make your face appear to have a strong, masculine jawline and balanced facial proportions. This means making sure your face doesn’t appear too long, too short, too wide, or too narrow.
First, let's go over a couple key terms. The first is collar spread. The spread of a collar is the distance between its two points. A narrower spread means the points are closer together. A wider spread means they are farther apart.
The second term is the collar band. This is the part that goes around your neck on the inside of the collar, making contact with your skin. The height of the collar band will determine how high the collar will sit on your neck.
For more information on different types of collars, check out Proper Cloth’s guide to shirt collars. There are many different types of collars you can choose from, but let's keep things simple, per usual.
When you’re looking to choose a collar that works best for your face, here’s how it breaks down, generally speaking…
Longer and narrower faces look best with a wider collar spread.
If your face is long and narrow, a shirt with narrow collars points will make it look even longer by directing the eye downward.
Instead, go for a wider spread to visually increase the width of the lower face.
Shorter and wider faces look best with a narrower collar spread.
If your face is short and wide, a wide-spread collar will cause the eye to travel horizontally side-to-side. This will make your face look even wider.
Instead, go for a narrower collar spread with longer points to visually increase the length of the lower face.
If you fall in-between these two face shape categories, the semi-spread collar (which we can pretty much dub “the standard” collar) will fit you well. As someone with average face shape measurements, you look good in average collars. Nothing too wide, nothing too narrow.
A word about your neck…
Just as we're aiming to balance the length and width of your face, we want to do the same for your neck. If you have a longer neck, it’s best to get a collar band that is taller to match the longer appearance of your neck. This positions the collar higher up and will help conceal more of your neck.
If you have a shorter neck, our goal is to give it length. A shorter collar band works best here, exposing more of your neck over the collar. This will make your neck look less “stubby” and visually give you some breathing room.
That’s it gents. In your next shirt purchase, make sure you’re paying attention to the collar spread and get one that’s appropriate for your face shape. Once you have that nailed, choose a collar band that will balance the length of your neck.
Remember that the shape of your collar plays a role in the way people view your face shape. It’s not a huge role, but it’s a factor that you should pay attention to if you’re looking to maximize your appearance.