Two of the most important features of a men’s shirt, the collar and cuffs not only help keep its structure, but they make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your outfit. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about collars and cuffs, including the most popular styles and how to choose the right one. We also answer some of the most commonly asked questions when looking at purchasing a new shirt.
What are the Different Types of Shirt Collars?
From the spread collar to the point collar, there are many different versions available. At Savile Row Company, we offer four main shirt collars: Windsor, button-down, cutaway and pin. There are also variations of these styles, such as the small button-down, small cutaway and soft cutaway. Each have their own design, but they have all been made with the same meticulous attention to detail and our curl-resistant technology.
In addition to these key shirt collars, we offer grandad and wing collar — depending on the time of year. The grandad collar is a popular choice for the summer months, whereas wing collar shirts are usually worn to white tie events, therefore are particularly popular during the festive period.
What is a Grandad Collar?
The grandad collar shirt is also referred to as the mandarin collar or band collar shirt. Ironically, it has no collar at all. Instead, it has a button with a raised band that runs around the neck. The effortlessly cool and casual shirting choice is a go-to for smart-casual occasions — working just as well beneath a cardigan, as it does layered over a T-shirt.
How to Wear a Grandad Collar Shirt
Particularly appealing in the summer months, the grandad collar shirt can be worn alone but also offers a variety of layering opportunities. Not just for the beach, it can look equally smart in the office (depending on your work environment).
What is a Wing Collar?
Most popular during the 1900s – and the everyday uniform of men during the Edwardian era – the wing collar is one of the most sophisticated dress shirts for men. Elegant and eye-catching, it boasts a stiff, short collar with “winged” tips that stand up and point horizontally.
How to Wear a Wing Collar Shirt
The wing collar shirt should be saved for only the most formal occasions; in particular, awards evenings and white tie events. Designed to be worn with a bow tie, the buttons should be fully fastened and the tips tucked neatly behind the bow.
What is a Button-Down Collar?
Stylish and practical, the button-down collar is secured to the shirt by small buttons on both points. It is historically casual, but can also be dressed up with a tie. It was introduced in England during the 1800s to help polo players keep their collars in place while playing. Today, it is a versatile choice that’s perfect for a wide range of occasions — from weekend brunches to big board meetings.
How to Wear a Button-Down Shirt
Button-down shirts are best worn casually, however they can also bring a touch of formality to your tailored looks. For weekends or dress-down Fridays, wear yours under a merino wool jumper. During the summer, roll up the sleeves and team your button-down with chinos or shorts.
What is a Cutaway Collar?
One of our bestselling shirt collars, the cutaway collar has points that are angled outwards instead of pointing down. Clean and contemporary, it looks just as good with a tie as it does without. When wearing with a tie, opt for wide and prominent neckwear using the full or half Windsor knot.
How to Wear a Cutaway Collar Shirt
If you want to make a statement at work or your next family wedding, the cutaway collar shirt is a fine choice. The points are set wider apart than regular collars, so there’s plenty of room for large, eye-catching tie knots. You can wear cutaway collars with or without a tie, but your outfit should always be formal.
What is a Pin Collar?
A variety of the tab collar, the pin collar shirt works best under a sharp tailored suit, with a substantial tie knot. The pin is designed to bring the collars together and push your tie forward — therefore helping it stand proud. Particularly popular during the 1920s and 30s, it has recently had a resurgence thanks to TV shows such as Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire.
How to Wear a Pin Collar Shirt
The pin collar shirt should always be worn with a tie — avoiding those that are skinny, and sticking to simple knots such as the four-in-hand. For the rest of your outfit, we suggest keeping accessories to a minimum (a pocket square and watch would suffice) and pairing it with your favourite tailoring.
What is a Windsor Collar?
Traditional and timeless, the Windsor collar is an integral part of British style and appropriate for any occasion inside or outside of the boardroom. It was originally designed to match the wide Windsor knot made popular by the Duke of Windsor. Similar to the cutaway collar, it is characterised by its refined points that are angled outwards instead of down.
How to Wear a Windsor Collar Shirt
Nonchalant yet elegant, the Windsor collar is fashioned with a wide spread to accommodate large tie knots. The Windsor knot is a safe choice — especially for business settings — whereas a slimmer knot can help you stand out while bringing a more elevated sense of sartorial panache.
How to Choose the Right Shirt Collar
When choosing shirt collars, there are a number of factors you should consider. Like most pieces of clothing, the design you choose will depend on your personal style and the level of formality you would like to convey. In addition, certain outfits or occasions will help make the decision for you. For example, a button-down shirt would be inappropriate to wear with a black bow tie, just as a pin collar would look out of place with chinos or a tweed jacket. To help, we’ve highlighted some of the key collar styles and split them into two groups: those best for casual outfits and others suited to formal dressing.
The Best Collar Styles for Casual Outfits
Softer, unlined shirt collars are usually best kept for casual ensembles. Whether you’re heading for lunch at the weekend or dressing down at work, these three collar styles are a stylish choice:
- Button-down collar
- Cutaway collar
- Grandad collar
The Best Collar Styles for Formal Outfits
Shirt collars that are stiffer and more structured are ideal for formal events. Some of the most popular styles are:
- Pin collar
- Wing tip collar
- Windsor collar
The Best Collar Styles for Your Face Shape
When it comes to buying yourself a new shirt, the shape of your face should also be taken into consideration. Good news is, whether your face is oval, angular or round, there’s shirt collars to suit every man. To help you pick the right one, we’ve created a handy guide to finding the best collar styles for your face shape.
What Type of Collar Do You Need for a Bow Tie?
To successfully wear a bow tie, you should ensure that its width is not beyond the breadth of your shirt collar. This can be easier to accomplish when purchasing a self-tie design that can be adjusted. Good collar options for formal outfits are cutaway, Windsor and spread, whilst button-down collars are perfect for smart-casual occasions. For a black or white tie event, the wing collar shirt is ideal.
What Are The Different Types of Cuffs?
French cuffs. Mitered cuffs. Barrel cuffs. There are many types of cuffs available — each boasting a slightly different style. However, although they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they all fall into two categories: single and double.
What is a Double Cuff Shirt?
Our double cuffs are timeless, with a neat square corner and pristine fold. Designed to be fastened with cufflinks, they’re the perfect choice for formal events such as weddings and important business meetings.
How to Wear a Double Cuff Shirt
Double cuffs are at their best when worn for a formal occasion and teamed with a suit. If you are attending an important event or celebration, the double cuff shirt should be your go-to. Alternatively, if you want to simply make your formal outfit smarter, they offer an easy yet effective way to do so.
What is a Single Cuff Shirt?
Single cuffs are found on both formal and casual shirts. Unlike double cuffs, you don’t need to fold them back — they simply wrap around the wrist, usually with a single button for fastening. Functional and easy to wear, they can come in a variety of shapes: round, square or angled.
How to Wear a Single Cuff Shirt
A single cuff shirt is available in casual and formal styles, therefore can be worn either casually or smart. Worn with chinos, a casual shirt is a fail-safe option for relaxed office environments, while a formal style is the perfect partner for your favourite suit.
What is a French Cuff Shirt?
The French cuff is simply another term for double cuff. It is believed that it got its name due to the resemblance to garments favoured by merchants and soldiers in the Napoleonic times.
What is the Difference Between Single and Double Cuff?
Other than the obvious visual differences, the double cuff is seen as the smarter of the two. Double cuffs only feature on formal shirts and should be saved for occasions that require a smarter dress code. While they can also be formal, single cuffs are used on casual shirts — therefore are better suited to everyday outfits.
Whether you opt for a single or double cuff shirt, don’t forget: when wearing a suit, a half inch of cuff should show beyond the sleeve of the jacket. This same rule applies to the amount of collar that should be visible above your jacket collar.
How to Wear Cufflinks With a Double Cuff Shirt
Wearing cufflinks is easy and requires little practice. It can be quicker to get somebody to help, but it’s a sartorial task you should be able to complete on your own.
Although there are many types of cufflinks available, the most common styles are equipped with a T-bar fitting. To ensure you put yours on correctly, simply follow these three easy steps:
- Fold up your shirt cuff so that the two holes meet at the bottom.
- Place them through the two adjoining holes.
- Twist the bar at the bottom so it stays secure.
Can You Wear Cufflinks With a Single Cuff Shirt?
Although they are primarily used on double cuff shirts, cufflinks can also be worn with single cuff designs. This can be done by following the steps below:
- Unbutton the cuffs and pinch them together so that the insides are pressed together.
- Insert the cufflink all the way through both holes.
- Make sure the decorative part of the cufflink is on the outside of the cuff.
- Depending on the style of the cufflink, secure it on the backside of the cuff.
Can You Wear a Double Cuff Shirt Without a Jacket?
While double cuff shirts pair best with tailoring, they can also be worn without a suit — especially within an office environment. If you want to dial up the formality, just make sure you pop your jacket back on.
Can You Roll Up Double Cuffs?
There are several reasons you may want to roll up your sleeves. You could be working in a stuffy office, washing up the dishes, or simply want to make your outfit a little more casual. Whatever your reason, rolling your sleeves has both style and functional benefits. However, if you’re wearing a double cuff shirt, we suggest avoiding rolling unless absolutely necessary, While single cuff shirts can look neat when rolled, double cuff shirts have extra fabric and end up looking too bulky.
Shop our full collection of shirts for men, featuring a wide range of single and double cuff styles.