There is a time and place for everything, and this is certainly the case when it comes to wearing the wing collar shirt. Worn correctly, it can help drastically improve your outfit; however, team it with the wrong pieces (or wear it to the wrong event) and you’ll end up raising eyebrows instead of receiving compliments.
A must-read for any stylish gentleman, this definitive Savile Row guide will focus on when to wear a wing collar shirt and what you should wear it with.
What is a Wing Collar Shirt?
Particularly popular during the 1900s – and the everyday uniform of men during the Edwardian era – the impressive 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. Hence why it is sometimes referred to as a wing tip shirt. Although it may not be utilised as much as it once was, it still remains a classic choice that helps tailored outfits stand superior when next to others.
When to Wear a Wing Collar Shirt
Suitable for only the most formal occasions – especially when wearing a dinner suit – the wing collar shirt is the perfect choice for a black tie event. Other collar styles are certainly deemed appropriate, however the wing collar offers a touch of individuality and shows you’re a man who refuses to follow the crowd.
While it could work for a fancy work party or Christmas/New Year’s Eve gathering (depending on the level of formality), it should never be worn to the office and definitely not during a business meeting. Alternatively, you may decide on a white tie theme for your wedding. If so, the wing collar shirt becomes an essential part of your ensemble.
What to Wear with a Wing Collar Shirt
Typically found on white dress shirts with a marcella bib front, wing collars are designed to be worn with a bow tie – with the buttons fully fastened and the tips tucked neatly behind the bow. As for the rest of the outfit, a classic black dinner suit, white pocket square and patent leather Derby shoes are what is required.
If you’ve been invited to a white tie event – as well as your white wing collar shirt – you’ll need to find a number of pieces to complete the look. Start with a white bow tie (not black), and then invest in an evening tailcoat, high waisted trousers (with two lines of braid down the outside), white evening waistcoat and black patent leather shoes. Optional extras include a top hat and white silk gloves.
Do You Wear a Bow Tie Under or Over the Collar?
If you're wearing a wing collar shirt, it is best practice to tuck the tips under your bow tie; this helps to create a cleaner look. Leaving the collar untucked doesn't break any rules, it just means your overall outfit may look a little untidy.
Top Tips for Wearing a Wing Collar Shirt
To remind yourself what this guide has included, take a look at our summary below:
- Wing collar shirts should only be worn for formal occasions
- They should always be worn with a bow tie, never a tie
- They are best suited to black tie and white tie events
- Never wear them to semi-formal events
- Tuck the winged tips behind your bow tie