Wearing a Spread Collar

A men’s dress shirt collar for thin faces

The spread collar has long been a favorite of well-dressed men. Not all men, however, should wear a dress shirt with a spread collar. The following discusses the nature of the spread collar and shows which kinds of faces should and should not be framed by it.

Introducing: The Spread Collar

The spread dress shirt collar has quite a distinguished history, adorning such famous necks as the Duke of Windsor and Doug Fairbanks. For the right man, this collar will display his face perfectly. This type of collar should be worn with a larger necktie knot (full windsor; Shelby knot) to fill in some of the space.

A man who wears a dress shirt with a spread collar shows his individual style by knowing that it looks good on him and wearing it with confidence.

Properties of a Spread Collar

As the name suggests, the spread, or distance between the collar points, is wider than usual.

mens spread collar

A Spread Collar

Note how far apart the tips of the collar are – the inverted “V” below the chin is quite wide. The collar point length is noteworthy as well. If this angle were maintained but the points were shortened, it would have to be worn by a man with a small head because the small collar would only make a large head look larger. We have, therefore, a wide spread with a collar point length proportionate to the individual’s face.

Thin-faced Men Should Wear this Collar

Though this collar is gaining popularity and it has a great history, not all men should wear dress shirts with a spread collar. Thin men, or men with thin faces, are the right suitors for a spread collar. The horizontality of the collar balances against the naturally accentuated vertical lines of the face.

For this same reason, thin-faced men should avoid narrow-point collars as they will bring out more verticality and will negatively emphasize their thinness.

mens ideal dress shirt collar

Will Arnett in a less-than-ideal dress shirt collar

Notice how, in this photo, Will Arnett’s long facial lines are underscored in his shirt collar. He would look better in a spread collar.

Here are two more photos for consideration. Jason Statham would do well in a spread collar, while John Bunny would not due to his round face.

The spread collar has a couple important variations: the medium spread and wide spread. Each have their place beneath certain men’s faces and are not for everyone. The medium spread rests between the standard spread and standard straight point collar…

A medium spread collar

…while the wide spread collar is nearly horizontal.

A wide spread collar.

Consider President Obama’s medium spread collar in this photo and how it complements his face:

Spread Collars are Classic

The spread collar remains classic men’s style like the pocket square, hat, and custom suit. If a man wants to wear a dress shirt with a spread collar, he needs to understand that while this collar is a great choice for many men, it may form an image of an overly heavy man if he has a round face.

However, a thin-faced man will look dashing with a well-proportioned spread collar. If he is a little shy to try out the spread collar, he should try out the medium spread and look at the great picture that this different kind of dress shirt collar portrays.