So you received an invitation to a black tie event.
Immediately you think of tuxedo.
But what do you wear with it?
What's the perfect black tie dress shirt?
The classic winged collar is the fancier of two collar style options a gentleman has when paired with a traditional tuxedo.
While the occasion to wear a winged collar and tuxedo are few and far between for the average gentleman, it is always in good nature to understand what appropriate clothing you should wear before confirming your attendance.
What Is A Winged Collar Dress Shirt?
The winged collar is a heavily starched short collar with the tips standing up and pointing horizontally. The collar tips resemble wings, hence the name “winged collar”.
The winged collar dress shirt is a very dressy option for the most formal of occasions.
The winged collar is comparable to the Gladstone collar and often the Gladstone collar (coined after William Gladstone the historical prime minister of England) is given credit as the predecessor to the winged collar.
The winged collar enjoyed a fashionable period during the early 1900's — the golden era of men's formal wear.
However, the collar slowly lost popularity due to the rise of a more comfortable turndown collar. The change in fashion has not entirely kept the winged collar in the archives; the winged collar remains a classic collar to have for almost any formal occasion.
What To Wear With The Winged Collar
The winged collar is almost entirely reserved for formal occasion dress. Wearing a winged collar requires it to be paired with a tuxedo or a cutaway suit (also called a morning coat).
A bow-tie fits the outfit and the occasion. More often than not, when a gentleman wears a winged collar, tuxedo and a bow-tie, he makes sure that the collar points are tucked behind the bow-tie.
When wearing a less common cutaway suit with a winged collar dress shirt, a gentleman should consider wearing a cravat rather than a bow-tie. The wings of the collar will naturally be up-right; there is no need to try to tuck down the wings of the winged collar dress shirt when it is worn with a morning coat and cravat.
When To Wear A Winged Collar
If you have been invited to a black tie or formal social event, then, being a gentleman, you should seriously consider wearing a winged collar dress shirt.
Whereas a turndown collar (like a normal pointed collar) is associated with business and casual environments, a winged collar is strictly formal. While a tuxedo with a turndown soft collar looks nice, a winged collar is much more classy and a gentleman is sure to be looking the part.
Another appropriate occasion to wear a winged collar is at weddings. If you find yourself to be wearing a tuxedo or a cutaway suit, then the winged collar dress shirt fits. Depending on the level of formality of the wedding, a winged collar dress shirts brings an image that recalls the golden era of menswear.
Know the level of formality before you attend the event. If you find yourself wearing a winged collar while all other men are wearing turndown collars, then you should be prepared to stand out.
This could be an excellent moment to mingle and your winged collar could receive many compliments. How you feel while being the only man wearing a winged collar is entirely your choice. Know the environment and wear with confidence!
In short, the winged collar is like the luxury car of dress shirt collars: not appropriate in all places, but sure to make heads turn. A gentleman should only wear a winged collar in formal occasions.
It would be difficult and highly not recommended to wear winged collar dress shirt in the office or with a business suit. Nevertheless, should you find yourself wearing a winged collar dress shirt, you can count on being a well-dressed gentleman.