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Custom Shirt Collars

The well-tailored man’s appearance involves many intermingling factors and is ideally greater than the sum of its parts. While a suit is an incredibly important part of the ensemble, a custom dress shirt comes in at a very close second. This article begins a four-part series on the different elements of a custom dress shirt.


We start with the collar because that is unquestionably the most important part of a shirt. Think about your face as a picture and your shirt collar as the frame. You wouldn’t put a beautiful photograph in a low-quality frame, would you? Given that it’s your most expressive body part, drawing positive attention to your face is of the utmost importance in projecting a positive image.

When buying a custom shirt, you select from a number of different collars, but how do you know which to go with? Our Philadelphia-based image consultants will certainly guide you, but the answer lies in an understanding of the geometric relationship between your facial shape and a collar’s spread.


The term “spread” refers to the distance between the bottom ends of the collars points, which are the sides that make contact with the tie knot. Collar spreads can range from nearly nothing (think Joe Pesci’s character from “Goodfellas”) to a “cutaway” collar, in which the collar may be spread to a 180-degree angle. Furthermore, these are two extremes; many more options exist on the collar spread continuum.

Before choosing a properly spread collar, you need to take a good look in the mirror, paying attention to the shape of your face. Is your shape circular or oval-shaped? No matter what the answer is, you want the degree of collar spread to offset the shape of your face. If your face is round, you’ll want a more pointed collar, otherwise you risk accentuating that roundness. If you’re more oval-shaped (most men are), then a wider spread collar will work best.


Next, the length of the collar points is essential to a balanced appearance. The current trend is for miniature collar points, some as short as two inches. This is fine for a child, but the average man’s head will look massive resting on such short points. The average length is 2.75” and can increase from there if you’re larger framed, or decrease from there if you’re much smaller-framed. Experiment a bit or, better yet, take the advice of a trusted image consultant and you’ll find a collar that works best for your face.

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