Why Collar Proportions Matter

For a while now, most entry level and mall brands have been selling shirts with fairly small collars.

Most men buy them because, well, unless you’re really serious about your clothes shopping, a shirt is a shirt. Collar proportions aren’t exactly something we get taught at school.
The problem with these short collars is two-fold; firstly, they don’t like to sit under a jacket (see fly-away collar) and secondly, they leave an unsightly gap between the collar tip and the jacket.
Again, unless you’re really into your menswear, it’s hard to see any different.
Until you see what a perfectly proportioned combination looks like.
And that’s what we’re here for today.

‘I Love It When A Plan Comes Together’

Seeing everything sitting just right is like watching those oddly satisfying videos on social media where somebody systematically cleans up an old deck, or a time lapse of somebody doing sculpture art.
It’s even better when you’re wearing it.

Linen Jacket OCBD Knitted Tie Outfit Autumn Spring Style

It’s one of those finishing touches that helps really nail the aesthetics of your outfit. As they say, the devil’s in the details.

Why are so many shirt collars short?

While I’ve theorised on a few different possibilities in the past, such as price cutting and big brands following fashion trends, I think another thing I didn’t touch on in the past is the way men tend to wear tailoring now.
In essence, neckties simply aren’t the norm, and collars are often worn open.
With the emergence of this norm, manufacturers realised that collars didn’t need to be so long, in order to sit under a jacket normally. Now, many brands have taken it too far, to the point that collars fly away even under a jacket, but that’s been covered before in the link at the beginning of this article.

In essence, it’s simply a response to the times. It just means that you need to look out for the right collar for you, and if you’re going to wear ties, choose your collars accordingly.

How can you make the best of a short collar?

Unless you’ve already nailed the collar size you like, chances are you’ll have one or many shirts lying around with collars that just don’t quite nail the aesthetic. It’s bothersome to wear them, but also bothersome to let them sit in the wardrobe.

Here are some examples that have bothered me:

The shirts above all have collar points that don’t reach quite far enough. However, there are some ways to deal with this, which I’ll showcase in some more images below.

There are two solutions here.
On the left, a shirt previously showcased to have a short collar is brought into the desired aesthetic line by wearing a sweater underneath the jacket. This brings the overall proportions into an ideal line, which is exactly what we want.
On the right, is the simple solution; going tieless. This restricts ability to dress the shirt up formally, but it’s fine for everyday wear.
Lastly, in the middle is a combination of both; going tieless under a v-neck sweater. This only works in the cooler months, but it’s still better than not being able to wear the shirt at all, and is a great solution if you have a favourite shirt where the collar is a tad too tight to wear fastened.

Concluding Thoughts

Fussing over the details like this might seem pedantic to some, but once you’ve nailed the general fit of things, pursuits like this are where attention tends to turn in the sartorial journey. It’s all part of the fun, and it’s really satisfying seeing the refinement that nailing the details can bring to your everyday dressing.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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