Types of Shirts
It’s essential to know which of the six types of shirts will leave you looking just right for the big interview.
by Rita Gworek
It may be hard to visualize that there are so many different components to a shirt, but it is important to know how these all work together. It is like wearing a uniform. Everything has regulations and specifications. In the military everything has to be in place. The shirt has to be pressed just so, and the tie had its specifics, too.
The shirts in the private sector have different collar styles, cuffs, plackets and pockets. Each belongs with a different style of suit or sport coat. When you know how to put these together correctly, you will be wearing the right business uniform.
Dress shirts can have six or more different collar styles. There are three or more cuff styles, and shirts with and without pockets. The front can be plain or with a placket. The package of a shirt will list the collar style, the cuff style and the body style. The body style will be either full-cut or tapered. If you like your shirt to fit tighter around the body pick a tapered cut. The shirt will be five inches trimmer around the natural waist. The correct fit of a collar is to be able to place two flat fingers against your neck and the shirt collar. The sleeves should be long enough to show about one quarter of an inch below your suit jacket sleeve. The purpose of the collar and cuffs showing is to help protect your suit by taking the moisture and abrasion onto them and keeping them off the suit.
Button Down the Collars
Historically, the button-down collar was created to ensure the collar would stay down when men where playing polo. The style caught on and is now used as a more casual style of collar. This is worn with a sport coat or blazer. It can be worn with a single-breasted suit, but doing so makes the suit more relaxed. There are hidden button-down collars. These give men the assurance of the collar lying down without the casual look of seeing of the buttons. This being the case it does not relax the look of the shirt into a casual use. When the fabric of the shirt is coarse like an oxford cloth, the shirt is even more casual. However, you can find button-down collar styled shirts in a dressy broadcloth, which moves them up a notch away from being too casual.
Normally, you see a placket down the front of the shirt on a button-down style. This makes the shirt even more casual. This collar style can easily be worn without a tie. More and more clothing manufacturers are producing this shirt in different colors. The color and fabric can place the shirt in a very casual stance or something more of a business look. If a tie is worn with this collar it is best to use a four-in-hand knot. Never wear a button-down style shirt with a double-breasted suit.
Give it to Me Straight Up
You will hear different terminology about this collar style. It can also be called standard, regular or classic. This is the standard business collar. It can be in any fabric or colors. It is most often worn with a single-breasted suit, but can be worn with a sport coat or blazer. The length of the collar is measured from the top to the tip and is two-and-one-half inches in length. This works well for most face shapes, too. You can tie a half Windsor or four- in-hand knot in this collar style.
Get to the Point
This collar is similar to the straight collar except that it is three inches long from the top of the collar to the tip. It is best for men who have fuller faces and want them to appear more slender. Use a half Windsor and four-in-hand knot. Wear this collar style with a single-breasted suit or sport coat and blazer.
This has a very constricted business look. It fits very tight around the neck. So men who have short necks should never wear this style as it will look as though they are being choked. Often a tie bar is used to hold this collar in place or there are tabs with snaps on them under each collar so that you snap them together. It makes the tie knot sit up high. This is worn with a single-breasted suit. The knot should be a four-in-hand that is pulled tight.
Spread it Out
This collar style can also be called a sculptured spread and a cut away collar. The sculptured collar is curved. The cut away is straight and spread almost horizontal. You will see this style in England and Italy. It is very fashionable.
The regular spread collar is good to wear if you have a long face and neck. It will draw your eye to the shoulders and away from going down the body which makes your face and neck appear even longer. Since there is so much room to tie a knot between the collars it is best to use a full Windsor knot. This collar style is very formal and is used on a double-breasted suit. It can be used with a single-breasted suit for a more formal look, but it is never worn with a sport coat or blazer. A tie should always be worn with a spread collar. This is the only style of shirt that usually does not have pockets on it.
Slap on the Cuffs
There are barrel cuffs with one or two buttons on them. This is a business style of cuff. A French cuffed shirt is more formal. The cuff folds over and you must wear cuff links to hold the cuffs closed. This can be worn with a single-breasted suit, but looks best with a doubled breasted suit which has a formal look.