Know your shirt, from turndown collars to barrel cuffs
The most formal dress shirts collar today is also the most common. Known also by the name “straight-point collar,” the turndown collar will vary in the length of the tips and their distance from each other, but essentially consists of a wide neck and relatively long points that extend downward to form a triangular opening at the neck that is ideal for showcasing the knot of your necktie. Men with short necks can use a shorter collar to lengthen the appearance of the neck. Men with long necks can use a longer collar to make their necks appear shorter.
Also called the “wide spread collar,” the cutaway collar is like a turndown collar with the points pushed as far apart as possible. This leaves a wide gap at the neck of the dress shirt that allows even wide necktie knots to be displayed prominently. The cutaway collar is widely considered more elegant than a turndown collar.
Invented in the US, the roll collar is essentially a long, wide turn down collar with buttons at the collar tips. Well-made roll collars generally have a soft finish. Combined with the buttoned tips, the finish gives your dress shirt a less formal look than other collars. The roll collar is also known as the “button-down collar” and the “soft-roll collar.”
More popular on dress shirts in the US than Europe, this collar features a pin that holds the collar points close to the knot of the necktie. The collar is dressy, but the metal of the pin can distract from the face of the wearer. Like the tab collar, the pin collar lifts the tie knot nicely.
Instead of a pin, the tab collar has a button or snap that extends from the two wings of the collar. Like the pin collar, the tab collar lifts the tie knot nicely, and is especially popular on dress shirts in the US.
An old-fashioned practice that is virtually nonexistent today, detachable collars can be attached to and removed from collarless dress shirts. A few men still use detachable collars to make a classic fashion statement.
Also called the “wing-tip collar,” you will see this collar on dress shirts intended to be worn with tuxedos. The tips of the collar are folded down into small triangles at the center of the collar. The wing collar is perfect for wear with a bow tie, and should only be worn with your tuxedo.
Cuffs: Barrel & French
Barrel cuffs, also called button cuffs, close with a button. French cuffs are longer, fold up, and require cufflinks instead of a button. Dress shirts with either barrel cuffs or French cuffs are considered professional attire, but a French cuff dress shirt will make a more elegant fashion statement.