That’s right, there’s a whole world of collar-styles out there.

Okay, we’re going to hurl ourselves straight into this one -- it’s bad enough that you’re forced to wear a button-down shirt to work every day, but rubbing tabasco sauce into the wound is the annoyingly unnecessary amount of shirt collar styles to pick from. It’s like being sat on Death Row and being given a twelve-page menu of grub you can order for your last meal - it’s too much choice for any mortal man to wade through.

It’s a shirt collar, for heaven’s sake. A collar. That’s all. So why there needs to be three-dozen different types is totally beyond us. But instead of sitting around and complaining about it (and saying typically grumpy and British things like, “this is exactly what’s wrong with the world nowadays”), we’ve been busy whittling the options down to the seven essential shirt-collars worth knowing about and possibly adding to your wardrobe.

No, you probably don’t need them all, and if someone had a water-pistol to our heads and was forcing us to pick just one (don’t ask us why!?), we’d probably pick an Oxford, with either a traditional collar or a button-down. But we’ve promised you seven collar-types and seven you will get.

So, without further ado, here’s your no-nonsense guide to the best shirt-collar options out there and how to wear them. You. are. welcome.

The Traditional Collar

This is it. The classic. The one that you think of whenever you close your eyes and imagine shirt collars (which, in all honesty, probably isn’t that often) - and rightly so, because this collar is more universal than jazz music and more fitting than a pair of one-size ski goggles.

Also known as a forward point or straight collar, this style works for any kind of man, in any kind of suit, with a penchant for any kind of necktie knot. It’s the collar to pick when you’re not sure what to wear because it’s impossible to get wrong. It’s tried, it’s tested, and it’s fail-safe.

You can pair it with a skinny black tie for those formal evening affairs, pop it on with a colourful silk tie for your day job, or leave it open for those more casual outings (unless your style icon is Simon Cowell, because no one needs to see that much chest hair).

The Button-Down Collar

We love this guy. He’s dapper but casual. The most stylish and sophisticated dude in the group. That maverick who knows how to strut along the line, adding a pinch of flair to his look without doing anything drastic enough to be told off by the boss - who he probably plays tennis with at the weekends (when he’s not dating his daughter). That’s the vibe this collar gives off.

It’s also one of the most versatile collars out there because it can be worn confidently at both casual and formal events. Need to wear a tie? This guy will hold it securely in place, no problem. Been invited to one of those annoyingly ambiguous smart-casual events? Drop the neck accessory and pop a jumper over it. Want to impress a girl over a pub lunch? Unbutton it and show her your charm. It’s an all-around good egg.

The Spread Collar

We call it the spread because we’re English. But Americans tend to call this collar an English Spread, which is because it’s most commonly worn here and in Italy (don’t ask us why it’s never called the Italian Spread? We can only think it’s because that sounds a little bit naughty). Anyway, the reason for its name is pretty self-explanatory: the points of the collar are spread wider apart.

It’s the tie of choice for businessmen and anyone that has time to perfect a full Windsor knot. Why? Because this collar is perfect for any chap wanting to look one-part sophisticated and one-part confident. It’s basically your chance to look formal and powerful and composed, but without going too far.

The Cutaway Collar

Once again, this style does exactly what it says on the tin: it looks like part of the collar has been cut away -- thankfully by someone who has OCD when it comes to symmetry. It’s sort of like The Spread Collar, if The Spread Collar had taken steroids. The distance between the two points is huuuge. Not even a Windsor knot could fill it. But that’s the point. It’s a tie that only a certain type of man can pull off. A man with confidence. A man who can rock the regal look. Are you that guy? We reckon you are.

The Neck Band Collar

This is one of those styles that leaves most people looking a bit confused, wondering whether they can take out their phone and look it up without being caught. But if we called it The Peaky Blinder Collar, you’d know exactly what we meant. It’s the collar that is currently taking the world by storm, even though it’s not actually a collar. It’s like a non-collar. It’s just a band of shirt material that is clearly lacking any form of a collar, making it a no-go for all work, business and formal events. And yet we still love it. Thank you, Tommy Shelby. Thank you).

The Club Collar

All the best decades in good-time history celebrated this collar. The Roaring Twenties? Check. The Swfinging Sixties? Check. A coincidence? We hope not, but that’s only because we want this collar to come back into fashion and signal the start of another raucous era. And it totally suits that kind of fun, wild and alternatively sophisticated setting.

And what separates it from the other collars on this list is the sloping curves it has in place of the usual angular points. Sure, you need to have a certain je ne sais pas to pull it off - and be a guy known for having a really good time - but we believe in you. You can kickstart the Club’s comeback.

The Tab Collar

This is the collar for any guy that’s a) still living in the ‘60s and b) loves nothing more than showing off how good he is at necktie knots. This is because the tab collar has what’s called “a snap”, which is a button tab that lifts your expert knot and frames it perfectly in the narrow gap between the collar. No, it hasn’t been particularly popular since the early ‘70s, but then came Daniel Craig’s first appearance as James Bond and - BOOM! - this collar flew out of the barrel of his PP7 and shot back in vogue. Just remember this collar can’t be worn without a tie. Well, it can, but it won’t look right. It might even scare people slightly.

Checking The Collar Fits

Nothing looks more scruffy than a shirt collar that’s too loose and nothing looks more uncomfortable than a shirt collar that’s too tight, meaning there’s a fine line to tread on the size front. That’s why you need to add this little hack to the Notes app in your iPhone. It’s a sure-fire way of knowing your collar fits comfortably. And it only requires two fingers.

All you need to do is put your index and middle fingers together, try and slide them down the side of your collar, and then check the amount of space that lies between. Voila. You have the perfect collar-fitting utensil ever created, which sort of makes you a Swiss Army Human.

Anyway, if you struggle to fit two fingers in the gap, then it's probably going to be a little tight for your liking. And if you can fit more than two fingers (such as your whole hand), then it’s probably too big. And that’s all there is to know.

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