Men rarely pay attention to what type of collar a shirt has when they purchase it, as long as it looks good with the rest of the shirt. However, if a man intends to wear a bow tie, it is important to choose a shirt with a suitable collar. If he wears a clip-on bow tie, for example, the collar should disguise the fact that it's a clip-on tie. A freestyle bow tie--one tied out of a single cloth strip--will look fine with most collar styles if it is done properly.
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Also known as a turndown collar, this type of collar completes most button-down shirts. According to Meieli Sawyer Detoni of Mens Flair, a straight collar flatters nearly every facial structure. They are easy to find in department stores and stores with business attire. They hide a clip-on or pretied bowtie's metal clips well and can also hold a well-tied regular bow tie.
A spread collar is considered a more formal collar style. Men usually wear ties in formal Windsor knots to complement these collars properly. Because spread collars sit at a sharper angle than a straight collar (the points of the collar are more "spread" out), this style is best suited for a regular bow tie, not a clip-on or pretied type.
This collar is featured most often on tuxedos and other formalwear. The collars are lifted and smaller flaps literally form wings next to the wearer's throat. According to Detoni, for the most traditional wing collar look, men should buy a dress shirt collarless "and then purchase separate wing collars to attach." This type of collar best accommodates a regular, freestyle bow tie; metal clips from clip-ons or pretied versions may show.
Tab and Button-down Collars
Both of these styles will suit any bow tie style. Tab collars, which look like straight collars, have small pieces of fabric securing them with a snap or button. Tab collars look more formal; the collars stay flatter and neater overall. Button-down collars, more business casual, are buttoned to the shirt at the collar corner. They can be worn with or without a bow tie.
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