Perhaps you didn't know that a boring old shirt collar has its own anatomy and terminology. Maybe you don't even know that different styles of collar exist. Expand your fashion knowledge when you learn about a spread that has nothing to do with butter or gambling, and figure out how to interpret the measurements of a standard shirt collar.
Collars on dress shirts typically lay in one of five ways. These "spreads" determine how much space is between the point of the collar and the opening of the shirt. On a narrow spread collar, the points of the collar lay very close to the buttons. If the shirt is paired with a necktie, the points are snug against the tie. The next narrowest spread is medium spread, followed by modified spread, wide spread and extra wide spread.
Point length is the measurement from the opening of the collar to the bottom of the collar's point. Points usually measure between 2 1/2 to 3 inches in length.
Back height describes the measurement of the collar at the back of the neck. Most back heights measure 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches.
Wing collars are often found on tuxedo shirts. The two small folds of a wing collar look similar to butterfly wings.
Button-Down and Tab Collars
Some collars come with extra features. Button-down collars are secured to the front of the shirt with small buttons that fasten at the points. Tab collars have a small piece of fabric that runs between the points, holding the two sides in place.
Standard Collar Measurements
The most common shirt collar features a medium spread, 3-inch points, and 1 3/4 inches back height.
Different occasions call for different collar styles. Button-down collars are the most casual style. Tab collars and collars with wider spreads are considered more formal. Wing collars, since they are worn with a tuxedo, are most formal.