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Dress shirt collars: how snug should they be?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by anton75489, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. anton75489

    anton75489 New Member

    Jun 18, 2012
    Hello all,

    First time poster here, little bit of advice needed!
    I'm quite new to wearing formal wear and have recently updated my wardrobe considerably due to a new job where I have to be suited and booted every day. Bought myself a couple of suits, shirts, ties as well as two pairs of smart shoes. The dress code where I work is very formal and many of the other guys are very sharply dressed – personally I'm loving the style and appreciate being able to dress well, particularly considering the scruffiness of my last office – which was unprofessional and a bit depressing, to be honest.

    The look sported by some of the other younger guys here is the very clean cut, sharp suited look. Eg, David Beckham, lighting the Olympic torch: http://alist-fashion.com/2012/05/20/david-beckham-contrast-collar-tie-pin-olympic-sharp/

    I'm trying to go for this look too, and I have bought myself a load of dress shirts from TM Lewin. Slim fit, with semi-stiff cutaway collars . I have always believed myself to have a 16in neck size, but when I went in to the store the assistant measured me and said that if I wanted to look smart I should really wear a 15.5in.

    Indeed, when I did try a 16 inch shirt, the rest of it was baggy and there was a gap between the collar and neck that looked sloppy, so I took the assistant's advice and went for 15.5 – which fits perfectly and looks much smarter when worn with a tie. He noted it was a bit snugger round the neck that what I had been used to but that I'd get used to it and that 15.5 rather than 16 was definitely a proper fit.

    However when I've got my tie done up properly and the top button fastened, it's not that comfortable. I usually last until about lunchtime until I undo my top button and loosen my tie to get some relief – but this looks sloppy and unprofessional!

    I thought about going back to 16in but it just doesn't look as good with the baggy shirtfront and gap between the collar and the neck. Not wearing a tie is not an option, everyone else does. The other guys in the office with this look manage a snug collar and tie all day long – is there a knack to this that I'm not getting or is it just a question of manning up and accepting that if you want to be sharp and well turned out a bit of comfort needs to be sacrificed?

    For info, I'm not that used to formal clothing and wearing suits every day - I've never had to for any job before and went to a casually dressed school. So perhaps it's just something to get used to?
  2. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Apr 21, 2005
    Are you cinching your tie too tight? If the collar is comfortable without a tie, it should be comfortable with one as well.

    Generally you should be able to fit a couple of fingers against your neck with your collar done up. But there shouldn't be a conspicuous gap.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  3. guymac12

    guymac12 Senior member

    Aug 9, 2011
    That's right, you should be able to fit your fingers along the neckline.
  4. newyorknoir

    newyorknoir Senior member

    Jun 9, 2012
    New York, New York
    Don't limit yourself to only one type of dress shirt.. If T.M. Lewin doesn't compliment your proportions, try a different shirtmaker.. Everyone will have a slightly different fit—even if it's the same size. Also, keep in mind that you may be buying regular fit shirts, and depending on your body-type, should maybe be buying slim-fit. Since I've never shopped at T.M. Lewin, I don't know if they offer this. I seem to be able to find a good balance, but you have to search around.. I can generally get one or maybe two fingers in (and by this I don't mean one on top of another—I don't think you should ever be able to fit on on top of another), if you can fit three that would seem a little loose.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  5. Needsmoreshoes

    Needsmoreshoes Senior member

    Mar 6, 2012
    If you want a larger neckline with a slimmer body Lewin's John Francomb fully fitted range should do the trick, it's even more close cut. I'm really thin and these fit cleanly without venturing into the GQ underarmour territory.

    As was said above, if the collar feels fine buttoned up without a tie it should feel fine buttoned up with a tie. Make sure you can fit a finger into the neckline comfortably. Maybe it's the way you tie your tie - when pulling the knot up to the collar, rather than pulling it up try putting the knot perpendicular to your neck and pulling it into the neckline.
  6. dbc

    dbc Senior member

    Dec 20, 2009
    You should be able to get at least a finger into the gap.

    Failing that, buy the 16" and get it altered.
  7. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

    Sep 30, 2010

    A very interesting rule.
  8. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Mar 16, 2006

    Yes, something worth looking into.
  9. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

    Jan 3, 2008
    Princeton, NJ

    What does this have to do with collars?

    I like mine ligature tight.
  10. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Sounds like you're just not used to wearing shirts with a buttoned collar. Give it time.
  11. skefferz

    skefferz Senior member

    May 22, 2006
    Post photos of yourself wearing the shirt with and without the tie.
  12. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Senior member

    Mar 26, 2012
    sTeALiN yO cAr

    Also, post some photos of yourself wearing the tie with and without the shirt.
  13. Lord Mulberry

    Lord Mulberry Senior member

    May 20, 2012
    Sheffield / UK
    I had a TM lewin John Francomb pin through collar shirt that I loved. Infortunately my stomach didn't like it and I ripped the button hole leaning forward to tie my shoelaces ... gutted!
  14. doughboysc

    doughboysc Senior member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Greenwood,South Carolina USA
    Speaking of dress shirts. My neck size went from 19.5" neck to 18" and sleeve length from 35" to 34". Most of my Brooks Brothers are 20" neck 36" sleeve. Man it's now too big. Maybe in the future, I'll buy new clothes since I recently loss 33 lbs. altogether (I'm currently at 334 lbs.) since my highest weight ever at 367 lbs. years ago. Now I can wear off-the-rack dress shirts from most budget to high-end department stores (some goes up to 17.5" neck or 18" neck).
  15. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

    Jul 10, 2010
    look at CT tailored fit.

    and stop saying "smart" all the bloody time
  16. TM79

    TM79 Senior member

    Apr 28, 2010
    But if you can fit 3, that shirt's been around the block too much and it's not a keeper.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
    1 person likes this.

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