Sounds like you're doing well. 1. Most of the Italian and English collars that guys are calling "spread" collars on SF are more "semi-spread." A true spread collar is awful for a bow, because the bow will obscure the collar entirely. A semi-spread or a tennis/point collar works better. Here's Alexander Kabbaz's "collar rendering system," which shows the variety possible: Anyway, you want the edge line of the collar to follow the bottom edge lines of the bow, ideally peeking just a little when you tie the bow, which will droop a bit into the evening. [* Sentence edited to reflect ass-kicking by later on in this thread.] 2. I have no suggestions for studs or links. Get what you like. On the first go, simple is better than complicated, serious better than humorous. Many prefer high contrast (thus, black) for the dress set; other's, not. If you're undecided, consider reversable studs, like the ones that Forum Affiliate and Black Tie Guide quoter Kent Wang carries. But really, you can make do with even a very inexpensive dress set, and given that you're approaching this from a thrifting angle, check eBay. It makes more sense to put money or effort into a good shirt and acceptable shoes rather than the dress set at this point, I think.