Garment Doctor Series: The Power Collar

December 10th, 2013

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The collar is one of the most prominent and important elements in menswear, especially if your wearing your shirts without a tie. A great one can take your outfit to another level, and a bad one can completely ruin a well-tailored look.

Lately I’ve been gravitating toward larger more Italian-inspired collars, like those worn and made by my friend Angel Ramos. They stand strong to frame the face and create a confident and commanding look.

Here I highlight the difference, with some tips on making the transition to the “Power Collar”.

Are you wearing whimpy, impotent collars like this:

floppy

Notice how it’s buckling at the top of the placket, and the collar wants to lay down like it needs a nap.

Well, it’s going to be hard to get a collar like this to stand properly under a jacket. Your best bet is to wear magnetic collar stays (such as Wurkin Stiffs) to force the collar to stand in place. Even then, though, the effect is still not very natural looking:

magnet

In comparison, below is a shirt that Angel made for me. It has noticeably longer collar points and a significantly taller neckband (large enough to fit two collar buttons).

Notice the height and depth it creates off the line of the jacket:

Angel

This style of collar is not for everyone. Angel and I are relatively tall/large guys (especially in the Fashion industry, at roughly 6’2 190 lbs) so the macho collar works nicely.

That said, when you first start wearing a larger collar like this there is certainly an adjustment period. It takes some getting used to (since it sits higher up on the neck and closer to the jawline) as well as a little “training” to break it in.

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 5.49.13 AM

Here’s some tips from Angel himself:

First you want to create a smooth roll line. The collar shouldn’t be folded flat at the top, it should have a nice “bowed” roll to bring it some life. You can work-in this roll by massaging the collar around your index finger, while squeezing the collar points with your thumb to train them to stay down.

Secondly, curl the edges of the neckband inward. This will train the collar to remain standing at the neck, not flare out like Saturday Night Fever.

If you’re looking for a stronger statement from your collars, give it a try. After wearing one a few times and breaking it in a little, you’ll have a noticeably difference look. People might even say your looking taller/slimmer/more confident, but they won’t even know why.

0610

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Your in style,

TSBmen

 

Photography by Alex Crawford.

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  • Jimmy_Johansen

    This looks really interesting… I’m 6’2″ ~250 lbs; I have an athletic build. Broad shoulders.. grown man legs. I wear a slim fit 46-48L suit jacket but usually get pants in a 40″ to give me room in the thigh and then have them taken in as my waist is about 37″. It’s hard to find things to match up right and not seem out of proportion. I’ll have to look into this.

  • Steve
  • Badger

    Good tips. I also find that wearing shirt collars a half inch or full inch too small makes them sit nicely, especially if worn without a jacket.

  • http://undefined Brandon K

    What type of material is the shirt with the high collar made out of?

  • Wayne

    I have been wondering when Angel will open his webstore to allow us normal folks a chance at these shirts.

    Any word on when this might happen?

    • Angel

      I had some trouble with wacky web designers this year but finally after two rounds nailed a great one and site will be done by early jan latest mid jan. I’ll still predominately will be focusing on custom since that’s my passion however stay tuned for small collection all runs of shoes and perhaps jackets end of first quarter next year. Oh but I mean small. Lol ready to wear is a whole different animal that I need to learn slowly and not just jump in. Again not to sound redundant my focus is custom with private fittings.

  • Richard L.

    This really does make or break a “casual” outfit. Too many times (especially in the faculty of business at the University which requires suits) do I see dudes rock the “no tie” look and end up looking sloppy as hell.

    Have you guys ever done an article on JUST collar-types? Asking because of this feature and the question in the mailbag the other day.

  • Duncan

    Do you think this higher collars would work for shorter guys?

  • Kid Icarus

    What I’d like to know is how to keep a shirt collar band rounded while hanging in a closet. I hang my shirts with the top button buttoned to keep the collars looking good, but the collar band sort of folds over the hanger. It’s not a hard crease, but when I put the shirt on you can see the bend on left and right sides, towards the back of the neck.
    I admit my closet is probably over-stuffed with shirts, so this adds to the folding problem, but there has to be a solution.

    I’ve read about heated collar shapers that dry-cleaners have, but they’re very expensive, and seem impractical while dressing each morning. I wish there was some kind of hanger, or accessory that would hold the rounded shape of the collar band while it’s in the closet, but I haven’t been able to find such a thing.

    • Adam E

      When I take my shirts to the cleaners, I nearly always have them folded (in which case they put plastic inserts which help maintain shape). I do this so that they travel well and take up less space. The other thing i find makes a difference is making sure there’s enough closet space (so things aren’t smashed into each other), and not using crappy hangers (plastic or worse, the shitty metal ones from the dry cleaners). Well made clothes should be stored on proper wooden hangers, that help to maintain the shape of the garment (be it shirt, blazer shoulders, etc.)

  • MN

    I like these posts talking about more technical aspects.

    Could you provide measurements of the collar? (Collar height, point length)

    Does he use heavy fusing to get it to stay stiff?

  • Chris

    Speaking of Angel, he got a HUGE shout out from one of his clients Brandon Marshall last night on ESPN after his Chicago Bears beat the Cowboys.

    http://instagram.com/p/hupmwtDvls/

  • Pat

    Excellent. Nothing I hate more than a floppy collar and wearing a jacket over it.

  • http://anorexicescapades.com BougieHippie

    I forgot who makes them but about a few years ago I purchased some magnetic collar stays that use for my dress shirts when I’m not wearing a tie. They are a great investment and works. But before that I would just starch and press my collars and it work great as well.

    awesome post! http://anorexicescapades.com/

  • Tommy

    Speaking of collars, does anyone have any good tips for removing collar stains on white dress shirts?

    • LouCaves

      For stuff that is already there, try a mix of white vinegar and water. Let it soak for a few seconds then brush lightly. I admit this technique only sometimes works depending on the stain.

      Best thing is to prevent it in the first place. I keep a spray bottle with a water and liquid detergent mix (only a couple of TBSPs with ~10 oz of water). Get a small scrub brush. Before tossing shirt in the laundry spray the inside of the collar and inside the cuffs (they get oily too). Go put your shoe trees in your shoes :) then go back and lightly scrub the sprayed areas. Let hang until you’re ready to LAUNDER YOUR OWN SHIRTS.

      Hope this helps, Tommy.

      Thanks, TSB.

  • LouCaves

    Good stuff.

    Thanks, TSB.

  • cam

    also, what are your thoughts on wearing a dress shirt with a button down collar? I have a few in my rotation and this is my go to when I am sans tie with a suit. if im more casual with a sportcoat, I usually wear an ocbd which of course has the button down collar as well.

  • cam

    hey dan, what’s up with the extra button at the collar?

  • Wieczorek

    You made a mistake. There should be you’re instead of your. Otherwise great post and outstanding series. I would like to see more of these advice from Garment Series. It’s a great addition to your regular One Guy – Three Looks articles.

    • Jack

      I’ve noticed that nearly every post on TSB has at least one typo. The content and photography is fantastic, but it is really distracting when there are constant grammatical mistakes. It might be worthwhile for them to have a second pair of eyes proofread all of the posts.

      • Jack

        …and of course my comment calling out the typos has one in it. The content and photography ARE fantastic…

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        You would be a great candidate.

        • Tom

          Dan only went to Columbia…give him a break

        • Jack

          I can’t tell if you are serious, but I would be glad to be of service. Especially if you use a queue for posts, allowing quick review of multiple posts at a time.