The relationship between the jacket’s lapel width, shirt’s collar width, and tie width

I am often asked a question: What should be the width of my shirt’s collar? The answer lies in the person’s body structure. Elegance is all about proportion. The width of the shirt collar depends on the body shape and shape of the face.

shirt collar

The spread of a collar is determined by the point spread, as shown in the above diagram. Collars can be narrow or wide spread. You can make a collar bigger or shorted by increasing or decreasing the point length.

collar spread

The point length of a shirt’s collar should be proportional to the body structure. For example, for short people, I would recommend a collar with smaller point length. Similarly, for tall person the collar point should be larger.

The collar spread, on the other hand, depends on the shape of the face, as shown in the diagram below:

face-shape-vs-shirt-collar

As you can see from the above diagram, for oval faces, too narrow spread collars don’t look nice because it elongates the face even more. Therefore, a spread collar shirt is more appropriate for oval faces. Similarly, for people with round faces, spread collars is more appropriate.

However, there are different face shapes and many are lucky to have a shape that is middle of the road and therefore can wear different collar shapes and spreads. The diagram below shows various face shapes.

face shapes

Similar to shirt collars, the width of a jacket’s lapel should depend on the wearer’s body structure. As you know, the body structure can be classified into the following categories:

body-types-men

You can also classify body shapes as Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomprph as shown below:

mesomorph ektomorph

The width of the jacket’s lapel should be proportional to the wearer’s body structure.  Generally wide people wide lapel, thin people thin lapel.

lapel width 1

 Lapel Width

 

Tie width

The tie width should same as the lapel width.  If it differs, it should not exceed plus or minus half an inch. For example, if the lapel width is 3-inches, the tie width should be between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. (if you want to wear shinny ties you better have a suit with narrow lapels, otherwise it will look weird).

tie width

Tie Width

 

What I am wearing today (29 August 2012)

Today I am wearing a dark coffee colored (looks almost black), 3-button suit with notch-lapels; a maroon candy stripe shirt with French cuffs; a check silk tie in red/blue/green/beige; a maroon silk pocket square; a pair of black half-brogue oxford shoes; and a vintage and rare Rado Elegance automatic watch in stainless steel.

Following is a note about three button suits. Technically, you can either fasten only the middle, or the first and second buttons of a 3 button suit. However, this choice is actually dictated by the roll of your lapel. In some three button suits, the roll of the lapel extends beyond the first button and it looks almost like a 2-button suit. In these suits, if you fasten the first two buttons, it will look odd because the jacket was designed for only the second (or middle) button to be fastened.

If carefully look at my suit today, you will find that the lapel extends beyond the first button and therefore, I have fastened only the second button. This is how this jacket was cu and intended to be worn. However, if you look at the suit I wore yesterday (which was also 3-button), you will find the lapel ends before the first button and therefore, it would be proper to fasten the first two buttons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I am wearing today (27 October 2012)

Today I am wearing an ash colored glen plaid, 1-button, peaked-lapel suit; a white cotton shirt with French cuffs; a textured ash colored silk tie; a white linen pocket square; a pair of black cap-toed shoes; and a vintage Rado Voyager Automatic in Stainless Steel.

Please note that a 1-button suit is considered to be a fashion-forward suit and not suitable for normal office wear. I can get away for two reasons: first, is that I am a CEO and can get away with it; and second, that very few people over here understand about suits. If you are going to face an interview, I would recommend that you wear either a three or two button suit in conservative colors.

On the other hand, just don’t give a damn and wear whatever you want.

 

 

 

What I am wearing today (23 August 2012)

I am back from a long holiday. My internet had some problems yesterday and therefore yesterday’s post in being published today.

Today I am wearing a charcoal gray, 2-button, peaked-lapel suit; a red check, hand loom cotton shirt with French cuffs; a solid red silk tie; a white linen pocket square; a pair of black oxford shoes; and a vintage Omega Constellation Chronometer automatic.

Normally, I prefer to wear either white, light blue, or light pink shirts with this suit. However, today I wanted to experiment with a red check shirt with a red tie. A red tie combined with a plain white, light blue, or light pink would be a very standard combination. However, today’s combination is a little challenging. But my opinion is that today’s ensemble came our nicely. I was, however, tempted to use a red pocket square but resisted the urge and used a white one instead. Too much matching is boring to the eyes.

 

 

 

 

What I am wearing today (9 August 2012)

Today I am wearing a blazer/trousers combination.  The three-button navy blue notch-lapel blazer has silver metal buttons. The pleated trousers have light blue stripes over dark blue background; the light purple shirt has tabbed collar and French cuffs. Today I am wearing a printed silk tie with paisleys and other patterns over a greenish-blue background. The silk pocket square is yellow. Today I am also wearing a pair of black double-monk shoes and a (?) vintage West End Watch Company, Sowar, Prima, Automatic, Stainless Steel watch.