If you want to elevate your style and raise eyebrows, a wing collar shirt is for you. But be sure to wear it with appropriate outfits and to appropriate events. If you’re not sure where to wear it, here are some guidelines. Wing collar shirts is ideal for a formal event such as a wedding or black tie function. The style adds an air of sophistication to any ensemble and is a great addition to your wardrobe.
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The Traditional Wing Collar Shirt
Wing collar shirts are a classic style that was first popular during the early 1900s. Men wore these collars to the office as well as to dress up for evening events. They are characterized by stiff, short collars with “winged” tips. Sometimes referred to as a “penguin collar”, this style is best suited for white dress shirts. Today, this style remains an elegant choice for a smart and classic look that will make a tailored outfit stand out.
Unlike a classic shirt with a flat collar, a wing collar is stiff and stands up. The small collar points are pressed to form wings that stick out. The wings of a wing collar shirt are designed to be tucked behind a bow tie. A shirt with a turned down collar is more appropriate for wearing with a business suit and a tie. If you have a formal event coming up, you should consider whether you want to wear a more dressy wing collar shirt.
Wing collar shirts are traditionally made from reinforced pique and often have stud buttons or a fly front – one where the buttons are covered. They are considered attractive on a man because they flatter a man’s long neck.
In the late 1960s, the trend was toward ostentatious styles where men were known to show off or “peacock”. Wing collars were often decorated with ruffles and horizontal pleats. Sometimes they were even finished with a mandarin collar. By the early 2000s, however, ostentation was regarded as a sartorial faux pas and most men have gone back to traditional white fabrics.
A Wing Collar Shirt For Work?
Wing collars are not ideal in business settings. If you want to fit in there are certain rules. Not wearing a wing collar shirt to work is one of those rules – unless you work in period re-enactment or in a themed pub. Save them for formal occasions. They look particularly sharp when worn at a black tie or white tie event. If you wear a wing collar shirt, make sure to match the rest of the look with the same formality.
The collar is an important part of a dress shirt, and a high-quality shirtmaker will have spent time perfecting the details. Business shirts by decent shirtmakers will come with collar stays, which are flat, rigid pieces in wood, metal, bone or plastic that are inserted into pockets in the underside of the shirt collar to help keep it looking perfect. However, cheaper shirts will be missing these collar stays. It’s a great way to distinguish a top-quality shirt from an average one.
That said, wing collar shirts rarely have collar stays due to the shortness of the wings.
Wing Collar Shirts With Concealed Buttons
As far as buttons are concerned, the tendency is either to hide them or accentuate them. To accentuate the buttons on a wing collar shirt, you can get black stud buttons (you need a special shirt with two sets of buttonholes) or domed onyx buttons. To hide them, we use a strip of fabric called a placket.
The shirt placket is the area where buttons are placed, and is almost always made from more than one layer of cloth. An extra layer at the front on a wing collar shirt conceals the buttons, hence the concealed placket. This style is most commonly used on tuxedos and wedding outfits to give a clean finish. You need to decide what sort of look you are going for as the shirt cannot be changed later.
A wing collar shirt with a concealed placket is a great way to add an extra flare to a formal ensemble. A French-cuffed wing collar shirt with concealed buttonholes is the perfect attire for major occasions, and it looks fabulous with a bow tie.
Bib Front Wing Collar Shirts
Wing collars are most commonly found on white dress shirts. Many styles of dress shirt have a bib front.
The bib is a vertically rectangular double layer of fabric. This unique feature makes these shirts unique. Traditionally, the bib will be pleated or made of a pique fabric. The dressier types are sometimes called “Marcella shirts”, after the birdseye pattern found on the front.
Spread Collar Or Wing Collar?
The spread collar makes a good transition between semi-formal and formal wear. These shirts are perfect for occasions where the dress shirt is optional and allows you to wear a tie, or even wear it open-neck if the occasion calls for a more informal attire. This style of collar is the most practical, allowing you to wear it with any type of dress shirt, tuxedo, or suit.
A tuxedo shirt is an excellent choice if you want to stand out in a crowd. This versatile piece of clothing will dress up any outfit and instantly add class to any formal event or wedding.