The forward point collar has many attributes, including versatility and middle-of-the-road-ness
The forward point collar (or just ‘point collar’) dress shirt is one of the most classic and traditional pieces of formal and business menswear. Yet it’s one that can be quite easily confused with a myriad of other collar styles. For one thing, they all have points (well, almost all of them) – so what gives?
Think about it this way. The forward point collar refers more to the distance between the points and not so much to the share or form of each point of the collar. By definition, a forward point collar has a much smaller distance between the points than other collar styles.
As a result, the width of the collar appears thinner, especially near the points, although the length of the points remains unchanged. With this shape, the collar points are often left exposed, even with a jacket. A spread collar, on the other hand, will hide beneath the lapels of a blazer or suit jacket.
Arguably the greatest ‘pro’ of a point collar is it’s versatility and general middle-of-the-road-ness (coining that term now). It doesn’t make a strong statement in any direction, doesn’t push any buttons or step outside of any boxes, but remains stylish and attractive nonetheless. Always a good conservative choice.
As far as history goes, the point collar is pretty much the OG, likely having been around since the development of the modern dress shirt collar itself. Likewise, it’s a style that’s seen a surge in popularity in concert with other classic menswear styles.
For example, it was big in the 1930s alongside the rise of the traditional men’s suit. Then big again in the 1960s during the Mad Men era of skinny ties and slim lapels. And popping up again in the 1980s as a bastion of ivy league and general preppy dress.
Now, while a forward point collar is a more traditional style, that’s not to say that it’s old-fashioned or out dated. In fact, modern style as of late has been leaning away from the Italian-style cutaway collars and back towards a more solemn, clean point collar.
This may be in large part due to the ‘air-tie’ trend, as a forward point collar sans tie doesn’t leave such a gaping blank spot at the neckline.
If you do decide to wear a forward point collar with a tie, just remember that the room between those points has got to fit your tie. And since a forward point collar has a small gap, you should choose a slimmer knot.