What is Collar Roll?

Collar roll is one of the most distinguishable characteristics of traditional American clothing. However, when I was younger I had no idea what collar roll was. I always thought that collar roll was the byproduct of shirts that no longer fit their now older and heavier owners. Looking back I should have been able to make a stronger connection between the appearance of the collar roll and the type of people that I saw sporting this look, but I just guessed that they used to be in better physical condition. The inability to recognize the beauty of the collar roll should clue you in to the fact that my father was not trad.

Fast forward 15-20 years and I am a collar roll fanatic. Basically, there are two types of collar roll; the Liberty Bell and the Half Dome. There are many factors that contribute to getting a collar to roll such as button placement, neck size, and collar length. However, creating the Liberty Bell or Dome Roll can be manipulated by the wearer.

Dome Collar RollThe Half Dome Roll

Liberty Bell Collar Roll

Liberty Bell Collar Roll

Lately my collar roll preference has been changing. I used to aim for a hybrid roll that falls somewhere between the Liberty Bell and the Half Dome. The problem that I ran into is that when trying to achieve this roll I often ended up with the Half dome. This happened so often that I actually started to embrace the dome, but I eventually started to see the beauty in the Liberty Bell. There is something organic about the flow of the liberty bell roll as the oxford cloth cascades over the tie. I think that this is the roll for me.

My Collar Roll Evolution

Hybrid Collar Roll

Hybrid Collar Roll (It resembles a wider bell shape than the Liberty Bell Roll)

Hybrid Collar RollMore Hybrid Collar Roll

Hybrid Roll

Here you can see the Hybrid Roll starting to come undone.

Dome Roll

The Hybrid has now morphed into a full Half  Dome Roll.

Liberty Bell Roll

Liberty Bell Collar Roll

Perfect Roll

Bad pic, but near perfect collar roll. You an really see the bell shape in this pic.

Almost Perfect RollAnother bad pic and good roll.

I hope that everyone enjoyed the pics. I tried to provide a few good examples of the Half Dome roll, liberty Bell roll, the Hybrid, and even a few care-free-live-and-let-live rolls. It is also a chance for you to check out a few of my ties in action. What type of collar roll do you prefer?

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

22 Comments on "What is Collar Roll?"

  1. Erik says:

    Is there any method for producing roll? None of my OCBDs-even B Brothers oxfords and pinpoints-seem to produce much roll. Perhaps it’s the thickness of my ties, or the way I iron My shirts. Suggestions?

  2. Woofboxer says:

    Interesting post Ox. There is definitely a symbiotic relationship between the length of the collar points, the thickness of the collar material (lined or unlined)’ the type of tie and the knot that is used. Are you using the Four in Hand knot there?

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    Erik – Woofboxer brings up a few more variables. I used a Four in Hand knot and I do give the collar roll a little shape after I put my tie on. I would give this a try and maybe use a tie that provides a bigger knot. I wish I had some better advice. I have heard about people moving the collar buttons, but have never went that far. I do have J.press OCBD that I can get no roll out of at all. It is frustrating I know,

    Woof – Thanks! You bring up a lot of good points. There are a lot of variables at play here and yes, I do use a Four in Hand.

  4. Craig says:

    My old Brooks shirts (25 years ago) rolled to perfection (liberty). Now I have no idea what is going on with their shirts (traditional cut). I’m think of trying that company in Boston (name skips me) for shirts now. Any advice?

  5. Erik says:

    I find that some of my more “lived-in” BB OCBDs roll a bit more. I think the heaviness of their current collar requires a dozen washes to soften up.

    I’ve been gradually moving to wider and thicker ties and have noticed that it makes a difference. Do you find a particular ironing method makes a difference?

    I’m thinking about trying Kamakura shirts, they have an excellent roll but weird sizing…
    They don’t seem to offer my size, 16.5×33.

  6. oxford cloth button down says:

    Erik – I have not noticed a correlation between ironing the collar and its roll. I would not use starch though. If you do try a Kamakura please keep me posted. They have caught my eye as well.

    Craig – I wish I could help, but I don’t have any current Brooks Brothers shirts. I only have two as a matter of fact. 99% of all my shirts are Lands’ End Original OCBD from back when they had a must-iron variety. Let me know if you find something good.

  7. Craig says:

    Take a look at Mercer and Sons. Looks like they might have a good roll.

  8. Aaron says:

    Fantastic work as usual, OCBD. It’s a shame that many of the new BB shirts feature skimpy collars that don’t really have any roll (ahem…Clifford).

    According to some, the new Land’s End OCBD shirts have a similar problem.

    What are they trying to accomplish by slimming down the collars? Saving two cents in fabric? Beats me…But it’s unfortunate either way.

    • Erik says:

      I think part of the small-collar movement is cost saving, but I think the primary reason is the return of the skinny/slim tie. I remember GQ saying a year or so ago that collars don’t need to be more than an inch and a half. That’s about the time I shook my head and started only glancing through my subscription.

      I enjoy skinny and wide ties, but I don’t like prescriptive fashion.

  9. Lafcadio says:

    The “half-dome” originally resulted from the shrinkage of all-cotton cloth. Ivy fans turned a manufacturing defect into a fetish.

    The liberty bell roll is perfection itself.

  10. fxh says:

    Good work oxxy.

    By the way you have a lot of spam in the comments on you LE Hyde Park posting

  11. oxford cloth button down says:

    FXH – Thanks for the comment and the heads up! I think I have it taken care of now.

  12. What brand gives the more ‘liberty bell’ roll in the latter photos?

  13. oxford cloth button down says:

    C. H. Winfrey – All of the shirts except one are LE Original Oxfords which are no longer available in the must-iron variety and I doubt with as long of a collar point. There is one Brooks Brothers shirt and it is 3rd from the bottom.

    • I tried shaping a little more with one of my older LE Hyde Parks and I think I got a pretty decent liberty bell shape. Or not bad for my first try anyways! Thanks so much!

  14. OCBD et al.,

    Very interesting and informative posts. Do any of you know if pointed (non-buttoned down) collared shirts where one can use a gold collar pin, are being sold? If so where?


  15. Ryan says:


    Longtime reader…great post! I’ve actually tried moving the button on a collar just for an experiment; purchased a standard-issue Chaps oxford button down (for about $10) moved the buttons, liberally ironed the collar…it now has a dome roll that is damn near perfect. Not really an advocate for the Chaps line, but this roll actually makes me feel very trad…and shames my BB.

  16. oxford cloth button down says:

    Ryan – Thanks for the comment. I am glad to hear that you are experimenting and even better, it turned out well. There is nothing more trad than some good old fashioned DIY!

    Bill – I wish I could help you out besides going for a custom order via somewhere like Mercer I am not sure where you could find a forward point collar OCBD.

  17. Jim M. says:

    Definetely the Liberty Bell!

  18. Bryan says:

    Regarding Brooks shirts: Yes, the trad and black fleece OCBD collars roll beautifully. The non-iron ones WILL NOT.

  19. Steve C says:

    I happened upon ProperCloth.com, and it appears they’ll make a custom shirt with collar choices including “Soft Ivy” and “Colorado Buttondown”, for either $85 or $95, not unreasonable prices in today’s market. Has anyone had experience with them?

I would like to hear from you