Size Matters: Collar Points & Tie Widths

The difference between a full size healthy collar that produces a wonderful roll and a collar that can barely accommodate a tie is minimal. I am talking less than 1 inch. In fact, most of my collars that produce a standard roll have collar points that measure 3.25”, but I do have a few shirts (new-ish LE Hyde Parks) that have 3” collar points, but produce zero roll. While a collar this size does not lend itself to wearing ties. It can be done. It just requires a little more thought.

The key is to match the proportions of your collar to your tie. This is no different from the consideration that you would give to tie width and lapel width. Getting the proportions right between these three elements (Collar length, tie width, and lapel width) will allow you to wear some of the skinnier or wider items in your closet with a little more ease.

3” Collar

Tie Width Range: 2.75″ – 3.25”
Optimal: 3”

A shirt with 3” collar points works best with ties that range from 2.75″-3”. A skinnier tie has a smaller knot which works to keep the proportions in check. You may be able to get away with a 3.25” tie, but I don’t recommend it. There will be no collar roll to speak of.
3 inch collar                                                                         3″ collar with a 2.75″ tie.

3.25” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3″ – 3.50”
Optimal: 3.25″

3.25” is the current standard for collar points. I say this because it is the size of the current Brooks Brothers OCBD which has always defined collar roll.  It is also the size of current J.Press OCBDs as well as the size of my older Land’s End Original Oxfords.
3.25 inch collar                                                                      3.25″ collar points with a 3″ tie.

3.5” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3.25″ – 3.75”
Optimal: 3.5″

Although the 3.5” collar is a rarity it does still exist primarily due to the demand of collar roll enthusiast. These shirts are usually vintage, bespoke or MTM. For example, Mercer and Son’s collars points measure 3.4375 inches. A collar this size will produce a full collar roll, but can still accommodate a 3.25” tie (with a sturdy knot). For those of you that have found that 3.5 – .3.75” ties work best for you (and collar roll fanatics!) may want to seek collar points of this length.
3.5 collar                                                                          3.5″ collar with a 3.25″ tie.

For many of us having a closet full of collar roll producing button-down shirts is the goal, but most if not all closets have a few underachievers. Hopefully this post can help you get some use out of your button-down shirts with shorter collar points as well as a way to wear that skinny tie that you just couldn’t resist.

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

8 Comments on "Size Matters: Collar Points & Tie Widths"

  1. I TOTALLY agree that size DOES matter. I strive for a closet full of 3.25″-3.5″ collars, as they give that amazing roll, but alas, they harder and harder to find.

  2. Woofboxer says:

    The variables of collar point length, collar construction, tie width, tie material and the type of knot employed are all factors, but a shirt collar with the right length point will roll whether a tie is worn or not. As regards modern J Press dress shirts; I find their collars a bit hit and miss, some I own are perfect but others are slightly too short to produce an ideal roll. I get decent results from a couple of O’Connells end on end BDs that I bought recently.

  3. Mlo says:

    The Proper Cloth has on line custom made OCBD’s that are reasonably priced. One of their collar choices is the “Soft Ivy” – the collar points are 3.5 inches long.

  4. Billax says:

    Nicely done, OCBD! Relationships in length, height, width of many apparel elements can lend coherence to a style, while botching those relationships makes one seem unpolished.

    I’d like to see you write more about achieving coherence in one’s outfits.

  5. Ensiferous says:

    Thanks for the great visual comparison, OCBD.

    Shirt happiness is a nice double ogee curve on a generously sized oxford cloth collar.

  6. Brian says:

    Do you know what the collar point length of a BB OCBD if you bought it today? I am wanting to buy one but not gonna put the money down if I cant even get a good collar roll with it.

  7. oxford cloth button down says:

    Brian – 3.25″ to the best of my knowledge. Plenty enough collar to roll.

    Billax – Thank you. I don’t have to tell you that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  8. Brian says:

    Phew tha’ts a relief–just ordered my first BB shirt, it’ll also be the only OCBD I own that wasnt from a thrift store and will literally be 100x more expensive than the second most expensive shirt I own. Hard to be trad in College or paying off college. I have the “old” part down still working on the “money” part of old money. Do you know or have a guess if thats the same for non-iron as well as their regular oxford?

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