The Best Types of Shirt Collars And Tie Knots For Your Face Shape

by   |  in Business Attire

Types of shirt collars, tie knots, and face shapes: There are plenty of possible combinations, but only a few select combos are considered the best, most optimal choices. In this article, we’re laying out the best shirt collar, tie knot, and face shape trios, so you always go with what looks best on you!

After all, as the saying goes, “Fit is king”. You can attempt to dazzle with your patterns and color, but if the fit is off, it’s all gone to waste.

Certain tie knots look best with specific collar shapes. And specific collar shapes look best with certain face shapes. So, essentially, it all begins with your body composition and facial structure.

Let’s get into the three main face shapes, and the best shirt collars and tie knots for those face shapes.

Oh, and if you like the ties you see in this article, they’re all from The Dark Knot.

Men's Accessories from The Dark Knot

Exquisite hand made silk ties, pocket squares, lapel flowers, and more. Use code EG25 for 25% off your purchase, just for being an Effortless Gent reader.

Check Latest Price

The general rule of thumb for choosing the best shirt collar Types

When it comes to pairing shirt collar types and face shapes, you want to think in terms of opposites here, for the sake of balance.

  • A wider or rounder face needs a narrower spread.
  • A narrow, angular, or chiseled face needs a wider spread collar.
  • For the average face shape, not too round, not too slim / narrow, go with something in the middle: a medium spread collar.

Pretty simple when you break it down that way, right?

Now, let’s get into the details and specific recommendations for each face shape.

What’s the best shirt collar for a Slim Face?

Slim faces are best suited with a spread collar. If you aren’t familiar, this type of collar appears exactly how it sounds: the two points are very spread apart (the angle formed is greater than 90 degrees).

There are different types of spread collars, from the relatively modest semi spread collar, the standard spread collar, to the wider English or British spread, to the cutaway collar, which is extremely wide spread.

By the way, you may come across different names for each of these collars, so just be aware of and able to identify what they look like, and not just the specific name of each style.

For slim faces, a standard spread collar can be your go-to.

How to Choose The Right Tie Knot and Shirt Collar Style
spread collar, Half Windsor knot
Face ShapeSlim
Best Shirt Collar TypeSpread
Best Tie KnotHalf / Full Windsor, Pratt

Like I mentioned earlier, you want to think in terms of opposites. So you complement a narrow face shape with a wider spread collar, again, for balance. The spread collar will give a narrow face and body the appearance of more width.

So let’s talk about tie knot choice.

For a wide spread collar, go with a Half or Full Windsor knot. Alternatively, check out the Pratt knot, which is one of the Effortless Gent’s go-to tie knot recommendations (goes well with most face shapes and collar styles).

A full body knot such as a Half / Full Windsor or the Pratt knot will fill the space between the collar points, and (similar to the collar style itself) it will emphasize the broadness of your collar, which balances your slim, angular face.

The Best Shirt Collar That Suits A Round Face

For a gentleman with a rounder face, a point collar is the best pairing.

How to Choose The Right Tie Knot and Shirt Collar Style
point collar, Four In Hand knot
Face ShapeRound
Best Shirt Collar TypePoint, Medium
Best Tie KnotFour-In-Hand, Double Four-In-Hand

The point collar shirt is the most conventional. Typically made with a narrow to medium spread, it is a versatile look found on approximately 90% of men’s shirts.

It’s a popular and common style, and rightfully so since it’s the most neutral and works best for the majority of guys. Note that a point collar shirt‘s collar points (palindrome alert) are much closer together… less than 90 degrees if you wanna get all math nerdy about it.

Going back to our emphasis on balance through opposites, when you have a round face, a narrower point collar helps to detract from a wider frame and face shape.

So what’s the best tie knot for a point collar and a round face?

A Four-In-Hand or Double Four-In-Hand knot looks best. It fills just the right amount of space between the shirt collar points. And these knots, like the point collar, visually lengthen your face.

If you are looking for a more substantive knot with the same general shape as the Four-In-Hand, I suggest the Double Four-In-Hand.

The Ideal Shirt Collar For Oval Faces?

If you have an oval face, congratulations, you have the perfect blend of width and height. This means you could go either way with regard to collar styles and tie knots.

If you’re looking for something middle-of-the-road, a medium or semi spread collar works best.

How to Choose The Right Tie Knot and Shirt Collar Style
semi-spread, Pratt knot
Face ShapeOval
Best Shirt Collar TypeMedium or Semi Spread
Best Tie KnotPratt, Double Four-In-Hand, Half Windsor

Similar to the types of shirt collars you can go with, you have the same amount of flexibility with the different tie knot styles.

For the medium spread collar we recommend as a middle-of-the-road option, the Four In Hand, Double Four-In-Hand, or Pratt knot works best. The Half Windsor could also work. And of course the wider spread you go, the Pratt or Half Windsor will be your best options.

Men's Accessories from The Dark Knot

Exquisite hand made silk ties, pocket squares, lapel flowers, and more. Use code EG25 for 25% off your purchase, just for being an Effortless Gent reader.

Check Latest Price

Other Things To Consider

Consider the function or occasion

In addition to facial structure considerations, paying attention to the occasions you are wearing a tie for can be useful in determining the type of tie knot.

If you’re in a social setting with friends, say at a bar or restaurant, and are sporting a skinnier tie… it’s best to go with a Four-In-Hand knot / narrower spread collar combo.

Since skinny ties by nature don’t have a large amount of fabric and are skinny throughout the entire length of the tie, a more vertical knot such as the Four-In-Hand knot will best complement the look.

If you’re attending a fancy event, like a gala fundraiser or a cocktail reception, a larger knot will look more professional.

But as always, facial considerations should be taken into account.

Hence, if you are slimmer, with a more angular face, you can opt for a Half Windsor knot. However, if you have a rounder face, stick with a Pratt or Double Four-In-Hand, and you’ll still have a sharp, professional look.

Consider the Necktie Fabric

The fabric of your necktie can also help determine which knot is best.

Ties with thicker interlining produce thicker knots in general, so I would try a Four-In-Hand in order to avoid an overly-large knot. For ties with thinner interlining, I like going with a Pratt, Double Four-In-Hand, or Half Windsor for a knot that is more substantial.

A Quick Summary Of The Best Shirt Collars, Tie Knots, and Face Shape Combos

OK so let’s wrap this up!

First, always remember your overarching goal of balance. Opposites will actually complement each other. Wider face, narrower shirt collar style. Slimmer face, wider shirt collar style.

So pay attention to the following when choosing your tie knot and shirt collar styles:

illustration of different face shapes, collars, and ties
Illustration via Pinterest

1. The right collar for your face shape

Wider spread collars are best suited for men with angular faces. This gives them a visually broader appearance. Narrow pointed collars best complement men with a rounder face by making them look longer.

For men with an oval face, a medium spread collar is the ideal option, but their facial structure allows more flexibility to wear any collar shape.

2. The right knot for your collar

Wide spread collars are best worn with more substantial knots which fill the space between the collar points, like the Half or Full Windsor Knot or the Pratt knot.

Point collar shirts are best paired with narrower knots, like the Four-In-Hand or Double Four-In-Hand.

A medium spread collar is more flexible and can be worn with any knot. EG recommends the Double Four-In-Hand or the Pratt knot.

3. The right knot for the occasion

In 2021, we suggest avoiding skinnier ties, anything under 2.5″ width. Take this advice with a grain of salt; if you are have a particularly slim / narrow frame, a 2″ – 2.5″ tie may actually be perfect for you. It’s all about visual proportions.

As far as specific knots, Four-In-Hand is the catch-all tie knot. You can wear these on social occasions and for work.

If you’re attending a fancier event like a cocktail party or a gala fundraiser or something similar, a more symmetrical and substantial knot like the Half Windsor or Pratt knot would be best.

4. The right fabric for the knot

Thicker ties with woolen interlining are best suited for slimmer, narrower knots like the Four-In-Hand. A Windsor knot doesn’t pair well with thicker fabric or interlining because the final knot is simply too large.

Thinner ties or ones with a polyester interlining look best with a more substantial knot like the Pratt or Half Windsor.

Was that helpful?

Hopefully this helps clear up the “Which tie knot works best with this collar?” question.

If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!