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CLOSET Rx : Some Pointed Advice About Collars

October 13, 1994|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You may get hot around it, and a tight one may be one of the first indications that your diet's not working, but most of the time you probably don't put much thought into your collar--just button it and go. However, there are some things to keep in mind when shopping for new shirts.

If you don't pay at least a little attention to collar fashions, you may find yourself looking behind the times.

"The spread collar is hot right now," said John Shaw of Alex Sebastian for Men in Costa Mesa. "When it's buttoned, it has very little angle; it's almost horizontal."

If you've hung on to some dress shirts that you bought during the Carter Administration, you're in luck. The '70s-style revival in fashion is picking up steam and "point" collars--lapels long, close together and pointed almost straight down--are in.

"It's a 'sartorial' feel, and many designers are getting involved with this look again," Shaw said.

Colored dress shirts with white collars have been around for years, but now there's a new twist.

"We're seeing them in other colors besides white," said Ziva Adams of Tie Rack in Santa Ana. "They can make a sharp addition to your wardrobe."

The button-down classic collar will probably be around well into the next millennium and is always correct (except as evening wear). Those who like the "secure" feeling of a button-down with a different look may want to try a "hidden" button-down.

"They keep the collar down without the obvious button," Shaw said. "It's secured with a snap that's hidden from view. It creates a real neat look with a tie."

The collar bar is apparently drifting into obscurity again, which is probably why the tabbed collar is coming back. The tabs push in and keep the collar down, making the tie more prominent.

"Your tie knot should sit up," Adams said. "When looking at your profile, the knot should be leaning away, allowing the tie to hang straight down. The tabbed collar helps create that look."

Of course, for most men, collar problems usually don't have as much to do with style as they do with fit. And if you find that your collars are getting tighter despite the fact that you haven't been indulging in a morning doughnut, take heart. It may not be your fault.

"The way many shirts are made, the collars tend to shrink with repeated washings," Adams said. "A tight collar's not necessarily an indication that you're gaining weight."

The "collar extender" may be a thrifty addition to your closet. It basically adds life to shirts by using a spring to widen the collar.

"It can't be seen, and it allows you some room to breathe," Adams said.

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