In the absence of clear style rules and with only our own (sometimes unreliable) judgement as guidance, we tend to leave the outcome as to how we dress, to pure chance. Whether to wear the shirt collar inside a pullover or out, is one of those style dilemmas that crops up again every autumn.
Surely, some might say that if there’s no rule, it’s because both options are fine. Yet, whilst it might generally be so, sometimes, one option is better than the other. To us, it’s a matter of how casual one’s intended look is meant to be, as well as the effect on visual proportion, in particular in relation to one’s face shape.
Leaving the shirt collar outside the pullover is the more casual of the two options and works best when the collar is small to medium in size. With higher or more pointed collars, it becomes much easier to end up with a look that’s reminiscent of the ’70s.
Depending on how much the collar contrasts in colour with the pullover, when exposed (and obviously worn unbuttoned), it becomes a focal point, adding visual width to that part of the body. This makes it a better option for men with narrower faces, as the ‘added width’ balances the face’s length, especially when the pullover is a V-neck. A collar worn outside can also make a man, whose shoulders are proportionately smaller to his belly or hips, appear more balanced.
On the other hand, for a more streamlined and elegant look, opt for the collar worn inside the pullover. However, it’s an option that tends to work best for slimmer men, those with wider faces (on whom a V-neck sweater looks more flattering), as well as those who want to appear taller.
In addition, when the shirt collar is in a colour that’s different to the pullover’s, or patterned, that touch of contrast gives an outfit more texture and depth, rendering it visually more interesting.
Hopefully, these tips will make it easier to decide which way to wear the shirt collar, next time you’re throwing on a pullover. Of course, the end result depends a lot on the pullover’s collar-type too, as well as its fit but looking out for visual proportion can help make the end result more attractive.