What Are the Benefits of Collar Stays?
From polished and shined shoes to the often-underrated cufflinks, there are plenty of small details that can greatly enhance your look. The most underrated of them all? Collar stays.
Not a lot of people or brands use them, and we’re sure a few of you have probably never heard of them. But considering that your collar is one of the first things people see when they look at you, having collar stays in your dress shirt is one of the most important things for making a great first impression — especially if you want to look put together and look like you know what you’re doing.
Whether it’s a casual workday or a formal event, these small metal or plastic pieces can do wonders for your dress shirts and making sure you look sharp. And if you own a premium dress shirt, collar stays can help your dress shirt last for years.
Below, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about collar stays — from how you use them to the best materials and their pros and cons.
What Is a Collar Stay and How Do You Use One?
Collar stays are small and flat pieces of either metal or plastic that are inserted into a slot on the inside of your dress shirt collar The purpose of collar stays is to act as a firm, unbendable support for your collar to keep it standing tall, pointed and looking neat all day.
Here’s how you use a collar stay:
- Begin by laying your shirt on a flat surface, such as your bed. Flip the collar upwards so it’s popping up. This will expose the collar stay pockets, which premium dress shirts will have.
- Insert the first collar stay into the pocket with the tapered side going first. If any part of the collar stay is visible or it doesn’t cover all or most of the pocket, your collar stay is either too long or short. If it fits perfectly with nothing showing, you’re in business!
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the opposite collar stay pocket.
- Once both are snug and secure in their respective pockets, that’s it! Flip the collar back down, and you’re good to go.
Using collar stays is quick, easy, and fairly straightforward. This will keep your collar in the same position until the collar stays are removed, allowing for a cleaner and more presentable look.
How Do You Remove Collar Stays?
At the end of your day, removing collar stays is just as easy as putting them in. It’s important to not keep collar stays in when you wash your dress shirt since the collar stay can wear down the collar in the wash, causing the collar to fray or form holes. So, if you want your dress shirt to look new for longer, we recommend removing the collar stays.
Here’s how you would remove collar stays:
- Once the shirt is off, pop the collar in the exact way you did when you first inserted the collar stays.
- With slight pressure, press down on the back, or point, of the collar stay. It should slide right out without risking any damage to the shirt. Then, remove the rest of the collar stay from the pocket.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the opposite side.
- That’s it! Store the collar stays somewhere where you won’t forget (they are small so we recommend keeping them all together in the same place so that you can keep track of them), fold or hang your shirt, and you’re all set.
What Are the Pros of Using a Collar Stay, and What Material Should I Buy?
For being such a small object, collar stays have a ton of pros with little-to-no cons.
We know what you’re thinking: “Is this really necessary? Do they make that much of a difference?” The short answer? Yes, it absolutely does!
The long answer? Well, think of how you feel when you put on a nice shirt. Not a T-shirt, not a workout shirt, not a sweatshirt. A nice, crisp, clean dress shirt or button-up shirt.
Some people prefer to only wear dress shirts for special occasions, like underneath a suit for formal events. Others prefer to wear them frequently, no matter how fancy or casual the activity.
Whatever you prefer, we can agree on one thing: every guy looks darn good in a clean, ironed, and fitted button-up. There aren’t a lot of things that can take away from your dope look more than a flimsy collar, and considering that the dress shirt collar is one of the first things a person sees when they look at you, it’s important to have your collar looking sharp in order to make a good first impression.
What’s the Best Material for a Collar Stay?
The material of the collar stays you use is a matter of preference, but there are pros and cons to each.
Plastic is the most commonly used material for collar stays as it’s cheap to manufacture, very durable and they are gentle on your collars, so your dress shirt collar is less prone to wear and tear, especially if you forget to take out your collar stay when you wash and dry your dress shirt. Premium dress shirts will come with plastic collar stays, and sometimes metal ones.
The problem is that most collar stays that are included with premium dress shirts are often very thin and flimsy. So, if you put your dress shirt through the dryer, the heat may warp and bend the collar stay, rendering it useless since it will no longer keep your collar straight and standing tall.
The other most commonly used collar stay material is metal, specifically stainless steel. They may feel like the high-end material to use for collar stays, and they have a lot of advantages over plastic — but there are also some drawbacks. Let’s talk about the pros of metal collar stays.
- They certainly look more premium than plastic collar stays.
- They are more durable than plastic collar stays, so they will last longer and retain their shape and stiffness for longer as well. They will rarely get bent out of shape, so if you forget to take out your collar stay before drying your dress shirt in the dryer, then you can be sure your metal collar stay will stay intact.
The cons of metal collar stays are that:
- They are more expensive to manufacture, and metal is a more expensive material than plastic. This means that if metal collar stays are included “for free” with your premium dress shirt, the dress shirt is likely marked up to cover the cost as well as a margin for the metal collar stay — so you will be indirectly paying for this more expensive metal collar stay since the cost is baked into the dress shirt price.
- Since metal is a much stronger material than most dress shirt fabrics, the metal collar stay will wear out your collar faster than a plastic collar stay, especially if you leave the metal collar stay in the dress shirt when you wash and dry it.
Other materials include brass, precious metals, and pearl. Those are cool and all, but we would recommend opting for a more cost-effective material like plastic or stainless steel, especially since you are the only one who will be seeing the collar stay.
So, you’ve heard about all the pros regarding collar stays, but are there any cons? Not so much. You could say the extra time to insert them is a con, but it shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds.
It’s Time for a Wardrobe Overhaul
Say goodbye to those wrinkled and tattered dress shirts sitting in your closet. You need something that’s as dope, cool, and colorful as you are.
All Citizens is on a mission to democratize comfort by making premium products and offering them at wallet-friendly prices. From our $16 designer underwear that’s packed with tons of smart designs to our stylish and comfortable performance dress shirts for $68, or 3 dress shirts for $189, we have your whole wardrobe covered, without breaking the bank.
Our dress shirts are made with a high-performance fabric that is moisture-wicking, quick-drying, stretchy, machine washable, and most importantly, wrinkle-resistant, so you can skip the iron and dry cleaners.
Our underwear is made with an eco-friendly high-performance microfiber that’s made with recycled materials and has the same performance features as our performance dress shirts. All of our garments allow you to move freely without any restriction since they all have 360-degree stretch.
Going on vacation? We’ve got you covered with our performance short-sleeve button-ups. Going out to a casual dinner? We have a wide selection of regular-length button-ups with fun designs or solid colors for a more formal look.
In need of some new underwear? Check out our $99 drawer refresh bundle where you can get 7 pairs of Classic underwear for just $99 — plenty of options for different occasions.
Enjoy your menswear, be proud of how you look, and have fun out there!
And most importantly: Stay handsome.
How to Dress Professional: What It Is and Why It's Important | Glassdoor Career Guides
Why Clothes Are So Hard To Recycle | BBC Future