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What is a Collar Stay?

In keeping with the theme on maintaining a professional appearance and wardrobe, we’d like to discuss an item that is oftentimes looked or passed over.  This is the simple, yet resilient, collar stay.  So, what is a collar stay, do you need one, what kinds are there, and what are the best ones?

In the simplest terms, a collar stay is simply a piece of material that adds weight to the shirt collar, adding a layer of crispness to the look and appearance of the collar.  Shirt collars are notoriously light and flexible, allowing them to bend, droop, curl, and distort at any movement.

This distorted look on a shirt collar is both unprofessional and can ruin the appearance of any otherwise well put together suit.  As-such, collar stays were introduced to allow for a rigid, inflexible material to force thee shirt collar to remain affixed and in place.  This solution keeps the collar looking crisp and fresh and ensures that it does not curl up.

Different Types of Collar Stays

Many shirt manufacturers include collar stays with the shirt.  However, this solution is oftentimes a cheap one and does not provide the weight needed to ensure the collar of the shirt remains in place.  This solution should be used temporarily, and you should look to replace the collar stays provided with ones you have purchased.

Other manufacturers will have a collar stay permanently sewn into the shirt collar.  This is a good option, however, is oftentimes not seen as it is a bit more costly for the manufacturer.  As a means to save on costs, most manufacturers will only include a flimsy collar stay which can be removed.

What is a Collar Stay?

Plastic Collar Stays

By and large, the most common material for collar stays is plastic.  Plastic is a relatively cheap material, allowing for low manufacturing costs.  We, however, do not recommend purchasing plastic collar stays.  Although the shape will be improved, plastic collar stays will wear more quickly, leading to a bent look.  Plastic collar stays will also need to be replaced more often.  Lastly, if a plastic collar stay were to be ironed or washed, it would lose some of its elasticity and be more unsightly.

Stainless Steel Collar Stays

Stainless steel is one of the most common collar stay materials.  It is a stiff, durable material that will leave your shirt collar appearing crisp and in place all day.  Stainless steel is also a common manufacturing material, allowing for costs to be contained and relatively inexpensive.  It is for that reason that we recommend stainless steel collar stays over plastic ones.

What is a Collar Stay?

Brass and Gold Collar Stays

For the more extravagant individuals, brass and gold collar stays offer a more exquisite look.  Although the difference is only slightly discernible, some individuals enjoy the heavier, more weighted feel these materials provide.  Both brass and gold collar stays are substantially more expensive than their plastic or stainless steel counterparts.  Both brass and gold collar stays maintain their form and function and can be passed down through generations.

Magnetic Collar Stays

Magnetic collar stays are becoming more and more popular.  These collar stays will have magnets attached to either side of the shirt, ensuring that the collar stay remains affixed and in place.  Magnetic collar stays are relatively inexpensive and will work well to keep your shirt collar in place.

What is a Collar Stay?

How to Use a Collar Stay?

Using a collar stay is relatively easy.  For a button-down shirt, you will need to begin with two collar stays.  Lift the collar of the shirt and find the pockets of the collar.  There will be an opening, allowing you to insert the collar stay in.  The thin side of the collar stay should be inserted, with the wider side facing out.

Collar stays come in a variety of sizes, as fit is an important aspect of getting the shirt collar to maintain its look.  Typically, collar stays will range from 2-3.5 inches in length.  It is important, however, to ensure that your collar stay does not protrude out of the pocket.  This can lead to being pierced in the neck by the collar stay and is a generally unprofessional look.

Best Collar Stays

We’ve included below a few of the best collar stays we’ve found and used on Amazon.  Please note, we are an Amazon Affiliate Partner and receive a small commission if you purchase any of these products from Amazon.  This costs nothing extra to you but helps us maintain the quality and service of this site.

52 Top Quality Metal Collar Stays for Men (Mixed Sizes)

  • Pack of 52 stainless steel collar stays
  • Various sizes ranging from 2.2″ to 2.75″
  • Smooth, rounded edges to ensure they won’t rip your collar
  • Divided caseallowing you to easily locate the size you need

Wurkin Stiffs – 2 pair 2.0 inch and 2.5 inch Magnetic Collar Stays

  • These two 2.0″ and 2.5″ Stiff-N-Stays and Power Buttons tame fly-away collars, straighten the dreaded limp collar, and smooth that consistent collar curl. These magnetic collar stays come conveniently packaged for storage and travel.
  • Fix your collar in three easy steps: 1) Insert the Stiff-N-Stay plastic collar stays into your collar; 2) Insert the Power Buttons (extremely powerful magnets) under your shirt; 3) Move your collar to whatever position you’d like.
  • Stiff-N-Stays magnetic collar stays have insane magnets that work with any dress shirt, sportswear, casual, or button-down shirt that has a collar stay slot under the collar. Select the right size stay and get on your way.
  • Würkin Stiffs Collar Stays are made with airport-safe, corrosion-resistant, and hand-polished stainless steel, letting you avoid the TSA pat-down—while still looking pulled-together when you land.

Wurkin Stiffs Power Stays Travel Set

  • Our 2.0”, 2.5”, and 2.75” Collar Stays + Power Buttons tame fly-away collars, straighten the dreaded limp collar, and smooth that consistent collar curl. These collar stays for men come conveniently packaged for storage and travel.
  • This set includes 1 pair of each size with their respective Power Buttons packed neatly in a black genuine leather wallet. The travel size wallet folds down to the size of a business card, making it ideal for a man on the go.
  • Power Stays magnetic collar stays have powerful magnets that work with any dress shirt, sportswear, casual, or button-down shirt that has a collar stay slot under the collar. Select your shirt stay size and get on your way.

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