Everything You Need to Know About Collar Stays Looking good has never been easier

A solid accessory collection is an essential part of any well-dressed man’s wardrobe. Take a look at any sartorially inclined man’s closet; you’ll find a wide range of shoes, ties, and pocket squares. Accessories like these can be conversation starters, adding flair to your look. However, there are also accessories that work behind the scenes, like collar stays. Though they aren’t as visible as shoes, ties, or pocket squares, they elevate your look by keeping your collar in place. Usually made of plastic or metal, collar stays are small pieces of material that can be either sewn or inserted into special pockets on the undersides of dress shirt collars. Collar stays give your collar just the right amount of weight so that it lays flat against your collarbone. Stiff collar points are a mark of sophistication, so if you’re a collar stay beginner or an expert at keeping your collar in place, we think that everyone can appreciate these small accessories for their utility and their functionality.

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History

Stiff collar points have been representative of sophistication since the late eighteenth century. During this time, men used detachable collars to make their casual shirts more formal. These detachable collars would be starched to keep their shape, but eventually, starched collars were deemed a little too stiff, and the collar stay was born. Before the invention of plastic, collar stays were made of varying metals and rare woods. Today, you can find collar stays that are made of pretty much anything. It’s all about finding the material and shape that work best for you and the shirts you wear.

Types

If you purchase your dress shirts from higher-end stores, collar stays may be included. But, more often than not, you’ll have to buy your shirts and collar stays separately. When choosing your collar stays, you must consider the shape and width of the collar of the shirt or shirts you plan to wear them with. If your shirt’s collar is pointed, you will want to choose a pointed collar stay, while if your shirt’s collar is rounded, you will want to choose a rounded collar stay.

As we’ve already mentioned, you can find collar stays that are made out of a variety of materials. For most guys, it’s a personal choice, so we suggest trying as many of them as you want. The four most common materials for collar stays are plastic, stainless steel, brass, and gold, but if you looked hard enough, you could find collar stays made out of rare materials, like horn and whale’s tooth, as well.

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Plastic

Plastic collar stays are much lighter than their metal counterparts. However, they may not always work effectively because lightness can also mean flimsiness. They’re pretty cheap and easy to find, though, so if you are a collar stay beginner, starting out with a plastic set may be a good, low-commitment option.

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Stainless Steel

As far as metal collar stays go, stainless steel sets are the most popular choice. Stainless steel is sleek and heavy enough to keep your collar looking crisp without weighing you down. This option is elegant, but not too hard on your wallet.

Check out our collection of metal collar stays. 

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Brass

Brass collar stays are also a popular, budget-friendly choice among men who prefer metal. Brass stays boast similar qualities to stainless steel stays, but look just a bit more classic, especially in a burnished or polished finish.

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Gold

Collar stays made out of gold are the most expensive of the common varieties, but they are also arguably the most sophisticated. These stays are definitely an investment, so be sure that collar stays fit your style before you purchase them.

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Other Materials

This is for all the accessory pros who wish to include a unique collar stays in their collection. It might take a little searching, but you’ll be able to find stays made out of more rare materials. Stays created from animal products, precious metals, and heavy paper are all interesting choices that that add a little coolness to your accessory arsenal.

More Things To Know

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1.) You Can Get Your Collar Stays Engraved

Just because collar stays aren’t easily visible to other people doesn’t mean that they can’t reflect your personality. Get your stays engraved with important dates or messages that mean something to you. Your stays will feel more personal and you’ll be more inclined to wear them.

2.) Collar Stays Can Be Magnetic

For extra staying power, you can purchase magnetic stays. In addition to the basic stays, these sets come with magnetic studs that stick to the underside of your collar. The magnets hold your stays in place, keeping your collar stiff throughout the day.

3.) Take Your Collar Stays Out Before You Clean Your Shirt

This is especially important if you are using plastic stays. Wash cycles or dry-cleaning procedures can easily ruin collar stays, so be sure to remove them before you clean your shirt. If your shirt has stays sewn in, fear not. Those stays have been made to withstand the cleaning process.

4.) Emergency Collar Stays

Need to look refined in a pinch but don’t have collar stays on hand? Make some! Just look for any sturdy material with rounded or pointed edges that can be folded or cut to fit inside the small collar pockets.

Collar stays are small, but mighty. Simply sliding them into your dress shirt collar can take your look to the next level, giving your ensemble an extra element of refinement. With the sheer variety of sizes, shapes, and materials out there, it’s easy to find a set of stays that fits your style.