Keep Your Collars Stiff and Happy

How to Keep Your Collars Stiff and Happy

The Secret: Titanium Collar Stays

Lately I’ve been burning through a lot of collar stays.

Now I realize that some of you may not know what a collar stay is. That’s okay. I’m here to educate.

Anytime you buy a “fancy” shirt (that is, one with buttons and a collar), it typically comes with two pieces of plastic (usually) — pointed on one end (because collars are pointy) and rounded on the other. These are designed to keep the collar crisp, pointy, and lying flat across the collarbone. Without a pair of collar stays, the ends of the collar tend to curl up like a withered leaf. That can make you look pretty disheveled.

Titanium Collar Stays
Nigh unbreakable titanium collar stays from Uncommon Goods in a nifty little box.

Some shirts have stays sewn inside the collar, but on higher quality shirts (there are, naturally, some exceptions) the stays are removable — you know, for cleaning. Now if you leave them in during the laundering process (especially that ironing part), then your collar can become deformed or even ruined. At the very least you’ll have collar-stay-shaped outlines in your collars. That can make you look pretty silly.

It’s worth noting here that if you bought an Oxford with the button-down collars, then you won’t have collar stays because of those funny little buttons on the shirt. And yes, if you have those funny little buttons, please use them. (Please excuse me a moment while I go on a brief tangent … Oxford commas: sexy. Oxford shirts: not sexy.)

So anyway, these thin strips of plastic can break, which can be mighty annoying when it happens in the middle of the work day and you’re running around the office with one floppy collar. That can make you look pretty goofy.

Nigh Unbreakable Collar Stays

I began to tire of replacing these flimsy plastic strips, so I started looking for something a little more sturdy. I’ve seen metal (commonly brass) stays sold in department stores and thought that’s exactly what I needed … until I discovered these titanium babies from Uncommon Goods: lightweight, sturdy, fashionable — and oh so useful. Not only have my collars have never been so snappy, I’m that much more handy to have around when it comes to opening a frosty beverage.

Keep Your Collars Stiff and Happy

So, to recap. titanium collar stays can make you look pretty sharp. I’ll be using these for a long time — at least until someone makes as set of collar stays from vanadium.

If all this has you wondering about the finer points of collar stays, the Gentleman’s Gazette has a very thorough and educational piece on the subject.

Oxford is a type of cloth, not a type of shirt. But most of the time, shirts with those silly little collar buttons are made from Oxford fabric (Google “oxford shirt” and see what you get). So I used a little writer’s prerogative.


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