What is a collar stay?
Improve your shirt game with a sneaky little piece of metal. A collar stay, also known as a collar tab, goes inside your shirt collar to keep it in position. Inserted at the corners of your dress shirt collar, collar stays weigh down the collar, creating a crisper look.
Why you should wear a collar stay
A flat, sharp collar point makes you look more sophisticated. While ironing your collar points is always a good idea, it is often not quite enough to avoid the dishevelled look. A collar stay gives a more professional and put-together impression than letting your collar points flap around.
When you should wear a collar stay
Not every shirt can accommodate a collar stay. This is because the collar stay is supposed to be inserted into pockets, which need to be inbuilt. Only quality dress shirts will possess collar stay pockets. Cheaper dress shirts usually scrimp on including the pocket, and while you could sew one on, it would probably end up looking worse than it did before.
Take this constraint on collar stays as a hint on when to wear them. If it is not an occasion where you are required to dress incredibly well, then it is unnecessary to wear a collar stay. You would look sharper with a collar stay keeping your collar intact for a formal event or a job interview, but it is not necessary for everyday use.
Purchasing a collar stay
The good news is that you may not even need to buy a collar stay, as it may be inbuilt into your dress shirt. The bad news is that inbuilt collar stays are often of inferior quality to their sold-separately brethren. An inbuilt collar stay is usually a small piece of plastic sewn in to your dress shirt collar. You do not remove this, even for washing.
If you are purchasing a separate collar stay, you have two options: metal or plastic. Metal collar stays can be pricey, but are worth the extra investment. There are a few different options for collar stays; like cufflinks, they are sometimes customised and made from precious metals. As nobody except you will see your collar stay, I recommend steering clear of gold or anything too ostentatious, when plain stainless steel will do the trick. If you are looking to save some money but still look decent, plastic collar stays are also an option. Plastic collar stays are disposable and incredibly cheap. While they will not work quite as well as a metal collar stay, they are still far superior to no collar stay at all.
Collar stays come in a variety of lengths, to accommodate different collar sizes. When purchasing your collar stay, bring your shirt instore so the shop assistants can fit your shirt with the correct size and style. A specialty shop or haberdashery store will have a large range and will be able to advise you on which collar stay is best for your shirt.
About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at: http://mensstyleandfashion.com/