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What are Collar Stays: An Ultimate Guide

Are you sick of dealing with collars that are wrinkly and saggy and make you appear unprofessional? Do you want to know how to keep your collars neat and in place all day long? Look no further, collar stays are the solution!

Collar stays are tiny, flat, stiff strips that are put into the underside of shirt collars to keep them erect and straight. They can be made of plastic, metal, or bone. Collar stays, also known as collar stiffeners, collar tabs, or collar bones, are available in a variety of sizes, forms, and designs to match various collar types and fashion preferences.

What are Collar Stays

Everything you need to know about collar stays, including their history, types, advantages, maintenance requirements, and frequently asked questions, will be covered in this comprehensive guide. So let's explore the world of collar stays now!

The History of Collar Stays

Collar stays have been around for more than a century, and Hannah Montague, a housewife from Troy, New York, is credited with creating them because she was sick of washing and ironing her husband's detachable collars. She invented the detachable collar and cuff in 1820 after conceiving of taking the collars from the shirt and washing them separately. These collars were still vulnerable to wrinkling and curling, therefore collar stays were developed as a way to prevent this from happening.

The original collar stays were metal and looked like tiny pins or nails. They were bent over to fasten them after being placed through tiny holes in the collar. Later, collars stay made of plastic celluloid, which is more flexible, resilient, and inexpensive, were introduced. Collar stays are now available in a variety of materials, including brass, titanium, mother-of-pearl, stainless steel, and even wood.

Also read: How to Use a Collar Stay Like a Pro

Types of Collar Stays

There are two primary categories of collar stays: permanent and detachable. Permanent collar stays are built into the collar during production and cannot be taken out or changed. They can frequently be found in polo shirts, dress shirts, and casual shirts with button-down collars or soft collars that don't need a lot of support.

Contrarily, removable collar stays can be quickly added to and taken out of the collar, allowing for personalization and flexibility. They normally come in a variety of lengths and forms to accommodate various collar designs, including point, spread, button-down, and tab collars and are constructed of plastic or metal. Some popular shapes of collar stays include:

  • Flat stays

the most typical kind of collar stays, which have a flat, rectangular shape. They can be used in most collar designs and offer a moderate amount of support.

  • Rounded stays

collar stays with rounded or curved ends to accommodate spread collars or curved collar points.

  • Magnetic stays

magnetized collar stays that connect to one another and hold the collar together. Although they are practical and simple to use, they might not offer as much support as other types.

  • The collar stays with engraved designs or initials

To add a dash of style and sophistication to your clothing, collar stays that can be personalized with your name, initials, or a distinctive design are available.

Benefits of Using Collar Stays

Using collar stays has several benefits that can improve your appearance and comfort. Here are some of the top benefits of using collar stays:

  1. Keep your collars straight and neat

With collar stays, you can avoid having messy, unprofessional-looking collars that curl, fold, or flop. You will look sharp if you keep your collars in place, and your shirt will also look more put-together and fashionable.

  1. Enhance the lifespan of your shirt

Collar stays can help your shirt last longer by reducing the amount of wear and strain on the collar area. In the absence of collar stays, the collar may rub against your neck or jacket, resulting in friction and eventual wear and tear.

  1. Comfortable to wear

The support that collar stays offer is flexible and pleasant. By distributing the collar's weight evenly across your neck, they assist lessen pressure areas and rashes.

  1. Customizable

Depending on your collar design and personal preferences, you can adjust between different lengths and forms using removable collar stays. Additionally, you have the option to add your name, initials, or a distinctive design to your collar stays.

  1. Affordable

Collar stays are an easy-to-use, reasonably-priced addition that can improve the appearance of your shirt without costing a fortune. A set of collar stays can be purchased for as little as a few dollars, and you can use them on several shirts.

How to Use Collar Stays

Using collar stays is easy and straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Remove the collar stays (if any) that came with your shirt.

  2. Select a collar stay with the proper length and shape for the type of collar you are wearing. The most adaptable stays are flat ones, which can be used with most collar designs.

  3. The pockets on the underside of the collar are where you should place the collar stays. Ensure that the stays are fully inserted and that they rest flat against the collar.

  4. Adjust the collar and the stays to make sure they are centered and aligned properly.

  5. Put on your shirt and enjoy the crisp and neat look of your collar!

How to Maintain Collar Stays

Collar stays are easy to maintain and require minimal effort. Here are some tips to keep your collar stays in good condition:

Clean them regularly

Collar stays may gather grime, sweat, or oils from your skin or hair. Simply wipe them down with a damp cloth or a mild soap solution to clean them, then allow them to air dry before using them once more.

Store them properly

To avoid losing or damaging your collar stays, store them in a designated box or pouch that is dry and secure.

Replace them when necessary

If you use collar stays regularly, they are more likely to wear out, shatter, or bend over time. In case there are any indications of wear or damage, inspect them frequently and replace them.

FAQs about Collar Stays

Can I use the same collar stay for different shirts?

Yes, you can reuse the same collar stay for multiple shirts as long as the collar styles are similar and the stays fit properly.

Can I machine wash my shirt with the collar that stays inside?

It's best to remove the collar stays before washing your shirt to avoid damage or loss. However, if you forget to remove them, make sure to secure them with a clip or tape to prevent them from rattling inside the washing machine.

How do I choose the right length of collar stay?

The length of the collar stays should match the length of the collar points. If the stays are too short, the collar will curl or lift up. If the stays are too long, they may poke or dig into your neck.

Can I use collar stays in a casual shirt?

Yes, you can use collar stays in a casual shirt that has a collar that needs support, such as a button-down collar or a soft collar.

Can I use a metal collar that stays in a metal detector?

It depends on the type of metal detector and the sensitivity level. Some metal detectors may pick up metal collar stays and trigger an alarm, while others may not. It's best to remove the metal collar stays before going through a metal detector or opt for plastic or magnetic collar stays instead.

Can I bend or reshape the collar stays?

It's not recommended to bend or reshape collar stays as they are designed to fit specific collar styles and sizes. Bending or reshaping them may cause them to lose their shape or strength and affect their performance.


Collar stays are a simple but crucial addition that can significantly alter the appearance and durability of your garment. They improve your entire appearance by giving your collar support, shape, and flair. For any event, you may create a sharp and stylish style with the appropriate size and type of collar stays. Therefore, remember to add the collar stays the next time you put on a dress shirt and take pleasure in the crisp appearance they create.

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