The Detail Under the Fabric: Collar Stays


Have you ever seen when you wear a shirt but the points of your collar misbehave by rolling inwards or outwards? I mean you can only iron a shirt so much before they start rolling again. So here’s a solution for you: collar stays!

What are collar stays?
Collar stays (otherwise referred to as collar bones, stiffs, tabs, etc) are rigid strips of metal, plastic or mother of pearl, inserted into specially made pockets on the underside of a shirt collar to stabilise the collar points on your collar bones.

Why are they important?
We often undermine the importance of collar stays until we take a picture or have a big presentation and our audience’s (Instagram follower’s or business associate’s) attention is diverted from how dapper we look or how great the presentation is to “hmm, did he forget to iron his collar?”. Believe me, that’s the last thing you want to ruin a good outfit or a presentation that can score you a big deal. The stays ensure that the collar remains in the correct place, making it look crisp and clean. That is the whole point of them.

Where can I buy them?
They come in different sizes, materials and designs, but the most out standing has to be the adjustable, and magnetic variations. Generally, you can find collar stays in higher quality shirts from brands including Woolworth’s ‘Studio W’ and Hopman (these are usually plastic). You can find them at men’s clothing stores that also sell accessories (such as ties, tie bars, pocket squares, cufflinks, etc), or at fabric- and sewing-supply stores. I personally recommend metallic ones. They are more rigid, long lasting, but a bit expensive (which will ensure that you take care of them).

If you want to give them a trial run without putting your money into it, you can take an old bank or Gautrain card and cut it out into two collar stays. You can take the picture below, print it out and use it as a guide to shape and size the stays according to your needs.

Don’t forget to remove them when your wash or iron your shirt!

TeeKay Mahapa

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Notice the difference between the left and the right collar?

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset


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1 Comment

  1. Hi there TeeKay,

    Couldn’t agree more with this piece of article on the importance of collar stays.

    Being the “invisible accessory”, many people often overlooked the true value of what a good pair of collar stays can bring to the overall look. A floppy collar will definitely kill it.

    Thank you for raising the awareness of the true value of collar stays.
    Keep up the good work!



    Forte Collar Stay

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