Jan Leslie is known for her unique and always identifiable cufflink designs, but her collar stays are actually just as iconic and just as essential an accessory for the put-together man. Crafted in brass or aluminum, Jan Leslie collar stays feature detailed engraving and messages that run the gamut from inspiring to cheeky. But if you don’t know the value of or the ways to use a collar stay, the ingenuity of this accessory may pass you (or your man) by. Today, we’re taking a closer look at collar stays and how to use them for the ultimate stiff … collar.
What Exactly is a Collar Stay, Anyhow?
Collar stays (you may also hear them called collar stiffeners or collar tabs, though those names are far less common) are flat and stiff pieces of metal or sometimes plastic that get inserted into the pockets on the underside of dress shirt collars. They collar stays add both weight and stiffness to what otherwise would be just a “floppy” piece of fabric. That then results in a collar that looks crisp, clean and always on-point. While you may in some cases find collar stays built-in or sewn-in to your shirts, that’s actually not the ideal solution. You want to be able to remove the collar stays when your shirt is cleaned (or you launder it, depending on your style!). Ideally, you want a collar stay that’s removable as well as one that provides both stiffness and a level of comfort. And, of course, you want a collar stay that will last even if it accidentally gets thrown into the wash!
Women Love a Nice, Stiff Collar. Give them what they want with these premium brass collar stays engraved with the cheeky message: Stay Stiff. These collar stays come in a pack of 10 (5 pairs) for $30. Keep your collar stiff and keep a sense of humor at all times!
How Should a Proper Collar Look?
When a collar is properly pressed and straightened, it will lay flat against the collar bone with no gapping or sagging. It also won’t move from that position!
How to Insert a Collar Stay
The good news for men who want to look sharp while also keeping it simple is that collar stays are actually incredibly simple to use.
Begin by flipping your collar up (all the way up, not eighties style up in the back down in the front!) and locating the pocket or sleeve on the underside of your collar.
Slide your collar stay into the pocket so that the pointed end of the collar stay is fitted into the front corner of your collar (the section that will point downward toward your collar bone once you flip the collar back down).
And flip your collar back down! It’s all you need to do.
Of course, you’ll want to also make sure that you’ve purchased collar stays that are the right length for your collar. Most collar stays will fit all standard size collars, but if you’re sporting an extra special seventies style flare collar, you may need to look for a larger size.
Also, in the off-chance that your collar has rounded corners instead of pointed ones, you’ll want to look for collar stays with rounded edges instead of pointed edges. Unless there’s a pretty dramatic shift in fashion in the near future though, rounded collar shirts are quite rare.
And that’s all there is to it! Just take the collar stay, insert it and look sharp all day long. It may be the easiest adjustment you make to looking put together without a lot of fuss.
Be a Rebel in a Button Up and Tie. Skull and Cross “Bones” Stainless Steel Collar Stays. Each stay is engraved with BONES writing and Skull and Crossbones. These collar stays come in a pack of 5 sets of collar stays for $30 and are made in the United States.
Photo Credit: Niklas Morberg via Flickr