Ever wonder why some guys’ shirt collars look so crisp and flush? Here’s their secret: collar stays.
Collar stays are small pieces of metal or plastic that go in the little pockets on the inside of your shirt’s collar. They support the structure of the collar, keeping the fabric stiff and flat against your neck. This small hack goes a long way to properly framing your face and necktie or just keeping the shirt looking crisp and sturdy if you’re not wearing a tie.
Because dress shirts are less popular than they used to be, collar stays have been forgotten by some or are completely unknown by younger gentlemen dressing for their first job interview. Without them, shirt collars will inevitably curl, droop or sort of float around jacket lapels. While this isn’t a big deal in casual settings, it’s almost always better to achieve the sharp look provided by collar stays.
When picking a box of collar stays, you have the option of plastic, metal, magnetic or adhesive. Plastic and metal are pretty self-explanatory, but magnetic stays offer some extra help. Magnets on the inside of the shirt keep the points of your collar completely flush with your shirt at all times. This provides some extra security, but as you probably guessed, magnetic stays cost a little extra. Adhesive stays are the runt of the group (somewhat like a clip-on tie), but they work great for polo shirts or button-ups that don’t have collar stay pockets.
1. Smooth Stays Steel Collar Stays (36)
Our favorite set of collar stays is this box of stainless-steel stays from Smooth Stays. It comes with four sizes, so there should be something for each shirt in your closet, and you get 36 of them. They’re not flashy, personalized or magnetic, but the metal provides a real upgrade over plastic with extra weight and rigidity. Reviewers are big fans of this set (1,990 reviews and 4.7 stars), but they offer one helpful tip: TSA is not a fan of metal stays, so pack them in a carry-on if possible.
2. Super Stays Plastic Collar Stays
The Super Stays Plastic Collar Stays come well recommended with over 85% of Amazon users awarding the collar stays a five-star review. They are a budget-friendly and effective option for keeping your collar in line. Each stay is constructed from a high-quality plastic which is three times thicker than many competing options, giving them a longer-than-average lifespan. Furthermore, as you will receive 100 individual stays included in the box, you’ll have plenty of spares to keep at home or the office should they bend or get lost. These collar stays are available in different sizes, from 2.2 inches and up.
3. Xydstay Plastic Collar Stays (60)
If you want to test out collar stays with the least effect on your pocketbook, try this $7 box of plastic stays. They’ll give you a feel for what collar stays do, but because they’re cheaper plastic, you’ll go through the box fairly quickly with stays breaking and bending. The affordable price also makes them a good bet if you don’t wear dress shirts often, or just need some replacement stays for a dress shirt that came with its own collar stays.
4. Quality Stays Plastic Stays (220)
For $3 more, you can get 220 plastic collar stays from Quality Stays. If you prefer plastic stays to metal (some guys like the lightweight feel and disposability), go for this box. Alternatively, if you travel often, plastic stays are probably a better bet for airport security. They’re extra thick, so you’ll notice an upgrade immediately if you’re used to stock collar stays that come with some dress shirts.
5. Fasker Plastic Collar Stay Bones
BEST BULK BUY
No matter whether you’ve got heavy hands, wear shirts morning, noon and night or have an unnatural talent for losing things, having these Fasker Plastic Collar Stay Bones in your home will mean you’ve always got a spare collar stay at hand. Inside this well-reviewed 300-piece set, you’ll find stays of a variety of sizes, which are ideal for different collar sizes. The durable plastic is thicker than average, meaning these stays are less likely to bend under pressure. This, in turn, increases the lifespan of these high-quality stays.
6. Luxeavant Innovations Adjustable Shirt Collar Support
BEST FULL-COLLAR STAY
The Luxeavant Innovations Adjustable Shirt Collar Support takes a slightly different approach to achieving the straight-collar look without being any less effective. The advantage to this support’s full-collar design is that it runs the full length of the collar, ensuring each part remains in place throughout the day. The patented design also makes it easy to adjust the support to whatever length you need. It’s made from a lightweight and durable material and works well in dress shirts and polos.
7. A & L Engraving Personalized Collar Stays
Whether it’s your initials on your cufflinks or your name on your shirt, there’s something about having an engraving on your clothing that just feels good. These A & L Engraving Personalized Collar Stays ensure your collar stays are no exception. The 2.5-inch long stays are made from high-quality stainless steel and built to last. When it comes to personalization, you can choose exactly what you want written on either side (up to 25 characters), and you also get the choice of numerous fonts.
8. Wurkin Stiffs Stiff-N-Stay Plastic Magnetic Collar Stays
BEST TWO-SIZE SET
The Wurkin Stiffs Stiff-N-Stay Plastic Magnetic Collar Stays Set is an ideal choice for anyone who regularly wears collars of different sizes. The two-pair set includes a 2-inch and 2.5-inch set of thick plastic collar stays to give you the choice between two of the most common collar sizes. They work well with any collared shirt that sports a built-in stay slot, and this set includes a carrying case that makes it easy to take your stays with you when you’re away from home.
9. Collar and Cuffs London Shirt Collar Stiffeners
Just because they’re out of sight most of the time doesn’t mean your collar stays can’t look great. This Collar and Cuffs London Shirt Collar Stiffeners Set includes five pairs of stylish stays, and each pair has a different yet appealing appearance. From a wood-effect option to a carbon fiber-effect pair, placing one of these classy collar additions into your shirt is sure to give you a little boost for the day. Additionally, the set includes a handy storage box, making these a great gift idea for colleagues and friends, especially the ones with noticeably wayward collars.
10. Wurkin Stiffs Hook-N-Stays Buttonhook Collar Stays
BEST BUILT-IN BUTTON HOOK
The Wurkin Stiffs Hook-N-Stays Buttonhook Collar Stays use a patented design which involves the use of magnets to hold your collar in place. Each collar stay is supplied with a plastic-coated magnet which lets you dictate where your collar is going to sit throughout the day. In addition, each of the 2.5-inch collar stays includes a built-in button hook, so you’ll always have one on hand and never have to fiddle around with large button/small buttonhole dilemmas ever again. The corrosion-resistant collars are also TSA-friendly and come in a handy case to make storing and transporting your stays simple.
11. Würkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays
For the seriously meticulous dresser, only the crème de la crème will do. In the case of collar stays, that’s the magnetic option. They’re certainly more expensive than plastic or even metal packs at $40 for a set of 3, but you’ll notice a slight difference. With the magnets under your shirt, the tips of your collar will stay flush no matter how much you’re moving around. Also, if you’re going to go magnetic, we highly recommend this specific set from Würkin Stiffs because they were the first company to produce magnetic stays, and their experience shows.