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Are Collar Stays Necessary?

Collar stays are necessary when it comes to staying equipped in the fashion landscape. It's common for well-dressed men to have an arsenal of bespoke accessories such as belts, shoes, pocket squares and watches in their wardrobe. However, in order to be fully accessorised, a collar stay is a valuable must-have. They keep your shirt collar firm and in-place whilst indicating your strong character and spirit. 


Although, collar stays aren't visible from the outside of your ensemble, they are necessary in doing all the ground work to keep your collar looking sharp throughout the day. It's small touches like these that help your style go a long way. 

 History of Collar Stays

Collar stays are the more efficient and modern evolution of the detachable collar. In the late eighteenth century, stiff collars were preferred and so detachable collars rose to popularity because they made casual shirts look more formal. However, in the proceeding decades, detachable collars decreased in popularity because of their perceived rigidness and collar stays became the more compact and versatile alternative. Now, collar stays are still around and are doing the hard yards in making shirt collars look as confident and as elegant as possible. 


Brushed Gold Collar Stay Brushed Silver Collar Stay


What Do Collar Stays Do?

Collar stays essentially add weight to your collar. By anchoring down your collar, they will provide shape, sturdiness and a clean silhouette. They'll also work to avoid any movement or creasing happening throughout the day. This can be particularly desirable in corporate settings when you want to make a strong impression. They also add a much needed hint of finesse to formal ensembles. 


In a more symbolic take, a firm collar is usually thought of as being stronger and more masculine than flimsy collars. Instead of going to the effort of buying a stiff-collared dress shirt, collar stays allow a cost effective option that will be inserted into the collar seams. This means that you have the option of wearing a firm collar when you want, with any shirt you want. 


Shirt with Collar Stays


Types of Collar Stays

Collar stays vary in material and quality so it's important to stay informed if you want to pick up the perfect pair. There are a broad range of materials out there which vary in weight and size. The weight of your collar stays will inherently determine their effectiveness. 


Metal Collar Stays Vs Plastic Collar Stays

It's the classic conundrum of cost effectiveness versus quality. It seems desirable to only drop a small dime on plastic collar stays if they're going to be cheaper than the real thing. But the truth is, quality really does pay off in this instance. The sheer lightness of plastic collar stays automatically rules them out as being effective. They may stop your collar from moving around on a windy day, but they won't go that extra mile in making sure your collar is crisp and flat-lined. Only the work of a weightier material can do that, such as metal. 


How to Put on Collar Says

All modern dress shirts will come with a small slit on the underside of the collar which is where the collar stay is to be inserted. 


In order to insert your collar stays properly, just lift up the collar of your shirt and locate the slit on the underside of the collar. Starting with the narrow tip of the collar stay, gently insert it through the slit and push it towards the front seam of the collar. Make sure that the entire length of the collar stay is inserted into the collar and that it's completely enveloped by the fabric, otherwise you'll risk it falling out. 

The Verdict

Collar stays are essential for men who care about their appearance. More than simply keeping your collar in place, collar stays serve a highly symbolic purpose that will make your overall outfit look stronger and more confident. In days where people are splashing money on the big ticket items such as neckties and suits, it pays to be the guy who knows his way around the smaller stuff. It just takes a simple detail like collar stays to make all the difference when it comes to making the right impression. It's the distinguishing feature between good and excellent. 



Peter Marshall is a legend amongst the men of OTAA. Sharp dressed to a point, only his wit has more edge.
An English gentleman, lover of business and an avid blogger




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