Collar stays are those few inch long pieces of metal (brass, copper, or steel) or plastic that you can insert into your dress shirt collar to keep the points straight and your shirt collar down. These little items are often overlooked in professional attire for a few reasons. First, a lot of people don't even know what collar stays are! One reason for this is that some shirts are made with plastic collar stays already built into the collar and the person may never see them. Another reason collar stays are overlooked is because they can be, especially if they are brass collar stays, can be quite expensive for such little items.
Why Should I Buy Collar Stays?
The biggest reason to buy collar stays is for professional appearance. Nothing ruins the look of business attire quite like a shirt collar that is flipped up with the points bent and creased in awkward directions. Collar stays can help keep shirt collars crisp and clean looking thus adding a sense of professionalism to any business shirt.
Should I buy Metal or Plastic?
Below are the some of the pros and cons of both metal and plastic collar stays.
Metal - Usually brass collar stays
Metal collar stays are very durable and long lasting. Often, you only need about 4 metal collar stays for your entire business shirt wardrobe. The metal is strong and will last a very long time and you will not need to replace them for any other reason than they are lost.
The price of metal collar stays is pretty expensive up front. The cost can range from $10 - $30 for a few collar stays. This may sound like a lot for some bits of metal, but when you consider how long you will have these without the need of replacement; the cost is more easily justified for purchasing metal collar stays.
Plastic collar stays are much cheaper in comparison with metal collar stays. The reason for this is that plastic collar stays are much cheaper to manufacture thus making them less costly.
Plastic collar stays are not nearly as sturdy as metal collar stays and they can easily break or become warped over time. This means that you will have to replace your collar stays more frequently resulting in greater cost over time. In the long run, metal collar stays will likely be much cheaper.
Where Can I Find Collar Stays?
Department Stores - These stores will often carry a small selection of collar stays and even then, they are usually plastic. Don't hesitate to try though as the clerks in the store may be able to point you in the right direction to finding some collar stays in your area.
Dry Cleaners - These will often have counter displays of collar stays for sale. Again, these are mostly of the plastic variety, but a few might carry metal collar stays.
Men's Wearhouse - This is a great source for metal, especially brass, collar stays. Check with your local Men's Wearhouse to see if they carry some. If not in store, then perhaps you can find some on their website.
The internet - The internet is a great resource for locating high quality metal collar stays for much cheaper than you would find in retail stores. Type, "metal collar stays" or "brass collar stays" into any major search engine and the top results should lead you to some online retailers that sell collar stays.
If you are having trouble with your business shirt collars or you just want to add to your professional appearance, then collar stays are a small, but effective, investment into your presentation as a crisp and clean professional.