Metal Vs Plastic Collar Stays: What Are The Best Collar Stays

When it comes to shirt accessories, there’s one debate that has been raging on for years: metal or plastic collar stays. Ask any sartorially inclined gentleman and you’ll likely receive a passionate opinion on which is superior. But what exactly are collar stays and why does their material matter?

Let’s delve into the world of collar stays and explore the pros and cons of metal and plastic options. Whether you’re a fashion-conscious individual or simply someone looking to upgrade their wardrobe essentials, this blog post will provide the insight you need to make an informed decision.

What Are Collar Stays

Collar stays are small yet essential accessories that play a crucial role in maintaining a polished and crisp appearance for shirts and blouses. These tiny inserts are strategically placed in the collar to prevent it from curling or flopping throughout the day.

When the collar stays in place, it enhances the overall look of the outfit, giving it a more put-together and professional appearance.

Metal Collar Stays

Metal collar stays are crafted from sturdy materials like stainless steel or brass. These materials lend a solid structure to the stays, making them an excellent choice for keeping collars firmly in place.

One of the primary advantages of metal collar stays is their exceptional durability and longevity. Unlike their plastic counterparts, metal stays can withstand frequent use without losing their shape or effectiveness. They offer long-lasting support, ensuring that your collar remains crisp and professional for an extended period.

Furthermore, metal collar stays provide a firm hold on the collar, keeping it in place throughout the day. This feature is particularly beneficial for individuals who want to maintain a polished appearance even during long hours of wear.

Another advantage of metal collar stays is their resistance to bending or breaking. The robustness of stainless steel or brass ensures that the stays maintain their form under pressure, guaranteeing a neat and tidy collar appearance in any situation.

Due to their durability and premium appearance, metal collar stays are highly suitable for formal or professional attire. They add an elegant touch to dress shirts, making them the preferred choice for business meetings, weddings, or other special occasions.

However, metal collar stays do come with some potential drawbacks. One consideration is their higher cost compared to plastic options. The superior quality of metal stays contributes to their increased price, which may influence the purchasing decision of some individuals.

Additionally, metal collar stays have a degree of conductivity, which can lead to discomfort in extreme weather conditions. During cold weather, the stays can become uncomfortably cold, while in hot weather, they might become uncomfortably hot. Though this might not be a major concern for most, those sensitive to temperature changes may find this aspect less appealing.

Plastic Collar Stays

Plastic collar stays, on the other hand, are typically made from materials like PVC or polyethylene. These materials provide flexibility and contribute to the affordability of plastic stays.

One of the primary benefits of plastic collar stays is their budget-friendliness and widespread availability. They are relatively inexpensive, making them accessible to a broader range of consumers with varying budgets.

Moreover, plastic collar stays are lightweight and comfortable to wear. The absence of added weight ensures that they don’t cause any discomfort, even during extended periods of wear. This aspect makes them an ideal choice for individuals who require all-day comfort.

The flexibility of plastic collar stays allows for easy adjustments. They can be shaped and reshaped as needed to achieve the desired collar shape, providing a level of customization that metal stays may not offer.

Due to their affordability and comfortable nature, plastic collar stays are well-suited for casual or everyday wear. They are the perfect complement to casual shirts and attire, ensuring a polished appearance without the need for formal accessories.

However, there are some potential limitations to consider when using plastic collar stays. Over time, due to frequent use, plastic stays may become prone to bending or breaking. Their flexibility, while beneficial in some cases, may lead to a decrease in stiffness over time, potentially impacting their ability to keep the collar crisp.

Furthermore, plastic collar stays may not offer the same level of stiffness and support as their metal counterparts. This limitation may be a consideration for those who prefer a more structured and formal appearance.

Another aspect to consider is the limited lifespan of plastic collar stays. Due to their flexibility and the potential for bending or breaking, they may need replacement more frequently compared to metal collar stays.

Metal Vs Plastic Collar Stays: Comparison

Metal and plastic collar stays have distinct features, benefits, and drawbacks that cater to different preferences and needs.

Metal collar stays offer exceptional durability, longevity, and firmness. They are best suited for formal events, dress shirts, and those seeking long-term use. However, their higher cost and temperature sensitivity may be factors to consider.

Plastic collar stays, on the other hand, provide affordability, comfort, and flexibility. They are ideal for casual shirts, everyday wear, and individuals on a budget. However, their potential for bending or breaking and their relatively shorter lifespan might require more frequent replacements.

Metal Vs Plastic Collar Stays: Related Questions

Do You Leave Collar Stays in When Wearing?

Collar stays are typically meant to be left in when wearing a dress shirt. They are small, flat, and rigid pieces of material (usually plastic or metal) that are inserted into the underside of the shirt collar to keep it stiff and well-shaped. Leaving the collar stays in helps maintain a crisp and polished look throughout the day.

Are Collar Stays Necessary?

Collar stays are not strictly necessary for every dress shirt, but they do serve a specific purpose. The main function of collar stays is to provide structure and keep the collar points in place, preventing them from curling or flopping.

Dress shirts with stiffer collars tend to benefit more from collar stays. However, many casual shirts and some dress shirts come with sewn-in collar stays or have collars made with materials that don’t require stays.

Why Use Metal Collar Stays?

Metal collar stays offer several advantages over plastic ones. Metal stays are more durable and can withstand repeated use and bending without breaking. They are less likely to warp or lose their shape over time.

Additionally, metal collar stays tend to have a more premium feel and appearance compared to plastic ones. They are often preferred by those who wear dress shirts regularly and want a long-lasting solution.

What Is the Best Type of Collar Stay?

The best type of collar stay depends on personal preference and usage. Here are the main types

  • Metal collar stays: As mentioned earlier, metal stays are durable and provide a premium feel.
  • Plastic collar stays: These are cost-effective and come in various shapes and sizes. They work well for occasional use.
  • Magnetic collar stays: These feature magnets that hold the collar in place and are particularly useful for shirts with hidden button-down collars.
  • Removable vs. sewn-in stays: Some dress shirts have collar stays that are sewn into the collar and are not removable, while others have pockets where you can insert and remove the stays. Removable stays allow for easier washing and ironing.

Do Metal Collar Stays Work?

Yes, metal collar stays work effectively in keeping dress shirt collars crisp and well-shaped. They are sturdy and do not bend or lose their form easily, providing reliable support to the collar. When inserted correctly, they help maintain a neat appearance and prevent the collar from spreading or curling throughout the day.

What Type of Shirt Collar Is Best?

The best type of shirt collar depends on personal style, face shape, and the occasion. Here are a few common collar types:

  • Point collar: A classic and versatile choice, suitable for most face shapes and formal to semi-formal occasions.
  • Spread collar: Offers a wider spread between collar points, creating a more modern and fashionable look. Ideal for men with narrow faces.
  • Button-down collar: Collar points are fastened to the shirt with buttons, creating a more casual and relaxed appearance. Great for business casual or smart casual outfits.
  • Wing collar: Typically reserved for formal events and worn with tuxedos or dinner jackets.
  • Tab collar: Features a hidden tab that fastens the collar ends together, creating a unique and stylish touch.


Choosing between metal and plastic collar stays ultimately depends on individual preferences and circumstances. Each type has its unique set of advantages and drawbacks that cater to different fashion styles, budgets, and comfort levels. Additionally, experimenting with both types can provide valuable insights into which one aligns best with their individual style and comfort preferences. Whether it’s the premium feel of metal or the practicality of plastic, collar stays are an indispensable accessory for anyone looking to maintain a crisp and elegant collar appearance.

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