Sometimes, a stylish look is as much about what you don’t see as what you do.
That’s why today, I’m singling out one of the unsung heroes of men’s style – collar stays.
Ladies have a long list of head-scratching, behind-the-scenes fashion saviors – think double-sided tape, Spanx, slips, bobby pins, those bra hook thingamabobs that keep the straps from sliding. The list goes on. From time to time, though, you guys have us boarding the “What’s that thing do?” bandwagon, too. Like collar stays, a mysterious-yet-essential part of a working man’s wardrobe.
Sure, cufflinks and tie bars get all the attention, but it’s collar stays that do the heavy lifting when it comes to dress shirts. These metal or plastic strips are inserted into little pockets on the collar’s underside to keep the shirt collar’s point in place and looking sharp.
Shirts often come with stays when you buy them, but they’re usually flimsy and easily bent. That’s why it’s best to invest in metal collar stays. And like any good whozit or whatsit, I suggest taking to the Internet to find these bad boys. I like the ones from Wurkin Stiffs (www.wurkinstiffs.com), which employ the magic (OK, science) of magnets to stiffen up a collar that’s gone floppy.
Because there’s no substitute for a well-preserved collar point. To illustrate the importance of small details like this, allow me to share a sad but true story. I recently met a friend of a friend, and during our conversation, my eyes kept drifting to his blue dress shirt’s neckline. The shirt itself was pressed and clean, but at his collar point I could see the outline of…well, what was it anyway?
Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and with the cover of “inquisitive fashion writer” protecting me, I asked.
“Oh,” he looked down toward his shirt, then back at me and blushed a little. “It’s a paper clip. The collar was getting a little rumpled, so...”
A paper clip!
I could forgive it as a quick, one-day emergency fix, but he’d left this 2-cent office supply jammed into the fabric of his dress shirt so long it had fossilized into a permanent outline in his collar.
It’s great he cared enough to want the collars pointed. But not enough, apparently, to reach beyond his desk drawer for wardrobe support? I suppose I should be glad he didn’t staple the collar to stay in place? Or use scotch tape in place of a tie?
I’ve said it before, it’s the little things that add up to a big difference in your look. Details like collar stays instead of office supplies. Because women notice these things, fellas. Actually, everyone notices these things.