How To Make Your Shirt Collar Stand Up: A Complete Guide

A crisp, standing shirt collar can really take your style up a notch. Whether you’re dressing up for a special event or just want to add some polish to your everyday look, learning how to make your collar stand on its own is an easy way to look sharp.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use collar stays or inserts to add structure and make the collar points stay in place. Starching the collar will also help it hold its shape. But for more details, read on!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get your shirt collar to stand tall, from collar stay basics to starching tricks. You’ll learn tips for different collar styles and get advice to keep your collar looking neat all day long. Let’s get started!

Understand What Makes a Collar Stand Up

When it comes to achieving a sharp and polished look, having a collar that stands up is essential. Understanding the factors that contribute to a collar’s ability to stand up will help you achieve that desired effect.

The Role of Collar Stays

Collar stays are small, flat pieces of material, typically made of plastic or metal, that are inserted into specially designed pockets on the underside of a shirt collar. Their purpose is to provide support and structure to the collar, helping it maintain its shape and stand up.

Without collar stays, a collar is more likely to droop or collapse, giving a sloppy appearance.

Collar stays come in various lengths and can be removable or sewn into the collar. Removable collar stays offer the advantage of being able to customize the stiffness of the collar by using different types of stays. Some shirts even come with built-in collar stays that are permanently attached.

Stiffness in the Collar Fabric

The fabric used in the collar also plays a crucial role in determining its ability to stand up. Stiffer fabrics such as poplin or twill tend to hold their shape better and provide a more structured look.

On the other hand, softer fabrics like oxford cloth or flannel may give a more relaxed appearance and a slightly softer collar.

It’s worth noting that collar stiffness can vary depending on personal preference and style. Some individuals may prefer a more casual and relaxed collar, while others may prefer a crisp and sharp look.

Ultimately, the choice of fabric stiffness will depend on your personal style and the occasion for which you’re dressing.

Proper Collar Construction

The construction of the collar itself is another important factor to consider. A well-constructed collar will have multiple layers of fabric, including a collar band and collar stand, which add stability and structure.

Additionally, a properly sewn collar will have clean and even stitching, ensuring that it maintains its shape and stands up.

When purchasing shirts, it’s important to pay attention to the collar construction. Look for shirts with reinforced collar bands and collar stands, as well as quality stitching. This will ensure that your collar stands up and stays in place throughout the day.

By understanding the role of collar stays, the stiffness of the collar fabric, and proper collar construction, you’ll be well-equipped to make your shirt collar stand up and achieve a polished and put-together look.

Remember, a well-kept collar can make a significant difference in your overall appearance.

Use Collar Stays or Inserts

If you want to make your shirt collar stand up, one of the most effective ways is to use collar stays or inserts. Collar stays are small, flat pieces that are inserted into the underside of the collar to provide structure and keep it in place.

They come in a variety of materials and styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Plastic and Metal Stays

Plastic and metal collar stays are the most common options available. Plastic stays are lightweight and flexible, making them ideal for casual shirts. They are also affordable and easy to replace if lost or damaged. On the other hand, metal stays are more durable and provide a stiffer collar.

They are perfect for dress shirts and can withstand repeated use without bending or breaking.


Another innovative option for keeping your shirt collar standing up is to use magnets. Magnetic collar stays are designed with small magnets that hold the collar in place. They are easy to use and provide a strong hold, ensuring your collar stays upright throughout the day.

However, it’s essential to ensure that the magnets are positioned correctly to avoid discomfort or damage to the fabric.

Collar Bones

Collar bones, also known as collar stiffeners or collar stays, are rigid strips that are inserted into specially designed pockets on the underside of the collar. They are typically made of plastic or metal and provide excellent support and structure to the collar.

Collar bones are often included with high-quality dress shirts, but they can also be purchased separately for use with other shirts. They are reusable and can be easily removed or replaced as needed.

When using collar stays or inserts, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for inserting and removing them to avoid damaging your shirt. Additionally, it’s recommended to remove the collar stays before laundering your shirt to prevent them from getting lost or causing damage to the fabric.

By using collar stays or inserts, you can easily achieve a crisp and professional look with your shirt collar. Whether you opt for plastic or metal stays, magnets, or collar bones, these accessories will help keep your collar in place and maintain its shape throughout the day.

Try Starching the Collar

If you’re tired of your shirt collar looking limp and floppy, starching it can be a game-changer. Starching the collar not only helps it stand up but also gives it a crisp and polished look. There are different methods and products you can use to achieve this effect. Let’s explore some of the options.

Liquid Starch

Liquid starch is a traditional method that has been used for decades to stiffen fabric. You can find liquid starch in most grocery stores or online. To use liquid starch, dilute it with water according to the product instructions.

Then, apply it to the collar using a spray bottle or by dipping the collar into the starch mixture. Afterward, iron the collar while it’s still damp to set the starch and create a stiff, stand-up collar.

Spray Starch

Spray starch is a convenient option for those looking for a quick and easy way to stiffen their shirt collar. It comes in an aerosol can and is readily available in supermarkets and online. To use spray starch, simply spray it directly onto the collar, making sure to cover the entire surface.

Then, use an iron to press the collar, creating a crisp and well-defined shape. Spray starch allows for precise application and can be easily adjusted to achieve the desired level of stiffness.

Starch Alternative Products

If you prefer to avoid traditional starch products, there are alternative options available. Some companies offer starch alternatives that are made from natural ingredients and are environmentally friendly. These products work similarly to traditional starch but without the chemicals.

They can be found online or in specialty stores. Additionally, there are homemade alternatives you can try, such as using cornstarch or vinegar mixed with water. These alternatives may not provide the same level of stiffness as traditional starch, but they can still help your collar stand up.

Remember, when using any starch product, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s also important to test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying starch to the entire collar to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.

With the right method and product, you can achieve a sharp and professional-looking collar that will make a great impression.

Additional Tips for Different Collar Types

Spread Collars

Spread collars are known for their wide collar spread, which creates a modern and stylish look. To make your spread collar stand up, try the following tips:

  • Use collar stays: Collar stays are small inserts that provide structure and support to your collar. Insert them into the collar points to help keep them standing up.
  • Iron your collar: Use a hot iron to press your collar, ensuring it stays crisp and upright.
  • Choose the right fabric: Opt for stiff fabrics like cotton or linen, as they are more likely to hold their shape.

Button-Down Collars

Button-down collars are a classic choice for a more casual look. Here are some tips to make your button-down collar stand up:

  • Button it up: Make sure to fasten the collar buttons to keep the collar in place.
  • Proper collar roll: Roll the collar between your fingers to create a natural curve, which helps it stand up.
  • Collar stays: Some button-down shirts come with removable collar stays. If yours does, insert them to reinforce the collar structure.

Club Collars

Club collars, characterized by their rounded edges, add a touch of vintage elegance to any outfit. To make your club collar stand up:

  • Iron and starch: Iron your collar and apply starch before wearing to keep it stiff and upright.
  • Collar pins: Consider using collar pins to secure the collar, giving it a more structured and elevated appearance.

Point Collars

Point collars are the most common type of collar and work well for both formal and casual occasions. Here’s how to make your point collar stand up:

  • Collar stays: Use collar stays to provide stability and help the collar points stand up.
  • Ironing and starching: Iron the collar and apply starch to keep it crisp and upright.
  • Proper fit: Ensure that your shirt fits well to avoid a sagging collar. A properly fitted shirt will help the collar maintain its shape.

Remember, experimenting with different techniques and finding what works best for you is key. Don’t be afraid to try new methods and see which ones give you the desired results. With these additional tips, you’ll be able to make your shirt collar stand up and achieve a polished and put-together look.

Keep Your Collar Looking Crisp All Day

Having a well-groomed appearance is important, especially when it comes to professional settings or formal occasions. One key element of a polished look is a collar that stands up and maintains its crispness throughout the day.

Whether you’re wearing a dress shirt or a casual button-down, here are some tips to help you achieve a perfectly styled collar.

Check Collar Placement

Before worrying about keeping your collar standing up, it’s important to ensure that it is properly placed. The collar should be centered and aligned with the lapels of your jacket or blazer. This will not only give you a neat appearance but also provide a solid foundation for keeping your collar upright.

Use Collar Extenders

If you find that your collar is not standing up as desired, collar extenders can be a game-changer. These small accessories attach to the existing collar button and add extra space, allowing the collar to stand up more prominently.

Collar extenders are especially helpful if you have a larger neck size or if your shirt collar has become tight over time.

Carry Extra Collar Stays

Collar stays are the rigid inserts that help maintain the shape of your collar. Over time, collar stays may become worn out or lost. To ensure your collar stays standing up, it’s a good idea to carry extra collar stays with you.

These can easily be inserted into the collar pockets to provide additional support and structure throughout the day.

Pro Tip: Remember to remove the collar stays before washing or ironing your shirt to prevent damage!

By following these simple tips, you can keep your shirt collar looking crisp and professional all day long. Remember to check collar placement, utilize collar extenders if needed, and carry extra collar stays for maintenance.

With a little extra attention to detail, you’ll always have a collar that stands up to the occasion!


A standing collar can really take your style up a level. With the right products and techniques, you can get any shirt collar to stand tall. Collar stays and starch provide structure to make points stay in place. Pay attention to collar type and placement for the best results.

With this advice, your collar game will be on point!

Looking sharp with a standing collar is easy when you follow these tips. Experiment with different products and methods to find what works best for your wardrobe. A little time and effort goes a long way to perfecting your polished, put-together look.

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