Featured | Menswear | Shirts

How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp

Miguel Vieira

Collar Stance & How To Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp

How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp: Proper dress shirt collar stance

The dress shirt remains the anchor in men’s attire, seam­less­ly adjust­ing to an array of styles and ambiances. More so, men final­ly rec­og­nize the impor­tance of keep­ing their dress shirt col­lars look­ing crisp, and are mak­ing a con­scious effort at it.

This isn’t to say their choic­es are accu­rate and informed on this chap­ter. One of the most com­mon mis­takes men incur when sport­ing dress shirts (besides fit that is), has to be droopy col­lars result­ing from low qual­i­ty fab­rics, poor con­struc­tion and improp­er care.

With the col­lar embody­ing a great deal of the shirt’s essence, there are count­less ways to improve its stance and stature result­ing in an impec­ca­ble look­ing ver­sion.

But first, the issue needs to be heard in detail before a worth­while solu­tion can be craft­ed.


How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp: Pitti Uomo

Dur­ing warmer months and in pro­fes­sion­al envi­ron­ments, the shirt-only look is gain­ing more pop­u­lar­i­ty.

What a crisp looking dress shirt collar should look like.

We’ve all seen unpol­ished shirt col­lars drown­ing below jack­et lapels as if being pulled by the shoul­ders, bro­ken and flat­tened to their full extent and ulti­mate­ly allow­ing for a (un)healthy dose of man­ly chest.

Now, unless you’re pur­pose­ly wear­ing a paja­ma-col­lared shirt also referred to as Cuban or Capri col­lar, that is def­i­nite­ly not the way a dress shirt should look like.

The rea­sons for such “shir­ti­cide” are numer­ous and can be traced upstream towards pro­duc­tion or down­stream towards a lack of active engage­ment in gar­ment and per­son­al image care.

In this arti­cle, we will review the most com­mon caus­es for flat col­lars and pro­vide a num­ber of ways to make your shirt col­lar pop, be it on future pur­chas­es or the time-test­ed favorite in your clos­et.

How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp: collar droop

No mat­ter how good look­ing you are or how expen­sive your suit is, an ill-fit­ting col­lar just com­pro­mis­es the entire look.

Causes on the manufacturing side that affect collar stance.

Dress shirts are eas­i­ly one of the most intri­cate cloth­ing items when it comes to indus­tri­al or semi-indus­tri­al man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The research need­ed to reach the per­fect design and cut, involves a num­ber of indi­vid­ual process­es and ele­ments all of which will bear an impact on the final out­come of a dress shirt.

Focus­ing sole­ly on the col­lar, and sim­i­lar­ly to a sculp­ture, the sheer design and pro­por­tions direct­ly influ­ence how it will stand or drop.

In fact, besides the col­lar shape and design, there are oth­er ele­ments that bear an influ­ence, name­ly:

The collar’s fabric.

As the “raw mate­r­i­al” of the shirt, fab­ric plays an impor­tant role. Depend­ing on its weight and tex­ture, the col­lar will be more stiff or flop­py.

The collar’s interlining — sewn or fused.

Dress shirt inter­lin­ings are placed in between lay­ers of fab­ric to pro­vide struc­ture and sup­port. They are direct­ly linked to the fab­ric choice, since match­ing them cor­rect­ly results in the per­fect mix of aes­thet­ics and com­fort.

The construction of the collar.

The way a shirt is assem­bled, by hand or machin­ery also affects the way the col­lar will look. On this note, the use of met­al molds to steam-press the col­lars allows them to retain their shape through­out their life cycle.

How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp: interlinings

Inter­lin­ings should match the fab­ric type to ensure the per­fect result.

Fur­ther­more, the way the col­lar stands is not only depen­dent on the col­lar itself, but on the front plack­et as well. In fact, when worn unbut­toned, the sup­port struc­ture of the col­lar is the plack­et, a soft ele­ment that usu­al­ly falls out of place with move­ment, open­ing to the sides and pulling the col­lar along.

Causes on the consumer side which affect collar stance.

Besides the innate char­ac­ter­is­tics of the shirt, the remain­ing rea­sons for a flop­py col­lar are often asso­ci­at­ed with how we, as con­sumers, wear and care for our own shirts.

We often over­look the fact that no mat­ter its weight or casu­al essence, cot­tons and linens are del­i­cate nat­ur­al fibers, which demands basic main­te­nance and care, so be sure to con­sid­er the fol­low­ing:

Properly caring for your dress shirts.

Wash­ing and iron­ing are the most haz­ardous oper­a­tions for dress shirts. Abra­sive soaps and soft­en­ers, over­ly inten­sive wash­ing cycles, tum­ble dri­ers and high-heat­ed irons break the col­lars inter­lin­ings and con­tribute to fray­ing.

Tak­ing your shirt to the dry clean­ers isn’t the mag­i­cal answer. Many of them don’t respect gar­ments and resort to low qual­i­ty deter­gents – be sure to choose the best one avail­able and if in doubt, your tai­lor might pro­vide a good rec­om­men­da­tion.

How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp: instructions to keep crisp

Nev­er under­es­ti­mate the impor­tance of care instruc­tions.

Poor stor­ing solu­tions also degrade the col­lar shape. Pil­ing fold­ed shirts on top of each oth­er will tend to flat­ten col­lars and crease the shirt. If pos­si­ble, hang your shirts on a prop­er hang­er (space-per­mit­ting) and but­ton the col­lar and the top two but­tons on the plack­et.

Solutions to prevent collar droop and keep them looking crisp.

Using the high­est qual­i­ty of inter­lin­ings as well as a num­ber of cus­tomiz­able options can help keep col­lars look­ing crisp. For exam­ple, opt for a low­ered col­lar line that gives the col­lar the right angle.

Anoth­er cus­tom fea­ture to employ are hid­den but­tons on the sides to keep the col­lar upright and kept. Using col­lar stays fur­ther adds stiff­ness to the col­lar, improv­ing over­all stance.

How to Keep Your Dress Shirt Collars Looking Crisp: hidden buttons

Mid-col­lar hid­den but­tons help it keep its shape and per­fect stance.

The com­bi­na­tion of these fac­tors result in a nice­ly kept shirt col­lar that imme­di­ate­ly ele­vates the entire ensem­ble, mak­ing it look more pol­ished and lux­u­ri­ous.

Oth­er options include bal­anc­ing the height of the col­lar-band with the length of the col­lar points, or opt­ing for a clas­sic hid­den but­ton-down.

The impor­tance of the front plack­et can’t be over­looked, as a dis­tressed plack­et com­plete­ly ruins any attempts on ele­gance, com­pro­mis­ing the drape of the col­lar itself. Some shirts fea­ture a rein­forced plack­et, there­by able to hold their shape much bet­ter.

And if you are will­ing to com­pro­mise slight­ly on the com­fort, an addi­tion­al lay­er of inter­lin­ing on the plack­et will make it even stur­dier.

Upgrading existing dress shirt collars.

If you wish to main­tain a soft plack­et on future orders or revamp the shape of an old favorite, there are a few inter­est­ing prod­ucts on the mar­ket, such as Mil­lion Dol­lar Col­lar – a set of plas­tic plack­et rein­force­ments, eas­i­ly sewn on by your tai­lor or seam­stress to make your shirt look crisp.

Fol­low these tips when cus­tomiz­ing your dress shirts to ensure they look their best. And save your old ones from extinc­tion by tak­ing the sim­ple steps cov­ered above.

Custom Dress Shirts