Do This One Easy Thing to Make Your Shirt Collars Last Infinitely Longer

how to make shirt collars last longer

Regrettably, all dress shirts have a life span. At some point, no matter their quality or how lovingly you take care of them, repeated wear and washing have irreparable effects. And it’s not always a dramatic rip along a seam or a huge stain on the chest that forces a shirt into retirement. Oftentimes, it’s something small that sneaks up on you – usually something on or around the collar. There are many important steps to take when it comes to caring for collars on button up shirts but the best place to start is to simply unbutton button down collars and flip them up before throwing them in the wash.

This technique has three invaluable effects:

  1. It ensures that your collar tips and button holes will not get stretched out while in the laundry, helping them continue to lay flat, snugly button down, and retain sharp, clean edges all the way around. If you’ve ever had a shirt where you have to try to “re-crease” the collar because it’s riding up, it’s because you’ve been washing and drying them with the collars buttoned.
  2. The collar’s buttons avoid being subjected to undue stress during the wash cycle, which will subsequently reduce the chances of the button’s stitching later coming loose at an inopportune moment.
  3. With the collar unfastened and flipped up, both sides of the collar (particularly the oft-neglected underside of the collar crease) will get thoroughly cleaned (and dried).

The benefits of this practice may not be immediately obvious the next time you check yourself out in the mirror but your collar will retain its off-the-rack crispness and fold for a much longer time, which is a priceless feature for a wardrobe staple like a button-down shirt.

Bonus tip! In a crowded closet or cramped garment bag, flipped-down collars can get flattened, deformed, and creased. So, after washing and drying your shirts, hang them with the collars flipped up to ensure they remain pristine while in storage.

flip up shirt collars

Justin Brown is a writer and artist living in Virginia. He channels most of his nonsensical enthusiasm into making things for his Etsy shop, Artness ! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly  adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram.

  • Michael G

    Solid! I’ll put this advice to good use.

  • Karol

    Also good for polos.

  • Serafin Nunez

    I do this for polos as well. Keeps the collar from being pressed into some odd shapes.

  • rogun

    Another reason to avoid shirts with button-down collars. Still, they’re unavoidable today, so thanks for the advice!

  • Derek Thomas

    I’ve been washing my dress shirts with the collar up, however I did not know about leaving the collar up while on the hanger in the closet. Great advice! I’ll definitely be doing this.