How to Stop Droopy Unbuttoned Collars + Other Genius Fixes to Annoying Style Problems

The best inventions affordably solve annoying, everyday problems. We're kicking ourselves that we didn't come up with them.
How to Stop Droopy Unbuttoned Collars + Other Fixes to Annoying Style Problems

Thanks to Million Dollar Collar for partnering with us on this post to give Primer readers exclusive code PM10 at checkout to get 5 placket stays for only $11. We're proud to partner with them on this post!

While we have respect for guys like Einstein and Thomas Edison, it’s often the men and women who solve seemingly trivial problems who are forgotten by history. Where would we be today without Harvey Kennedy – the guy who invented the aglet, that little plastic tip on your shoelace. Without the aglet, laces would unravel and become nearly impossible to tie. When it comes to a problem like your shirt collar sagging, most people would say, that’s trivial…who cares? Well, we do.

The style problems guys face each day don’t need to go undefeated. We’ve rounded up a few simple products and methods for making sure that sartorial strife doesn’t get you down.

Million Dollar Collar Placket Stays

Million Dollar Placket, 5 for $11 with code PM10

million dollar collar

The dramatic effect of using a placket stay

For many of us, wearing ties are for the rarer, more formal occasions like job interviews and weddings. For the rest of the time, current style conventions have us sporting a button up shirt with the top two buttons undone.

The problem? This style of shirt, with this type of collar, was specifically designed to be worn with a tie. When we leave the top two buttons undone, the collar and shirt placket don’t have enough structure to keep a tidy shape. The result is a shirt opening that sags and folds onto itself, looking sloppy and more “gross guy at a club with 4 buttons undone” instead of the “modern, thoughtful, competent gentleman” we’re going for.

It doesn’t matter how much starch you have your dry cleaner put into your shirts, within ten minutes of wearing your collar open, it’s going to fall. Traditional (and upgraded, more later) collar stays keep the collar points in shape, not the collar opening.

Rob Kessler, the man behind Million Dollar Collar recognized that the problem isn’t the collar; the problem is the placket, that’s the strip of fabric with the buttons and the holes, and when you’re collar is open, the placket simply can’t handle the weight. So he invented a collar support.

The design of the Million Dollar Collar placket stays is profound in its simplicity, but these aren’t just cheap strips of plastic. The Million Dollar Collar placket stay took nearly three years to perfect because Rob wanted to make a product that could withstand years of dry cleaning (they’re flash steaming your shirts at over 400℉). He even ruined 100 test shirts in the design process.

what is a placket stay million dollar collar

Placket stays are inserted into the placket to give it structure

You can starch the hell out of your shirt; you can put in collar stays, and you can pray, but until you support the placket, your collar simply won’t stay up. The Million Dollar Collar placket stay sews into the placket of your shirt. It’s a simple, three-step process, and Rob even has a how-to video on his website.

Or do what Primer founder Andrew did: His tailor inserted them for practically nothing. The sagging collar is no longer an unsolvable problem. Check out the Million Dollar Collar here.

5 Genius Fixes to Annoying Style Problems

2. The Tie Thing

Amazon, $5.95

The tie thing

The Tie Thing is such a genius, cheap solution it's a wonder they're not included with ties

Your shoes are shined. Your shirt is pressed, and you’ve got on your favorite tie. You look good today, and you know it, which is crucial because today is a big day. You walk outside, and a gust of wind blows your tie right up into your face, and suddenly your cool factor has been obliterated. We’ve all been there, and no matter how handsome you are, few guys can pull off this look.

And whether it’s because you’re dealing with wind outside, or just normal movement keeps pulling your tie out of place, having a tie you’re clearly not in control of completely counteracts any sense of formality or confidence wearing a tie is supposed to instill. We end up looking like someone swatting at flies just trying to keep our tie in place.

The Tie Thing is one of those inventions that makes you contemplatively chant “Why didn’t I think of this?” It’s a small strip of 100% cotton with two buttonholes sewn in. Slip it under the label on the back of your tie, and attach the two buttonholes to the buttons on your shirt. Now your tie can’t go anywhere; wind be damned.

The Tie Thing tie holder with button holes

The Tie Thing is available in practically any color, and it’s backed by a 200% guarantee, which means if it rips or fails, they’ll send you two new ones free of charge (and they won’t charge you shipping). We’ll just give you a minute to let the genius of this one sink in.

3. The Magic Eraser

Amazon, $4

You know you’re as impressed with the Magic Eraser as we are. It takes the soap scum off of your tub and takes scuffs off of walls with barely any pressure, but it also does a great job taking scuffs off of your white-soled shoes. A fresh pair of white kicks is a power move, but hell has no fury like a man who just scraped his Stan Smiths against a curb.

how to clean white sneakers magic eraser

A Magic Eraser will make white sneakers look brand new with almost no effort

Relax, take a breath, and get out your Magic Eraser. The trick here is not to go nuts with the pressure. Let the eraser do the work, and remember, it only needs to be moist, not dripping wet. Fun fact: Magic Erasers are made of melamine foam, which is the same material used for acoustical clouds in recording studios.

Just in time for summer, breathe new life into your white summer kicks that were all but destroyed last year.

4. PureSteam Portable Fabric Steamer

Amazon, $25

puresteam handheld steamer review

Wrinkled shirts and pants may have their place on the runway, but in the real world, you know an outfit riddled with wrinkles simply looks unkempt (unless it’s linen, in which case, rock the hell out of it). Some guys have neither the time nor the inclination to iron, and handheld steamers seem great in theory, but the problem is finding one that actually works.

Andrew can personally attest to the effectiveness of the PureSteam portable electric steamer. To use his words, “It literally ERASES wrinkles in front of your eyes.” Check out this video of Andrew taking care of the wrinkles on a shirt.

 

Of course the problem with finding a product that actually works and makes your life easier is that it typically commands a premium, but at $25 the PureSteam steamer is hardly out of anyone’s budget. It’s also worth noting that this steamer has a pretty small footprint on your dresser, so you won’t need your dad to help you build a wooden stand and private closet for it like some of the “at-home” steamers out there.

handheld steamer before and after review

If you’re insistent on the the starched, dry-cleaned look, then stick with your dry cleaner, but for regular touch ups and most instances, the PureSteam is more than adequate. Give it a full 90 seconds to warm up, and then let the steam do the work.

5. Wurkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays

Amazon, $20

Wurkin Stiffs

Wurkin Stiffs magnetic collar stays, in conjunction with Million Dollar Collar

If not you’re not keen on the button-down collar, then you’ve experienced the all-too familiar woes of trying to keep open collar points in place. You thought collar stays would do the trick, but they’re only half of the battle. You got the Million Dollar Collar, but the collar points still have nowhere to go. Jonathan Boos, inventor of Wurkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays, decided that like a ship trying to sail away, collar points need an anchor. He built Wurkin Stiffs from the ground up, starting with an actual paper clip and a refrigerator magnet.

He got the patent; he got the prototype, and then he invested his own savings into a product he believed in. How does it work? Simple: the collar stays are metal, and they come with a small (yet insanely powerful) magnet. Put the collar stays in your collar; put the magnet under your shirt where you want your collar points to lie. Done.

Pair these with the Million Dollar Collar and you have a shirt that will never let you down. One pair is $20 on Amazon and will last the rest of your life (they’re made from surgical alloy), and let’s be honest: you only need one pair.

Special thanks to Million Dollar Collar for inventing a solution to a frustrating everyday style problem, and for supporting Primer by partnering with us on this post. Primer readers can use the exclusive code PM10 to get a 5 pack of Million Dollar Collars for only $11!

Mike Henson is a literature teacher in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He enjoys shooting 35mm film, restoring vintage straight blades, purchasing too many American-made goods, and spending time with his wife and their three daughters.

  • Alex Bear

    I bought that Steamer a few years back from this site’s recommendation, and it is amazing. I have been a part of 2 weddings where people have used mine after their $200 ones the size of a vacuum wasn’t working as well.

  • Chuck Harris

    Great ideas except for the collar stays…
    I use Perky Collar almost every day. Simple to use and no sewing, stiching, etc.
    http://www.perkyllc.com/

    • rafaelscreative .

      Same here. The Million Dollar Collars I installed were a bit of a pain and so far one of them broke. The Perky Collar, which I alluded to in my comment above is far easier and makes the shirt look better since the plackets are not so stiff.

  • pyrokeet

    Smashed it with this post, some great ideas. Will definitely try the million dollar placket.

    The Perky Collar mentioned below looks interesting… their website doesn’t give a lot of info on it though.

    Btw not sure if you’ve a relationship with Wurkin Stiffs but they’re a very expensive example of what’s out there. Little but strong neodynium magnets are extremely cheap (like 100 for $10), as are collar stays made of magnetic metals. Just ebay it!

    • rafaelscreative .

      I highly recommend Perky Collar over MDC. Much easier to use and makes the shirts look better.

  • Michael Lemus

    I bought the collar stays a few months back. The ones in my dress shirt work well with a blazer. In my opinion, they are a must for a dress shirt and a blazer. Adding these in a casual button down shirt? Not so much. The casual button shirt wants to stay completely closed, almost like its buttoned all the way to the top. Probably just a characteristic of my casual shirt but ruins the whole casual vibe of a shirt.

    • rafaelscreative .

      My experience as well. I don’t even like it with the dress shirts. For me it’s Perky Collar all the way.

  • Ryan N

    Million Dollar Collar is fantastic. Glad to see them getting some mention on here. I used them to make sure my no-tie look in my wedding pictures looked great all day!

  • Connor

    Is anyone else having trouble using the discount code for the placket stays? I’m using “PM10” and get the error: Unable to find a valid discount matching the code entered. All I have in my cart is 5 pack of placket stays.

  • rafaelscreative .

    I don’t recommend the Million Dollar collar. It’s not that easy to install as they make it seem even if you have your own sewing machine, and since you have to sew through it with a needle sturdy enough not to break it creates a weak point in the MDC where it can, and in my experience, does break after a washing or two. Also, it makes the plackets “unnaturally” stiff. I now use a product that goes under your collar and you can easily switch it from shirt to shirt.