How to make a shirt collar stiff

Updated February 21, 2017

You look in the mirror and see a collar that's bent out of shape and flat. The rest of your collared shirts share this problem. Stiffen those collars by ironing them or, if your shirt is equipped with the proper channels, by purchasing collar stays. These are small pieces of plastic or metal specially designed to keep collars stiff. Either method will ensure your shirt collar stays stiff and professional looking throughout your workday.

Set your iron to the heat setting allowed by the fabric care instructions on the tag on your collared shirt.

Place the shirt on the ironing board with the front facing you.

Unfold the collar so that it lays flat with the shirt.

Spray starch onto the collar and iron it so it becomes flat. The starch will aid in stiffening the collar's fabric. Iron from one side of the collar to the other side, pressing it gently.

Flip the shirt over and lay the collar flat again. Spray the back side of the collar with starch and iron it flat.

Fold the collar to its intended placement.

Iron along the fold of the collar to stiffen it and create a crease.

Flip your collar up.

Look for a sewn-in channel on either side of the front of your collar.

Measure the length of these channels.

Purchase collar stays that are the length of the channels. If you can't find any that are the length you need, purchase longer plastic models and trim off the excess before using.

Insert one collar stay, pointed side first, into each of the sewn-in channels.

Flip your collar back down and wear as normal.


Remove collar stays before washing your shirts. Collar stays work only with shirts that have sewn-in channels.

Things You'll Need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Starch
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Collar stays
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About the Author

Christina Martinez has been writing professionally since 2007. She's been published in the California State University at Fullerton newspaper, "The Daily Titan." Her writing has also appeared in "Orange County's Best" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and print journalism from California State University.