If you’re a guy, you love gadgets, and you love the way they change your life. Take iPod for example: no longer did you need to carry around 100 CDs with you, not knowing what music you’d be in the mood for. And raise your hand if your recliner chair has a cupholder built into it; life-changing, right?
Now, what about gadgets related to clothing? OK, the tie bar comes to mind – it’s useful and can be stylish. What else? Well, if you forget about some crazy contraptions that look downright medieval (if you want your shirt to stay tucked in, get a custom shirt!), there are a few products I found that will actually make your clothes look and feel better.
As it happens, most of these deal with the issue of the saggy shirt collars and plackets, which bothers more than a few of us guys. One simple solution to all of those would be to wear a necktie (better yet, a bow tie!), but if you’re determined to go tie-less, you’ll find a few useful tips below.
1. Dapper Keeper
You got your first pocket square, which levels up your clothing skill to “Expert” (extra points if it is a Wendistry pocket square). It highlights your outfit in a subtle way; maybe one of its colors matches a highlight color on your dress shirt or tie, or maybe you just kept it white, clean, and simple.
But the next thing you’ll notice is that after you just stick it in the breast pocket of your suit jacket, inevitably it will start to sink deeper in the pocket until there is only one small peak left of the mighty mountain range that you carefully folded the thing into. The solution – Dapper Keeper!
At first, it reminded me of a coin purse – it’s a felt pouch with a spring-loaded mechanism that opens when you squeeze the ends. The rest is simple — put your folded pocket square into the Keeper, and then put the Keeper into your pocket. It also has a horizontal groove where you can fold it, in case you don’t have as much depth in your pocket.
It comes in a handsome branded box, and you can get it in two sizes. It even includes a slot to put a business card in. Technically, you could use the Keeper as a wallet!
Most shirts come with removable collar stays, and better shirts come with stays that are metal, usually brass. Their purpose is to keep the ends of your shirt collar pointed in the right direction. But, busy men that we are, we often don’t keep track of those tiny things, and neither do our dry cleaners. (Actually, good dry cleaning stores often have boxes with hundreds of forgotten or misplaced collar stays – consider personalizing yours so they’re easier to spot. But, I digress.)
It doesn’t matter how it happened, but you no longer have the collar stays, and your collar sags and becomes flat and unattractive. Get yourself a pair of Wurkin Stiffs, stainless steel collar stays that come with a set of two tiny magnets. You put the collar stay in its slot on the underside of the collar, and you put the magnet on the inside of your shirt. Snap! – your collar now stays up, no matter what.
The idea is fantastic, and it works great, but be aware of a few drawbacks. One set of Wurkin Stiffs is just under fifteen bucks on Amazon – ouch! Also, now you have to keep track of not only the stays, but the magnets, too, which means more tiny parts to misplace.
3. Perky Collar
If you’re a floppy shirt collar, Perky Collar is the bane of your existence. It’s essentially a plastic reinforcement for your collar. You flip the collar up, put the Perky Collar around your neck, then fold the collar over the Perky, and you’re ready to go. It cannot be simpler or easier.
The price is a bit stiff (pun intended), but there are ways you can get around that. My only true complaint is that there is only one size, and it doesn’t quite fit all, so I noticed a slight bend in the collar where the Perky grip ends. Nevertheless, it’s an innovative product, luxuriously packaged and presented, and it works.
While I was on the web site for Perky, LLC, I noticed they have a few other interesting products, including a pocket square holder very similar to the Dapper Keeper. One of these products is a Button Up Collar Stay, which is a pretty confusing name. It really is a collar stay, but it has a hook on one end that you can use to close a particularly small or hard-to-reach button (they show a sleeve placket button as an example). You hook the button, push the collar stay through the button hole, and it brings the button with it through the hole. Seems simple and ingenious, but I haven’t actually tried this one out, so I’m counting it only as half an item.
This one is not for the faint of heart, people. It actually requires some tools to perform surgery on your shirt, which if you’re like me, can put you in a state of high anxiety. But, if you proceed with caution, you should be fine. Probably.
The name of the product is a bit misleading, as it actually doesn’t deal with the shirt collar at all; it fixes the placket, which is the part of the shirt where buttons are on one side and button holes on the other. The placket is what makes it a dress shirt and not a t-shirt. The trouble with plackets is that they can sag, too, if the shirt is made from a lightweight material. It ends up looking as if the collar is weighing down the placket and it develops unsightly folds, especially if worn under a sport coat.
So, the MDC is a pair of plastic strips that you slip inside the placket, both the button side and the hole side. The surgery on your shirt is done with a seam ripper ($1.00 at Wal-Mart if your mom doesn’t have one to lend you), and you only need a few seams open. Insert the MDC, suture it all back together (with a sewing machine!), and your plackets now look pretty perky. If your hands are shaky, take it to a tailor, they’ll know what to do.
That’s about it for now. I didn’t include some common sense items such as a suit brush, and I’m sure there are many more. If you think of one, let me know in the comments section below.