One of our very first articles looked at collar stiffeners, which are also known as collar stays or collar bones. Today,
I would like to extend this original post with a review of a pair of Würkin Stiffs, a special form of collar stays that was recently given to us by the manufacturer. Unlike the original collar stays we tested, Würkin Stiffs digress from the traditional form by adding an internal anchoring magnet, which supposedly gives them a certain competitive advantage.
History of Würkin Stiffs
More than 6 years, Jonathan Boos, the founder of Würkin Stiffs, filed patent no 7409730 for “A method and apparatus for holding a shirt collar in a desired position and orientation, magnetically, against a shirt front.” He had the idea to develop it while he was getting dressed for dinner one day. He saw his collar ends curling in the mirror, and so he used a paper clip and refrigerator magnet to flatten them. It seems to me that he must not have been a user of regular collar stays at the time, otherwise he would not have resorted to using a fridge magnet.
Following this experience, he decided to develop his very own magnetic collar stays. After some research he bought 12,000 collar stays and tried to sell them online with little success, until a blog wrote about them and he sold 300 units in one day. Then he was contacted by Nordstrom, and he was able to successfully sell his stiffeners. In 2011, Mr. Boos was featured on the 2nd season of the TV show Shark Tank and he received $100,000 in return for 40% of his equity. To me, he seemed rather entertaining during his pitch, but he also had an unfortunate tendency to interrupt, argue, and downplay the input of the show’s business experts. At that point in time, he had $500,000 in annual sales and had projected $1,800,000 in revenue for the following year.
Today, Würkin Stiffs sells Polo stays, which supposedly do the same thing for polos that his original product did for dress shirts. In addition, he sells other accessories like iPad and iPhone covers. Boos filed for another patent to protect his invention, which was issued in February 2012.
Collar Stays & Shirt Collars
Before I share my experiences with the Würkin stiffeners, I should mention that I have shirts with removable and sewn-in collar stays. If a shirt has a high quality, glued interlining that is tailored properly, you will never need removable collar stays – which is very convenient and always looks good because the collar tips never stand away from the shirt or curl.
If you have shirts with a sewn interning, removable collar stays make more sense since they help guarantee that your collar will not curl.
If you have shirts with an inferior interlining or a poorly cut collar, you will see the collar curl and stand away from your shirt. In this case, collar stays will help counter the poor shirt design (or quality) with their weight.
Würkin Stiffs Power Stays Review
When testing Würkin stiffs, I compared them to regular collar stays and to good shirts worn without any stays.
I started out by wearing the collar stiffs with shirts that were buttoned all the way up and worn with a tie. After wearing them on numerous occasions this way, I can safely say that Würkin Stiffs provided absolutely no added benefit to me when I wore them this way, in comparison to regular stays. In fact, the magnets inside my shirts were not comfortable and when I moved during the day, my magnets moved slightly as well, causing the area around it to wrinkle. Given this result, I would consider the Würkin Stiffs to have made the situation worse, rather than better.
When worn without a tie, Würkin Stiffs would certainly ensure that that collar tips would not move very much, but compared to regular horn or metal collar stays there was basically no difference. However, at the end of the day, the magnets had once again moved a little bit, creating the same wrinkles I saw when I wore it with a tie. Personally, I found that to look quite unflattering.
You can buy six of these stiffeners in 2″, 2.5″ and 3″ sizes for $40 (up from $35 last year). For $75, you can get a “Special Edition” with 2.25″, 2.5″, 2.75″ and 3″ collar stays. The edges of these stiffeners are much sharper than the stays from stayclip. Considering that Würkin Stiffs are made out of metal-alloy and not precious mother of pearl, horn, or even silver, I find that rather pricey in comparison to regular metal collar stays, which are available for a fraction of the price. Maybe the magnetic power can justify the higher cost.
Overall, when compared to regular collar stays, the Würkin Stiffs Power Stays did not provide any added value to me. If you own good-quality shirts, then these collar stays would not improve your shirt wearing experience. If you are working on building your shirt wardrobe, I would suggest that you save your money to buy a better shirt.
After watching the aforementioned Shark Tank show, it seems to me that the best product for the manufacturer (high margin) is not always the best for the customer (high price with little to no benefit). Of course, no one is forced to buy anything and if the market demands the product, Würkin Stiffs should serve it. Also, there are many men who are not interested in spending their money on a wardrobe basic such as a shirt, and as such, there is a definite market for lower quality, trendy, or novelty patterned shirts and Würkin Stiffs to go with them.
However, if you are reading the Gentleman’s Gazette, you are probably have a deeper interest in clothing and quality than the average man, and you’re willing to invest in solid basics such as shirts. As such, I can only suggest to skip these expensive stiffeners and get regular metal collar stays instead. Then, if you are looking for something special, go for sterling silver, horn or mother of pearl stays – the special materials warrant the extra investment, and they won’t cause additional wrinkling.
If you want to test Würkin Stiffs for yourself, take a look at their website.
Würkin Stiffs even produced a video – since the collar stay was just put in, you don’t really see the wrinkles, but after a few hours you will. Note how the tie-wearing model in the video shows wrinkles even though they were just put in.