A 2015 survey by men’s accessories subscription box, Manrags, found that only 25% of its 1200 members surveyed wore a tie to work every day.
A whopping 55% never wore one at all.
In my previous life as a Recruiter (I know, I know—let the hate mail flood begin), I wore a suit every day.
A tie was optional, but I really only ever wore it for the yearly office photos (one of which is my current author profile picture on this site, go figure!).
Some guys wore one, but they were in the minority.
I still love to wear a dress shirt without a tie. But to this day, I’ve always had one problem with the look:
My ongoing, 15+ year, life or death, no-rules, cage match struggle with the collar.
With or without a jacket.
Yes, I buy and wear metal collar stays. And they do help slightly. But they make absolutely no difference to the top placket area where your collar sags the most.
So I did a bit of digging around online (I was actually looking for premium collar stays) and came across Million Dollar Collar.
It claimed to solve exactly the problem I was having and so I reached out to its co-founders Rob and Steve to see if they’d be up for me giving their placket stays a try and documenting it for you guys.
And here we are.
First I’ll share the story behind Million Dollar Collar and how the technology works, before diving into my review.
Let’s do it.
What is Million Dollar Collar?
In short, Million Dollar Collar is a placket stay.
But let’s go long on this one. Million Dollar Collar is the world’s only permanently installed placket stay—backed with a patent.
Much like a collar stay is designed to reinforce the collar of your dress shirt, Million Dollar Collar has been designed to reinforce its placket.
This short video explains it simply:
Founded on Kickstarter in 2014, the company (named Million Dollar Technology, LLC) is owned and run by Midwest born duo, Rob Kessler and Steve Farina.
And to me, this is the real kicker:
Wedding pictures played a key role in Million Dollar Collar becoming a thing.
How? Well, it all started when Kessler felt his dress shirt let him down on the biggest day of his life.
Of course—he was wearing a brand new and freshly pressed shirt for his wedding day.
But it simply wasn’t playing ball in that one area that I know a lot of you guys (myself included) who don’t often wear ties will relate to:
Forever. Scruffy. Sagging. Collar.
Or as I like to call it—the area of your dress shirt that often makes you look like a teenager dressed you.
And as Kessler learned, and you’ll soon find out, the issue doesn’t stem from the collar itself. It’s due to a lack of support in the placket.
One look at his wedding pictures and he was spurred into action.
He was on a mission—to create the world’s first universal placket stay.
You can check out the full story on the company’s about page.
Cool Story. But What is a Placket?
Million Dollar Collar is all about revolutionizing the placket of the dress shirt. Which means this review will be pretty confusing if you don’t know what that is.
For the dress shirt, the placket refers to the double layers of fabric on the front of the shirt that holds the buttons and buttonholes.
OK. But How Does Million Dollar Collar Work?
Million Dollar Collar placket stays are permanently sewed into (you guessed it) the placket of your dress shirt.
Once installed, they add support to the collar of your shirt. The intended result? No more sag when you’re not wearing a tie.
Without sag, you get a much crisper, cleaner look to your collar.
And the much sought after appearance of symmetry.
Sweet, sweet symmetry.
Unboxing & Review
What Do You Get?
You can buy Million Dollar Collar in packs of 5, 10, 20, or the big Daddy—50.
The placket stays come in a zip tied bag attached to an installation instructions booklet.
In the picture above, I’ve separated one set and placed them on top of the front of the booklet. Out of the bag, they look like this:
The middle bit is simply a separator—it’s not used in the installation.
Million Dollar Collar placket stays have been designed universally to fit any dress shirt for its entire life.
I find them to be quite lightweight and soft to the touch, while also being flexible and sturdy. You can bend them but they don’t feel like they’ll break.
And this makes sense. They need to be strong enough to add support to the collar while also being bendy enough to withstand the rigor of wash and wear.
Installing Million Dollar Collar
Installing Million Dollar Collar placket stays into your dress shirt is a quick and simple task for any decent tailor or seamstress.
The stays come with detailed instructions—my tailor had no issues following them. Here’s what they look like:
If you’re in the US, you can use a Million Dollar Collar familiarized tailor/seamstress by entering your address on this page.
They’ve also put together a video to further guide installers:
The Results: My Million Dollar Collar Experience in Pictures
Unbuttoned vs Buttoned (Before and After)
My Overall Thoughts on Million Dollar Collar
What I Like
The pictures don’t lie—the result really is excellent. They effectively turn your dead, scruffy, sunken-in dress shirt collar, into a well supported, symmetrical and clean looking one. The upgrade in appearance is obvious—and the result is just as good whether you’re wearing a jacket or not.
They’re quick and easy for any tailor or seamstress to install. My tailor is a boss and knew exactly what to do with only a quick glance at the instructions. But I get that some guys don’t have a lot of experience with using a tailor or seamstress and so I like that these ship with a crystal clear instructions booklet (which also includes a link to a video) that’s designed to be shown to your installer.
They’re engineered to last for your shirt’s lifetime, which means they’re washing machine, dryer, iron, and dry clean safe. Mine have held up well over several wears, washes, and irons already. I’ll update this in six, then 12 months to keep you guys posted on how well this claim holds true.
They’re designed to universally fit all dress shirt (including both men’s and women’s). I fitted mine into a T.M. Lewin shirt with no issues.
They provide access to their own network of tailors who are familiar with the Million Dollar Collar product and who will perform the upgrade at a reasonable price.
Million Dollar Collar is USA made. It’s good to see for a product like this that could surely be very easily mass-manufactured overseas.
What I Don’t Like
Unless you’re skilled at seam ripping and sewing, you’ll need to enlist a tailor or seamstress to install these (and I generally recommend doing so anyway as the last thing you want to do is wreck a perfectly good dress shirt). Granted, it’s a quick and easy installation process, and Million Dollar Collar does make all of the instructions very clear and simple. They also provide access to their own network of tailors that are familiar with the product and who will fit them relatively inexpensively. But it’s still a minor inconvenience to have to do this for every shirt you want to be upgraded. That said, the company are now selling pre-fitted Million Dollar Collar upgraded shirts on their store.
Related to the above, there’s obviously a cost involved (beyond the initial placket stay purchase) with getting these installed. You’re probably looking at around $10 per shirt for the installation plus the cost of the Million Dollar Collar placket stays. To keep the cost down, my advice would be to get your shirts upgraded in bulk. In my experience, tailors are usually always open to negotiating on price when you bring them several similar alterations to do.
What I like most about Million Dollar Collar is that it does exactly what it says it’ll do.
Do you want your dress shirts to look a heck of a lot better when you’re not wearing a tie?
This product makes it happen.
But it doesn’t just improve appearance. It also feels more comfortable because you no longer have to constantly adjust your collar all day.
Yes, there’s the inconvenience of having to take your shirts to a tailor or seamstress to be fitted. And yes, there’s going to be a small cost involved in doing so.
But if you’re doing things the right way, you’re likely spending a decent amount on your dress shirts anyway. Especially if you’re buying custom fit.
To me, pulling the trigger on Million Dollar Collar really comes down to two things:
The percentage of the cost of the upgrade versus the total cost of your dress shirt
Number one should be obvious. If you have an unlimited budget, then you really can’t go wrong with upgrading all of your existing and future dress shirts with a Million Dollar Collar.
Because it makes them better. It’s that simple.
But to elaborate on number two with an example:
If a shirt costs you $99, and the placket stay and installation costs you an additional $12.5, the total cost of the upgrade will be 12-13% of the initial cost of the shirt.
The question then becomes (in this example)—does the Million Dollar Collar make your dress shirt 12-13% better? For me, the answer is a clear yes.
If your dress shirts are in the $150-300 bracket (or custom fit) then it should obviously become an easier decision.
To keep your costs down—approach it in bulk. Count how many dress shirts you’ll be upgrading before you buy Million Dollar Collar because the cost per stay is lower the more you buy.
And then budget to take them all to your tailor or seamstress at once for the upgrades. You’ll have much more leverage to negotiate a bundle discount.
Once you get beyond the minor cost and inconvenience of getting Million Dollar Collar installed, you're swiftly rewarded with a dress shirt collar that literally stands tall next to every $2 collar that comes your way. Each and every day.