As Michael Scott would say, I'm "collar blind."
May 28, 2006 12:07 PM   Subscribe

How can I fix the collars on my polo shirts?

So with my new college diploma last year came a new job. The dress code at my building is the standard khaki-pants-and-golf-shirt (or polo shirt, or collared shirt, whatever you want to call it. 2 or 3 buttons and a collar on a short-sleeved shirt.)

I've built quite a collection of shirts - some cheap, some nice. However, the collars have all developed their own unique problems. Some do "the wave," some curl up underneath themselves, some flip out, some have weird folds, etc.

I've always done the standard wash & dry cycles, and I hang them up after I wash them (or wear them, if they don't need to be washed. Hey, I've only been out of college for less than a year.)

I've tried ironing them, but it doesn't seem to help. Does anyone know of a way to "fix" the collar on a polo shirt? And once I have them fixed, how do I keep them that way?
posted by cebailey to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The warped polo collar is a problem so prevalent that many 'better' polo shirts are advertised as having a special no-curl collar.

But for the ones you have now, try this: wet a smooth cotton cloth (not terry, for instance) and wring it out so it's evenly damp. Then iron the collar, placing the damp cloth between the iron and the collar. Using this method, you can steam out many of the flaws. For some reason, it doesn't work just to dampen the collar and iron it; you need the damp press cloth.

It might help to take the shirts out of the dryer before they're completely dry, or remove them at the very moment they attain dryness. Definitely don't let them sit in the dryer after the cycle has ended.

It's been my experience that polos from Lands End and LL Bean have no collar problems -- and you can return them any time, for any reason.
posted by wryly at 12:36 PM on May 28, 2006

asked previously (by me)
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:56 PM on May 28, 2006

I found with my shirts that hanging them with the top button buttoned helps out (at least vs. my not previously doing that).

This may not help with shirts whose collars have already gone to hell (like some of my older ones).
posted by blind.wombat at 1:16 PM on May 28, 2006

It's not just polo shirts that do this - my dress shirts (and casual collared long-sleeve shirts) do this, as well as curl at the bottom where they're tucked in. So do my sheets. I'm a guy, of course, and the women i've talked to don't seem to have a problem with this. (On their clothes/sheets, not with my shirts. I assume.)
posted by hoborg at 1:47 PM on May 28, 2006

Somewhat tangential, but this is why I always buy collared shirts that have slots for collar stays (obviously this is not a feature available on polo shirts). It keeps them straight and firm and nice looking throughout the day.
posted by rossination at 2:11 PM on May 28, 2006

This may be a weird family ritual that no one else has ever done, but I have a method that mostly prevents this. After washing your shirts, lay them flat on a floor in your home somewhere. I usually use the carpeted floor in my bedroom. With the polos, open up the collar and fold it flat as well (so you're really unfolding the collar to flatten it).

I do this with all of my shirts because it keeps the collars on t-shirts nice and tight, too. If you hang a wet shirt on a hanger, the weight of the wet fabric will stretch the opening. Also prevents hanger-bumps in the shoulders.
posted by ninjew at 2:26 PM on May 28, 2006

Some tips to prevent this in the future:

Don't wash them on "Hot." Wash on cold, cool, or warm if necessary.

Don't curl the collars down as if you were wearing the shirt, but flatten the collar when you put them away - preferably folded in a drawer somewhere. Hanging can stretch out the shoulders.
posted by MrZero at 2:58 PM on May 28, 2006

Button the buttons and turn your polo shirts inside out before putting them in the wash.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:42 PM on May 28, 2006

There's a great old invention, called starch. After washing, dip just the collar in a starch solution and iron it flat.

If even a weak solution makes the collor unnaturally stiff, use sizing instead.
posted by KRS at 6:57 AM on May 29, 2006

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