Credit to the original author, FrankyBoy79, and r/malefashionadvice on Reddit for the insightful and detailed review on shirt stays. This post, originally titled 'I wore shirt stays for a year; this what I've learned,' offers valuable firsthand experiences and has been republished here with full acknowledgment of its source.
I'm more of a reader than a contributor here on Reddit and hardly ever post something. But since I've noticed shirt stays are not often talked about topic here, I decided to share some of my experiences and things I learned wearing shirt stays for one year.
Shirt stays aren't new. However, for most of us, they are an unknown piece of menswear - and in my experience, lifesaving devices. They come in various lengths and forms, with the sole purpose of keeping your shirt tucked in and preventing it from puffing out all day.
Last year I stumbled upon shirt stays by chance (happy I did) when browsing on Google for ways to keep my shirt from creeping up during work.That was about the time that I've learned every trick in the book on 'shirt tucking.' I've tried methods such as the 'straight tuck,' the 'underwear tuck,' and even the 'magnet tucks' (check Alpha M's Youtube channel if you are interested).
While these methods may work for some, for me, it meant still constantly adjusting my shirt to prevent from creeping up. Honestly, I'm lazy like that, and I was, therefore, in the market for a more structural solution, enters shirt stays.
I work in an office and wear dress shirts pretty much 4 out of 5 weekdays on average. I would put them on crisp in the morning, just to find myself re-tucking them numerous times throughout the day. The result is a messy and wrinkled shirt by midday. It just made me look sloppy.
Bear in mind that I wear dress shirts at work with a substantial shirttail and belts, that usually prevents the accidental untuck (not in my case). Also, my physique is not that of an athlete - I do rock a modest tummy; however, I don't have a beer-induced tumescence. Just saying.
I also heard that when you wear low-rise pants and fabric-scrimping shirts, you are asking for trouble. I did none of that. Having said this, here's what I learned:
Yes, they do - some better than others as there are all types of shapes and sizes. After wearing numerous brands, I came to prefer wearing the shirt stay belts for their ease of usage and practicality (more about them later on).
Early in the year, I've worn shirt stays garters of the likes of KK & Jay, and Sharp & Dapper have on offer. At first, they seem a bit overwhelming for me to wear. I mean - I would be wearing an entire system underneath my pants stretched tight by elastic stretching from shirttail to socks.
I used to clip them onto my shirts before wearing it and set the other ends of the clip to my socks after buttoning up. When standing up, these shirt stays gained a bit of tension, preventing your shirt from creeping up.
I must admit it took some getting used to, but they performed well. The thing is that after a couple of weeks wearing them, I've found that they had significantly added more time to my morning dress routine, which annoyed me a bit at first. Later, I found myself skipping days wearing them - just because I wasn't prepared to go through all the trouble.
Yes, they are. - again, some more than others. Ok, the earlier mentioned 'garters' types didn't work for me; too much of a hassle in the morning and - worse still, the constant thought that the hems might fling off - ripping out leg hair and slapping the family jewels on the way out. Never happened - but, ouch!
So, after a summer free of shirt stays, I got my garment in order and tried the shirt stay belts this time. Two brands here are TCKYOU and Truckert to name a few. I eventually ordered at TCKYOU - I guess the brand name resonated with the frustration I was having with my shirts, but Tucker seems to be alright as well (note: I didn't try the brand!).
Like the 'garters' types, they perform flawlessly. A bonus is the ease of use. They were easy to apply in the morning, pretty much like a belt, and in the morning. Personally, I got used to the shirt stay belt after a few minutes and didn't notice it was there during the day.
ARE THEY COMFORTABLE?
Yes and no. I've noticed wearing the first type of shirt stays continuously.
Also, if I wore them too tight, they influenced my posture. On the other hand, the belts were fine. I got used to those pretty quickly.
Shirt stays receive most of their complaints in the area of comfortability, aside from durability.
The most annoying aspect of wearing the garters stays, in my experience, was that the clips that adjust the length were catching some of the leg hair. I couldn't adjust the clips without great trouble, you either have to bear the hair-pulling or push/pull the clip to rip the hairs and provide yourself temporary relief (until it catches onto some more victims).
The belt is less felt, but after wearing for many days on end, you would notice that the tension of the elastic band would wear off. So I needed to adjust those a bit tighter after three months of wearing or so, making it a bit uncomfortable for myself.
Yes, as I would expect. I didn't get to wear the first type that long to have any saying in this. The belt, though, would last me three months or so, before I notice the elasticity of the band gone weaker. But inevitably, I had to buy new ones, as is the nature of this material. With care and sensible tension, these things can last a while.
WHAT I' VE LEARNED?
For me, the level of uncomfortableness the first type of shirt stays brought put me off from wearing them after a few wears. However, after discovering the shirt stay belts, I managed to include them in my morning dressing routine quite easily.
The benefits of wearing a shirt stay belt heavily outweigh the cons and I can't go back to not wearing stays at work. They solve a specific problem, and wearing them gets me more confident throughout the day.
I hope my experiences help any of you gents, and I hope to see more of us wearing shirt stays! Let me know what your experiences are, share them here. I'd be happy to hear them.
BONUS READ: Quick answers to FAQ's
- written on the day after -
Before I start; Thanks to you all for the compliments! I had no idea this review would be so well received! I had lots of fun writing it and am glad you all liked it. I hope you guys get some value out of it.
Now, I've noticed a threat down here in which a couple of 'Redditers' (is that the term?) asked some sharp questions about the workings of a shirt stay belt. When I gave my review a second read, I've noticed I didn't go into that, and I might have therefore made it look like it's pure magic.
Shirt stay belts do perform well, but their effectiveness is, unfortunately, not based on magic. Instead, three elements in its design keep our shirts from riding up:
The elastic band.
The belt hook;
and The anti-slip pads.
The band is made of a polyester elastic material. So, when you wrap it around your waist and secure it - it's that tension that forms around your waistline that keeps your shirt close to your body.
For the belt not to creep up from under your waistline and become visible, two design elements are added; the hook and the anti-slip pads. The hook is, - well: 'hooked' up to the last button of your shirt, and the anti-slip pads (found around the belt) prevent the sides and back of the shirt from puffing out.
I found that the principle is well-explained in the websites of the brands mentioned earlier. But I do hope this helps to understand the working of it. Let me know if you have any more questions concerning this