Only for the boldest: Garter-style shirt stays
Updated: May 6
I started this whole shirt stays journey with these: garter-style shirt stays. Searching for a decent alternative to tucking my shirt into my underwear on Google, I could not ignore these shiny intriguing models exultant of daring masculinity. Have you ever wondered, what does it feel like wearing garters? Well, search no more, these shirt stays will make you feel like the beautiful man you truly are.
And although it looks like I'm perfectly sarcastic, jokes aside, those are great shirt stays and are easily one of my favourite solutions! Let's see why.
How does it work
These shirt stays use two simple tools. A large elastic band is tightly attached onto your tights and will serve as the basis. Then, small elastic bands are used to link the shirt with that basis. The latter will pull the shirt and creates a tension that makes your shirt look neat.
As seen in the pictures, the results are great. Your shirt looks immaculate, on the front and on the back. Of course depending on the shirt, there may be some excess fabric left (which is the case for this one) but this is due to the shirt and not the shirt stays.
Depending on the tension that you set up by adjusting the small elastics' length, you can have a perfect (sort of unnatural) straight flatness, or keep a slight muffin top, that still makes your shirt looks neat, but natural enough so nobody would notice anything. That was the case for this photo shoot.
Even raising and lowering my arms a few times, the result is more than decent. I could feel my shirt slightly slipping back into my trousers.
Of course, perfection has its drawbacks. And you will definitely feel two things with these shirt stays. The most peculiar feeling is the tension of the small elastics linking your shirt to the basis. Depending on how short you set them up (so how tightly your shirt will be pulled down), it can be more or less perceptible.
So the more you have that perfectly tucked in shirt look, the odder you will feel. But even if you decided to set these elastics as loose as possible, you would still feel a slight tension.
Fortunately, I forgot about it quickly enough. Even better, I was actively looking for that slight tension. Because it meant that it worked, and whatever you do, your shirt is tightly tucked in. Knowing that you are "safe" thanks to that tension made me feel confident all day long. So in the end, I was more worried when I didn't feel it because I got used to it!
The second and more distracting feeling is the main elastic band. As it serves as the basis for pulling the shirt down, it has to be firmly attached onto your tights so it doesn't slide up little by little every time you raise your hands.
Because of that, it acts as a tourniquet when you decide to tighten it because you want to be dapper. Otherwise, it gets loose and slides up when you want more comfort. In the latter case, you will have to pay a visit to the restroom from time to time to adjust everything back again. That happens only one or twice a day thought. So nothing cumbersome.
When you sit
The small elastic bands are even more perceptible when you sit. They will stretch even more on your back. That means that not only the pulling sensation on your back will be more perceptible, but also that the basis will be subject to a greater pulling force. That also lead to an odder feeling on your tights.
I guess what I want to say is: it’s not comfortable when you’re sitting. Fortunately, thanks to our mind, we can more or less forget about it after a while. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel something.
Can you run a 50m with it?
Can you try to catch a thief with these shirt stays on and still look badass and neat as justice is served? To test these garter-style shirt stays under a vigorous situation, I did 10 complete but careful burpees (I was afraid my trousers won't survive the effort) and 10 push-ups. So here are the results.
And I would argue that yes! The results are more satisfying than what I’ve been used to without any sort of tucking method or compared to the underwear tuck or even compared to the secret belt. You won’t need to put anything back into your trousers.
Regarding comfort, when I thought a bit about it between reps, I was able to feel the small elastics tightening and loosening depending on your movement. Nothing troublesome, but it’s the same unfamiliar sensation.
What if you have a restroom emergency?
This section depends on how well you understand how these shirt stays work. I had no problem to undo the basis of my tights and sit on the throne in few seconds. However, I’ve seen some friends (including James) struggling to put on these shirt stays the first time they tried it, and even more when they tried to undo it. So at the end, they preferred to remove the clips from the shirt... at least, the first time.
So, there are two ways to undo your shirt stays fast. You can choose the wrong one out of necessity and struggle to fix everything back after your duty, or take few seconds to undo the base the proper way and put everything back without much trouble.
When you score
How comfortable are you with your masculinity? Because, let’s be honest, very few of us would cope with the idea of being caught with garters by a woman. So if you’re about to have your first night of sexy time together and you decided to put on these shirt stays to feel at the top of your game, you will have to give yourself some time to remove them after dinner/drink. Otherwise, you will only have “Fuck, how can I get rid of the shirt stays” on your mind. So, the inherent sexiness of these shirt stays is definitely a big con.
When I introduced these to my partner saying that it can be awkward to be seen with them during sexy time, she objected by stating that she would have been curious about the device or even turned on by the fact that it requires a certain level of self-confidence and “maturity” (old guy vibe) to even considering wearing shirt stays. Which was, according to her, "hot as hell".
I don’t know if she would have said the same if that scenario happened, but it seems it’s not that big of a deal, at least with certain women. This French article about the S-Holder from the NV brand seems to confirm that some women at least, find these models somewhat attractive on men. According to the author (a woman) these shirt stays had either a rugby equipment vibe, or a slight dandy-BDSM spirit. A great idea then if you rock both side.
At the end of the day
I’ve spent an entire day without adjusting anything back after I put on my outfit in the morning. I eventually readjusted my trousers after a trip the restroom, but nothing specific to readjust the shirt stays. And the results were not bad at all. The shirt had time to get a bit out of my trousers, but nothing close to that sloppy look with a regular tuck. I would even argue that it looked perfectly natural but still proper.
Personally, the main issue I had with this model is that I could not ignore the tightening sensation around my tights. Therefore, at the end of a long day, the first thing I did back home was to remove the device and be fully comfortable again. That says something about the loss of comfort. I guess wearing something for a special purpose is always less comfortable than not wearing anything at all.
Opinions about the quality of a product are always subjective. Nobody has the same standards, and someone very picky about his suits and shirts can be entirely satisfied buying a $3 underwear in Walmart.
I personally keep in mind the price I paid when analysing the quality of an item or an experience. You cannot compare what is incomparable.
So keeping that in mind, I believe these garters are well worth their small value for what they deliver. Except if you got one with a loose clip (which can happen), they do what they are supposed to do, feel good on your skin, and doesn’t look nor feel like they would break after one or two days wearing them.
Again, it is entirely subjective, but they also don’t look like they are going to last you a lifetime, nor more than a year of intensive use to be honest.
But for a moderate usage, or by buying 2 or 3 pairs and alternating them regularly to let them rest a bit (like any items in your dressing room), it should work great in the long run.
Usage: Moderate to intensive (but would need 2 or 3 pairs to let them rest between each use). For people that wear shirts/suits on a daily basis and want a product that can be used under any conditions, with discretion.
+++ Great results
+++ Complete peace of mind
+ Short friendly to a certain extent (mostly depends on how short are your shorts)
+++ You can catch a thief like a badass
++ “Duty” friendly once it is fully understood
+++ No belly fold at all
- - The base elastic is perceptible throughout the day
- - The small elastics on the back are noticeable when you sit
- - Too sexy to be seen with
+ unless you have a kinky partner, then it's good
Despite my sarcastic introduction, those garter-style shirts stays are a great product for almost all occasions. They work well and allow you to stay neat throughout the day without the need of adjusting anything in the middle of the day (although you’ll likely do it for every trip in the restroom).
Comfort is relative tough. It’s not uncomfortable per se, but it is an unfamiliar sensation that you will feel throughout the day, especially when you sit. And you will still be happy to remove it at the end of the day. At the same time, that relative discomfort is what gives you the peace of mind all day long because it means it works.
So, it’s a trade between a bit of physical comfort and a complete peace of mind and even more: full confidence. You feel great and you know you can do anything, nothing to ruin your outfit! A feeling that can be priceless.
To get the best of these shirt stays, I recommend the following tips:
Remove/cut the small elastic in the middle
These elastics are supposed to pull down the side of your shirt to avoid the muffin top. And they are good at it. But I’ve tried the Y-style shirt stays and they still work great and offer much more comfort on that part.
So replicating it, I tried to remove (cut) the middle elastic and I felt so much better overall with no noticeable (or a very low) loss of effectiveness from the shirt stays. A good tradeoff I would argue.
Do not fix the clips too far from the side seam, both front and behind
I made that mistake and I'm sure most people that tried these shirt stays without a prior experience did it too. We naturally tend to believe that the closer we are to the front and the back of the shirt, the better the results. And yes, it will give you that perfect unnatural flatness that some may look for.
But if you are looking for a more natural result, I recommend fixing the clips (both front and behind) not too far from the side seam. The device would still work great, but with a much better gain in comfort. It is another great tradeoff I would argue.
Using both these tips improved greatly for me the comfort of these shirt stays without much loss of effectiveness, so much so that the only issue left was the elastic basis that I could still feel.