What You Didn't Know About Shirt Stays

What You Didn't Know About Shirt Stays


We have all seen it, whether it’s on TV or in real life: the guy with the shirt that always seems positioned perfectly while tucked-in. No matter if he bends over, runs across the room, jumps up to catch a football, or whatever it is, the shirt remains immaculately tucked-in. Of course, when it’s on TV, we know the likely reason: lots of retakes and editing. But in real life, how is this possible?

In this post, you are about to learn what you never knew about the immaculate tucked-in shirt appearance. Think: police officers. Think: military men. Think: any uniformed man and you may wonder how they do it, especially since their line of work is not an idle one, but one that requires them to be on the move constantly. The little known fact of the immaculate tucked-in shirt look is -- drums roll -- the “shirt stay”. Ever hear of these neat problem solvers? If not, that’s because it has been a little secret for decades. But now it’s here, and it’s here for everyone to use.

What are Shirt Stays?

Your first question may very well be: what is a shirt stay. A shirt stay is just that: a tool used to keep your shirt in position. There are different variations of shirt stays today, but the concept is generally the same. The device uses elastic with clips that attach to the shirt. The elastic tension helps keep your shirt tucked in rather than billowing outside your pants like a muffin every time you move, turn around, reach up, etc. The shirt stay helps keep your dress shirt straight and tight against your body for that clean appearance.

When Were Shirt Stays Invented?

It’s not written in stone when exactly the shirt stay was invented, but it is well-known that the military invented the shirt stay in the United States, probably in the late 18th century. The need to impress was necessary. Military ceremonies and parades were a regular occurrence and designed to garner both support and recruits. So, as in all things, appearance mattered. The soldiers as they walked or marched could not afford to have a shirt come untucked. A military officer could not afford to have his shirt come untucked while in the middle of negotiations or instruction. But with constant movement comes an untucked shirt. Through trial and error, the shirt stay was invented and the problem was solved.

The shirt stay has ever since been a part of the military man’s uniform. It is a subtle yet useful and effective way to portray the military man or any uniform man as clean, smart, well-trained, and ready for action. So effective is the shirt stay invention that it has lasted for more than two centuries, and through the years, its design has been updated and perfected.

Who Wears Shirt Stays Today?

Once upon a time, only the military wore shirt stays, and they did so primarily when appearances mattered, like during the course of a parade or inspections as above-mentioned. Today, the same is true with military men, but the requirement for a clean, tucked-in appearance has extended from military men to most men in uniform. You can bet police officers and other men in uniform are wearing a shirt stay (and if not, at least has one or two for those days when it is required). That said, we live in a society today where appearances matter, period -- regardless of your occupation.

Studies have proven that people who make a good impression are more likely to get a better job and better pay than their counterparts. Maybe it doesn’t make it right, but right or wrong, that’s the way it is. Impressions matter. Appearance matters. It’s called the halo effect: if you look good, then people assume you must also be smart. And shirt stays is just one easy but very effective solution to making your appearance immaculate… and in doing so, the shirt stay is also an indirect solution to making you get what you want out of life by portraying yourself in a good light.

So, who wears shirt stays today? The shirt stay solution is used by:

  • Military men

  • Police officers

  • Bankers

  • Accountants

  • Solicitors

  • Professionals of any kind

  • Men who care about fashion and appearances.

So, as you see, just about anyone can wear shirt stays to benefit from the immaculate tucked-in shirt look. What this means is that if any of the following apply to you, you should think about wearing a shirt stay, too:

  • Does a wrinkled shirt bother you?

  • Does the billowing effect of an improperly tucked shirt bother you?

  • Do you like to wear your shirts tucked in?

  • Do you work in a profession where appearances matter?

  • Do you want to impress when you go out on the town?

  • Are you the type of guy who likes to look good even when doing a sport?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you need to be wearing a shirt stay.

How Do You Wear Shirt Stays?

Usually, a shirt stay requires you to put on your socks, underwear and shirt first (including your undershirt -- if you wear one). You will then connect the shirt stay to the shirt according to the type of shirt stay being employed. Then put on your pants and look into the mirror to make sure everything is tucked in where it is supposed to be. Then, your are ready to go to work, to an interview, or out on the town.

The first time you wear a shirt stay, it may feel a bit strange. There may be a little tension, which is common and generally necessary. The comfort of the shirt stay, however, is quite dependent on the type or variation of the shirt stay you use. As mentioned, the shirt stays use clip fasteners and elastic to keep your shirt tucked in, but not all do. There are several different kinds of shirt stays or variations on the concept of the shirt stay. Some of the more common types include:

  • The traditional shirt stay where the clips attach to the bottom of your shirt on one end of the shirt stay and the top of your socks on the other end of the shirt stay.

  • The shirt stay belt where a rubber belt using anti-slip texture is wrapped around the bottom of your shirt -- this is the only shirt stay that does not use a clip feature.

  • The shirt stay tabs where small tabs are used on the inside and the outside of your shirt often employing magnets to help keep the shirt in place.

  • The shirt gripper strips where strips of grip the shirt are temporarily or permanently fixed to the inside of the pants -- they can stick or be sewn in.

  • The shirt stay garter where clips are again used but the need to clip to the sock is unnecessary.

Most of these, however, apart from the garter style, have disadvantages or something more akin to annoyances to make them less than what we want or expect in the perfect shirt stay. Examples of the more common annoyances include the following:

  • The traditional shirt stay can pinch the skin and makes sitting or reach ing uncomfortable because of the tension.

  • The shirt stay belt can be quite tight around the stomach or mid-section area, causing pain and irritation.

  • The shirt stay tabs are less effective than any of the other variations of the shirt stay and often leads to poking and skin irritation where the tabs are.

  • The shirt grippers are usually thin and require a belt to help it perform, but even then, the shirt can become untucked, and when it does, the grippers make it difficult to re-tuck the shirt.

The garter shirt stay is the only shirt stay that has been able to minimize any kind of discomfort throughout the day and to keep you looking your best. The garter-style shirt stay uses a band that you wrap around the thigh, just above the knee. This method minimizes and removes the tension, the snagging, the hair-getting-caught sensation of the traditional shirt stay but maintains its effectiveness and overall clean, neat appearance 24/7, no matter how many times you wear it or how long you wear it.

1 comment

I love this design. They are extremely easy to use and they are very comfortable. I hate having a baggy shirt above the belt line and these eliminate that problem. Highly recommend.

David Moore

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