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Tell me everything you know about shirt garters.
May 1, 2014 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to this comment, I've learned about shirt garters/shirt stays. Who knew?! And I have questions. Do you have experience with these straps of contraption?

I'm having a hard time believing such things exist and I'm super and genuinely curious about how they work and what it's like to wear them. They just look really uncomfortable.

I found this blog post about one experience. Still, I'm wondering, how easy is it to walk in them? How do you sit? Do they have the affect of pulling down your pants? Can they be seen through your pants? How do they affect your pockets? Do you have to wear them in the front and back or just the back if, say, you only have problems with plumber butt? Do they rub your legs in a really weird way? Do they get weirdly sproingy around your legs when you sit down down and stand up? What happens to your knees? Do they pull your shirt so tight across your stomach as to make it uncomfortable? Do they cause problems with going to the bathroom? Where do guys learn about such things? Do guys still really wear them that much? Do guys take them off secretly in the bathroom if they think un-looked for sexy time is coming? Do you really need them to hold up your socks? And seriously, what in the world happens in the butt area? Do they dig in? Are they secretly awesome and/or is this another reason how men's clothing just works better for them sometimes? Do they only work for certain kinds of shirts?

Are they made just for guys? Are there any ladies out there with experience wearing them? Because they seem like an interesting solution for any of us ladies who might have problems keeping the front of our shirts tucked in due to our breasts sucking our shirts up or having to buy larger shirts due to the size needed up north but as a result have shirt flooding down south. Or would they pull everything too tight? (What would happen if you attached a shirt to your stockings with some kind of shirt garter? Does this exist?)

And, asking for a friend: "how? why? who invented this, were they a weirdo? (i think yes) Do they twang against your knees like a banjo? Don’t the clasps get caught in your thigh hair? Do you have to shave a stripe in your thigh hair to accommodate them?"
posted by barchan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've never tried them myself, but hear they are popular with bartenders.
posted by neroli at 12:09 PM on May 1


What would happen if you attached a shirt to your stockings with some kind of shirt garter? Does this exist?

My previous Ask might be helpful. I like the way the shirt garters keep my shirt tucked in, but don't find thigh-high stockings terribly comfortable, so it's a bit of a trade-off when I'm using them with skirt suits. If you're wearing full-length shirt garters with pants, they're likely to fit more or less the same way they do for men, depending on your build. ShirtLock and similar belts are useful, but not very comfortable with pants that don't come up mostly to the waist (and if my pants come up to my waist, I don't have as hard a time keeping shirts tucked in.)

Anyway. Mileage varies, and they're not that expensive. Try them if you're curious.
posted by asperity at 12:26 PM on May 1


Shirt stays are a common part of many military uniforms and are often required or strongly recommended for parade/inspection and dress sorts of occasions. I'm a guy, so I've tried only the full-length sorts with trousers, with my foot through the loop at the bottom. Contra to the person in your link, we were taught to wind them 1/2 turn around our legs so that we don't get the Hey-what's-that-crazy-poochy-thing-behind-your-knee effect.

They are NOT comfortable. They pull hair (ymmv) and generally are just kind of crap to wear. They do undeniably keep the shirttail from creeping north, though, and keep the freshly pressed look going for a lot longer.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:30 PM on May 1


I would only wear them if I was going to be standing most of the time (such as in a parade or formal gathering), otherwise they are annoying and not worth the effort. Getting up and getting down is uncomfortable and it looks weird having them jump around in your pants when sitting down and standing up. If you have hair on your legs, expect to lose some it from the shirt garters tearing it out.
posted by Brent Parker at 12:31 PM on May 1


I've been wearing them for several years, since an Ask commentator suggested them to me.

how easy is it to walk in them?
Umm, you just walk? Same as normal?

How do you sit?
Again, same as normal.

Do they have the affect of pulling down your pants?
No. They're not attached to your pants. They go inside the trouser leg, just like your own legs and underwear and socks do.

Can they be seen through your pants?
If you're wearing spandex, then yes. Otherwise no more than your socks or underpants.

How do they affect your pockets?
They don't.

Do you have to wear them in the front and back or just the back if, say, you only have problems with plumber butt?
I wear mine to the left and right, on the outside of each leg, then clip them to the side and slightly to the rear of my shirt.

Do they rub your legs in a really weird way?
No, they are not cats or that guy on the train. I don't feel mine any more than I feel my underwear.

Do they get weirdly sproingy around your legs when you sit down down and stand up?
Nope.

What happens to your knees?
They vanish into the aether. Seriously though, they don't interfere with your knees at all.

Do they pull your shirt so tight across your stomach as to make it uncomfortable?
No. I guess you could possibly make them do that, but you'd have to deliberately do it, and it would be quite difficult. They go up and down your leg, not around your stomach like a belt.

Do they cause problems with going to the bathroom?
Only if you eat them.

Where do guys learn about such things?
Well, I learned about them here.

Do guys still really wear them that much?
Can't speak for non-spandex wearing guys, but I wear mine every single workday, so 4-5 times a week.

Do guys take them off secretly in the bathroom if they think un-looked for sexy time is coming?
I never have, but I don't sleep with co-workers.

Do you really need them to hold up your socks?
No, I wear socks with elasticated hems. I guess they do have that effect, but that's not the secret, real reason I wear them. I wear them to keep my shirt tucked in.

And seriously, what in the world happens in the butt area?
You should probably just ask your doctor this. Or maybe buy me dinner first?

Do they dig in?
If worn improperly, yes. There's a little "button" thing that pushes some material through a metal clip, which can dig into the flesh of your ankle slightly. But it's not generally more noticeable than a tight pair of socks.

Are they secretly awesome and/or is this another reason how men's clothing just works better for them sometimes?
They are very much awesome. My job involves a lot of standing up and sitting down and moving around. Wearing shirt stays keeps me looking presentable without having to find somewhere quiet every five minutes to put my hand down my trousers to tuck myself back in.

Do they only work for certain kinds of shirts?
As long as there is material for them to clip onto, they will work. Shirts with tails would likely work better, as the material would be lower, but they're adjustable in length.

Are they made just for guys?
Quite possibly? There might be a female version out there, but I've not looked for it. You can get a variety with a loop that you put your foot through, that otherwise works in the same way (see second pic), that might be suitable. They'd probably look a little odd unless you were wearing trousers, though.

how?
Not enough data.

why?
So guys could ensure that their shirts were tucked in at all times.

who invented this, were they a weirdo?
No idea as to the inventor, but what is it exactly that makes them a weirdo? That's a bit silly.

Do they twang against your knees like a banjo?
Yes, if you pull them out and then let them go against your knees.

Don’t the clasps get caught in your thigh hair?
I've never noticed this problem, and I'm reasonably hirsute.

Do you have to shave a stripe in your thigh hair to accommodate them?
No. I guess you could shave your thigh, but it is completely unnecessary.

Please ask if you have further questions.
posted by Solomon at 2:00 PM on May 1 [19 favorites]


Are they made just for guys? Are there any ladies out there with experience wearing them? Because they seem like an interesting solution for any of us ladies who might have problems keeping the front of our shirts tucked in due to our breasts sucking our shirts up or having to buy larger shirts due to the size needed up north but as a result have shirt flooding down south. Or would they pull everything too tight? (What would happen if you attached a shirt to your stockings with some kind of shirt garter? Does this exist?)

They are mostly made for guys, but I had to wear them as a woman with the uniform that I wore at the private military college I went to. They are not comfortable enough for me to want to wear them normally, or in any circumstances when they weren't required, but I did like the side tuck that you did to prevent the excess shirt material on the sides of your shirt from bagging out.

I kept my shirt stays pretty tight and never had problems with the breast issue. I did not have problem with leg hair issues for obvious reasons, but I did keep them tight enough so that they would chafe my skin to the point of bleeding due to periodic uniform inspections and a general desire to look snazzy.

Compared to all of the things women have to wear when they dress up, shirts stays are pretty tame, I don't think that their inventor was any weirder than other formal wear trend setters from the 19th century or whenever.
posted by _cave at 5:11 PM on May 1


Thank you for all the comments.

Solomon, that was awesome, even though I'm disappointed to find out that shirt garters aren't the men's version of bra straps. I don't think I have any more questions.
posted by barchan at 2:15 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]


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