Tucked shirts never fail to project a strong but pleasant impression.
But keeping your shirt tucked in throughout the day is next to impossible especially if you're faced with a busy schedule.
Constantly tucking your shirt back in can be very frustrating especially if you're in a business meeting or social event.
Unless you have the patience of putting up with the task, the best way to maintain a sharp but stylish look is by using shirt stays.
Whether or not you are new to using shirt stays, this article is aimed at providing our readers with critical info about such grooming devices and the hottest picks in today's market.
My Favorite Shirt Stays in 2018
After covering boat shoes, no show socks, and field watches, we think it's high time that we discuss shirt stays to help you look even sharper than ever. Checkout my top picks.
Wanna learn more? Keep on reading.
What Are Shirt Stays?
Shirt stays are a special type of grooming device designed to keep a shirt securely tucked into the trouser.
They are basically elastic braces or tensions that usually come with clips that securely attach to the bottom part of your shirt. There are two major types of shirt stays.
One is a shirt stay that pulls both your shirt an socks in place. The second type holds your shirts bottom on one end and secures a grip around your thigh on the other.
Before, short stays were commonly used by military personnel. But, shirt stays have become a necessity among career individuals who need to look their best in their corporate attires.
And with the "Tucked-In-Shirt" look coming back, more and more men opt to securing a pair or two of shirt stays for both casual and formal occasions.
Did you know...?
Men have been using shirt stays for more than a century. The very first shirt stays were invented and fashioned by the US Military. They were typically used on parade uniforms in order to maintain that sharp and snappy look.
In the United States, shirt stays are also referred to as shirt garters. But in other countries, they are known as shirt straps or suspenders.
Shirt Stay Types
Shirt stays also come in variations to effectively address unique wearer issues.
If this is your first time to use shirt stays, keeping yourself informed on shirt stay varieties will help you come up with better purchasing decisions.
- Straight Shirt Stays. These are the simplest of its kind. Straight shirt stays are single elastic tapes with a clip on each end. The top part is clipped to the bottom of the shirt while the bottom end of the device is secured to the topmost part of the sock.Their simplicity means that they are the easiest to wear which makes them the ideal type for first timers. Typically, two straight shirt stays are worn on each leg - front and back.
- Y-Clip Shirt Stays. The Y-Clip version is an improvement of the straight suspenders. The simpler version often looses its hold which lead to the development of this three clip shirt garter for better and more secured grip. The device is designed with one clip for the sock and two clips for the bottom shirt forming a Y-shape.
- Stirrup Shirt Stays. A second improvement for the device is a suspender designed to secure anchor from the wearer's feet instead of establishing a grip on the sock's top end part. Stirrup shirt stays were developed out of the need to eliminate the problem on the bottom clips of the device's previous models violently springing back to the crotch. The design of this new improvement is was inspired by the stirrup leather that is used to hold the horse rider's foot. Instead of a clip that attaches to the socks, the bottom part of this device loops around the feet for anchor.
As mentioned earlier, the tucked shirt look has started to regain its popularity among men, both young and old. This simply means that more and more of us are not drawn into wearing short stays with our casual outfits.
For a casual yet sharp look, make sure that you're sporting a shirt that is not too tight or too loose. A shirt with a slight looseness is one of the key ingredients in projecting a stylish tucked shirt look. Another thing to keep in mind is to wear a shirt with minimal style. A top with a single color and no prints on it is best. And if you still think that your still lacking something, a fine addition would be a jacket to deliver a nice layered look.
How to properly wear shirt stays
Shirt stays are not perfect devices. If not worn properly, you might get annoyed and frustrated instead of feeling relieved. Like any grooming device, shirt stays need to be handled carefully if you want to employ its optimal functionality and longevity.
Clips of shirt stays are a critical part of the said device because they are used to secure a good grip against the bottom of the shirt and the top of the socks.
To unlock the clip, simply use your thumb and index finger and slide down the lock towards the outer/wider ring. Avoid forcefully pulling the lock from its ring.
Put on your shirt and your socks. Attach the clips. You can either start with the socks or with your shirt - whichever works best for you.
When you are using straight shirt stays, you can employ the cross pattern for better tension. To do this, attach one end of the stay at the front-bottom section of the shirt and the other at the back-top portion of the sock.
Do the opposite with the second tape.
Try moving around in front of a mirror to test the tension. If everything seems to work well, put on your trousers and jacket. Then, you're good to go.
When should you tuck your shirt
From Hollywood stars to rappers and athletes, the tucked in shirt look has reemerged as one of the hottest fashion statements of the modern man.
We get it. You are aching to deliver that impression of a "put-together-man". But hold your horses first because the tucked shirt look can be a very tricky one. One wrong move can easily spell disaster on your supposed cool and stylish look.
Sporting a nice and stylish tucked shirt look depends on the individual elements of your outfit. So basically, it's more of a "what" question instead of when.
Are T-shirts good for a tucked in style? It's both a yes and no. You can tuck plain shirts (no prints) graced with one or two bold colors. Just avoid those multicolored shirts with large prints.
Polo shirts and turtle necks can go either way. They do nicely un-tucked and even better tucked in and layered with a jacket for a semi-formal look.
One big "NO" for a tucked in impression is the Hawaiian shirt. No offense for those who love this kind of shirt. They look great, cool, and stylish un-tucked. Period!
Watch this video to learn how to keep your shirt tucked in all day:
Now that I've covered some of the basics, let's get into some of my personal choice of shirt stays.
True its name, this Y-clip shirt stay is indeed one of the best there is. It offers double gripping power through its metal clasps with nylon teeth. It's durable enough for everyday wear and can be easily adjusted for a more comfortable and secured anchor for your shirt.
This Habibee Y-Clip shirt stay is much like the same with that of Shirt Stay Plus. You can count on its durability for everyday use and comes with adjustable straps for a personalized fit. It also comes with metal clasps with teeth for a better grip.
If you've had bad experiences with straight and y-clip stays, this stirrup type could just be absolute solution to your problem. The foot loop makes it even easier to wear compared to the other two. They're designed to accommodate any height and can be adjusted in a breeze.
You can have this one as a straight or stirrup style. It comes with non-slip grip for secured hold on your shirt. They also feel quite smooth against your skin so you can count on being comfortable wearing it even on your first try.
The Final Word
Most if not all shirt stays tend to display almost the same kind of mechanical issues. But of the five best choices that I have lined up above, my ultimate bet would be the Buttons & Pleats Advanced Type Shirt Stays.
It comes in three variations which means you can get it in a style that works best on you. It also offers an advanced type of material that feels great on the skin. They're also durable enough for military uniforms.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.