ROAD TEST: Shirt Garters

Shirt garters holding a blue plaid shirt down and connected to a pair of yellow socks.
All strapped in and ready to go!

We’ve heard your complaints before vis a vis shirts. We’ve heard them, and answered with videostroubleshooting, and sizing guides.

And throughout this, repeatedly, we’ve come across the mythic shirt garter. The official solution of people who need their shirts to stay tucked in, shirt garters are pieces of elastic that attach to the tails of your shirt and either come down around your feet or clip to your socks. Voila: your shirt stays tucked in (and, for that matter, your socks stay pulled up.) For those dapperqs with the dreaded shirt-riding-up-over-hips situation, this is obviously an attractive option.

But does it work? Really? There’s no way to know except by trying and so, dapperQs, in the name of science, I took them for a ride with two shirts – a long shirt that tends to stay tucked in (blue) and a shorter shirt that I love but is constantly coming out of my pants (yellow.)


I had a set of the simplest kind – 4 strips of elastic with a garter catch on either end. 2 for the front, 2 for the back. It took a little doing to get all squared away, especially the garters in the back – just like putting garters on for stockings. Order of operations was easy: socks on, tshirt on, shirt on, and clip in.

Shirt tucked in real tight to jeans, cardigan over. All dressed
Bounce a quarter off that shirt!

Pulling my pants over was easy, and you can see: OH that shirt is tucked in. Once I was in, I was set and that shirt was where I wanted it. It was, in fact, even slightly compressing – a little extra-tight in the chest. I was worried it would look funny coming over my belly and it didn’t; it just looked neatly tucked.

And my shirt stayed tucked in. Squatting! Running! Walking! Backpack rubbing against my sweater! Riding my bike! That shirt was going NOWHERE. It was amazing. Even the short shirt stayed tucked in, even though it’s a little too small to clear my hips.

Wearing these also confirmed something I guessed: that part of the problem with my shirt coming out is that my pants fall down. And they fell, repeatedly, to a degree that never happens without the garters. To wear these effectively, a proper pants-hitching solution is required – and I have to say that suspenders would probably be a little much.

A line under thin pants caused by shirt garters
Not cute!

There were some catches. By the end of the day on my test days, my back was sore. Standing or sitting up straight in these requires resisting their downward pull and this takes its toll after a while. It makes me feel like grandpa to say it but I needed to stretch my back throughout the day and even so, it was a relief to take them off after two days in a row.

These also require some wardrobe planning. With thinner pants, I got an unattractive effect – just look at that line from where the garter is holding my pants out from my body. You can also see the other garter under my pants (I moved it back from its usual position for the photo) – not the look I am going for.  This disappeared with fairly thick jeans, but it makes me worry about how they’d work under more delicate pants. I think part of the issue is that my legs are long and the shirt was relatively short so the garters were very taut, but still: buyer beware.

All in all, though, shirt garters are absolutely perfect at what they are there to do – hold your shirt in. If you have to have your shirt neatly tucked into your pants, these are the tools you’ve been waiting for. I imagine there are styles that would work better under thinner pants; I’m not sure if the ones I have would be visible under suiting or not.

You can buy shirt garters many places on the internet, but seems to have good variety and a good price. (We don’t get paid for that referral.)

Have you tried them? What do you think? I’m especially interested in hearing from people with different bodies than mine: shorter people and people both more and less fat. Let us know in the comments!

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  • Wow, thanks for the website recommendation. I’m literally buying some of these now. I’ve been wanting to try them for awhile. Also, bookmarking this site. Holy crap.

  • As a Marine, shirt garters are known as “shirt stays” and are a required uniform item we use to maintain the professional appearance of a tightly tucked in shirt in our service and dress uniforms.

    I have spent more than my fair share of time wearing them with a fairly light-weight wool gabardine trouser. The secret to hiding the unsightly outline our your shirt stays through your trousers (not to mention messing up your creases) is to take shirt stays attached to the front of your shirt, run them between your legs and attach them to the back of your socks. Likewise, you take the shirt stays attached to the rear of your shirt and pull them forward between your legs to attach to the front of your socks. Downside: they rub more on your inner legs. The males complain about creating bald patches on their legs and/or uncomfortably plucking leg hairs at inopportune times.

  • I work in fashion merchandising for a company with VERY strict dress code rules. Bending and reaching has meant that I have had to constantly re-tuck my shirt, leaving me feeling really untidy. I bought some of these recently and they have been amazing. Yeah its odd to feel them on your legs all day – especially whilst cycling and going up and down the stairs- but a definite thumbs up! (plus my girlfriend thinks they are kinda hot 😉 )
    I’m going to try the reverse clipping suggested by Toby above- as i have also thought the stretched out back looked kinda weird….i’m also experimenting with longer socks – because after a while the clips are beginning to bruise my shins!

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