Shirt stays are elastic straps that connect the bottom of a dress shirt to the socks or feet. There are two main varieties: those that loop around the foot and those that clip onto the sock. All varieties have two clips at the top, one for the front and one for the back of the shirt. They are often used in military dress uniforms to prevent the shirt from untucking during the course of the day. However, many Law Enforcement, sports officials and professional business and sales people wear them.
There are 4 shirt stay varieties. Each variation does the same job, but in a slightly different manner.
Below is an outline for each kind:
1. Straight Shirt Stays For Dress Shirts
It is the cheapest shirt stay construction available and often come in packs of four.
They are the most basic and this allows for ease of use. The straight shirt stay is a single ribbon of elastic material with clips at both ends.
The straight shirt stay is worn on the outside of the legs. While the simple construction will avoid any frustration when you put them on, the two clips are often poorly constructed. More often than not, the clips will lose their grip of your shirt or they will break.
2. Y-Clip Dress Shirt Stays
The Y-Clip Shirt Stay is an improvement on the straight shirt stay construction.
While not a great advancement of keeping your shirt snug, the Y-clips offer more anchor points on your shirt and in theory more holding power.
The two clips can be seen as an advantage over single clip construction, but again, the quality of construction is often not much better than the straight shirt stay.
Now, instead of having to worry about two clips coming undone or breaking, you now have three per leg.
3. Stirrup Dress Shirt Stays
The Stirrup Shirt Stay can be seen as the third generation of keeping your shirt tight to your body.
Someone probably had a very bad experience with a straight shirt stay coming undone and probably received a shot to the groin from a renegade clip; with this new, painful experience, this someone probably had the idea to get rid of the clips on the socks and introduce a more reliable design.
As the name implies, the stirrup shirt stay no longer has the sock clips.
Instead, the bottom portion of the shirt stay is worn around the foot like a stirrup of a saddle. It is certainly an improvement and reduces the risk of injury to the groin, but quality of construction and material are not much better than the straight and Y-clip shirt stay.
4. Shirt Stay Belt
This shirt stay does not keep in the tradition of the previous three, but is claimed to be better. The shirt stay belt (also called “shirt locks” or “sticky belt”) entirely replaces the principle of vertical tension with horizontal tension.
After you put on your shirt, the belt is worn around the hips and tightened.
Then you put on your trousers as you would normally. (Remember that trousers are worn higher around the waist; the shirt stay belt and your trousers and belt do not overlap).
A shirt stay is a cheap way of keeping your shirt tucked and snug against your body. If a man should chooses to wear them, he can count on looking slim and put-together.
Surprisingly, most of us wear clothes one or two sizes bigger and this results in extra fabric hanging around our waists. A shirt stay will make the shirt look as if it was custom-tailored by pulling down the extra fabric inside the trousers.