|We partnered with KK & Jay on this post because they make their shirttail garters right here in Brooklyn, New York. Primer readers save 20% and get free shipping with code PRIMER, making a set only $23.99.
The suit you wear on your wedding day is perhaps the single most important sartorial choice you can make and I had mine on lock… or so I thought.
I chose (with veto-power input from my fiance, of course) a blue herringbone two-piece, blue and white-dot tie, and powder-blue shirt, all from Indochino. Footwear was Thursday Boot Co’s Wingtip. It was a look – and feel – that was familiar, polished, and confidence-inspiring for me.
There was just one problem: my shirt kept untucking.
It never untucked completely. It would untuck a bit and then bunch at my waistline. I found myself re-tucking throughout the day. It happened before the ceremony, during dancing, in the buffet line.
My shirt bunchery is now memorialized forever in our wedding pictures.
On a near-perfect day it was one of just a handful of things that harshed my bliss. Debriefing after the fact with Primer founder Andrew Snavely (a guest and crucial part of the day’s success), he revealed the secret solution to my tucking woe: he had been wearing shirt garters.
“I wore them all day,” he said. “I first tried them at Menfluential because I was speaking in front of a large audience and I wanted to be sure I looked my best but I didn’t want to have to be thinking about that when I was focused on speaking. I definitely had them for the wedding.”
This news comes too late for my wedding but it doesn’t have to be too late for you. That’s why today I’m talking about KK & Jay and the old school menswear essential they’re bringing back: the shirttail garter.
What Are Shirttail Garters?
The shirt I wore on my wedding day wasn’t off the rack – it was a perfectly-fitting, custom button-up – but that didn’t stop it from bunching. Just like physicists have a formula for why your headphone cord is always tangled, shirt bunch is a law of nature. If you plan on moving at all with your shirt tucked in, the quality or fit of the shirt can never totally prevent untucking and bunching.
Shirttail garters, also known as shirt garters or shirt stays, are an elegant and effective device to prevent shirts from untucking, bunching, and compromising your look ever again. They're nothing new – well-kept gentlemen have been using them for over a hundred years since originally being developed for officers in the military.
Here’s how they work: Two cotton elastic bands attach to both sides of the bottom of your shirt. The bands join at a full grain leather stabilizer tab and a band attaches around your calf (or some, to your sock), forming a continuous, elastic connection.
The result: your shirt stays tucked (and your socks don’t slouch if you're using that type) until such time as you remove this wondrous, simple machine.
Do Shirttail Garters Work (And Are They Comfortable)?
If you’ve ever put on a shirt, tucked it into your pants, checked your look in the mirror and then walked – say – ten paces you know just how frustrating it is to look down and see your shirt already bunching even though you just tucked it in.
Shirttail garters are super effective at addressing shirt bunch and the reason why is simple mechanics: if there’s no loose shirt below your belt or waistband, untucking simply isn’t possible. The shirt is held snugly against your body. The aesthetic benefit is enormous: there’s no appearance of sloppy bunching – just a smooth, uniform line from your shoulder to your waist and down the leg of your pants.
Check out Andrew in these before and after galleries:
Without shirttail garters:
And with shirttail garters:
Seriously – I wish I had known this six weeks ago before I stood up in front of 120 of my closest friends, relatives, and associates.
The more important question, however, is this: Are they comfortable for all-day use?
I’ll be honest: Before the first time I put them on was a lot like contacts lenses – I thought, “I’ll never get used to this.” The reason isn’t that they’re uncomfortable; the cotton elastic is soft and feels premium. The full-grain leather stabilizer joiner is supple, as you’d expect. The clips are fabric-backed, so there’s no metal contacting your skin.
Attaching them was a bit confusing at first, but KK & Jay have a tutorial to clear up any questions.
After three test wears, I’ve simply stopped noticing the slight tension on the bottom of my shirt and only notice the bands against my legs the way I'm aware of my boxer briefs or socks. Andrew mentioned his initial surprise to their all day wearability, which is why he turns to them when he wants to look great, even on day-long events like conferences and weddings.
And something else has happened: I’ve come to really enjoy knowing my shirt is secure when I move in a suit.
Shirttail garters are a bit like a very soft, single component of Iron Man’s suit: they’re hidden, they do a job, and make you feel a bit invincible.
Made in America
There’s a reason why we chose to partner with KK & Jay on this post. Their shirttail garters are comfortable and look great, but they’re also made in Brooklyn, New York and a lot of thought has gone into both materials and design.
Founders Mohamed Kakay and Jason Devereaux (the eponymous KK and Jay) met in college while working in retail, discovered vintage shirt stays and set out to engineer an improved version taking advantage of modern materials design.
The resulting cotton elastic is soft-wearing but strong, and they’ve improved on another feature of shirttail garters: the attaching clips. Besides being fabric-backed for user comfort, they’re designed without sharp edges to ensure your shirts aren’t damaged.
It’s an appreciated feature, especially if you’re rocking made-to-order shirts that easily run north of $80 each.
When It Counts, Never Worry About Un-Tucking Again
What’s the next occasion in your life where you’ll a) be wearing a tucked shirt, and b) expect photos will be taken? Or you’ll have to say a few words? Or you’ll be moving a lot and don’t want to worry about re-tucking your shirt?
Whatever the event, KK and Jay shirttail garters exist for this reason: They've perfected the physics of keeping your shirt comfortably tucked when you want to look your best and not worry about it.
With free shipping on Amazon as well as on their website, kkandjay.com, a 20% Primer discount with code PRIMER, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, I’d recommend ordering a pair and using them at the next occasion when an untucked shirt would be distracting or unwelcome. If you’re like me, you’ll realize untucking never needs to be an issue again and never look back.
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