In case you’ve ever wondered how bartenders keep their shirttails tucked in while bending over to scoop ice or reaching on tiptoe for the top-shelf liquor that you can’t afford, behold! There’s a little-known contraption called a shirt garter that clips onto one’s shirttails and attaches them to one’s socks, thereby clamping the shirt hem firmly in place (and keeping socks up, too, if that’s a concern). This handy invention has actually been around for a while, and is somewhat of a secret among high-end bartenders, according to Toby Maloney, a lifelong bartender who has managed a number of fancy cocktail joints:
I live in mine. I introduce them to all the bartenders. To explain how necessary I think they are, I will laugh and point at the shirt pooch that forms between the waist of the pants and the bottom of the vest of the guys who don’t wear them.
However, just when you thought all your problems were solved, Maloney explains that preventing your shirttails from flapping about involves a certain level of risk:
They are fussy and annoying. They detach and leak out your pant leg at the most inopportune time. If ratcheted too tight, you feel like a dandy Pinocchio, slightly drunk and walking on the moon. Worst of all, they get you singled out in security lines at the airport. To this day there hasn’t been a T.S.A. employee who hasn’t raised an eyebrow when I explain about the shirt garters.
Of course, if you’re worried about the clips setting off metal detectors, you could always try the stirrup version.
Case Study: Underpinnings [T/NYT]