Have you ever wondered if those collar stickers, sock garters, and shirt stays, are worth their money? Then you’re in luck! We break down the most overrated menswear gimmicks that are simply not worth their money.
If you know the Gentleman’s Gazette, you know that we like classic things but that doesn’t mean that we’re against any form of innovation. There has been some great innovation in terms of fabric technologies and we embrace that and think it’s a good thing.
At the same time, there are lots of gimmicks out there that just cost a lot of money and they’re more like a band-aid, not really fixing a problem but just covering it up. You’re much better served in turning off the tap of water and fixing a problem at the source, it will cost you less money down the line, it’s less annoying and more comfortable.
1. Pouch Style Underwear
You may have heard of Saxx underwear that comes with mesh sides or sheath that has an entire pouch and its underwear that’s meant to keep you more comfortable and less sticky down there. Personally, I like underwear made out of innovative micro modal or other fibers that are really soft and comfortable on your skin.
We actually tried the pouch underwear and we had one pair with a pouch and we cut out the pouch on the other pair simply to try it out and figure out if there was a huge difference. In my experience, there really isn’t. Yes, the underwear may be comfortable but it’s because of the general fabric that is used, not necessarily because of the pouch.
If you find that you need the pouch, that’s great, go for it but I suggest you really test it yourself and don’t just believe in the marketing because oftentimes, they just want to sell you a product and not really solve a problem. Feeling uncomfortable? Time to upgrade to newer materials, skip your 100 % cotton and maybe switch to blends that include micro modal because it’s a lot softer in your skin and just more comfortable all year round.
2. Sock Suspenders
Don’t let anyone tell you that sock suspenders are actually fixing a problem. If you have proper over the calf socks in the first place, there is ZERO need for sock suspenders. So what are sock suspenders? They are little bands that you can put on top of your knee or below your knee that clip onto your socks and are supposed to prevent them from falling down.
Now, I give it to them. They actually do the job and keep the socks up but they’re extremely uncomfortable and just think about being on a date and when you’re ready for action, you’ll show your sock suspenders that simply kills the mood. On top of that, you really only need them if you have mid-calf socks that slide down all the way or cheap over the calf socks that simply don’t stay up.
3. Sock Tapes/Glue
It’s kind of a sticky tape that you glue onto your skin and the socks so you don’t see it unlike the sock suspenders unless you take off the socks. You have some sticky tape down there that you need to rip off along with your hairs and that must be extremely uncomfortable. Again, it really fixes a problem that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Get right socks, get quality socks that stay up and you don’t have to worry about anything else.
4. Shirt Collar Products
The problem many men have is that the tip of the shirt collar points up or it curls at the very end and so there are multiple solutions on the market to fix that. It ranges from glue products that supposedly don’t leave any residue behind and includes products with magnets and most of them don’t work.
One thing that does work that’s not a gimmick are regular shirt collar stays. A lot of shirts have the option to remove your collar stays which are either little sticks with a point made out of metal or plastic and those really help to keep your collar look straight and neat, at least at the regular part of the collar. If you go down to the tip, oftentimes, you see a curling in the shirt and that’s not something a collar stay can prevent, that’s actually just poor workmanship on the shirt. Because when you sew fabric together, you have two layers, right? If you sew them together at an angle, as you do in a collar, they are angled and then tightened. Now when you wash them, they shrink at different rates because of the angle and that is a problem in itself that a well-tailored shirt will not have.
Let’s say you have the ribbed polo shirt collar that’s very flimsy, if you use a magnetic product or if you use those sticky products, they in fact work and keep the collar down. Now the sticky products are consumables so they cost you a lot of money down the road. The mechanic products are not consumables but you lose them eventually, you may lose them in the wash or someplace else but it’s just one more thing to keep in mind and one more thing to take care of.
Instead, simply invest in a polo shirt with a shirt style collar that is not flimsy and stays down all day every day so you don’t ever have to think about it, everything looks neat and proper, and you don’t have to make any additional investments. Also if you want to wear your shirt collar without ties, there are shirt makers who cut their shirts specifically for the purpose so you don’t need any magnets or sticky items. Honestly, in my experience, a quality dress shirt fixes all those things and yes, they cost more upfront but then you don’t have to worry about it down the line.
5. Shirt Stays
Now those are little devices that are similar to suspenders that you clip at the bottom tail of your shirt and on the top part of your socks so they’re connected. Ye,s they do the job, they keep your shirt tucked in, and they keep your socks up, but it’s extremely uncomfortable to wear them and I would never want to do that.
It’s something that’s popular with the military because they wanted the ultimate look and they’re willing to sacrifice comfort, however, when it comes to everyday situations, I think getting a shirt that is probably tailored with small arm holes will mostly alleviate the issue of having a shirt that comes untucked and having quality over the calf socks solve both of these issues.
6. Sleeve Garters
They are a thing that became popular in the 20’s and 30’s when shirts were oftentimes sold in just one sleeve length especially the more inexpensive ones, that’s all someone could afford. The sleeve garter would help you pull up that shirt sleeve so it wouldn’t hang down and get soiled.
Sometimes as you watch old movies or photos, you can see men wearing them when they have their jackets removed. Now if you want to go for a vintage look, they are a legitimate item, at the same time today, it’s very easy to get shirts either custom tailored to be exactly your size or many shirt makers offer different sleeve lengths so you can find exactly the right one for you. So there’s really no need to have that extra sleeve garter.
On top of that, a proper dress shirt should fit snugly around your wrist so even if the sleeve was slightly longer it should never dangle past your hand and get soiled that easily.
7. Tie Holders
If you have ties that are made of printed silk and very slim, they are likely to slip down more on the knot than let’s say a knit tie or a grenadine tie simply because there’s less friction and less texture. Now, years back, I tested a little device called a tie tack and you actually clipped it in behind your tie knot and it did the job for most of the time unless it didn’t when it slid off and eventually, the company folded because they simply couldn’t market it enough and sell enough of those.
What I found is if you have issues with slipping tie knots, maybe tie a tighter tie knot if possible, otherwise, change your ties with a slightly different texture and if that’s not an option, I suggest to go with a tie bar because it helps to fix your tie so it pushes up a little bit and it prevents your tie from coming loose. There’s no solution that remains a hundred percent effective and over the course of the day, your tie knot will likely loosen even if your shirt collar is exactly the right size but that’s when you simply go to the bathroom and just readjust your tie, pull up the knot, so everything looks neat and dapper.
8. Shirt Iron
The idea is it’s a little travel iron that you can bring along that is specifically meant for your shirt collar. It’s true, the shirt collar is one of those things that are immediately visible but if you need to iron your shirt collar, you also likely have to iron at least the front of your shirt if you wear a jacket so it looks neat. So my question is, why is it worth carrying around an extra weight just for your shirt collar if most hotels and Airbnbs offer an iron? I simply don’t know the answer to that.
A company once sent me one of those shirt irons, I tried them, used them, they heated up quickly but they didn’t have any steam so you don’t really get out wrinkles out of your shirt body or collar anyways. Instead, iron your shirts with a regular iron and invest money into your ironing table.
9. Laundry Detergents & Soaps “For Men”
I get it, the more specific you can target a customer the better it is, that being said, the difference in laundry detergent for men or for men’s clothing is usually just the fragrance. So at the end of the day, the soap is no more or less effective for your men’s clothing, it just has a different scent.
Now, why would you want scented laundry detergents? Honestly, I don’t know. I much rather choose a scent that suits my style and my skin tone and I want my laundry detergent to be as neutral as possible. What I do care about though is that it gets out the stains. Regular laundry detergent does the job just as well as any other marketed laundry detergents and it’s really nothing that you should spend extra or additional money on simply because it doesn’t have an additional benefit other than the fragrance.
10. Pocket Square Holders
I get it, most pocket squares out there are too small to actually stay in your pocket and over the course of the day, it will slide down. The issue here is that the manufacturer cuts them so small because that way, they get the most yield out of the fabric width. Obviously, the manufacturer is interested in making as much money as they can. You, as the person wearing the pocket squares, simply wants to look good.
Because of that, at Fort Belvedere, we decided to actually look at each fabric individually and cut the size exactly right so it’s perfect for your pocket square. Because if the square is too big, it looks very bulky. If it’s too small, your pocket square will disappear. So if you buy a properly sized pocket square, you don’t need any pocket square holders. You can have interesting folds every time.