After a few marathons of pinning my gels to the inside of my shorts or between my shorts and bib number – even dropping a gel during a marathon and stopping to pick it up – I broke down and bought some Race Ready shorts. I haven’t had any problems with them – and haven’t dropped a gel since.
Your post also made me think of a quote from a top local x-c skier. He said spending $50 on “regular” clothes would kill him however, he doesn’t bat an eye when spending $200 on ski equipment. Gotta have your priorities.