This week’s Quick Tip Tuesday will cover when to tuck in your shirt and when not to. It can be tricky if you don’t know these few basic guidelines, but when in doubt, tuck it in! Tucking in your shirt is a quick and easy way to Up Your Fashion Game. When to tuck in your shirt depends on three things: the type of shirt, the length of the shirt, and how casual you want to be. The diagram below is for a dress shirt.
With dress shirts, whether you need to tuck or not depends on the length of the front and tail of the shirt. Most dress shirts are cut with extra long front and tails to keep your shirt tucked in during the day. If your shirts looks like this, it should always be tucked in. Other shirts have a more shallow curve to them or have a flat bottom and are meant to be able to be untucked. These are more versatile because they can be both tucked and untucked depending on how casual you want to be.
Custom shirt maker Eric Powell of Ratio Clothing had this to say about untucked shirts:
“The large majority of dress shirts or button-up shirts these days will hang to the same length in the front and back, or be very close. For the overall length, my general rule of thumb is mid-back-pocket on the length for a shirt worn untucked.
And, while we’re on the topic, I think the most overlooked factor in wearing a shirt untucked is how big around the shirt is in the hips and waist area. If you have a shirt that is much bigger around than your waist, it’s going to look bad untucked even if you nail the length (imagine a poncho). Look for a good slim-fit option that fits snug, but not button-popping tight, through the torso and you’ll be in good shape.
If you really want to get into the minutiae of a great looking untucked button-up, the shape of the shirt tails can make a difference too. We opt for a shallow curve on our shirts so that the length on the sides of the shirt is long enough to fall past the belt-line without the front and rear tails hanging like a dress.”
Polo shirts are a different story. As long as they fit you reasonably well, a polo can be tucked or untucked. If your polo has the longer tail on it, it’s technically meant to be tucked in. That longer tail comes from the original polo shirt by René Lacoste to keep it tucked in while playing tennis.
Times when your shirt should always be tucked: when wearing a suit/blazer, when wearing a tie, when everyone else’s shirt is tucked in, and when you want to Up Your Fashion Game.
“The untuck is especially bad on dude wannabes trying to look younger or thinner.” – Glen O’Brien (The Style Guy)