A definitive guide to When, Why and How to tuck or untuck your shirt


 When to tuck or untuck shirt infographic flow chart

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The age old question in the minds of countless men. For the past two decades recent trends in fashion have made it unclear to know when a man should tuck in his shirt. Due to my fairly short stature most shirts are longer than they should be. Thus, I’ve been walking around for a decade wearing what seems to be a short dress. If it wasn’t for my recent findings, I’d probably be wearing a tutu and curtsying sooner or later. 

Essentially, I want to breakdown what the rules are for tucking or untucking a shirt. If you’re feeling adventurous enough, you can feel free to break them to find your own sense style. I would like to give you my personal two cents on why, when and how to tuck or untuck your shirt.

Why?

A tucked shirt will enable your outfit to be cut in half and provides a structured look.

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To further cut your look in half, you can wear a belt that matches the colour of your shoes.

The advantage of wearing an untucked shirt is being able to wear “smart clothing” in a casual way. T-shirts can sometimes be too casual. If you’d like the look in-between casual (t-shirt) and formal (tucked shirt) you go for an untucked button up shirt.

Contrastingly to the above in which tucking cuts your look in half, untucking creates a singular outfit enabling your look to be sleeker. The advantage of untucking is being able to make your outfit more casual.

 

When

Now, there’s two criteria to consider when tucking or untucking. The first is the type of shirt and the second is the occasion to which you’ll be wearing the shirt.

Any formal situations would require you to tuck your shirt. These occasions include; weddings, funerals, work events, job interviews etc. Anything else is likely to be casual in which you’d be free to untuck. It really depends on the dress code of the event. If you’re unsure about the dress code make sure to ask the host so you don’t feel over or underdressed when arriving.

So let’s get to the basics. There’s three types of shirts you can have (there’s definitely more but for the sake of this example we’ll stick with three):

  1. T-shirts
  2. Shirts (button ups)
  3. Polo Shirts

T-Shirts are mostly untucked as they are used for casual wear.

Any of type of shirt to be untucked should drape between this region of the front zipper:

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Any longer and the shirt looks like a hand me down. If any shorter than it looks like it’s been borrowed from a younger brother.

Furthermore, shirts and polos are tucked or untucked depending on the design of the hemming.

A shirt that has a straight hem means it’s designed to be untucked. A straight hem shirt looks like this:

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And a straight hem polo looks like this:

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However, if a straight hem shirt/polo is a bit longer than it should be no one’s going to call the police on you if you do tuck it in. No one would even know because it’s tucked underneath so feel free to tuck it in. What you really want to avoid is untucking a shirt that’s designed to be tucked. It has what one would call a “tail” which looks like this:

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The same goes for polo shirts:

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Can you see how the above polo shirt has a distinct tail on the backside and how the white button up shirt has a curved hem to create extra fabric on the front and back? These are the tails of the shirts that help you tuck in the shirt. As opposed to the previously mentioned polo and button up that both have a straight hem making it more difficult to tuck in.

Seem simple enough right?

 

How

Finally, how to tuck in your shirt. There are a few ways to tuck it in but the easiest way that I do it is with the “Military Tuck”. First slide the fabric that you wish to tuck into your trousers and zip up. Make sure you don’t button up the trousers just yet as we need to squeeze the excess fabric of the shirt in. The secret of the military tuck is grabbing loose fabric from the sides of the shirt to fold backwards into the side seems of the shirt and further into the waistband of the trousers. This technique of tucking can be used to slim down a baggy shirt making it appropriate for your size. Here’s an in-depth video demonstration of how to do the Military Tuck

It’s as simple as that! If you’re still unsure whether you should tuck/untuck or still confused on how to tuck in your shirt, feel free to contact us and we’ll be able to help you out.

 

In conclusion...

You should be tucking in your shirt to cut your look in half and to raise formality of your outfit. Untuck your polo shirts, t-shirts and button up/down shirts only if the dress code is casual. 

If you're going to untuck make sure that the shirt drapes in the "mid fly" zone so it doesn't look to short or too long. 

The most effective way of tucking your shirt is using the "military tuck". Grab the loose fabric on the sides of the shirts and fold it under itself as your tuck your shirt inside your trousers. This ensures your shirt doesn't look baggy and keep it from coming out. 

 

Raising the collar standard,

Norvin 

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