Tucking a shirt, and doing it correctly, is a form of art. Not all looks require your shirt to be tucked in, but when you have to, you need to do it properly. So here comes the dilemma: when do I have to tuck in my shirt? When is it okay to leave it untucked?
Having the correct answer to these questions can save you from some embarrassing situations. Sometimes, a wrongly tucked shirt can be even more annoying and bad-looking than an untucked one.
When should you tuck in your shirt?
As a general rule, 4 out of 5 times you need to tuck your shirt in. Tucking your shirt will give you a more mature and polished look.
The first step to decide whether to tuck in a shirt or not, is to look at the length and shape of your shirt’s hem.
If the hem of your shirt is uneven with a curved shape – or as commonly said, it has “tails” -, tuck it in. This is true also for winter looks, when you put a sweater over your shirt: do not leave tails out unless you want to get the young college rebel look.
On the contrary, shirts that have straight edges or gentle curves should be worn untucked. This is because the bottom might be too short for tucking.
Moreover, look at the length of your shirt: if your shirt gets all the way down to your crotch, you should tuck it in as it is too long. Instead, if it barely covers your belt, it means that it is too short to be tucked it.
Remember that the best length for a shirt is at least a couple of inches below the belt line.
On a general base, you should always leave untucked:
- short-sleeved shirts
- Hawaiian shirts
- casual shirts
The untucked look is summery and casual, so opt for lightweight shirt material. If you want to give a more formal look to your straight-hem shirt, just wear a blazer and add a belt, leaving the last button of the shirt undone.
Shirts that must be always tucked in are:
- dress shirts
- long-sleeved sport shirts
Flannel and wool shirts stand in-between as they could go both ways. so You’ll have to check the bottom hem and the final outfit to decide how to wear it.
How to properly tuck your shirt?
A good tuck has an incredible influence on the final result of your outfit: not only does it give you a polished and formal look, but also it makes the front of your body look smooth and flat. Moreover, buying a well-fitted shirt will surely be of great help when tucking it in because the amount of cloth you’ll be dealing with will be perfect.
Here are two ways of tucking your shirt:
1) Basic Tuck
This is the easiest and fastest yet not perfect way for tucking your shirt. You just have to tuck the excess of your shirt hem into your open pants, making sure it’s even all the way around; you can help your shirt stay tucked in by wearing your favorite belt.
2) Military Tuck
The military tuck is an advanced method to prevent your shirt from becoming loose and untucked.
Tuck your shirt into the waistband of your pants as before, and pinch each of the shirt’s side. Fold them backward, creating a pleat to keep any loose fabric in place. Now pull the front of the shirt to smooth any bunching, button or zip up your pants and wear a belt to hold the pleats flat and get a fitted look.
In both cases, once you’ve zipped up your pants, make sure you’ve created a clean “gig line”. What’s a gig line? This term was originally used in the military and refers to an imaginary line that goes from your chin to your crotch. When talking about shirts, the shirt placket – or the front buttons of your shirt – should be perfectly aligned with the fly of your pants in order to divide your body in two perfect halves.
Extra tips for keeping your shirt tucked in
Inside some pants there are small buttons that can be used to anchor your shirt. Simply hook the shirt material around and behind the button for a long-lasting tucked-in look.
Otherwise, you can use shirt stays, which are elasticized garters with clips at each end. Clip one end to the shirttail, while the other to your socks. Once clipped on and adjusted, they keep the shirt straight and tucked in all the time.