When To Tuck A Shirt In | Tucked vs Untucked
To tuck or not to tuck? That is the question!
When it comes to men’s shirts, it can be tricky to decide what to do. However, there are a few things to look for, to make the decision easier. In this article, I discuss the factors that should influence that decision.
Where will you be going? A night at a friend’s house will obviously call for a far different look than a wedding, for instance. A tucked shirt is going to be near-essential in formal situations, whereas an untucked shirt is strictly casual. Take this into consideration when choosing both the shirt and how to wear it.
The Hem Shape
A giveaway sign of whether a shirt should be tucked or not is the shape of the hem (the very bottom of the shirt). Typically, shirts will either have a curved or straight hem. As the name suggests, a straight hem is where the shirt is an equal length all the way around. The traditional curved hem has elongated sections at the front and rear; which have been specifically designed to encourage tucking. Aesthetically, straight hemmed shirts tend to look better untucked, as they maintain a consistent look from every angle. When worn untucked, curved hem shirts often look too long.
Arguably the most critical factor when it comes to shirt tucking is the length. A shirt of incorrect length can throw off the body’s natural proportions and make an outfit look poor. Generally, the longer a shirt is, the more likely that shirt should be tucked. A good indicator to look out for, when making this decision, is where the shirt falls in respect to your fly. Generally, a shirt that falls towards the bottom of the fly area will likely look best tucked in. A shirt that falls higher, towards the middle or top of the fly area will probably look great untucked.
Nevertheless, you’ll find many off the rack shirts that don’t clearly fall into either of those categories. Shirt length can vary slightly even within the same brand and size. Additionally, there are certainly types of shirt that break the mould. For instance, certain street style designs will deliberately be excessively long, yet designed to be worn untucked; evidently for a more relaxed aesthetic.
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Once you’ve designed your shirt, you then choose how it fits. If you already know your measurements, then you can enter them. If not, you can use their Q-sizing algorithm to predict your measurements. From this, I created two size profiles, one for tucked and one for untucked shirts; which I saved to my account. The great thing with this is when ordering a new shirt, you can just select a fit profile and when the shirt arrives, you know it will fit your body accurately. No more messing about with ill-fitting standardised sizes.
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Wearing A Tie?
Certain accessories like ties can dictate whether a shirt should be tucked or not. A tie is a formal item; as such, pairing this with an untucked shirt is purposeless. For such instances, tucking is nearly essential.
A similar premise can be applied when wearing formal shirts that have a structured collar. These types of shirts, especially when containing collar stays, exclusively look best when tucked in.
One of the biggest style mistakes I made when I was younger, was wearing untucked shirts under sweaters. Usually, this results in the shirt poking out of the bottom, which looks awkward. In most situations when wearing a jumper, tucked is the way to go. Other layers, such as certain open casual jackets, can look fine with a shirt that’s untucked; as the shirt is not fully concealed.
Other Shirt Types
This article has mainly focused on traditional formal and casual long-sleeved shirts. However, it’s important to touch on the other types of shirts available to men.
Most other casual shirt types should be worn untucked. This includes polo shirts, Hawaiian shirts and T-Shirts. Typically, the hem on these shirts will be quite short, meaning it’s difficult to keep them tucked in anyway.
I often see Hawaiian shirts, particularly, worn tucked in and buttoned up to the top. This choice is understandable as they are collared shirts. However, I’d usually recommend against it. Most Aloha shirts are large, baggy and designed to be worn untucked and low-buttoned anyway – despite the collar, they are possibly the most casual type of shirt available.
For standard short sleeved, button up shirts, I’d just recommend applying the same rules as regular shirts (the earlier points in the article).
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Thanks to Deo Veritas for sponsoring this post and video.