When to tuck your shirt
If you aren’t sure whether you should tuck your shirt in or not, there are a few telling signs, which can be determined from the the shirt’s design:
1. The shape of your shirt’s hem
Look at the hem of your shirt. Is it even all around its perimeter or does it come with a pronounced tail at the front and back?
- Even hemIf the hem is even (same as you would find on t-shirts or polo-shirts), then this type of shirt is made to be worn untucked.
- Uneven/curved hemIn case of uneven hem, this type of shirt is meant to be worn tucked.
2. The length of your shirt
Another important factor is the shirt’s length. If the shirt is short (but not too short to wear without showing off your belly) and gets untucked every time you move or sit, it’s probably meant to stay untucked. The longer shirts with curved hem are prolonged at the back a front for a reason – to help you with staying tucked.
If your shirt is on the longer side, it might be better to tuck it in as the extra fabric can you look sloppy and unprofessional. If you intend to tuck it in, make sure the hem extends at least 7-10cm below your belt. The longer the shirt is, the better chance is has to stay tucked.
Here’s a quick run-down on how the most common types of men’s shirt are usually worn:
- Shirts traditionally worn untuckedT-shirts, polo shirts, casual shirts, short-sleeved button-fronted shirts, Hawaiian shirts
- Shirts traditionally worn tuckedDress shirts, long-sleeved button-fronted shirts, flannel shirts
How to properly tuck in your shirt and keep it tucked
When you know you need to tuck your shirt, there are four ways of achieving it.
Regardless of the method, however, having a perfectly fitted shirt will make it much easier for you. For example, too much excess fabric around your waist or its short length won’t prevent you from tucking your shirt in, but it will be much more difficult to stay tucked.
1. The basic trouser tuck
The basic, and most common, trouser tuck is tucking your shirt below your trousers (and above your underwear). The way you go about it is putting your shirt on and buttoning it up. Once done, pull your pants up and button them closed over the shirttails. That’s it.
This method is offers a very simple although not bulletproof solution and it works best with fitted shirts. If you wear anything looser, you will want to look into the following methods.
2. The military tuck
Military tuck got its name from, well, military. It’s how armed forces used to tuck in their uniform shirts.
With you pants pulled up but unbuttoned, pinch any loose fabric hanging on your sides and fold it into a sharp diagonal crease. Then you tuck the creases in at the hips, belting your trousers on above them.
This method is quite simple and more effective for looser shirts with excess fabric around the waist.
3. The underwear tuck
As the name implies, this method involves your underwear and only works if you are wearing an undershirt. In practice, it would require you to tuck your undershirt into your underwear. Believe it or not, this makes a difference for how well the shirt can then stay tucked. Once your undershirt is in place, put on your shirt and pull your pants over it.
This technique will obviously not work in countries with hot climate, like here in Thailand, where wearing an undershirt is impractical. For men in colder countries, however, this is viable alternative, which can be further improved by wearing a special underwear with grippy waist.
4. Shirt stays
Lastly, the most effective and laborious method of securing your shirt’s tuck is wearing shirt stays. They resemble braces you would put over your shirt. The way you wear these is by clipping each end to your socks and the other to your shirt.
Because the bands are elastic, wearing shirt stays won’t restrict your movement and will keep the shirt firmly tucked in, no matter what. If you are new to this, it initially requires some time to learn how to properly put it on and be comfortable with it.
The feasibility of sporting this tuck will also depend on the trousers you are wearing, as shirt stays worn under tight or thin pants will be visible to the outside world.
Hopefully now you have a better idea how to wear your shirt and how to tuck it in properly, when the occasion requires it. As a rule of thumb, dress shirts are always meant to be dressed tucked in, while casual and short-sleeved shirts are okay to stay untucked. If unsure, remember to check your hem.