Right off the bat you may be puzzled as to why you need a guide on shirt tucking? You’ve probably been doing it since your school years and it’s hardly rocket science is it?
Tucking in your shirt changes your overall appearance. It creates a more refined, polished you and makes you look that little bit more ‘put together’. Of course you knew this; you do it every time you attend work or an event that requires some sort of formal presentation.
Experimenting with shirt tucking however, hasn’t been a journey embarked upon by most. It’s always dangerous ground when tampering with an age-old practise. The shirt has been a focal point of menswear in a way only a pair of jeans can imagine – every man, without fail, owns at least one button-up.
From here on in we will introduce the latitude of ways you can tuck your shirts and how each one represents a different attitude, mostly to the event – but mainly to your host.
The Traditional Tuck
The one you’ve been using religiously to smarten up since you were 12 years old.
If like me you struggle to find a well-fitted shirt (and the cost of going bespoke is simply unfathomable), there is a simple trick that will help avoid that infamous unflattering billowy appearance.
First off avoid stuffing your shirt into your trousers through the use of moving your hand in a saw like motion around your waist. Nine times out of ten it looks hurried and far from professional. Instead pull up your trousers around a flattened crease-free shirt.
Furthermore wearing your shirt tails un-tucked is neither ‘cool’ in the rebellious sense, nor stylish; it gives off the vibe that you are being forced into wearing formal dress when you’d rather opt for some lounge-about sorts. The “I’m dressed up, but not really” trend at the opening of the century was a non-starter. Its short, Hollywood black tie attitude became embodied in rock stars such as Julian Casablancas, before quickly petering out.
To avoid the unfavourable billowing effect, simply fold all the excess at the back and sides into a small pleat. With your spare hands – or fingers – pull up your trousers and your pseudo-fitted shirt will leave you looking so dapper Mr. Draper would be taking note. A belt will help keep this fold in place.
To present the ultimate in immaculate shirt fitting, align your buttons with your fly in the mirror. Don’t forget to take a few guilt-free moments of self-admiration at your impeccable ensemble.
Rocking a traditional tuck with your casual wear is very much down to personal preference. Doing so will go a long way in smartening up your looks or adding some Parisian panache that so many of us strive for.
The Preppy Half Tuck
Aptly named by Ralph Lauren, the origin of the ‘half tuck’ lies with athletes who would pull their shirt tails from their trousers after stepping off their horses.
The logistics of this tuck make it an option when wearing polo shirts and t-shirts, although it comes with the limitation of appearing effortless (it’s only a limitation as far as you consider it one).
Achieving the air of relaxed elegance – the type often exhibited by the gentleman on Ralph Lauren’s bankroll – isn’t an easy task. Never ones to leave you in the lurch, follow our two golden rules and you will be well on your way to tucking away any doubts:
- The preppy half tuck should only be used when wearing casual apparel; or only if insistent on looking like a 14-year-old delinquent.
- Subtlety. Do not even comprehend wearing garish belts with enlarged buckles. They do little but pull you away from the implied elegance – the tuck has already allowed you to go as far as you can.
The ‘Beckham’ Half Tuck
Our recent article on David Beckham’s style reinvention captured how his style has matured in both a casual and sartorial sense. Many things can be said about Beckham’s style – both past and present – but few can refute the fact he is the archetypal style icon.
What many love about his casual approach is often unrecognisably achievable and lies with the ability to keep things simple and subtle. Individuality also helps shape his personal style and over the years Becks has been snapped wearing his shirt in a rather unique fashion.
A variety of tabloids have credited his obsessive-compulsive disorder for this particular element of his dress. Whatever the reality may be, he has certainly created a niche which he has made work for him.
Rocking a different shirt tuck can quickly establish a niche in your own personal style. It’s a great way of breaking out of the crowd and adding some understated individuality.
- Are you a shirt tucking pro, with a vast repertoire of different tucks in your locker?
- Are there any more obscure tucks that have not been mentioned?
Let us know in the comments below.