Your shirt: to tuck in or not to tuck in?

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People are often wondering: should I wear my blouse tucked in my pants or leave them untucked? I happen to get this question a lot. That’s why it is time for a more in-depth article about this matter, and the answer to the question. Because the answer is not always crystal clear…

Your shirt: to tuck in or not to tuck in?

Buttoned shirt or blouse?

Before I will elaborate on this subject, I would like to explain the difference between a button-up shirt and a blouse. A button-up shirt is worn by men and a blouse by women. These terms are often used interchangeably and that is totally fine.  But it is useful to know that there is a difference between these two terms. I am writing this article for both men and women, but for the sake of convenience, I will use the term ‘shirt’. I just think it’s a little extreme to talk about both the blouse and the button-up shirt.

The model

When you are unsure about whether to tuck your shirt in your pants or not, I’d first recommend you to look at the model. When the shirt is longer on both the front and the back, it is meant to wear tucked in your pants. Especially when the bottom part of the shirt is a little round, facing down. When the bottom of the shirt is hemmed in a straight line and the shirt is a little shorter, it is meant to wear untucked. Like a shirt that falls just over your belt, lengthwise.


Different factors

Unfortunately the model of a shirt is not always very clear or visible. Sometimes the length of the shirt will cause some doubt. In that case it is probably just long enough to be tucked in and just short enough to wear untucked. Tricky, right? In this specific case there are some more factors to consider if you’re not sure about tucking in.

  • The occasion: In general, a shirt tucked in your pants looks more decent. For this particular reason, you will see far less untucked shirts in business events, then when you are hosting a BBQ for your friends. So be aware of the occasion: how formal is the event you’re going to attend?
  • The shape: Every human body is different and that’s why a shirt can look different on different people. Take a good look at your shape and what your body looks like when you tuck or untuck your shirt. Every shirt has a different model, which is why I would advise you to check shirt by shirt.
  • The pants: Your decision is also affected by the pants you wear under it. When you’re wearing a shirt tucked in a fancy pair of trousers, your look will quickly turn professional. But when you wear the shirt untucked on fancy trousers, it will still look very elegant. A little less elegant than wearing it tucked in, but it won’t be anywhere near a casual look. This is because the pair of trousers by itself is a very elegant piece of clothing. On the other hand, an untucked shirt over jeans is right away less fancy.


My personal advice

I usually recommend people to tuck their shirt in their pants when it comes to office clothing. A tucked in shirt simply looks more stylish. I know that some would say that people with a larger stomach area (a big belly) are advised to wear them untucked. But I disagree.

I used to work with a project manager who was rather large. Especially around the waist, there was no way to miss it. But he always wore his shirts tucked in, whether it was in fancy trousers or jeans. He always looked fancy. I had a good relationship with him and at some point, he showed me his holiday pictures. Suddenly I saw him with an untucked shirt. Surely, his holiday snapshots are not business-oriented and the setting was completely different, but it was an obvious difference. The shirt was just long enough to cover his abdomen and that made him optically taller than he actually was. In the picture, he was sitting in a boat, which is clearly not the right moment to be worried about whether to tuck your shirt in or not.

This example shows you that heavy people can look stylish when they wear the shirt tucked in. I myself am not the skinniest person, wearing size 44/46, but I wear my shirt tucked in as much as possible. Simply because I want to look stylish.

How do you usually wear your shirt, tucked in or untucked? 



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