Tucking in a dress shirt may sound like a no-brainer. But is it really as simple as shoving your shirt tails into your pants, slapping on a belt, and being on your way? Also, do you even need to worry about tucking in your shirt?
xSuit is here with a full briefing on when, if, and how to tuck that dress shirt.
When to Tuck in a Dress Shirt
Dress shirts are typically worn tucked in because they are worn for formal and professional occasions, which call for optimal neatness and maximum class. Still, tucking your dress shirt in may not always be necessary.
Whether or not you tuck in your shirt hinges largely on three factors:
- What pants you’re wearing – If you’re wearing a suit or dress pants, tucking in your shirt is the best way to complete the formal look. If you wear jeans or casual pants, you may not need to tuck in your shirt. Some people like to tuck in a dress shirt with jeans, while others think it looks too stuffy.
- What you plan on doing – If you are attending a formal event or entering a professional environment with a ‘tucked shirt’ standard, then yes, we highly recommend that you tuck in your shirt. When deciding whether to tuck or not, ask yourself:
- What will others be wearing to this event? – Unless you’re really committed to making a style statement, try to avoid carving your own path at important business or personal events. Aim to match the tone of the occasion.
- What kind of message do I want to send? – Bear in mind that the untucked look, if worn at the wrong time, can project a juvenile or unkempt air.
- What type of dress shirt you’re wearing – Often, the bottom hemline of the shirt will tell you whether or not it was designed to be tucked in. If it curves down in the front and back, it was made to tuck. If the hemline is straight, you can opt to leave it untucked.
Ultimately, this is a matter of style, so it boils down to personal preference. We'd say tuck the shirt in if you want to make a good impression on the boss or prospective in-laws. Still, if you read the room and it says that tucking the shirt in is way too posh for the occasion, then don’t worry about it.
If you decide to keep the shirt untucked, aim to find a shirt that covers your belt but stops short of the bottom of your back pockets and the bottom of your zipper in the front. You may also decide to dress it up with a sport coat or other accessories to keep it neat and avoid inadvertent sloppiness.
How should you do the chore if you opt for tucking in your shirt?
How to Tuck in a Dress Shirt
Interestingly, there is more than one way to tuck in your dress shirt. What’s the best way? Well, you’re free, of course, to try different methods and see what works best for you. But let’s talk about one fool-proof approach known as ‘the military tuck,’ recommended by men’s fashion guru Antonio Centeno in an article for Business Insider.
Here are seven steps to a flawless tuck:
- Put your shirt on and button it.
- Put on your pants and tuck in your shirt, then zip, but don’t button them yet.
- Tug on the shirt's side seams, pulling them tight along the sides and flat on your chest.
- Use your first two fingers to hold the seam while using your thumb to press forward any excess fabric toward the seam. As the fabric is gathered, use your fingers to fold the material in front of the seam over the excess you collected with your other hand. It should fold back like a triangle, tucking the excess inside to create a more fitted shirt.
- Keep the folds in place against the inside of the pants – use your elbows if you have to – while quickly buttoning your pants.
- Cinch the belt tight to keep the folds in place.
- Check to ensure the front of the shirt is tight against your chest.
Pro tip: Making the above folds on both sides at once will allow you to tuck your shirt without looking like it’s gathered to one side. You want the buttons in front to line up with your zipper line. It may be tricky initially, but you’ll definitely get the hang of it.
How to Keep a Dress Shirt Tucked In
Now that your shirt is tucked, you don’t want to be constantly tugging and adjusting, and re-tucking throughout the day. It’s a hassle, and it doesn’t project confidence. If you’re going to tuck it, you want it to stay tucked. How?
Here are a handful of tips for making sure your dress shirt stays tucked in:
- Get the right size of shirt – Excess fabric can easily bunch up or find its way out of place. Find a well-fitting, preferably slim dress shirt, and the whole tucking game will be a lot easier.
- Tuck your undershirt into your underpants – It may sound like a strange amount of layering, but tucking your undershirt into your skivvies can help you keep your dress shirt in place. Just be careful not to have them be visible to everyone!
- Invest in a good belt – A quality belt is the glue that will hold everything together. Aim for comfort and style.
Can’t wait to tuck your shirt in? First, let’s help you find the best shirt.
Your High-Performance Dress Shirt: The xShirt
xSuit has designed a line of ultra-comfortable, all-weather dress shirts in three timeless colors. Our xShirts are fit for any occasion, helping you maximize style and street cred without compromising all-day comfort. These soft, stretchable shirts manage to feel like activewear while looking like high-end formal wear. Beyond that, they’re also resistant to wrinkles, odors, and stains, giving you an extra boost of confidence and bang for your buck.
Why not get an xShirt in each color?