Back when I was at school (many moons ago now…) walking around with your shirt untucked was a surefire way to demonstrate your rebellious nature. To have your shirt tucked in outside of school was social suicide. Although as we grow older, we grow wiser too, and tucking your shirt in is no longer just for ‘squares’. Obviously it depends on what you’re wearing; sometimes it’s a necessity, sometimes it’s just a great way to smarten up an outfit. Here’s my guide to getting it right:
Unsure if the shirt you’re wearing should be tucked in? Look at the hem. If it’s curved, then the shirt can be tucked in. If it’s got less of a curve or a flat hem, leave the shirt untucked. If you do wear your shirt untucked make sure it is the right size and not hanging down by your knees, the ‘first day of big school’ look is not a good one.
Obviously, there’s more to a shirt than just a hem, so there are some exceptions to the rule:
- Prints: They’re back ‘en vogue’, so dig that old Hawaiian shirt out of the wardrobe. Keep these untucked and casual, unless you’re trying to look like Magnum P.I.
- Flannel: This is a casual fabric so keep it untucked.
- Denim: Like its flannel brother, untucked please.
This can be a bit of a contentious issue. Personally, I think tucking in a t-shirt is a great way to look sharp. Although it has to be a fashion statement, not just something you’ve done absentmindedly while dressing. Get it right and you’ll be looking like James Dean (actually you probably won’t be, sorry). Get it wrong and you’ll look like a clueless pensioner.
A few things to keep in mind when considering tucking in a t-shirt: don’t tuck it into low-waisted trousers, only tuck in a fitted t-shirt (tucking in a baggy tee will make you look like a toddler), and if you’re wearing a blazer with a t-shirt you should tuck it in (the tee, not the blazer).
I like to think of the polo shirt as the formal cousin of the t-shirt, so they should be treated accordingly. Most people are less averse to a tucked in polo shirt. But if you do this, you need to make the outfit work. Avoid tucking it into jeans. Try tucking it into a smart pair of chinos for a great smart casual look.