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To tuck or not to tuck-- that is the question. There comes a time in every guy’s life where he begins to rethink his outfit choices. Call it a right of passage, a maturing point of sorts, where we become more wary of our style status-- or in other words, we want to look less Bieber-ish. To take these steps into fashion manhood, we must learn a critical styling cue: the art of shirt tucking. Depending on the occasion and your personal image, there are clear rules for when you should tuck or untuck your shirt. Let’s learn them.
The occasion matters
We’ll start with the obvious: the factor of setting. A tuck or untucked shirt matters here because it makes the difference between looking awkwardly over-tidy or inappropriately sloppy. You might also wonder if age matters, and if so, at what age do you start tucking in your shirt? The answer is now, whether you’re 18 or 80, as long as the tuck-in rule applies. That being said, let’s begin the rules of setting.
Needless to say, if it’s a formal occasion, like an upscale lounge or wedding, you must tuck in that shirt--even when the open bar has you feeling buzzed, frisky and godlike. Keep it classy, gents.
For a laidback setting, you can loosen things up. If it’s a casual bar or restaurant, your shirt may be tucked-out. Just make sure the shirt’s hemline isn’t too long; otherwise, it’ll overhang and look sloppy. With a short hemline, the untucked shirt feels presentable but in a nonchalant, low-effort kind of way.
Outfit with blazer jacket
Now we’re moving into optional territory. Since the blazer jacket offers mid-level formality, you have the flexibility of wearing your shirt tucked or untucked. The shirt could be a basic v-neck or a collared button-up, doesn’t matter-- the choice, quite frankly, depends on your mood.
And when you can’t decide, there’s always the cool half-tucked approach. Take your cues from David Beckham who’s a pro at pulling off this look. He lets the tucked-in side sit loosely under his belt, letting the tucked-out side drape out naturally. Yup, that’s gold right there.
Outfit with cardigan
A shirt and cardigan is a classic look. Yet, it comes with stricter rules for your tucking approach. If the shirt is your standard tee or polo, you should leave it untucked, but if the shirt is a nice collared one, it should be tucked with a belt.
Shirt on its own
When the shirt is worn solo, the tucking rules depend on two factors: casual or smart casual. For a casual outfit, you’re pairing a standard tee with jeans, cargo pants or army ones; here, your shirt is untucked.
For a smart casual outfit, you’re moving from simple to sharp. You’re pairing a polished collared shirt with chinos or slacks to create a cleaner look, so tuck in that shirt. The only exception to the rule is this: if the collared shirt is slim-fit and has a scooped hem; in this case, leave it untucked. Winner!