When should a dress shirt be tucked in? When can you leave it untucked? These seem like simple questions with simple answers, but the truth is the rules are somewhat played fast and loose. You know those guys, with untucked shirts at classically traditional events like weddings, making the men in suits feel a little overdressed? Possibly waltzing around movie theaters on a Sunday wearing a tucked in dress shirt and making everyone else wonder what they do for a living. They make it work.
The reason for that is simple: it isn’t the venue that regulates the notion of acceptable tucked versus untucked looks. It's the rules and learning how to properly bend them. So here is a list of do’s and don’ts to get you started.
• Hem: This is by far the one rule to follow. Normally, a formal dress shirt will have a rounded hem at the bottom. This feature usually runs about 2 inches long curving upwards from the center back to the side seems. Casual shirts, on the other hand, tend to be straight hemmed and hang about an inch all the way around. The focal point here is the length. If you want to break this rule, pay attention to the cut AND length of your jib—er, shirt.
• The Blazer: Wearing a blazer is a clear indication to tucking in your dress shirt. Blazers make most any outfit more formal by design. That’s not to say that these versatile jackets can’t be dressed down, in fact, that’s what they’re most known for these days. But they’re generally worn with at least one button fastened. Going untucked dress shirt and buttoned jacket is a no-no combination.
• Style of Pant: The type of pant worn with a dress shirt is equally important when discussing tucked versus untucked looks. Typically, pleated slacks and slim fit trousers accommodate the rounded, and hence, more formal hems.
How to break the rules:
• Hem: As discussed above, the rule here targets styles of hem. However, if you want to throw that out the window completely then by all means go for it. Length is where the money is anyway. Anything below your pant’s inseam is too long. Anything above the middle of the fly front is too short. But the zone in between is going to be your sweet spot.
• The Sports Coat: Very near to the blazer is the sports coat. What’s the difference, you ask? Don’t worry, we’ve covered that too, but the most notable difference is sports coats were made to be the casual jacket pairing. This means you can pop them on over a short sleeved, untucked, dress shirt (or t-shirt for that matter) and leave the coat unbuttoned.
• Style of Pant: Jeans and chinos rule supreme where untucked shirts are concerned. Take into account the sports coat and hem length here and you can see how these pant styles can go from casual wear to a more formal setting with ease.
And there you have it. The basic rules – and how to break them – for wearing your dress shirt tucked versus untucked.
Separately, these points may seem like no brainers, but when put together comprehensively, you will start to spot more accurately what makes these looks work. At Original Stitch, we offer a fully customizable collection (yes, even the collar type!) of premium quality shirts. Customers can create a shirt completely unique to them. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from and tailored in Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than regular button-up shirts.