We all know how good a crisp, well-fitting dress shirt can look under the right circumstances. We not look better but also feel more confident because of it. Getting a great shirt, however, is only part of looking your best. Tucking it in the right way is just as important, as shitty tucking can make even a perfectly-fitted shirt look bad.
What Can Possibly Go Wrong With Tucking in a Shirt?
Believe it or not, tucking your shirt in is a little more complicated than just pushing it down into your trousers. If you tuck your shirt in improperly, there are a couple of different things that can go wrong. The first is the well-known "muffin-top" look. If your shirt is too big or tucked in too loosely, extra material will stick out, which will cause the shirt to look baggy rather than hugging your torso.
Another problem that can come up is uneven tucking. Say, for example, you tuck your shirt in tighter in the front than in the back. As you move around through the course of your day, there's a good chance that your shirt will ride up in the back. This kind of unevenness can cause your shirt to wrinkle or bag in different places, leading to a look that is sometimes referred to as the "potato bag."
The Proper Way to Tuck in Your Shirt
If you want to make sure your dress shirt looks good when you tuck it in, there's a precise but fairly easy process to go through. The first step, of course, is to start with a shirt that fits you properly. The hem of the shirt should reach down to your butt or upper thigh, as this will give it enough length to stay properly tucked in throughout the day.
Begin by tucking the back of your shirt in, being sure to push it all the way down into your trousers. Also be careful to avoid any bunching, as wads of bunched-up fabric will show through your pants and give them a generally uneven look. Next, tuck in the sides and the front, using the small button and retainer on the inside of your trousers to hold the tucked shirt in place.
Reach down through your open fly and pull the front of the shirt down so that it doesn't bunch up at the bottom. Button up your pants, fasten your belt and you're ready to go. Speaking of your belt, be sure to wear one that matches in color and texture with your shoes. Mismatching your shoes and belt will detract substantially from your overall appearance.
There is a chance you'll still have a little extra material left over on the sides of the shirt. If this is the case, simply fold it back and tuck it in at a slight angle. Not only will this make your shirt look tighter, but it will also produce a slimming, tapered effect.
Want to Look Even Better? Pay Attention to Your Gig Line
If you really want to look neat and well-kept, you should make sure your gig line is in order. A gig line is the straight vertical line formed by your shirt's placket, the edge of your belt buckle and your zipper. When these three things are properly aligned, it conveys a very definite sense of neatness. If they aren't, the lack of symmetry can make your entire appearance look sloppy.
Tucking in your shirt properly requires very little extra effort and will make you look better. Be sure to always start with a shirt that fits you correctly. If you need a great shirt, try a white dress shirt from standardshirt.com.