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Do I have to tuck in my shirt?

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Do I have to tuck in my shirt?

If you're like most of the guys in the Thread office, you'd do a lot to avoid tucking in your shirt. Spurred by the desire for comfort and memories of school-age rebellion, most men are firmly anti-tuck.

Thread's stylist Freddie Kemp takes a moderate view: "A tucked-in shirt is usually smarter, but it's not always best. It really depends on the occasion and the trousers. A shirt tucked into jeans, for instance, rarely looks right."Below, Freddie shares answers to the age-old shirt-tucking question for every eventuality.

With a suit: Always tuck in:

"Why would you dress this smartly and not tuck your shirt in? A tucked-in shirt matches the formality of your suit, and a formal shirt's shape—with the straight, elongated back—is designed to be tucked in."

With formal trousers: Sometimes tuck in:

"The reasoning here is usually the same as for a suit: you're dressing smartly, so keep your shirt on par. But if you skip the blazer and just wear a shirt or t-shirt with formal trousers, you could go either way: tucked makes the outfit more formal, untucked makes it more relaxed."

With chinos: Sometimes tuck in

"It depends on where you're going. If you're wearing chinos to the pub, then you obviously don't need to tuck in your shirt. But if you're going to an event where most people will be smartly dressed (like a nice dinner, or the races), you should tuck it in. Another thing to consider is the shirt itself. If a shirt has rounded ends and short sides, it usually means it should be worn untucked—which makes sense: the short sides are hard to tuck in."

With blazers: Sometimes tuck in

"If you want a blazer to look its smartest, tuck in your shirt and close the blazer's top button when you're standing up (if, that is, it's a two-button blazer, which most are these days). If you're going for a more relaxed look—and your shirt is shorter than your blazer—untuck your shirt and leave the blazer open."

With jeans: Rarely tuck in:

"A tucked-in shirt doesn't usually work with jeans for the same reason that it does work with formal trousers: because the smartness levels don't match. Only tuck a shirt in if your jeans are dark and straight or slim, with a longer rise so they sit on your waist rather than your hips."

As for t-shirts: Rarely tuck in:

"You can tuck in a white t-shirt if you're wearing it with a suit or blazer, or if you're going for a retro 1950s look. White t-shirts usually look their best—and are most flattering—if you leave them untucked."

And also ... tuck-in tips:

If your shirt is a regular fit, it can balloon out when tucked in. A quick fix: Make two small folds at the back of your shirt, near the hem, as you tuck it in.Keep your trouser's fly and button open when tucking your shirt in and you'll get a neater finish.Don't tuck your shirt in at the front and leave it loose at the back. Might have been cool in school, but now it's just noncommittal.

Tucking your shirt in is a day-long commitment: once you've done it, the shirt will be too creased from your waistband to wear untucked.

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