For a long time, tucking a T-shirt into your trousers fell under the same dreaded umbrella of ‘dad fashion’ as zip-up fleeces and light wash denim. Then, as with most things, fashion got a hold of it, and now artfully stuffing hems into waistbands is a bona fide trend in its own right, done with everything from hoodies to puffer jackets.
But before you decide whether you prefer the mushroom, viennetta or mullet technique for your tucking needs, it’s important to know what tops tuck best. With your brain, and your tongue, around that, read on to discover seven easy, stylish ways to get tucked this season.
The words “summer” and “knitwear” might sound like an oxymoron along the lines of lighter fluid fragrance or hot sauce hemorrhoid cream, but as any many who has ever stayed in a beer garden too long knows, they’re an integral part of the warm-weather wardrobe.
The crucial difference between the heat-trapping, neck-hugging styles you pile on during the winter months and these is that they are rendered in breathable cotton, lightweight silk, or breezy linen, and in loose weaves that promote air circulation.
Helpfully, these louche yarns also lend themselves well to being tucked in without creating the dreaded ‘rubber ring’ effect around your waistband. Opt for neutral tones as a smart choice in the office, but at the weekend dispel any log cabin vibes with summery hues like salmon and yellow for sweats that are anything but sweaty.
– Luke Todd, deputy editor
Summer dressing 101: Breton top, chinos, sunglasses, done. But who wants to do the 101 version, especially with navy chinos? It’s a lazy pairing that borders on the cartoon image of a salty sea dog. Take it one step further and you might as well don a Captain Birdseye hat.
Earn your stripes with a more modern way of wearing the Breton. Tuck it into a pair of cropped pleated trousers and slip a lightweight overshirt on top. The tuck does two things to bring this outfit to life. First, it makes the most of the pleats on the trousers. More importantly, it creates a visual break between the waistband and the hem of the overshirt with the lateral line accentuating the Breton’s stripes.
Oh, and instead of navy trousers, try brown or khaki for a change.
– Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief
The Cuban collar shirt is an upper-body accentuating menswear hero, providing you have the upper-body to, well, accentuate. If you do, great: throw on a shirt, tuck it into your waistband, and you’re good to go. If, however, you weren’t blessed with shoulders that could dislodge a door frame, a little more thought is required.
Slight guys know that the V-neck is risky territory. The best way to avoid resembling a beanpole is to slip a white crew neck underneath. The rounded shape and additional layer will bring bulk to your top half, creating the illusion of width.
Fortunately, there’s also something a bit rogue with the look – just look at how Christian Slater pulled it off in True Romance. Go big or go home with a printed style, safe in the knowledge that the simple layer below will temper the look. Keep the rest of your outfit smart but casual with some chinos and minimalist white sneakers that work well with everything.
– Richard Jones, staff writer
In nearly all cases, linen shirts look better tucked in. For this, we have a cohort of poorly dressed yacht owners to thank, who ruined the loosely worn button-up for all but perfectly proportioned models with designs impeccably cut to their aforementioned golden ratios.
Given that linen is also the current creasing world champion — and there’s a fine line between an act of slobbish rebellion and just slobbish — by tucking your shirt into your waistband and keeping it firmly in place, all those places you forgot to iron will look marginally better.
Another way to keep the dreaded zebra effect at bay is to opt for darker colours, which are not only more forgiving to a bad iron job, they’re actually way cooler too. Deep navy, racing green, bordeaux; these traditionally wintry colours all deserve their moment in the sun. To this, add a pair of pleated trousers, some bold trainers and thick-rimmed glasses to finish off with a bit of #menswear cred.
– Luke Sampson, associate editor
A plain dress shirt may be the only way to go for tucked-in business wear, but there are other far more versatile options out there for those who aren’t restricted by old-school dress codes. Chambray is top of the pile, not least for its versatility, wearing well buttoned up with a tie or left collar open with unstructured tailoring for laid back offices.
The textured nature of denim’s distant cousin gives it a slightly care-free edge, yet when tucked in, chambray can be dressed up with the best of them. During the working day, pair it with complementary colours, namely shades of blue and grey. Navy chinos or suit trousers are a perfect match to the lighter blue top half, while a grey blazer (preferably in a breathable cotton-wool fabric) stops you looking like a mechanic in overalls.
A chambray shirt is also ideal for after work drinks. Simply remove the blazer, and the tie if you wore one, throw on some sneakers and you have a smart-casual look for the ages. In terms of fit, the shirt should be slim but not restricting – no one wants to see how many hours you’ve put in the gym this week, bro.
– Charlie Thomas, senior editor
Crew Neck T-shirt
The crew neck T-shirt is what you might term ‘an oldie but a goldie’. A staple for over a century, there are endless ways to wear it; from a ‘90s look straight out of Jerry Seinfeld’s normcore wardrobe to a mid-century look alongside crisp chinos and a pair of smart shoes.
But just because this wardrobe cornerstone is a classic doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Because, when you look at it, a T-shirt tucked into some trousers can be a bit, err, boring. To remedy this, throw on an accessory such as a simple chain necklace or a neckerchief (look to Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski for how to pull this off) or opt for a logo design, all of which will add some extra visual stimulation.
As for the T-shirt itself, whether you opt for something light and hazy like a Monet watercolour or a block colour basic, ensure there’s enough room in the body to complement a pair of relaxed light wash jeans and chunky sneakers below and you’ll rarely go wrong all summer.
– Richard Jones, staff writer
The last remnants of dad dressing may be doing the rounds, but there’s one look that’s long been off-limits to anyone under the age of 45 and childless: a tucked in, bog standard polo shirt.
Surprisingly, fabric texture and the presence of buttons make all the difference here. Go for something less obvious than standard pique cotton (try towelling or a mottled weave), lose the fastenings, and suddenly you’re swiftly sailing towards being the modern day Mr Ripley.
Once you’ve picked the right polo, you’re only halfway there. Your leg coverers of choice should be chinos, not jeans. Don’t go too smart, though, or you’ll look like you’re in school uniform. Penny loafers will further signal you’re not aping Donald Trump on the golf course, and throw on some lenses to keep the look feeling just the right amount of off-beat.
– Luke Sampson, associate editor