How to tuck in a shirt

I really despise tucking in shirts. Back in high school I’d get detentions for having my shirt untucked at least 2 or 3 times a week (yeh I went to a snooty private school w/ a dress code, etc.). Anyway, the main reason I can’t stand tucking a shirt into my pants is because the shirt is going to be bunched up somewhere. Shirts clearly are not made to be tucked in. I try to spread the bunching around evenly, but it’s still going to look sloppy somewhere–typically the back because that’s the hardest area to un-bunch.

So, how do you guys go about tucking your shirt into your pants? Any method? Is there a “proper” place for all the bunching-up to be? If I am wearing a jacket I bunch it all up in the back because you won’t see it. Of course I can feel it bunched up back there and it drives me crazy. Why don’t they make dress shirts tapered at the bottom so they will actually fit neatly in pants? They should have a waist size for each shirt.

That is indeed one of the all-time, top male sartorial questions ever to be posed, isn’t it? Like you, I tried the “back-bunch” and the “spread-bunch”, but they just never worked for me, back in the days when I wore a suit and tie to work. So I developed a technique where I would tuck the shirt in fully, and then slowly untuck little by little, evenly around the waist, until about a one to two inch swath of cloth was available. I would then fold this swath carefully over the belt, leaving an even, one inch overhang all around the waist. This had the added advantage of giving me a somewhat more comfortable, easy-going look, rather than the stuffed shirt look favored by the higher-ups. Maybe it will work for you, too.

Smooth shirt around the front and make folds with your hands in the back, right around the kidneys. The folds should be V shaped if someone is looking down from your collar, so your back looks like this:


Seen from above. Carefully put on your pants and belt. Voila! A smoothed out, non-bunched shirt.

A well-constructed shirt shouldn’t have a bunching problem. Is it possible you are tucking it in wrong?

Stand up straight, with the shirt hanging down naturally outside your pants. Visualize your torso and its shirt as an octagonal stop sign.

Tuck in the front. Just grab the fabric that’s there in front, and tuck it in. Don’t reach around for any other fabric.

Tuck in the back. Ditto. Just the fabric that’s right there, in the back.

Tuck in the sides. Ditto.

Neaten it up, all around. You just tucked in the top, bottom, and two sides of the stop sign. Now tuck in the four diagonal corners, but gently. You’ll have little pieces of fabric pooching out there. Pat them down into the top of the pants, but you don’t need to shove them down inside. Perhaps this is where your bunching is coming from?

One other thing you can do, that helps sometimes, is to drop your pants around your knees, get the shirt arranged on your torso how you like it, so it’s hanging down straight towards your hips, then pull up your pants–carefully–around the shirttails, tucking them in a smidgen as the pants come up.

You can also try switching to a different brand of shirt with shorter shirttails. Some shirts just have super-long shirttails, something about the Perfect Businessman worrying about his shirt pulling up out of his back crack during business meetings, so some manufacturers design their shirts like this, but they suck. I used to have a Western-style pink shirt that drove me CRAZY like this, until I finally had to stop wearing it.

And, what I do for the more “relaxed” look is, after it’s all tucked in, I just raise my arms above my head, once, and that pulls it out of my waistband enough that it’s comfortable.

Nah, they make mens’ clothing to fit the greatest common denominator. If you’re reasonably fit, unless you buy fitted shirts you’re going to have an extra 3-10 inches of material around the waist.

Fitted shirts rock. Just don’t gain a lot of weight after you buy some…

A partial solution to the sloppy tuck that has helped me a ton: tuck your t-shirt into your boxers. It sounds dumb, but it works great.

Aye, there’s the rub.

I always first buttoned up my shirt and THEN pulled up my pants. I never had troubles with bunched up shirts.

Brooks Bros. shirts have to be the hardest to tuck in - they’re made with a full cut and there’s tons of material.

I feel your pain.

I’m a skinny guy and I grew up hating shirts that seemed like you fit 2 of me into. They ended up all blousy and bunchy and I felt like I looked even skinnier in them. As an adult I utilize the fold over at the kidneys that pravnik mentions.

Recently I discovered Land’s End has a slim fit sizing on shirts. I bought a few and they fit like a dream! I will never have bunched and blousy shirts again!

Pravnik is right on. This is how West Point requires their cadets to tuck their shirts, it may be a whole military-wide thing as well. The secret of the cadets, though, is that they generally get a friend to help them, this is know as a “dress off.”

I’m glad someone has adressed this problem. For the longest time I always thought I was an oddity because of all the cloth that would bunch up when I tucked in my shirt. It is so ugly and uncomfortable and when it comes unbunched it looks very very sloppy (not to mention extremely wrinkled where the bunch was). I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to find shirts that are made for lanky tall guys. I’m 6’4, slim and I have long arms. The only shirts I can find that fit the length of my arms seem to be made for guys with beer guts? I don’t know. I’ve taken to wearing short-sleeved dress shirts during the summer so that I don’t have to factor in the arm length. This works well because there are more options available.

For those times when I must wear long-sleeved dress shirts I will try the “V” method of tucking it in. That sounds promising! Thanks for the tip.

C’mon, you military types, tell these folks about the secret of the rubberized “belt” you wear under the shirt.

One easy trick is to secure your belt-------reach into your open fly -----and snap the front tail pieces straight down, ----secure the fly.

That’ll flatten the front if it’s done after the “V” fold on the sides have been made.

But remember-----most of the military shirts don’t"blouse" because they’ve been tapered.

The military least in the Corps, have that 5 crease press also.

Radar ralf: They used to be called “Shirt stays”, differect from collar stays. They’re like the garters women used to wear commonly to hold up their stockings (now only for fancy lingere type stuff). Elastic bands connect the tops of your socks to the tails of your shirt, front and back.

Survey1215, do that and sooner or later you’ll find the top of your underwear sticking out of the top of your pants. It looks pretty bad and foolish.

at least I’m not alone. I feel a little better. I’ll try out some of the recommendations, but I think I’ve tried them all before at one time or another. It’s always going to be a balancing between being comfortable (i.e. not a huge bunch somewhere) and not looking sloppy (which isn’t completely possible unless you wear a jacket over the shirt).

I should mention that the problem is much greater with button-down shirts than with t-shirts (those you can get fitted).

Milton: the ones i have used are light tan in color, shaped very much like a belt, and have holes all down the length of them (for cooling, i reckon). You fasten them around your waist just as you would a belt, but under the shirt-tails. They are very “grippy” and hold the shirt-tails inside the trousers by friction instead of the method of the bands you refer to.