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Tucked-in shirt: (not) a question of personal taste

What's the right way to a wear a shirt? Does it have to be tucked into your waistband, or is it OK to wear it casually outside your trousers? The answer is clearly ambivalent: shirts should usually be tucked into trousers; however, there are exceptions. Learn now what these are and when you definitely have to tuck your shirt into your waistband.

Shirt inside the trousers: the basic rule

Although men with an interest in fashion enjoy experimenting, the issue of whether to tuck your shirt into your trousers is not just a question of personal taste. Some social occasions call for a certain degree of conformity. At a funeral, for example, wearing your shirt untucked would be considered a faux pas, as a certain dress code is expected on this occasion. The same applies to celebrations such as weddings or a classic red carpet event. The basic rule is: a formal occasion calls for a formal dress style. The shirt must be tucked into your waistband.


Business mode: shirt inside the trousers

In some industries, the dress code is clearly defined. These include the banking and insurance business, for example. The question of "shirt inside or out?" doesn't even arise. Customers expect a certain look, and associate the way someone is dressed with their level of trustworthiness. In jobs that call for a formal look, the rule is definitely: tuck your shirt into your trousers!

When is it OK to wear your shirt untucked?

If the business is active in the creative industries, for example, or you work in marketing or as a photographer or musician, the rules don't apply. In that case, it's perfectly acceptable to wear your shirt outside your trousers. However, in industries where there is little customer contact, a dress code may also not be particularly important.
Of course, it's perfectly alright to wear a city shirt casually untucked in your leisure time. To make sure that you make the right impression with your shirt untucked, you should know the following:

Pay attention to the length of the shirt. If it covers half your backside, the length is perfect. It's OK if it is a bit longer, but it should never be shorter.

Shirts with a rounded hem must not be too long.

If you are a bit more expansive around the middle, wearing your shirt untucked will make you look even stouter. In that case, you should tuck the shirt inside your trousers.

A tie is a definite no-go with a shirt worn outside your trousers.

If you have already worn the shirt tucked into your trousers all day, it should also remain there for the rest of the day, because when you untuck a shirt after it has spent all day tucked-in, the bottom part will be totally creased. This makes you look careless, rather than cool.


Linen and denim shirts should always be worn untucked

Shirts that are never worn tucked-in include linen and denim shirts, as well as shirts made from rougher fabrics in general. A shirt made from a rough fabric will automatically crease when it's tucked in. Even if you have ironed it carefully, it will soon become creased. Such a shirt should be worn over the trousers – provided the cut is right. If you were to tuck it into your waistband as creased as it is, you would simply look unkempt. However, if you wear it confidently untucked, a luxurious linen shirt with the typical creases emphasises your casualness. Combine it with a pair of jeans to accentuate this charming impression. Classic blue denim shirts go well with chinos or other fabric trousers. A denim shirt that is not blue but grey or black can of course be worn with blue denims. However, you should never wear a blue denim shirt with blue denims.

Tip: If your shirt is very creased when you unpack it and you don't have an iron on hand, the same rules as for linen shirts apply. It will look better worn outside your trousers than tucked into your waistband. This may not be the perfect look, but it's usually the better choice.

Cut: The length and shape have to be right

If the shirt is tucked into the trousers, it has to have a certain length. If it is too short, it will become untucked when you bend down. If it is too long, it will be visible underneath fabric trousers. Shirts that are longer at the back indicate how they should be worn, i.e. tucked inside your waistband. These shirts can be cut quite tailored around the waist, which has a slimming effect.

Straight-cut shirts that reach down to just above your backside are ideal for wearing untucked.

The occasion

Without a doubt, your shirt must definitely always be tucked in on certain occasions. You'll always be on the safe side if you tuck it in for the following occasions:

  • Job interview or job application
  • Wedding
  • At court
  • Bank interview
  • Oral exam

If you do not pay careful attention to society's established dress code, it can really put you at an uncomfortable disadvantage.


Our conclusion: usually inside, sometimes outside

A shirt should be tucked in, unless it is made from linen or part of a casual outfit. In combination with a suit and on certain social occasions, men should always tuck their shirt into their trousers. If the shirt is worn outside of the trousers, the length and the cut have to be right for a successful coolness factor.