Do they make tuck-in shirts only?
August 1, 2011 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Do they design dress shirts specifically for tucking in only?

I just got a dress shirt that fits perfectly and I planned on wearing with jeans untucked - except I didn't realize when I bought it that there's three buttons right next to each other at the very bottom as well as a sewn on label that explains washing instructions ("Machine wash warm blah blah blah...")

Is there a way to remove these things without ruining the shirt? Does the label easily tear off? Or does this mean the shirt was designed to be only tucked in (in which case I'd return it)?
posted by windbox to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total)
Most men's dress shirts are intended to be tucked in. Perhaps a "sport shirt" is what you are looking for?
posted by saradarlin at 5:05 PM on August 1, 2011

Or the casual shirts that look more like dress shirts
posted by saradarlin at 5:09 PM on August 1, 2011

ugh, link fail. sorry.
posted by saradarlin at 5:09 PM on August 1, 2011

Yes, dress shirts are of course meant to be tucked in. They're formal. That's what the "dress" is referring to.

However, the whole point of having a dress shirt NOT tucked in is that you're breaking the rules, like a rebel. It's after five, or it's a hungover Saturday at the shore. Man, you're like a honey badger and you just don't give a shit. Those extra buttons and the label, man, it don't matter.

Taking the buttons and label off so you can wear a dress shirt untucked is really, really wrong. It totally misses the point of the untucked shirt, which is about not giving a fuck.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:12 PM on August 1, 2011 [29 favorites]

It probably means that the shirt was meant to be tucked in, but if you love the shirt and like the way it looks untucked, you can get a tool called a seam ripper that will help you cut the stitches out of the tag and buttons. It's a pointy little hook-shaped razor blade that's designed to cut threads without hurting the fabric. You can find them at stores that sell fabric. Get one with a cap--those mothers are sharp.
posted by corey flood at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Most of them labels are just affixed by thin thread, so you can remove it by cutting the row of threads with a seam ripper or an exacto knife. Careful not to tear the shirt fabric. Similarly, you can cut the threads holding the buttons on.

Wear it untucked if you like, I will support your decision.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:15 PM on August 1, 2011

You can tell when a men's long-sleeve oxford-style shirt is meant to be worn un-tucked because the hem along the bottom will be straight. Shirts that are meant to be tucked-in swoop down in front and in the back and curve up around the hips.

If you decide to remove the buttons, have a safe place for them. They're spares for when one of the buttons you're using falls—or is ripped—off. You can remove them and the label with a seam-ripper or your narrow blade-of-choice. You want to cut the threads that are holding them to the shirt. Cut in a few places around the label, then use your fingers or some tweezers to yank out the pieces of thread. For the buttons, just cut the X in the center.

But yeah, who cares really? Work it.
posted by carsonb at 5:19 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pictures of seam-rippers. It's a pretty handy tool.

Also, for future reference, the smaller spare button is for your collar.
posted by carsonb at 5:21 PM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I feel like I phrased the headline of this question wrong - I know that they design dress shirts initially to be tucked in, but do they really make them in such a way that it's impossible NOT to tuck them by affixing ugly crap at the bottom of the shirt? It's almost like they purposely put them there to prevent slobs like me from trying to get away with not tucking. Like why would you sew the washing instructions to the outside of the shirt?

But no matter, I'm going to look at this seam ripper you all speak of. Thanks all.
posted by windbox at 5:22 PM on August 1, 2011

All the crap at the bottom is specifically designed to keep the shirt tucked in, ironically enough. The best shirts will even have a much longer bottom so that when you sit down, the shirt stays, relatively, in the same place. 'Cause, um, your ass is holding it in place as you sit.

And Nthing Admiral Haddock! Dude, don't pose like a rebel, BE a rebel!
posted by digitalprimate at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2011

All that extra shirting material is there for the purpose of keeping the shirt neatly tucked in to your pants. A shirt meant to be worn untucked will obviously have less material in order to look better—it should not extend below the front pockets of your pants—and consequently will ride up easily if worn tucked. If you like the long shirt, take it to a tailor who will hem it to the proper length for wearing untucked and also move the extras from the front. My theory on their placement is that the bottom front placket is the least likely place to have belt/buttocks pressure applied and therefore be the most comfortable spot to stash hard, little buttons.
posted by popculture at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2011

The washing instructions are more convenient to read outside the shirt. At least, I certainly find them to be. If that part isn't intended to be seen anyway, why not put the instructions there and save me the trouble of having to fumble around inside the shirt to find the instruction tag? Sure, it's minor, but for someone who wears the shirt as it's intended to be worn, it's still a little bit nicer.

Note, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wearing the shirt other than it was intended to be worn -- indeed, I do so myself with some regularity. But I don't think it's really reasonable to complain about features that are only problematic if you're doing something the manufacturer didn't intend…
posted by sharding at 5:45 PM on August 1, 2011

Like why would you sew the washing instructions to the outside of the shirt?

So it doesn't scratch the wearer (who is presumed to be a refined gentleman, because, well, he tucks his shirt in)...

Admiral Haddock's is the correct answer. Please don't buy a seam ripper for this. FWIW, I would note the removal (you will almost certainly be left with a few small marks where the tag was) and think you a naff, if I saw such a faux pas.

Some shirts I bought recently -- women's linen shirts certainly intended to be worn untucked if the wearer liked -- came with a logo'ed label sewn at the bottom, where your washing instructions are. The label being visible when you are slumming it is part of the shirt zeitgeist here; you're better off returning than removing the label.
posted by kmennie at 6:01 PM on August 1, 2011

It's almost like they purposely put them there to prevent slobs like me from trying to get away with not tucking.

Nope. It's unlikely they even considered the possibility that anyone would plan on wearing their dress shirt with the shirttails out. For an example of purposefully sewing extra features on shirttails to ensure they stay tucked in, see this.

[Textual context provided as insurance for the eventual bit-decay: “To cure boys of the habit of not keeping shirttails tucked in, sew an edging of lace around the bottom of the lad’s shirt. There’ll be no more shirttails showing.” -- from a 1940's ad entitled “For Mothers Only”]
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 6:10 PM on August 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

You can take the buttons off. They're just spares, for when one of the real ones pops off.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:11 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Man, I was wearing dress shirts outside my pants for *years* before I even knew there was another kind of shirt-tails. Buttons and labels are, like everyone else says, badges of your don't-give-a-fuck-ness.

However, you know what seam-rippers *are* good for? Removing sewn-on logos from otherwise acceptable garments. (DKNY, I'm looking at you, logo-happy fuckers) Goodwill FTW!
posted by hap_hazard at 7:01 PM on August 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Usually, the shirts meant to be untucked will fall no more than an inch below your beltline. This is particularly easy to note if you're trying on polo shirts. Oxford shirts are often cut in the same two ways, most are longer like yours, and others are cut shorter. As others have said, the extra buttons and wash tag aren't there to keep you from untucking, it's an unintended consequence.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:07 AM on August 2, 2011

Absolutely. Tuck in your shirt-tails, or you look like a slob. (Yeah, I know you kids are trying to make this a fashion, but it's not -- wearing a button-down untucked's just a rebellious phase all teen-aged boys go through.)
posted by Rash at 7:54 AM on August 2, 2011

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