Yes but how do you WEAR the clothing?
February 25, 2013 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Help me to wear the things I own without looking like a Wilson Phillips video!

I have finally begun restocking my wardrobe after a fairly substantial weight loss (~25lbs off a small, 5'2" frame), and I've noticed on the websites for many stores that the models are shown with shirts --both button-down and t-shirts-- tucked in. I have not tucked a shirt into anything since a job interview in 2004.

At first I assumed this was for the sake of showing the customer what the pants look like at the waist, and possibly to sell cute belts. But having seen it so often, I'm wondering if things actually are supposed to be worn that way these days!

Are my untucked ways dating me in the style world? Most of my friends are full-on LOVING their inner 90s children these days, so they're not accurate gauges. If I am supposed to tuck things in, how do I keep them from looking lumpy or too blousy (especially t-shirts)?

So, to tuck or not to tuck? Relevant details:
--Lady-person, early 30s.
--I'm mostly pairing plain vintage t-shirts or tailored button-downs with a series of skinny jeans/corduroys.
--I don't work in a professional environment, so this is about casual wear norms.
--I don't know what my torso "type" is, but I do have quite a bit of boobage going on, which I prefer to disguise rather than accentuate.
--My aesthetic tends toward something I think of as Elder Hipster (e.g., I own many Converse sneakers but zero ear gauges, and my glasses are non-ironic. For Parks and Rec fans: somewhere in between April Ludgate and Ann Perkins.)
posted by like_a_friend to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The main thing you need to know about this is if you're short-waisted or not. I am, and I don't care what the fashion is, I won't look good with a shirt tucked in. I also have a huge rack and unless the belt is lower on my torso, it looks really silly.

So--go to a tailor and ask them if you're short-waisted (that's how I found out, it explained SO much!) If you are, look for things that don't tuck in, but that give the illusion of a waist. Fit and flare, peplums, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:27 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

I agree with Ruthless Bunny - this is going to depend on your proportions and what looks good on you. I'm also short-waisted and tucking things in just exaggerates that. Leaving things un-tucked can make me look more proportional because it sort of hides where my waist-line and hip-line are in proportion to each other.

I think models tend to be average or long-waisted, because those body types are more versatile when it comes to wearing clothing.

TL;DR - I don't think 'tucking' is ever required - which one looks best on you?
posted by muddgirl at 9:38 AM on February 25, 2013

I'm also 5'2" and have boobs. The only time I would tuck in a shirt is if I'm wearing a wide belt.

Leaving things un-tucked can make me look more proportional because it sort of hides where my waist-line and hip-line are in proportion to each other.

Yes, this. I feel like tucking in a shirt without a belt involved would make me look like I was wearing a uniform for a chain restaurant or getting ready to go to show choir.
posted by sweetkid at 9:47 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I see a lot of things half-tucked in, like on the side or only in the front.

I think you might try it so long as your jeans/trousers fit right, are maybe a bit low on the waist and not too tight - I have rather wide shoulders comparatively and though I like loose tops, it's best if I do one of these: wear tucked with a belt on the low waist; half-tuck; pull it in a bit at the waist with a loose ribbon belt type thing; wear a slim fitted cardigan or jacket on top. By itself worn loose and oversized it just looks gigantic on me because of my frame. If it's a slim fit t-shirt or top I wouldn't worry about tucking it in, there's no real style rule about this - one way may be a little trendier but trends being almost necessary for everyone, that doesn't really happen now. Wear what fits you.
posted by citron at 9:50 AM on February 25, 2013

You might like browsing the models on Land's End Canvas for examples.

I look like rubbish with my shirt tucked all the way in, but I frequently tuck in just the front bit of the shirt in order to display my belt. Pair that with a slightly rolled cuff and I think it looks very stylish.
posted by theraflu at 9:52 AM on February 25, 2013

After years of not tucking, it has taken me a while to experiment with it again.

I am short but have a proportionally long torso and like the look of tucking a tailored button-down into a high-ish waisted pencil skirt or trousers, or a tank top tucked into a short circle skirt. (With a wide belt, it makes it look like a dress.) But I personally would never tuck a fitted t-shirt into jeans or cords. Maybe a really loose flowy top, maybe, but it's more likely I'd belt over it than tuck.
posted by misskaz at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2013

I only tuck in shirts that are too long to tuck in (and not long enough to be a tunic.)
posted by vespabelle at 10:24 AM on February 25, 2013

I feel like tucking things in looks much more dressy. I tuck in my blouse or button-down with dress pants or with a pencil skirt, but I wouldn't tuck in the same blouse or button-down with jeans or cords. I miiiiight tuck a t-shirt into a pencil skirt, but not at any other time/with any other bottoms.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:46 AM on February 25, 2013

I am 4'11" and have a big chest, small waist, and a short torso.

I cannot tuck in. I look ridiculous. I also can't wear skinny jeans.

Oh well. Fashion will march forward without me. :)
posted by k8lin at 10:56 AM on February 25, 2013

I don't think fashion requires tucking. Here's a "semi-tuck" that might work for you. (Also, just search for "tuck" on that site -- many ideas and pictures.) Untucked but with a belt over it might also work for you if you're worried about tops that are too blousy now that you've lost all that weight. I don't know if that would work with your Elder Hipster aesthetic though.
posted by chickenmagazine at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2013

I am short-waisted and short, and I wear shirts tucked in pretty often. However:

-I am quite flat-chested.
-I am really thin.
-I only do this with certain pairs of pants, and even then, I worry that I look silly.

I think of untucked shirts - not something that I think of as untrendy, but I am not on top of these things - in the same way as I think about bootcut jeans: If they fit and look good on you, wear them. If you're wearing an untucked, ill-fitting plaid shirt, you look dumpy. If you're wearing a pair of ill-fitting, unflattering bootcut jeans, you look dumpy. If you're wearing a nice, flattering untucked blouse over a pair of bootcut jeans that makes your ass look AMAZING!!!, you look great and who gives a shit about trends.

I think the semi-tuck looks sloppy and ridiculous on most people, but if you have a certain je nais se quois, maybe that'll work for you.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:04 AM on February 25, 2013

Depending on the type of shirt, tucking is more in style now. Untucked fitted button downs look especially early/mid 2000s to me.

That being said: as everyone says, wear what looks good on you, and what you're comfortable in. Bootcut jeans aren't the height of fashion, but for people who don't look good in skinnies, bootcuts look fine/better.
posted by Kololo at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2013

Having popped over to the tailor's next door, I've found that I'm NEITHER short- nor long-waisted. My torso is apparently 9 inches on top, 9 inches on bottom. This strikes me as one of those things, like having an oval face, that's supposed to make life easier but doesn't. ;)

Thank you all for the feedback! I know in general it's just "wear what looks good" but I really needed some kind of guidelines to start from. I have no idea what looks good on me, as I haven't looked "good" (as in, flattered in any way by my clothing) since puberty.

Ironically enough, if I could live my life in a bikini, I'd be perfectly happy--it's the only article of clothing that routinely looks okay on me.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:28 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Please do not do the shametuck (half tuck). It's one of those trends that looks ridiculous even on models.

Style is more important than fashion, and a key to style is feeling comfortable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

I think the tucking is really about the actual shape of the pants and shirt you're wearing.

Don't tuck your t-shirts into your slim-fit pants. Totally not necessary.

With the button downs, tuck only if they were designed for for it (that is, they form-fitting at the waist and hips). If they aren't, and are long enough to wear tunic-style, rock that. If they are both blousey and short, it will really depend and you'll have to just play it by ear; my instinct is that this will work with skirts and dressier pants but not your skinnies.

Alternatively, tuck them in but throw on another layer over them. An extra cardigan or jacket hides a multitude of tucking sins.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:32 PM on February 25, 2013

Nobody on the internet can tell you what looks good on you, because we don't know what you look like, and even if we did, we'd probably need to see you in a bunch of different outfits. So maybe this isn't the best venue for your question.

Go to a big fancy department store or mall and book an appointment with a personal shopper. Or find an kind yet honest friend to watch you try stuff on.
posted by Kololo at 1:36 PM on February 25, 2013

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