It’s day one of my brand new Q&A Thursday series on HER Style Podcast!
I’m thrilled to be featuring your questions on the show and making sure we’re covering the exact topics you want and providing you with all the answers and support you need.
Today, we’re troubleshooting a topic that’s been coming up for our friend, Samantha, around when and how to tuck a shirt into jeans. You might have been wondering about this, too. So I can’t wait to give you a very simple solution to tuck your shirts in OR not to, with confidence.
Let’s dive in!
Hi Heather, I am loving the podcast! And I would love to know when and how to tuck my shirt. I love that look with the front of your shirt tucked in, but every time I try I feel like I’m missing the mark. Something about maybe the rise of the pants or the style of the shirt? I’m not quite getting it and I would love your advice.Samantha
Samantha, I absolutely love this question! I feel like this is a real challenge for so many women and I know our community here is going to be thanking you for bringing up this topic. The answer is pretty simple.
When and how to tuck in your shirts comes down to proportion.
What is proportion?
Proportion is one of the most crucial elements to flattering your figure and creating captivating outfits.
First, let’s define it. Proportion is all about relative size and how lines and shapes divide the space, garment, or outfit into parts.
What a lot of people do, without realizing it, is putting outfits together with an equal 1:1 ratio using elements like color, pant rise, and shirt or jacket length. The effect happens when you do this is essentially dividing your body in half. There’s no interest or complexity to keep the eye moving around. So peoples’ attention will gravitate to the center of your body (typically your hip area) and linger there probably longer than you’d like.
Take a look at the divided line below. Where does your eye land?
I’d bet your brain interpreted that image in a split second and your focus stopped right at the center.
The Golden Mean
How do I know this? The line was split into two equal parts using a 50/50 ratio. This is the least interesting proportional balance because, in its simplicity, there’s nothing to keep your eye engaged and moving around.
As an alternative, the most universally pleasing proportion is known as “The Golden Mean”. You might also hear it called “The Golden Section” or “The Golden Ratio”. It’s the basic design principle of using a 2:3 or 3:5 balance.
Take a look at this side-by-side comparison for all the evidence you need.
These rectangles are the exact same length and width. But the Golden Mean ratios of 2:3 and 3:5 read as narrower and significantly more dynamic.
How does this translate to the human form, you ask? Good question.
I encourage you to start thinking about proportion in this way when getting dressed.
If you put outfits together with an equal 1:1 ratio using elements like color, pant rise, and shirt or jacket length, the same effect happens. You unintentionally divide your body in half. There’s no interest or complexity to keep the eye moving around. So peoples’ attention will gravitate to the center of your body and linger there (probably longer than you’d like).
See how a quick proportional adjustment makes all the difference?
Figure Out Your Proportions
If you feel off when you tuck in your shirt, it might be because the proportions you’re creating aren’t the most flattering for you. When you tuck your shirt in, you’re essentially drawing the line on your outfit’s proportions and drawing the eye directly to that area of your body.
So first, make sure you’re tucking your shirt in at the narrowest part of your body, which is typically going to be your waistline. This is what I love about a high-waisted jean! I can’t tuck my shirts into a mid to low-rise jean because it cuts my body in half visually and draws attention down to my hip area, which is the widest part of my frame. This isn’t true for everyone, but it is for me! And while I’ve embraced my wide hips over the years, it’s still not my favorite area to attract attention to.
Now, you need to personalize this. Because if you have a short waist or low breast placement, you might look better tucking your shirt into a mid to low-rise pant. If you go with a high-rise style, it’s going to make your waist look even shorter or it’ll create an awkward shelf under your chest and you don’t want that either. You could also experiment with tucking in your first layer (ex. camisole or body suit) and layering a long, untucked shirt over top to draw the eye down and lengthen through your waist.
So first things first. Figure out your proportions. I teach this extensively inside my Wardrobe Refresh Program if you’d like more support with this step.
I highly recommend investing in a full-length mirror so you can see what your outfit looks like from head-to-toe and make the best styling decisions for yourself.
Choose the Right Style of Shirt
Now, you also brought up the fact that the style of your shirt makes a difference and this is such a good point! I love that you’ve noticed this.
You’re going to feel way more confident about tucking shirts in when they have a flat front and a regular length. Crop-tops will probably not stay tucked in and embellished, ruffled, or oversized blouses are going to create a lot of bulk and bunchiness.
I prefer tucking in basic tees, button-down shirts, and camisoles. Streamlined pieces are going to work best here! But you can also get creative and tuck in a cardigan, thin-knit sweater, or a blouse with embellished sleeves. So don’t feel too limited! Just make sure the front of the shirt is flat for the most part. And smooth it out all the way to the bottom of the shirt so you don’t create seams and distracting lines under your pants.
The easiest way to create a seamless tucked-in outfit is to opt for a body suit, which will give you a beautiful, smooth line and stay put all day long.
Ways To Tuck In Your Shirt
This following list is NOT exhaustive. You can do a quick search on YouTube and find dozens of ways to tuck in your shirts with visual examples. Get creative. Play around with these styling options and see what looks best on you!
All images sourced from Pinterest.
At the end of the day, remember, the most important thing is to make sure you’re creating flattering proportions with your outfits. Incorporate the Golden Mean. If you’re tucking in your shirt, do your best to ensure that it hits at about the ⅗ point of your body rather than right in the center. This will elongate the look of your figure and create a slimming effect.
If you have a short waist, I don’t recommend tucking in your shirts unless you’re comfortable doing so with a low-rise pant. You might be better suited to a tunic style top or long dusters, things that are going to draw the eye down and make your waist appear longer than it is naturally.
Samantha, thank you for submitting this great question! I hope my answer helped you tremendously.
If YOU have a question you’d like me to answer on an upcoming Q&A Thursday episode, you can send me a quick, 90-second or less voice memo over at herstylellc.com/podcast. I’d love to hear from you!