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The Ultimate Tucking Guide

I recently worked with a client who almost never tucked her tops into her trousers or skirts. When I asked her about this, it was clear she (wrongfully) believed that she had a tummy that she needed to hide and that by wearing her tops over her waistband she would hiding unsightly lumps and bumps.

In a few swift styling moves, I was able to prove her wrong. First of all, she had a lovely defined waist. And second of all, even those of us with a tummy will look much better with a strategic tuck of the shirt, than by trying to hide it with an untucked top, which can tend to look a little frumpy.

The power of a tuck can transform an outfit from frumpy to fabulous, and there is more than one way to skin that particular cat. Here are five tucking tips and styles you can experiment with to achieve vastly different outcomes:

1.    The Full Tuck

This one is obvious, and probably doesn’t need much commentary. Except to say that this is the tuck to use to look polished, put together and ever so slightly more formal. It’s where you you’re your entire top into your waist band. It’s most appropriate for office looks, or a smart-casual weekend outfit where you want clean lines and a well defined waist.

Tucking Tips

2.    The French Tuck

Anyone who follows street style pages (or watches the newest series of Queer Eye) will be more than familiar with the French tuck. This little styling trick involves tucking your top in at the front, but leaving it loose at the back. Like a mullet hair-do, it’s business at the front, party at the back.

There is an art to finessing the front drape, but it all comes with practice, playing around with how much you tuck and how you drape the sides. It works equally well with a silk shirt as a chunky wool knit, and for women as for men.

The effect is to elongate the figure, balance your proportions, and create a polished, chic edge to an otherwise casual look.

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Business at the front
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Party at the back
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For an extreme French tuck – do it with a dress

3.    The Half Tuck

The half tuck is a variation on the French tuck. It’s a French tuck with a little more edge. It will only work with a button down shirt, because it involves tucking one side of your shirt in at the front, but leaving the other side hanging loose.

It’s a looser, more relaxed take on the French tuck, achieving a more casual, messy aesthetic. It also has the effect of elongating the line of your leg. Great for a casual weekend look, or for relaxing an otherwise formal or conservative outfit.

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4.    The cross over

The cross over tuck is another styling trick reserved for button down shirts. It involves leaving the shirt completely unbuttoned, crossing one side under the other, and tucking everything into your waistband, all the way around.

One word of warning: if you’re moving around a lot in this look, the cross-over can loosen and gape a little, so a camisole underneath is a good idea to avoid any unwanted wardrobe malfunctions.

I love this look because it adds a little elegant draping and sophistication.Black Trousers 5Tucking Tips 3

5.    The Knot

The knot is not so much a tuck, but it is a fun way to define the waist, and flatter the figure without going formal and conservative (as with the full tuck).

I tend to knot my shirts when on holiday because it’s a casual look that is made for beach strolls and basket bags. It works for both button down shirts and tshirts .

With a button down, do up the buttons but leave the bottom two or three undown, then tie the shirt ends in a double knot. For tshirts, take the bottom of the shirt at one side or at the back, pull it so you have most of the slack of the fabric in one hand and tie it in a knot over itself. Voila, a defined waist with a casual vibe. Works best over jeans or skirts.

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If you’d like advice on styling and updating your wardrobe, you can find out more about my styling services here.

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