With the presidential race in full swing, it’s an appropriate time to dust off our debate skills for the sake of democracy. And in the world of style, no argument is wrapped in more partisan mudslinging than the issue with belts at the very center: to tuck in your shirt, or to leave it out?
We endorse the tuck.
To be sure, modern living warrants few reasons to conceal excess shirt fabric. If your office lacks a dress code, your calendar lacks a wedding, and your father-in-law lacks a golf membership, your mandatory tucks are limited. But why let the mandatory be the enemy of the prudent? Personal style is an expression of your individuality, and we think that responsibility should be handled with care.
Consider the message a crisp, tucked-in shirt delivers. First, it signals that you are no friend to excess; it’s the sartorial equivalent of politely declining a second helping of mashed potatoes, or alternating whiskey and seltzer at your company holiday party. Second, it indicates your respect for, and enforcement of, boundaries. In other words, no hawkish shirt will be permitted to wreak havoc on your pants. And last, it’s an opportunity to show off your high attention to detail — notably via your carefully chosen belt.
Unconvinced? Perhaps you’re a candidate for the half-tuck, which is gaining ground as the tuck du jour. The half-tuck requires one critical ingredient: a button-down shirt. From there, simply tuck one flap of the shirt bottom into your trousers, leave the other flap out, and voila — you’ve achieved shirt equilibrium. Yes, the half-tuck is dangerously close to a neither-here-nor-there solution, if not already a shining example of design by committee. But when the alternative is letting your shirt hang out, we say you can have your cake and tuck it too.
The debate burns on, but at least our stance is clear. And if you’re going to follow our advice, there is one thing both parties agree on:
Keep that shirt outside of your underwear.