When To Tuck & Not Tuck Your Shirt Plus How – Your Guide to Front Tuck, Full Tuck, & Tie

August 29, 2018

When To Tuck and Not Tuck Your Shirt Plus How – Your Guide to Front Tuck, Full Tuck, & Tie

I recently asked for post topic suggestions on my Instagram story and got some great responses. One was about when to tuck your shirt in as opposed to leaving it out, when to only front tuck, how to front tuck, what about tying it on the side, etc? I thought this was such a good question, so today I am here to answer! Have you ever wondered when to tuck and not tuck your shirt plus how? This post is your guide to the front tuck, full tuck, tie, and leaving untucked with easy dos and don’ts on each option! Plus photos of each so you can visually see. If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment! I will say, some of this is personal preference, so don’t be afraid to do what you like best!


Your Guide to Tucking Your Shirt In Properly

The Front Tuck

The front tuck or half tuck is probably the most popular and easy option when it comes to tucking in your shirt. The main reason you want to do this is to visually create a waist. Front tucking your shirt draws the eye up to your waist rather that leaving your body visually one long line. To do this, simply grab the front middle of your top and tuck it fully in where there isn’t extra fabric on top. From there tuck a little on each side. Loosen a little as necessary. The goal is to not have a super tight tuck but also not too much fabric out.

    • Do front tuck when you have a thinner top that is not too long paired with mid to high rise pants or a skirt. Front tucks are most typically done casually with jeans though not out of the question with other items.
    • Don’t front tuck with a thick top that will create a pouch effect in the front because it doesn’t tuck nicely. The only caveat to this is if you have a cropped sweater that will easily tuck. Remember, the whole goal is visually showing your waist not creating a bunch of fabric. Don’t front tuck a long tunic type top that will have too much fabric to tuck in front adding a lot of fabric below your pants.

Front Tuck Essentials (Easy Tops & Good Denim) – Click to Shop

Front Tuck Photo Examples

The front tuck - when to tuck and not tuck your shirthow to front tuck your shirtthe front tuck - easy dos and don't on how to half tuck your shirt

The Full Tuck

In practice, I fully tuck in my shirt less than I do a half tuck/front tuck. When considering when to tuck and not tuck your shirt, I typically reserve this for dressier occasions. This might be when I want to look more tailored for work, when I am layering and want my bottom layer tucked in for less bulk, or when I am wearing a high waisted pant and want a streamlined look. Another reason to always tuck is if the waist of the garment is made to be shown off like the currently trendy paper bag waist. Doing anything other than a full tuck on it wouldn’t work.

    • Do a full tuck for a tailed look with a high waisted bottom and slim top or when the waistline calls for it.
    • Don’t do a full tuck with a low waist or a chunky top.

Full Tuck Essentials (High Waisted Bottoms & Streamlined Tops) – Click to Shop

Full Tuck Examples

when to fully tuck in your shirtwhen to tuck and not tuck your shirt - your guide to it allwhen to fully tuck in your shirt, easy dos and don'ts to follow

Don’t Tuck – Leave Your Shirt Untucked

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing! Don’t tuck your shirt at all leaving it untucked and loose. The reasons for this would be if the shirt has a specific hem like a peplum, a band at the bottom (like my striped sweater below), or something else. Another reason not to tuck would be a long tunic made to be worn out or a peasant style blouse (like my red top below). Alternatively you might just have a pair of pants and top that go best together left alone. In my example below with the red pants, they are a lower rise and the blouse is looser. Together, I wouldn’t ever tuck them. The pants hit more on my hips and wouldn’t be flattering with either a full or half tuck.

    • Do leave your blouse untucked when the shape is made to be that way.
    • Don’t tuck when your pants are lower rise and will accentuate your hips.

Untucked Essentials (Unique Hem or Tunic Length Tops) – Click to Shop

Untucked Examples

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The Tie

The tie is a fun fourth option if you are feeling bored or brave. There really is no reason to do this over the others unless you just want to. It’s easy to do with a thinner t-shirt that has a little length or a tie front top to mix things up a little. One of my favorite ways and reasons to do this is actually casually with leggings when I am layering. If I have a t-shirt on and a cardigan or something else that covers my bum, things can get bulky. If I do a quick knot on my t-shirt it just cleans things up a little.

    • Do tie your shirt when you want a fun alternative to the other tucking options and you have a thinner material.
    • Don’t tie your shirt when it’s to thick or makes a huge, long knot.

Tie Essentials (Button Front or Long Tees) – Click to Shop

Tie Examples

Wen to Tie your Shirt and HowOptions for tucking and tying your shirt - your easy guide to it allwhen and how to knot your shirt - your guide to flattering your shape

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  • Reply Bea December 27, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    tucking at all seems to accent my tummy. Am I tucking wrong or would I be better not to tuck at all with this protruding belly?

    • Reply Amy Ann December 29, 2023 at 2:52 pm


      I think you can tuck no matter your shape/weight. I am sure you are doing it correctly. My friend Wanda has an apple shape and does a great job of sharing some tips and tricks in that area if you want to check her page out. https://www.instagram.com/wandalovessharing/

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Amy Ann

  • Reply Crystal Adderhold October 3, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    I love these ideas and to be honest I truly need someone to dress me up to date..lol! I’m in scrubs 5 days a week and hardly ever get to really dress up. I have seen some folks tuck in these over sized sweaters is that an in thing or NOT? Can yall give me some fall ideas for super cute outfits..im 42 if that helps..lol
    thanks y’all have a happy and blessed week😉

    • Reply Amy Ann October 4, 2022 at 9:44 am

      Hi Crystal! Thanks so much for being here! If you have a shorter, oversized sweater that comes to the top of your jeans or just below, you can do a front tuck with it. If you have a long AND oversized sweater, I generally do not tuck those because they add so much bulk. I hope that helps!

  • Reply Janet Geisler January 13, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    I hate the tuck due to a fat pouch “there”
    It happens when 72! I also have seen women tuck that accents their private parts – or the rude word is “the camel toe”
    I know not tucking looks frumpy – ? Options?

    • Reply Amy Ann January 13, 2022 at 2:22 pm

      Great to hear from you! I might recommend a peplum hem type shirt where the smallest part of your waist is emphasized and then the material just flows out over any problem areas.

      I hope that helps and thanks for reading!

      • Reply Janet Geisler January 13, 2022 at 2:44 pm

        Lol, had to look up Peplum! Found tops and thanks, coverage w/o looking matronly or frumpy

  • Reply Parwals March 14, 2021 at 3:33 am

    I love tucking in my tops and tshirts..
    Thank you for the great tip.. will keep these in mind

    Apurva | http://www.buildyourpersona.com

  • Reply Maria December 28, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Finally! Someone not tucking in big, bulky sweaters. Love all the looks and suggestions- especially the tie and knot options. Super cute.

  • Reply Zoe Campos September 10, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Thanks for telling me that tucking my shirt from the front can help me create a waist image. I have a notable small waistline and my mother had always told me to flaunt it. It might be a good idea to invest in more USA made short sleeve shirts that I can wear to the university with skirts or jeans.

  • Reply Franklin White July 22, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    I like how you said that tucking in the front shirt will make your waist look different instead of just looking like one long line. My wife is looking for new fashion ideas and she told me to pick them out. I’ll see what she thinks about getting a loose flowy shirt that she can wear half-tucked in.

  • Reply Mary Frances May 4, 2020 at 2:05 am

    I notice so many tops these days hang longer in the back than they do in the front – from the side, there’s like a 4 inch difference sometimes! I really hate that — why is this done? Usually I love how it looks from the front, but HATE how it looks from the back as it’s way too long. What can I do for tops like this?

    • Reply Montse June 7, 2020 at 10:49 pm

      I have the exact same comment/question. I read this article hoping it would address this issue.

      • Reply Amy Ann Arnold June 8, 2020 at 6:45 am

        Thanks for reading! I believe I responded to this comment via email like this to make sure the person got it. In that case, I would consider a tie. You can kind of fold the back, longer part underneath. A front tuck is also an option because you can then let the material in back just stay out and have more of a waist. Hope that helps!

        • Reply Mary Frances August 24, 2020 at 10:31 pm

          I guess I was actually wondering WHY they leave the back of the shirt hanging so much longer. That’s what I hate. I don’t really want to tie it at all. I guess I can have these shirts altered, but I was just wondering about the logic in making them longer in the back to begin with. Thanks again.

          • Amy Ann Arnold August 25, 2020 at 8:33 am

            Hi! I think people often tuck just the front to create a waistline instead of just leaving the whole top untucked. Sometimes you don’t want to tuck the whole thing in, and this is a good middle ground. Hope that helps! 🙂 You can also buy shirts that don’t come down as low/long on your waist if you don’t like the more extreme difference between the front tuck and the length of the back hanging out.

    • Reply Katima Peterson November 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      You could learn to hem and cut and hem the back. It’s very easy to do and can even be done with just needle and thread, no machine.

    • Reply Chris January 18, 2023 at 3:49 pm

      The reason is to help those of us with big bottoms, that tend to make our shirts ride up in back. A longer back helps a) even things out or b) help hide all the baggage. I never tuck if I can avoid it at all. That would only accentuate my spare tire! I look for long, flowing tops to help streamline my waist area.

  • Reply Rachel Frampton March 4, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    I’m fond of collecting shirts, that’s why I’m looking for ways on how I can style it up. Thank you for this, I’ll make sure to pair it with rising pants and skirts since you’ve mentioned that this style is perfect for thin girls. Speaking fo shirts, I wonder where can I buy a shirt that has funny statements in it.

  • Reply Sarah August 16, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    I love the front tuck with a few of my (late) father’s Hawaiian shirts. They’re huge man shirts but they look fabulous tied in front and paired with my skinnies. I get quite a few compliments on them when worn that way!

  • Reply Nancy Lipe August 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Trendy paper bag tie? I don’t know what this is. Help!!!

    • Reply Amy Ann August 6, 2019 at 10:32 am

      Hi Nancy! The paper bag waist is a type of pant or short waist instead of a way to tie or tuck your shirt. It’s a gathered waist on a pant/short with a tie sash belt. You tuck your shirt fully into it. I’ve done a blog post about how to wear the style here if you are interested. 🙂 https://www.straightastyleblog.com/2019/05/how-to-wear-paperbag-shorts/

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  • Reply Laura Leigh July 24, 2019 at 10:50 am

    The front tie is my go to. I am 5’ tall and have a very short waist so it’s absolutely essential at times in order to not be completely drowning in a shirt. For reference, my torso is so short that crop tops are usually just regular shirts on me. Lol!

  • Reply Jessie July 15, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I’m 48yrs old and have always loved fashion but having gained almost 50lbs in the last year due to an injury I find myself wearing loose, frumpy clothing because I have no clue how to wear things at this weight. Please help!

    • Reply Victoria Nimitz November 19, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      I would suggest looking for articles on the shape of your figure (hourglass, straight, pear, apple, etc.) in Pinterest. There are several Pinterest articles that help you determine your type using your shoulder, bust, waist, and hip measurements. Then search for articles what are the best styles for your particular shape. I have an hourglass figure, so I search on “How to dress the hourglass figure”. (An hourglass figure looks good in classic, form fitting clothes, scoop and v-necks, wrap necklines, A-line and pencil skirts, belts or other details that show off the waist.) There will be many articles that have photos of outfits appropriate for your figure type, and some even show what not to wear for your figure type. You also might look at articles such as the Vivienne Files that show how to develop a capsule wardrobe, as you may be on a limited budget to dress your new size and her blog shows beautiful but age appropriate styles for older women. You can start with basic pieces you already have that fit in a neutral color, then round it out with a couple accent colors that suit you. Don’t think that you can’t wear form fitting clothes just because you’ve gained some weight!

  • Reply La La June 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Can you give written instruction as to HOW you tie a shirt? Specifically a tee shirt? I can get a ridiculously tiny knot (with effort!) on the side only. Please give written instructions and pictures on how to tie in front and back. Everything else about this article was great and extremely helpful!

    • Reply La La June 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      I should probably add I have a long torso. How long does my shirt have to be for me to tie it? I’m XS to Small on top and usually have to look for long tops to cover my torso. If I want to tie it, do I need to go a size up?

      • Reply Amy Ann June 21, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        Good question! My main tip is to only pair with higher waisted bottoms so that you are gathering near your natural waist (belly button area) rather than your hips. This gives you more material to work with plus creates a higher visual waist line. You want to hold it in the center with one hand, pulling the rest of the material out, then form your knot. Does that help? I am tall too with a longer torso. I typically can wear my normal size in most tops I tie though not all. Some tops are cut shorter/boxier. If that is the case, they might not be the best option to tie or you might need to size up one.

  • Reply Margo June 13, 2019 at 8:34 am

    I like the front tie. I’m very short and long loose clothing just accentuates my size. I find that pulling the ends of a blouse in gives me some dimension and I often do this under a longer cardigan which gives me a bit of height. Some of us love fashion even though we do not look like runway models.

  • Reply Vicki April 13, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Question: I need to know about the front tuck. How far back do you tuck do you stop at the hip bone or what? I love the look but feel I am doing it wrong so I tend not to front tuck. BTW I am 63 and look good in clothes. I have always been into fashion, had there been Project Runway when I was young I would have been on it and probably won it. Thanks

    • Reply Amy Ann April 14, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      Great question! I think the start of the hip bone is a good place to stop. In the middle and a few inches on either side. Then you want to loosen a little and let it naturally flow out. You don’t want to tuck all the way to each hip which would create the effect of a full tuck from the front. Sounds like no matter what you do, you are going to look great!!

  • Reply KAy March 26, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Would be awesome if you could take some pictures wearing the “don’t” part too!

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