Calling All Tuckers…

how-to-keep-shirt-tuckedAre you a tucker?  If so, this reader has a question for you on how you keep your shirts tucked neatly…

Do you know of any device that will help a woman keep her shirt neatly tucked in? I envision something along the lines of suspender types of things that might function something like the shirt bodysuits they sell at Victoria’s Secret. For example, they could be made of a stretchy fabric and could clip (or be sewn?) onto the front and back of the shirt on each side, and would run between the legs along the bikini line. Am I just crazy? I’ve done some internet searching, but all I can find is some horrible military things that clip from the bottom of one’s shirt to the top of one’s socks. Not exactly useful if a woman is wearing a skirt. Has anyone had a tailor install such things on shirts to keep them in place? Any other good tricks?

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We must admit, this is a fascinating question. We’re not much of a bodysuits for worktucker, but obviously there are some women out there who swear by it. (We’re a little curious as to whether there will be any “it’s a little embarrassing but it works” tricks, like tucking shirttails into underpants — come forward, ladies, you’re in a safe place.) The most we can say is that we continually see bodysuits from retailers, such as the Wolford turtleneck pictured above (Colorado String Bodysuit, available at for $245) and of course the button-front bodysuits they sell at Victoria’s Secret (pictured at right, Essential bodysuit in solids, available for $32.50). Readers, what are your tips and tricks for keeping shirts and blouses neatly tucked? Are there any “rules” you have for when a shirt should absolutely be tucked (e.g., do shirttails matter)? To be honest, we’ve just gone by the gut here — if it looked good with pants untucked, we wore it like that. For our $.02, we can think of very few examples when a shaped shirt cannot be worn untucked.

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  1. This might be more hassle than it’s worth for some, but…for any pairs of pants/skirts which really need to have the shirt tucked in, I sew a couple little snaps into the lining and the side-seams. Then I sew snaps on the matching locations of any shirts which need to be tucked in. It won’t hold against vigorous movement, but normal running-around-the-office and sitting down don’t dislodge the shirt. You can get packs of plastic snaps for very little at any crafting store.

    • I had a roommate that would sew the same type of clips that garter belts use into the lining of her suit skirts. I never tried it because I look like I’m all chest when I’m tucked, but she swore by it.

      I would guess it would take some trial and error – I may experiment with a cheap skirt or pair of pants – to make sure that everything is in the right place.

    • Genius! I am going to try this!

  2. For all you pear/triangle/bigger on bottom shaped ladies, I thought this article on how to dress our shape to be very, very informative (no affiliation with this site, I swear!)

    • thanks for this site – I do most of these, so it was good to get the confirmation, and also picked up a few tips. (still don’t think I can do the skinny jeans/pants look though!)

      for the record, I’m not a tucker. I usually wear knit tops/cardigan sets, so I rarely have on anything that needs tucking.

      • I tuck knit tops. I have ginormous hips, but a flat stomach and biggish boobs, so tucking makes me look more hourglass. I think. Untucked just makes me look sloppy, although I love the shirt-tails look on others.

    • thanks for this site on body shape – I do most of these, so it was good to get the confirmation, and also picked up a few tips. (still don’t think I can do the skinny jeans/pants look though!)

      for the record, I’m not a tucker. I usually wear knit tops/cardigan sets, so I rarely have on anything that needs tucking.

    • Here is a post from the same site entitled “To Tuck or Not to Tuck.”

  3. No advice on tucking, sorry — it looks terrible on me.

    I just bought this dress from Talbots, my first purchase from this store ever. I think it’s gorgeous, and the neckline suits me because I’m quite small chested. Has anyone bought this yet? It’s only available online.

    • Love that dress…I’m not sure I could decide among the green, pink or blue! That said, what in the heck is “mercerized cotton?”

      • I have absolutely no idea but I will let you know once I get it! When I click on the large picture, it almost looks like jersey material.

        I love the blue, but I chickened out and got the black. I don’t have a good black work dress and thought this might be a good one to try out.

      • Talbot’s mercerized cotton is very very pretty — it’s got a sheen to it. It’s like t-shirt material, but finer, more glossy (but not shiny), and with more body. Let us know what the dress is like!

      • Apparently it’s a process to make the cotton look more lustrous:

        that being said, I still have no idea what the weight of that fabric is going to be. Pretty dress, though. Let us know if the fabric works for work.

        • It’s lovely cotton – softer and with a lustre. T shirts in mercerized cotton look amazing (very polished), so your dress should be great too.

    • I have noticed this dress too. Would love to get it (though am somewhat chesty and your comment made me think that maybe the neckline would not suit me) . . . Anyway, my hesitation was over the fabric too. When you get the dress, can you please follow up & let us know if it’s substantial enough for work of more of a t-shirt thin material? Thanks!!

      • Sure, will do. Re: chest size and the neckline, my sense is that people who are large chested tend not to like the boat neck style because it gives them “uniboob”. But, I have no idea, as I’m a very small B cup size.

        I also like the neckline because boat necks generally help balance out larger hips.

    • What a pretty dress! And for less than $100.00? Fabulous! That could go as is, with a cardigan, with a blaze, a belt, etc etc. Love it.

      • Chicago K :

        Love the dress and can’t believe it’s only $69 (I clicked on the link fully expecting a dress in the 300-400 dollar range). I would love it in pink, but although I am petite, I have a pretty big chest – perhaps that’s not a good style for me?

        Also, haven’t bought anything from Talbots in ages, how is the sizing? I think I remember someone here saying it runs big like Ann Taylor?

        • My sense from others on this site is that Talbots sizing is generous. I am normally a size S/size 4 in most dresses and I ordered the XS in this dress. I’m hoping it works out.

    • Talk about disappointed! I bought FOUR of these dresses (sizes medium and large each in the blue and green, with the idea of keeping both colors in the best size) and didn’t get past the medium. I’m a 10/12 and it fit…properly…but just looked TERRIBLE on!! (I know the large wouldn’t have been any better, just baggy.) It doesn’t have that nice waist shaping shown in the (back-clipped?) picture, is more like just a long t-shirt. I have more of an athletic hourglass build, so maybe it would look OK on a twiggy girl, but don’t bother if a clingy tube isn’t your best look. The material is nice enough, sort of a heavy t-shirt fabric, but I think *anyone* would need some shaping/smoothing underneath (defeats the just-throw-on travel purpose I would have had if it had fit better). Guess that explains the low price! At least I can return them directly to the store near me, which I’ll be doing on my way home tonight.

  4. Spanx (or an equivalent) is the answer. No need to do the whole body armor either. I have had amazing success tucking shirts into the underwear (they make briefs and thongs, I use the thongs) and tights. Shirts are kept in place without the fear of them riding up and poking out of your waistband like regular underthings do. I haven’t used the Loft brand like Houda (above) but I have used Spanx and the Target brand and both have worked wonderfully. Good luck!

  5. I can’t remember the name right now, but there is a product that looks like a strip of ribbon or hem tacking strip, that you can sew into the waist of your pants and it provides the grip/friction to keep shirts tucked. I’m not much of a tucker, so I haven’t bought it. I know I stashed the link somewhere…

  6. Considering how much we all love fashion on this site, has anyone attempted to sew their own clothes? I have always harbored a desire to learn how to sew and am planning on signing up for a basic sewing course this summer. I have also loved working with my hands and thought it would be so neat if I could make a shirt or skirt for myself once in a while.

    • I am also looking at sewing classes! I am really excited about it! I would be so thrilled if I could make my own staples rather than spending a lot of money on things that are often very cute, but not quite perfect.

      • I’m over 60 now, but when I was a teenager everyone learned to sew, and when I was in my twenties I sewed a lot of my clothes. Once I started wearing suits, though, I gave it up — too complicated, and the stakes were too high. (I mean, I needed to look good, and I didn’t have that much confidence in my sewing skills.) I’ll get back to it one day — there are a lot of simple tops that can be done by a non-professional. I’m looking forward to sewing clothes for my grandchildren, too — little velveteen dresses with smocking, anyone?

    • Go for it! I discovered a long time ago that I have rather expensive taste in clothes. Since I’m still on a student budget, I’m glad my mom taught me to sew! Some things are actually easier to buy–knits, usually–but especially if you have an unusual body type, being able to tailor your own clothes is a really good idea. My LBD and my favorite interview suit both started out as sewing projects. One thing–make sure you buy a good sewing machine. It doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles, but going with a brand like Bernina of Pfaff will make a big difference.

    • I sew. I think it’s a really fun hobby. However there are 2 caveats if you’re taking it up. You probably won’t be making very much of your work wardrobe. Skirts are reasonably easy, but button down tops, slacks, jackets, an even most dresses either require some real construction or fitting skills. Not to discourage you- I’ve made some great casual dresses, skirts, pj pants, t-shirt, etc. But, if you don’t want to be “susie-homemaker” at work, you probably wan’t to be really sure your clothes look “ready to wear” before you wear them to work. Second, sewing is not a cheap hobby! Fabric for a suit, for example, can be up to $20 a yard when you aren’t buying in bulk like a designer, and you might need 5 or more yards.

      But learn! It’s a great challenge. I like to sew things that take fewer than 5 hours because it’s so great to turn materials into a tangible item in one evening! Here’s the blog of another attorney sewist: (much more advanced than me!)

      • I would join the chorus of those recommending sewing. That said, I don’t have much time for it, although I keep wanting to try and squeeze it in. For those who are willing to try a few work pieces, I’d recommend Vogue patterns (I have no affiliation with them – just longstanding affection.) The patterns are well cut and there is a whole category of Very Easy Very Vogue. In addition, there are always a few patterns called “Five Easy Pieces” that contain basic office-appropriate attire. The jackets are often unstructured (no complicated piecing, lining or shoulder pads). These are good basic pieces to have in your closet and are generally pretty user-friendly.

  7. I’m with ERP – I can’t believe so many people go untucked! Our firm dress code requires tucking.

    • Yes. Our dress code does not require, and we are a biz casual firm, but partners will still tell associates to tuck in their shirts if they are not tucked.

    • seriously? its in the dress code?

  8. Blonde Lawyer :

    I don’t tuck except with a suit jacket and then only if the shirt is a button front or something that would look foolish poking out. I have considered ordering the VS bodysuit button front. Anyone try it?

    Part of the reason I don’t tuck is it looks really odd on me. I am a 32DD/34D with a fairly flat stomach (I know, poor me). So, when I tuck it just highlights my curves and screams “hello boobs!”.

    I love the tucked look on models though and I’d love to replicate it.

    • I tried the VS bodysuit a few months back and it was extremely cheap looking and feeling. I sent it back. It sounds like I am similar to you up top, and I found the shirt to run small, but also was waaay too small in the bust. The fabric was cheap and itchy.

    • L from Oz :

      Not in the US, so no idea about VS, but I own a couple of Wolford bodies (price here is still steep but not quite so hair-raising!), and they look really good. Just wish that sort of thing didn’t cost quite so much…

      I also tuck anything that’s likely to crease. I’m busty and tucking doesn’t exactly hide that, but I’ve got substantially wider hips than my waist, and things hang strangely otherwise. However, my biggest problem is when I bend over, sit down or basically do anything other than stand up straight in an untucked shirt, my top gets ridiculously crumpled and looks less than smart. Am I the only one with this problem? It’s worse than the unflattering effect of highlighting antything excess round the middle…

      Incidentally, I don’t know if I’ve just been really lucky in my choice of trousers, or if the wide hips stop things sliding too far, but I don’t find anything shows if I tuck shirts into my undies – and I do check! Possibly because I avoid low-waisted anything like the plague, and have everything sit around my middle. I’m incredibly short-torsoed, so that’s just above where my hips widen, and luckily things just sit there.

    • I have two different VS bodysuits and I like them both. The first one I have is the silky / satiny fabric and I get compliments on it every time I wear it, without fail. I found it very comfortable and soft. It is a different style than the Essential Bodysuit. It doesn’t button up the front. Instead, it has two different pieces that sort of cross over and snap at the cross-over point. It’s different and perhaps not well-suited for a conservative office, but I love it and have never worn it without having someone comment on it. I am not sure how the cross-over would work with a larger chest. I wear a 32B.

      The Essential Bodysuit is very different. It is a thicker cotton. I can see why B thought it was itchy although I don’t find it itchy at all and I don’t wear it with a cami. It’s not a super-nice-soft-high-end-type cotton, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to me. I actually like it because it looks tucked without having to deal with the issues of a ‘real’ tuck. I wear it frequently.

      Here’s the catch to the VS body suit… the thong is thick and uncomfortable and the snaps at the bottom can feel, well, like snaps where you don’t really want snaps. LOL So, I always wear them with boyshorts underneath the thong.

      Lastly, VS often has sales on the bodysuits so if you’re going to get one. And search the sale for them. They won’t be advertised as being on sale, but they are.

      • i have the silk charmeuse bodysuit from VS, and it is very soft and has a beautiful drape. I have it in a creamy color, and will wear it at the office when I don’t need to wear my suit jacket all day but have a reason for wanted to look especially nice. It looks particularly classic with some punps and a fitted black skirt. Completely agree with the boy short advice, though!

  9. Love the advertisement for shirt garters.
    “Great gift for your boss!” Too funny.

  10. I knew a guy who was a professional dance instructor, and he safety pinned his dress shirt to his boxers for shows.

  11. But if you tuck your shirt into your underwear, and are not wearing a blazer, surely when you bend over, your underwear will be revealed!!!

    • L from Oz :

      I don’t have any trousers low enough for that to be a problem, but then, I’ve got an incredibly short torso (see above) so most things sit higher on me.

  12. Somebody mentioned this above: when you tuck into your underwear, put the shirt over the underwear, then tuck it in on the sides on the lower edge of the underwear. That way the underwear is still hidden by the shirt, so you don’t have to worry about it showing.

  13. Anonymous :

    I buy jcrew button down shirts (quite often on sale) and have them tailored at the torso. I originally started tailoring my shirts not because of a tucking issue, but due to having to buy larger shirts to accommodate my chest, which left me with too much fabric around my waist. However, the pleasant surprise (after being exceptionally annoyed at having to have all my shirts tailored) was that tailoring cuts down on 1) your shirts coming untucked and 2) the above-the-waist poof/balloon effect. Find a great tailor and your mornings will be much better!

  14. I tuck when wearing a skirt. I’m high-waisted and have a long torso, which is an unusual combination. Wearing high-waisted skirts is the only way to make my legs not look stubby, and I have to tuck or I look waistless. I never tuck into pants because it’s impossible to find high-waisted pants, and so pants always hit about six inches below my natural waist.

    I wear either a slip or bike shorts under my skirts, and I tuck into the slip or shorts. Since my skirts aren’t high waisted there’s no risk the shorts or slip will show.

    • I mean since my skirts are high waisted (or maybe since the slip/shorts aren’t high waisted?). I need to proofread before I post.

  15. This posting is so apropos. I started a new job this week- dream situation for me- and while I generally avoid tucking like the plague, tried for a few days to attempt to look polished, etc. It’s as if I went through every thought in these postings in my first few hours. My first day I was whisked up to a CEO/executives briefing and was focused on my untuckage at each side. Luckily the blazer hid that. I surreptiously retucked the back during meetings. In the bathroom, I tried the undies tuck, but quickly realized, the undies were then on display. No can do. I moved to nontuckage wear later in the week, but we have been called to brief the Pres at the White House in a few weeks (I may or may not attend) and I can’t think of anything else formal enough to wear than a business blouse. Skirts work better than pants so hopefully that’ll help.

    I am thin with a very long torso, so tucked stuff looks kind of odd, but I don’t know how to get around it for formal situations. I can’t find any non-blouse tops that are fancy enough and don’t involve see-through, low-cut, ruffles, etc. So I’ve been doing the sweater vest over blouse option, but that whole ensemble rises up sometimes at the wrong moment. So annoying.

    Let’s talk stores- the only shirt I have that stays in with low-waist pants is from J Crew. I just bought 3 BR blouses and they won’t stay tucked in, the tails are too short. So I ordered pants with higher waists- which aren’t easy to find in more modern styles. BR tails= sad, as the shirts are otherwise a good fit and nice enough for the price. J Crew doesn’t have any good ones right now. AT ones are too boxy. Any other recommendations? Complicating this for me is that J Crew doesn’t carry petites in the stores, and BR doesn’t carry some of my sizes either, just online, so can’t try on various iterations easily. Any suggestions welcome!

    • Fashionista :

      Safety Pin your shirt to your underwear… It will mean that you have to un-pin and re-pin when you go to the bathroom, but for an important meeting, I find this works pretty well.

    • I have trouble with shirt tails being long enough with lower-waisted pants as well. I wear Limited Essential shirts, and they usually have some other blouses in a similar length as well. Depending on how thin you are, their XS may be small enough.

  16. Great comments (and ideas)! Like some of the ladies above, I have different shirts for tucking and for leaving untucked…the tucking ones are longer and are less likely to come untucked. I also. The underwear thing (tucking from the outside in) sounds promising but I wonder if it emphasizes your panty lines (VPL would be way worse than a blousy shirt).

  17. Like many of you who have commented so far, I too always wear Spanx (or Assets) whenever I wear a skirt or a dress. Part of the reason I wear Spanx however is to achieve the slimming effect they provide. I would worry that if I tucked my blouse into my Spanx, that it would create a bulge at my waist. I would also worry that it would be uncomfortable, since Spanx, after all, are pretty tight. Often I simply avoid this problem by wearing a dress. If I need to tuck a blouse in, I just tuck it into my skirt and hope for the best.

  18. I’m on the short side so I wear a lot of high-waisted skirts – and with those I always tuck my top in. But otherwise, since my hips are somewhat narrow, I never tuck with anything else lest it make me look totally waistless. That, and shirttails are great for camouflaging any occurrences of the muffin top’s righteously maligned cousin, segmented worm syndrome …

    • Oh, and about how I keep them tucked in … I haven’t noticed it being a big problem, but I think that’s because of the high-waisted skirt + normal-length shirt combination = more overlap –> more securely tucked? I’ve honestly never put much thought into it.

  19. I almost always wear pantyhose, even in summer, and the control top is great for tucking and also keeping it flat. Just make sure that the pantyhose top doesn’t go too high!

  20. I do not tuck because a) I have a short waist, and tucking makes it look much shorter, b) I have gained a few lbs post babies, and my midsection is a little thicker than I would like – tucking just makes me look mannish and highlights my thick waist, and c) I cant be bothered with worrying about how to keep things tucked, non-lumpy, and comfortable. I look for button downs that have a femnine fit, hit about mid hip (not too long, or too short), and have a hem that can remain untucked. That gives me an hourglass look, and I can throw a jacket on over if necesary.