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?

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. I sometimes tuck into my undies – not in the typical way, but I go down around the underwear on the outside and tuck “up” into it (to avoid the embarrassment of someone seeing my shirt tucked into my underwear if I bend over).

    • What a great idea!! I always tuck my first right into my undies, but then I’m worried that this might be revealed when bending over. I’ll have to try it! I’ve also found that in the winter, tucking shirts into my tights works quite well because they have an even strong elasticity.

    • Anonymous :

      Anyone think about safety pins??? I used to pin the sides of my shirt to my slip under my skirt. I would wear my shirt over the slip and pin them on each side. works well, and no issues in the bathroom.

    • Anonymous :

      Try the Shirt Lock works great look it up

  2. I would have to be in a pretty desperate place before I would start wearing shirt garters, lol! Am not much of a tucker though, can see how it would grate on your nerves. Maybe under a slip, if wearing a skirt? Though I feel like you’d run the danger of having the slip show, far worse than coming untucked.

    (Am actually laughing remembering a conversation in law school when we realized that you could tell the conservatives from the liberals by their tuck status – the (admittedly few) conversatives were all tuckers)

  3. Legally Brunette :

    I do not tuck in my shirt anymore because I’ve come to realize that it just doesn’t look good on me. I have a short torso and wearing shirts tucked in does not make me look proportionate.

    Back in the days when I used to tuck, I would tuck in my shirt into my pantyhose, assuming I was wearing a skirt that day.

    • ditto — short torso = no tuck for me.

      The only time I tuck a shirt is is if it sticks out under a suit jacket. Other than that, I live in a no tuck zone.

    • same here! I have a very short torso and it took me a long time to figure out that is why tucking looked so weird on me. Plus, I find it annoying to retuck everything everytime I go to the bathroom (or sit down and stand up for that matter). That being said I do tuck some shirts in when I wear a suit or sometimes with a longer cardigan because that distracts from the short torso thing. But I find it annoying.

    • Agree — Tucked in shirts make me look tubby/totally disproportionate.

      • Short waisted hourglass here – tucking makes me look “all boobs”.

        So I pick shaped/fitted shirts and no more tucking!

        For blouises, I pick wraps/faux wraps/ fitted ones and make sure they hit no longer than hipbone. Otherwise I get them shorted by the seamstress.

        I cannot remember the last time I tucked! I do manage to look neat and professional, which is the key thing.

        • AN (and other short-waisted hourglasses), have you found any petite brands that work for you? I’ve been experimenting with that — have found that it’s hard to find a petite sized blouse that also accommodates the bosom.

          • I’m 5″4 so not sure if that’s petite or not?

            I buy dress shirts from Alain Figaret. I don’t live in the USA but am sure they have stores there. Pricey – but they will last forever and the fabric (I love their cotton sateen ones) & great cut make each $ worth it.

            Also try BB fitted shirts – they have worked for me. No need for alterations for these 2 brands so far…except that I get metal snaps put in between the top few buttons to prevent ‘gaping boob syndrome’.

            RL oxford shirts have also worked for casual days. They carried a slightly puffy short sleeved slimfit variation this year that I loved.

            Hope these help!! Above are for shirts…but for blouses, pretty much anything that is a faux wrap, cowl neck, v neck etc works for me. I size up and get it altered if needed.

  4. Corporate Tool :

    I tuck directly into my stockings. It has the additional benefit of keeping a smoother line under my skirts.

    • I do this too! One of the few redeeming features of wearing stockings. I wear control top nylons every time I wear skirts – the advantages of being able to tuck in shirts without having visible bunches and not getting the dreaded, inner leg chafing far outweigh the additional heat for me.

  5. I’ve worn enough leotards in my life. Now I just buy “long” sizes if it’s something I need to tuck in.

  6. Anonymous :

    Men’s shirt garters are hilarious. Just read about them yesterday in the Washington Post.

    • North Shore :

      My husband wears them! I call them his “sock garters,” but he insists the term is “shirt stays.” Either way, I think they are required (or at least strongly recommended) by his branch of the military. I laugh at his garters, but he retaliates by laughing at my Spanx.

      • Lmao. My husband is also in the military and I remember the first time I saw his shirt stays… They look absolutely ridiculous when you see them on him but they do keep his shirt neatly tucked in and wrinkle free…

        • My husband is in the military and wears shirt stays, too! That’s why they always look so put-together in their uniforms. I remember thinking what a novel concept the shirt stay was when I first learned about it. I’ve often thought whether there was a female equivalent…

          • I was in ROTC in college and the shirt stays weren’t just for the guys! We women used the same things to try to keep everthing put together. Not a very easy task when the very nature of being female past puberty means breasts and uniforms attempt to make everything smooth.

            The first time I tried to wear shirt stays my roommate came home just as I was getting dressed. She laughed for hours.

          • My boyfriend wears them too — he is not military but a former cop. The first time he got dressed at my house in the morning, he was like, okay, don’t laugh . . .

            So funny, but they do work!

  7. I’m not a tucker (and happen to be conservative) because my shirts either don’t stay tucked or do the “blouse” above the waistband. Ew. Maybe if I had a smaller waist and/or wore higher-waist pants?

    So I just do the sweater or vest with shirt-tails peeking out under my suits, which irritates my mother to no end but as long as the “tails” aren’t too long, it doesn’t look unpolished to me.

  8. Ditto corporate tool. And I’ve been known to use my underpants when I’m not wearing stockings.

    As a fairly short woman with a small waist but pretty wide hips, I have to tuck most non-petite blouses or tees, as they come down too far and make me look waistless.

    • Interesting – I’m also a short woman with a small waist and wide hips, and I just don’t buy anything that needs to be tucked in. Tucking is the fastest way to make my hips look like they need their own zip code!

  9. In my personal opinion, a cami under a blouse helps keep it tucked in. Something about the friction I guess.

    I also think you have to buy the shirts you want to wear tucked with that purpose in mind. I have a few button-down blouses that can only be worn untucked because of their styling. When I buy blouses for court, I specifically check their length and, if needed, size up to ensure enough tail to tuck.

  10. I have no problem tucking into suit skirts, which are usually more highwaisted, so I usually save my button-downs for those. I have no idea how to get them to stay in when wearing pants, although I agree with others that wearing them with a cami underneath does help a little.

  11. I’m a tucker. I’m tall with a long torso and don’t like pants much. I wear my skirts at my natural waist to balance everything out, and have never had much of a problem tucking in tops. This is with skirts only, though, and I find that I usually have enough room with blouses and tops so that they have plenty of room to not escape. I’m no help when it comes to pants, I only have one pair of “professional” slacks that are gathering dust in the back of my closet…

  12. I look terrible when I’m wearing a button-down shirt that’s not tucked. I think it’s because: (1) I look young anyway, so if i’m not ultra-put-together I tend to look a bit like a sloppy teenager; and (2) with my body shape/size, even fitted and properly-sized shirts float away from my waist/hips a bit too much and look a little sloppier than I would like. Beyond that, I’m petite, but not super-short, so I have a couple of petite shirts that fit perfectly in the chest/shoulders, but are just a tad too short to reliably stay tucked in.

    The solution you described sounds perfect, I imagine something like mitten clips might work. Or maybe upside-down, infant-sized suspenders? I just searched for “mitten clips” in amazon and there were a couple of results that look promising.

  13. What I do is that I wear some spanx (I use assets by AT LOFT). they are usually low rise so I can tuck the shirts in them and 1) they keep the shirt from peaking out, and 2) they prevent the little bulging of extra fabric
    I hope that helps

  14. When I wear a skirt with the shirt tucked in, I wear the biker short style “Asset” brand shapeware from Target (they’re faux Spanx) and tuck my shirts into the shorts. They come in nude and black–I wear the black with black skirts and nude with everything else. This has the side benefit of also providing a smoother line under my skirt than I can get if I just tuck my shirt into the skirt.

    This will defeat one of the best benefits of wearing a skirt in the summer—so much cooler than wearing pants–but it also takes care of the problem.

  15. I don’t really tuck often, but when I do I gather my shirt toward the back, and then make 2 half-pleats with it along the back waistband of my pants. It has the effect of making the shirt look more fitted than it is.

    However, as with many of the posters above, I go untucked if at all possible.

  16. I can only do the “tuck” if I either a) wear spanx that day or b) wear nylons/tights/panty hose. So that leaves me to only tuck shirts in with skirts or some times I need a place to tuck camisoles in. Since I have a fairly large chest, I have to wear camisoles under EVERYTHING; including button downs sometimes so I don’t get the dreaded gapping.

    Us women have to put up with so much crap!

    p.s. I used to rock the body suit in middle school!! :) What a great invention!

  17. I am a tucker. If you have a big spread in your waist to hip ratio, you will undoubtedly look thinner if you tuck your shirt in. Leaving it untucked hides your waist and creates an artificial food baby in my profile and makes my waist look as wide as my hips when looking at me straight on. Not good at all.

    Something I’ve tried is fashion tape, either sticking the shirt to my pants or underwear…but this usually gets ruined about halfway through the day. Maybe one of those invisible belts they sell at Ricky’s would work?

    • artificial food baby. that’s a great phrase.

    • This. I have a small waist and large hips, and I’ve noticed how much better my figure looks with a tucked shirt. I tuck whenever I think it’s going to look polished (am tucking today, actually) but that’s not often because I don’t know how to solve the coming untucked problem. I’ll try some of these ideas, though.

  18. Tucker here. I can’t believe that so many of you don’t tuck! I always thought that an untucked top looked unprofessional, but clearly I missed the boat on that one…

    I think if your clothes fit properly, you shouldn’t have an issue keeping the tuck, well, tucked. It’s fair to say that if a shirt is too short or pants too low, they shouldn’t be worn to the office anyway.

    Kudos to those of you who date to tuck into your nylons or underpants…thats certainly one take on it :)

    • Legally Brunette :

      I agree that untucked looks less unprofessional, but I just don’t look good with a tucked shirt, so, I have given up on button down shirts and just wear knits or a shell underneath a jacket. A tucked shirt looks fabulous for those who can pull it off.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Sorry, I meant less professional, not less unprofessional.

      • This is exactly what I do, too. I just don’t buy shirts with buttons anymore.

        • I too think untucked looks less professional. Every couple of years or so I buy a shirt with buttons and try to tuck because I like the look. The problem is that I can never acheive the look. The blouse, even if well tailored, always bunches up when I sit down and I am adjusting it all day. I only wear knits and shells.

          • I just realized that I subconsciously thought untucked is less professional… I am job seeking, and when I really want to impress I go with the button-down, tucked, white blouse for interviews. When I am not so excited about the position, I wear a shell!

    • I’m tall with a short torso, but I’ve got an hourglass figure, so untucked shirts have to be very long, or I look like I go straight from boobs to legs. I actually have a couple of the VS bodysuit buttondowns, and they’re fabulous. My one gripe is about the buttons on the shirts – they’re plastic, which is fine, but my blue button down has black plastic buttons…. not my favorite. Tucking into pants with a bodysuit is risky though, unless you have high rise pants or wear a belt – they can still ride up, and then you end up with the thong part of the bodysuit sticking out the back of your pants. Speaking of pants, does anybody know a place that makes suit pants in reasonable lengths? I love Theory suits, but their pants are nowhere near long enough to wear heels with, even if I let the hem out as far as I can (I wear a 33″ inseam in flats).

  19. I am a huge tucker (and a liberal). I freely admit that I always tuck into my underwear. I’m not sure why so many are avoiding it . . . what is wrong with it? I find it to be pretty comfortable, and it leaves me with no lines. I don’t get the balloon effect mentioned above, probably because most of the shirts I am tucking in are form fitting (like a tight-ish camisole or work-appropriate t-shirt or sweater). I am thin but muscular, so most shirts make me look much bigger than I am without a tuck. That said, some shirts (like the one I am wearing today) are just not designed to be tucked in, so I roll with it when that is the case. But button downs, camisoles and longer t-shirts inevitably find their way into my underwear. Thongs work better than bikinis or briefs, because the band is higher/tighter. My husband thinks it’s a riot.

    • I love the tucked look ( I have a long torso) but fear tucking into underwear/stockings because the one time I did it my stockings ended up showing in the back.

  20. I’d also like to add that mitten clips or the like seem to me like they would add unwanted bulk and bumps. And if you are wearing underwear with the leotard, don’t you have the same pantyline issue as tucking into underwear?

  21. 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!

  22. 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.”

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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…

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