Ask Janie Cai: To Tuck Or Not To Tuck

Just when is it fine to let it all hang out?

BY Janie Cai | Feb 23, 2016 | Fashion

From Mohammed Alif

“What is the proper hem cut-off point for un-tucked shirts? I wear most of my shirts un-tucked as I work in a casual environment. How do you differentiate between shirts that were meant to be un-tucked or tucked in?”



Esquire Singapore Fashion Director

An un-tucked shirt has the potential to become the sartorial tauhu telor style conundrums. What seems pretty straightforward can suddenly turn into a sloppy mess, all because the shirt’s length and cut doesn’t gel with it being worn un-tucked. But how do you differentiate just when to nip and tuck? We tapped on the expertise of Mr Chong Han San, tailor and founder of local tailoring boutique Q Menswear, to get his take on exactly when it’s ok to let it all hang out.

“Proper tuck-in shirt's length should end approximately at the level of the crotch or just slightly longer (a good visual guideline is where the fly zipper J stitching ends at the trouser front). Un-tucked shirts should be 1-2 inches shorter than one of tuck-in length, which means somewhere in the middle of the zipper length. For curved hem shirts the only differentiation is the length, otherwise straight hem shirts with side slits are the style of shirts that are meant to be worn un-tucked.”

—Chong Han San, Q Menswear.

So there you have it guys. Although the general rule of thumb in addition to the length is to keep all formal shirts neatly tucked in and leave the un-tucking for casual shirts such as button-downs, or for shirts in more textured materials such as chambray and flannel.