Sartoria Columbia: On the Shirt Tail
Men have an ability to rationalize certain behaviors, claiming convenience or group-think as justifiers. One of the primary examples of this is the shirt tail — and, more specifically, its length.
The button down shirt is designed to be worn tucked in. As children, we are taught to tuck in our shirts to look like adults. As adults, we should look the part so as not be confused with children.
Ideally, the length of a shirt should extend to just above the bottom of a pant zipper.
This is functional: when you move, your shirt will come untucked just a little. If your shirt is too short, it will expose the unsightly male midriff — not a good look. If you shirt is the correct length (and the fit is correct through the midsection), your shirt will remain tucked and no one will be offended.
I would offer a few exceptions to this rule. If you are by the pool or at the beach (and wearing a swim suit), should you be wearing a button down shirt, you are excused from tucking in. Likewise, Guyabera or Popover style shirts carry the same exemption –– although the latter requires discretion (thank you, Mr. Miles Davis, pictured above).
There are companies that claim to have designed shirts to be worn untucked, but this is a fools game — there is no such thing, only a shirt that is too short. ‘Convenience’ and ‘modern, creative workplaces’ may not require you to tuck in your shirt — so wear a t-shirt or polo instead. While other factors may not require you to tuck in your shirt, the shirt itself does. So, gentlemen, respect the tail and tuck it in.