When I Started Tucking In My Shirt Was When I Became A Man

A long time ago I wrote an article about seven easy style upgrades to make right now. One of the items on the list was “tuck in your shirt”.

I’ve always advocated tucking as a good way to improve your look, since it means you need to put on a proper shirt. But the recommendation was mostly from a style perspective not a practicality perspective. Sure, tucking in your shirt blocks cold gusts from going up your back, but I found that to be more of an incidental benefit rather than a reason to tuck.

Then something hit me when I was out chopping wood today (and it wasn’t my axe, thankfully). Today was a bit warmer than it had been recently so I took off my jacket. I was wearing one of my thick flannel shirts and as I swung my axe, I noticed that my bottom hand periodically got a bit stuck in the hem of my shirt. Nothing too major, just some excess fabric impeding the path of my hand for a split second now and again.

So, I tucked in my shirt which made me much more streamlined and eliminated the problem. Then it dawned on me!

Now I understood why you always see old-timey pictures of men with their shirts tucked in even if they are casual shirts (and it goes beyond style norms for men at the time).

They needed to tuck in their shirts in order to get work done!

So tuck = work. And we since we know that work = man then tuck = man. I am putting my C grade in my only college math class to good use!

Because men work. At everything. Not only our regular jobs, but our relationships with our spouses and kids. We’re always analyzing ways in which we can be better at the roles of husband and father, not unlike how we analyze how to be better at our 9-5s. But we also work at our side-hustles and hobbies. We read, we tinker, we exercise. This all adds up to self-improvement. The “work” that makes us men is the work that makes ourselves better. Is this exclusive to men? No. But I’m a man so I can only speak from this perspective.

When you tuck in your shirt, you signal that you are dressed for the task at hand.

That task could be chopping wood, but it could also mean tackling your expense ledgers or your campaign results deck. It could mean sitting down with your kids’ teachers for the parent-teacher conferences. It could mean dialing up your at-home style so your kids see how a man takes pride in his appearance no matter what day it is. It could mean getting dressed for a nice at-home dinner with your wife on a special night.

These are examples of how a man handles himself. He is getting things done. Crossing things off his list. Moving ahead. Making progress, no matter how small.

It feels good to get the work done. That’s how we build confidence. That’s how we build others’ confidence in us.

It makes so much sense to me now why old-timers would tuck in their shirts all the time. These were men of action in all facets of their lives.

Sure, when these men tucked in their shirts they looked taller and slimmer. Sure, they looked more professional. Sure, they looked more polished.

But these men tucked in their shirts for the same reasons they rolled up their sleeves. They had jobs to do, work to get done, obstacles to overcome, and lives to live to their utmost potential.

Tucking in your shirt means so much more than just looking put-together.

It’s a signal to yourself and others that you know how to put in the work.

***Main article photo curtesy of the White’s Boots website***

You Might Also Like