We saw the semi-tuck and the half tuck make a big impact on fashion and style in 2011, and they are still used extensively. A semi-tuck is achieved by partially tucking the front of a top into the waist of bottoms while the rest hangs out. A half tuck is achieved when you leave the one side of a button-through top untucked while the other side is tucked into bottoms. The visual effect of partial tucking adds structure to an outfit by hinting at the waist, lengthens the leg line from the hips upward, and adds textural interest. The half tuck creates a more dramatic effect because the asymmetry is not subtle. Both types of partial tuck relax an outfit, because fully tucking a top can look quite formal.
At first, I thought that partial tucking was fabulous, but that it didn’t match my personality. I’m a neat freak who is used to fully tucking tops thereby making partial tucking feel untidy and unnatural. But I was determined because I liked the visual effect. So I eased myself into the new-for-me styling technique by partially tucking knitted welted tops under belts. That was subtle, looked neater, and a sensible way to transition into the slouchy semi-tuck. Soon I was semi-tucking just about every top into every style of bottom because I became very practised and used to it. It’s amazing how effectively you can adjust and adapt to a look simply by seeing and doing it over and over again. Something that feels off at first can feel natural and dead right after practice, visual repetition and time. Seven years in, I’m a seasoned semi-tucker who will go as far as tucking a very chunky pullover into high-rise jeans. I LOVE semi-tucking tops.
Yet I very rarely half tuck my tops. That’s because I lose the structure on the one side of the outfit, which is precisely why I’m semi-tucking in the first place – to create structure. That said, I like the visual effect because it somehow has an ‘80s integrity about it. It looks creative and dramatic, and I’ll continue giving it a go, just for fun.
If you think partial tucking looks contrived, well, that’s the point! Every time you style an outfit — no matter what the styling technique — you are deliberately creating a desired visual effect because that is precisely what makes a look fashionable and stylish. The visual effect seldom arises naturally or spontaneously. And when it is an accident, it can become something that you later create deliberately. What makes any look natural and authentic is when you are confident, comfortable, intentional, and at ease wearing it. And like many things in life, that can take time and a fair amount of effort.
Over to you. After seven years, what’s your take on partial tucking as a styling technique?