The women’s French tuck should be a tool in everybody’s day-to-day arsenal of styling methods. It is the perfect blend of elegant and casual and can transform a simple outfit from a little drab to just the right fab. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves –– what exactly is a French tuck? And how do you achieve the perfect one?
Before we get into a step-by-step guide, let’s answer some commonly asked questions regarding the French tuck.
What Is a French Tuck?
The French tuck is also known to some as a “one-hand tuck” or a “half-tuck.” It’s a compromise between tucking a loose shirt into your pants and letting it all hang out. This front tuck creates a small tuck in the front or front side of your bottoms, allowing structure as well as breeziness in your shirt. It’s an ideal tuck for a button-down shirt and is often worn with a business casual outfit.
Where Does the French Tuck Come From?
The French tuck has been around for a while, but many of us may have first heard about it on Netflix’s Queer Eye. The series’ stylist and fashion expert, Tan France, loves dishing out French tucked oversized shirts left and right, and the amount of people aware of this styling trick seems to have spiked after the show’s debut. While some claim that it has its origins in the street style of young women in France, who have been sporting the look for decades, the exact root of using the French tuck in lieu of the full tuck.
Why Should You Try a French Tuck?
This trendy tuck has a lot of great style benefits. On the one hand, it’s aesthetically flattering for every body type and body shape. It can create the illusion of longer legs by bringing up, as well as defining, the waistline. The leftover loose fabric serves to create an elegant, slim silhouette. It can also leave some of the excess fabric to drape over the buttocks and hips.
The French tuck is also a useful versatile look. As it is equal parts casual and put-together, it can be great for styling outfits meant to transition from business to casual.
On the more practical side, a French tuck can create a comfortable barrier between your body and the buttons or zippers on your pants. It can also help reshape a shirt that doesn’t hang quite right. This technique can even hide a missing button, loose seam, or stubborn stain without having to tuck in the entire shirt.
Does the French Tuck Work for Women?
The French tuck absolutely works for women. The great thing about the French tuck is that it’s meant for pretty much anybody of any gender or size. Sitting in between tucked and untucked means it has some benefits of both. It’s an especially useful tool for creating a defined waistline, which is great to emphasize or create a classically feminine form.
What Shirts Can You Do a French Tuck With?
Loose-fitting T-shirts and sweaters, button-downs, billowy blouses, and bulky knit tops are all great candidates for the French tuck. Form-fitting T-shirts are not ideal candidates for a French tuck, as they can end up looking a bit awkward. This probably goes without saying, but crop tops and tank tops are also not French tuck material.
What Bottoms Should You Wear With a French Tuck?
There’s a long list of bottoms that the French tuck will work with; simply put, if you try it out, it should be obvious to you whether it works or not.
If you are trying to achieve an hourglass silhouette, high-rise pants are best when doing the French tuck so you can create a defined waist. Oversized or flared bottoms should be used with caution, as they can end up looking too bunched or voluminous with a loosely French tucked shirt.
How Do You Do a French Tuck? A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Pull the front waistband of your bottoms slightly away from your body. Make sure they aren’t too tight to do this comfortably.
Step 2: Tuck the bottom of the front middle section of your shirt into the waistband. Don’t tuck too much of the shirt — it should look light and natural.
Step 3: Very gently tug at the middle of the shirt, just enough so that the shirt isn’t tucked in too tightly. In some cases, you might wish for there to be a slight fold or drape in the front.
Step 4: Smooth the slides of the shirt, making sure it’s sitting right.
What Are Some Different Variations on the French Tuck Shirt?
While we’ve covered the basic steps, you might still be wondering when the most appropriate time to utilize a French tuck is. Don’t worry; we are going to cover some style instances below. There are tons more variations you can experiment with, but here are some basic outfit ideas.
High-Waisted Skinny Jeans and Oversized T-Shirt
This is a classic. Tucking in a relaxed T-shirt is a good way to go from casual to more put-together; turning this into a French tuck meets halfway. You can’t go wrong with a pair of straight-legged, high-waisted, dark-wash jeans and a crisp white tee. Pair with white sneakers to tie it all together.
Slacks and Button-Down
The button down is where a French tuck really shines. This works best if the slacks are mid- or high-rise. You can sometimes French tuck with more low-rise pants, but tread with caution –– overdoing it can end up looking a bit bizarre.
Leave the shirt unbuttoned where you plan to tuck it to avoid odd bunching. Some button-downs are specifically long in the back to create an edgy high-low effect for this very purpose.
Use a Knot on the Front of Your Shirt
Another tucking technique you can use with a button down is as follows: leaving the last two or three buttons undone, tie the two front corners of the shirt into a small knot. Then, you can either flip the knot into the shirt or tuck it into your pants. This will help it stay in place. You can even use a hair tie for extra hold.
Billowy Beach Blouse
This effortless style is great for a day at the beach. Once you’ve got on your one-piece swimsuit, layer it with a pair of board shorts. Pair this with a loose-fitting or billowy white button-down blouse; roll up the sleeves to just below the elbow and unbutton the last few buttons.
Tuck in only half of the blouse, while allowing the other side to fall over the waistband. The untucked half will serve to conceal your stomach. This will create an effect that is as breezy as the waves themselves.
Tunic Coverup Into Swim Skirt
For a full swimwear look, consider French-tucking a tunic swim cover-up into a swim skirt. The swim skirt is stylish and versatile, and it pairs perfectly with the silhouette of the tunic.You don’t have to be at the beach to wear this look, either!
With a Jacket or Blazer
You can’t really go wrong when layering a jacket or blazer on top of a French tucked shirt. It’s also a great way to disguise the sides of the shirt if it isn’t falling in just the right way that you want. Just make sure that the untucked back portion of the shirt doesn’t fall below the jacket; you don’t want to end up looking like you’re wearing a tuxedo!
With a Midi-Skirt
A flowy or pleated midi skirt can be a great garment to pair with a French tuck. When adding loafers or Mary Janes, this can create a very retro, classic effect. Be careful not to layer too much, though, or the look can be a bit overpowering.
Sweater and Belt
A cable knit sweater can go from comfy to chic in just a few easy steps. Make sure the sweater you’re using isn’t too long or bulky. It should fit comfortably within the waistband of your pants. Pair it with bottoms of your choice and use a broad belt to cinch at the waist.
Lightly tuck the side of the sweater into the belt and let the rest pool out on the other side. This is a great autumnal, academic look that doesn’t look too serious.
The French tuck is a universally flattering look. Pairing loose with tight and curated with effortless is a timeless fashion trick –– this is just one recent extension of it. Hopefully, we have left you with some style inspiration.
You are now ready to go ahead and try a French tuck on your own! Whether you’re using it on your office button down or kimono beach cover-up, this is one tip you don’t wanna miss out on.