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Mastering the Partial Tuck

The partial tuck (also known as the half tuck) makes looser tops look more stylish. It's an easy styling technique that:

  • Adds a little structure to your outfit
  • Makes your legs look longer
  • Creates a better proportioned and therefore more interesting outfit

Aim for a deliberate, but nonchalant look!

There are a few ways to approach it:

  1. Tuck an inch or so of the hem of your top into your bottoms at the center of your waistband--this is particularly good on rectangle body shapes and when there's a strong center vertical design in the top
  2. Tuck on the side, or towards the side, to create a diagonal--this works particularly well if you have wide hips (for example, if your horizontal body shape is triangle)
  3. Tuck the front half of your top and leave the back out--this works particularly well if your top has side splits, or is a hi-lo top (high at the front and low at the back)

See the examples in the photos and video below.

Partial Tucking Examples

The examples below show befores and afters for a variety of my outfits. I've included adding accessories so you can also see how a simple necklace can make an outfit. Can you see how much more pulled-together the outfits look when the partial or half tuck is used?

the partial tuckCenter partial tuckSee how even just adding a necklace makes the top work a bit better?(Note to self: this bra doesn't work with this top!)

the partial tuck 2 waysThe partial tuck 2 waysThis top works with a center or a side tuck

the half tuckThe half tuck on a hi-lo topSee how my legs look longer and the outfit is better proportioned with the tuck?

partial tuck on a blouseThe partial tuck on a hi-lo hem blouseThis blouse looks too large on me without tucking

Watch this video by fellow Australian Image Consultant, Imogen Lamport, to help you master the technique.


As you can see this style of tucking creates quite a casual look, so it won't work in most business environments. It will only work in very casual or creative businesses. If you're not in one of those environments keep this look for your leisure outfits and perhaps try a full tuck (the whole of the top tucked in) to control volume--perhaps experiment with pulling out a little of the top to create a blouson style.

There are a couple of things to watch for, to make this styling technique work best:

  • Make sure the tucked fabric is securely anchored in your waist band so it doesn't keep falling out. However, not so far in that it looks silly!

  • When you adjust the untucked hem make sure all (or most) of the waistband (of the pants or skirt) is covered

  • Try turning under the untucked part of the hem, to make the look tidier (and hide the hem of the top)

  • Pay attention to the shape you create with the tuck and the effect of that on your body. For example, make sure a straight line doesn't fall at or just above the widest part of your thighs or hips, unless you want that area to look larger. This is particularly important where there's a medium to high contrast between the color of your top and your bottom.

  • T-shirts and tops in soft, drapey fabrics work best. However, it can work with stiffer fabrics too (such as the linen top in the 2nd outfit above)

This styling technique doesn't work for everyone. It may be too fussy for your personal preference, for instance. Or it may call attention to a part of your body that you'd rather hide. However, give it a try. It only takes a little practice to see what works best with particular outfit combinations and on your body.

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About Me

jane liddelow

"Your style makeover may require a few tweaks or a total re-think. Using a mix of science and art I show you how to discover your style and look great every day.

Hi, I'm Jane Liddelow, the Personal Image Consultant and Stylist responsible for this site. Find out more about me here."

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