How to Prevent Your Dress Shirt from Billowing at the Midsection

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Can’t seem to keep your dress shirt tucked into your trousers no matter how hard you try? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. This is an all-too-common problem reported by countless white-collar workers. Even if you initially tucked your dress shirt into your trousers, and secured it with a belt, it may come untucked and “billow” at the waist. When this occurs, it creates a messy, unkempt appearance that reflects poorly on your image. Thankfully, though, there are a few steps you can take to prevent your dress shirt from billowing at the midsection, some of which we’re going to discuss in this blog post today.

What Is Billowing?

First, it’s important to understand what billowing is exactly so you can prevent it. Basically, billowing is a phenomenon in which the bottom part of your dress shirt comes untucked from your trousers and begins to protrude out. By definition, the term “billowing” means to fill with air and swell outward. That sums up this phenomenon nicely. When your dress shirt billows, the bottom part fills with air and begins to swell outward; thus, creating an unattractive appearance for the individual who’s wearing it.

Choose the Right Size Shirt

Of course, you can protect against billowing by choosing a dress shirt that’s sized specifically for your body. No two men have the same exact body shape or size. Granted, some guys have similar bodies, but the fact is that every person is unique in their own way. As a result, not all dress shirts will fit. If a particular shirt is too large in the midsection, it’s more likely to billow when worn. To prevent this from happening, you need to choose the right size shirt. So, don’t buy the first attractive dress shirt you see available at your local retail store. Instead, take the time to find one that fits your body.

If you are unable to find a dress shirt that fits right, consider using the services of a professional tailor to adjust it. Guys who are tall and slim often have greater difficulty with billowing because of their body shape. A simply solution, however, is to have your shirt adjusted by a professional tailor. Darting, for instance, is a tailoring process in which the sides are folded, tucked and sewn into the shirt. It essentially brings the sides in to prevent problems like billowing. Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay about $10 to $20 for professional darting services from your local darting, which is a small price to pay considering the impact it has on your appearance.

Wear a Belt

I know this probably sounds like common sense, but it’s still worth mentioning that wearing a belt will help to prevent your shirt from billowing at the midsection. Without a belt, there’s a greater chance of your shirt coming untucked.

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Use the Military Tuck

When tucking your dress shirt into your trousers, don’t just push the sides down. Instead, take a few minutes to perform the military tuck. This special tucking method was pioneered by the U.S. military; therefore, you can rest assured knowing it’s effective. To perform the military tuck, you should unbutton your trousers and drape your shirt down by your sides. Next, use your index finger and thumb to pinch a small amount of fabric at the side of your shirt and fold this excess fabric back. Hold this fabric in place while repeating the process on the other side of your shirt, after which you should carefully raise your trousers back up to your waist and button them.

When performed correctly, the military tuck will prevent your dress shirt from riding up throughout the day and subsequently billowing at the midsection. If you’re having trouble perfecting the military tuck, look on YouTube for some tutorial videos.

Shirttail Garters

Originally invented around the turn of the 19th century, shirttail garters are an excellent tool for keeping your dress shirt tucked into your trousers. They consist of an elastic material with straps at the bottom that attach to your ankles and clips at the top that attach to the bottom of your shirt. When worn, they’ll essentially pull your dress shirt down, preventing it from coming untucked and billowing at the midsection. You can buy shirttail garters for as little as $10, which is a small price to pay considering the positive effect they have on your appearance.

Don’t Lean Forward When Sitting

While easier said than done in some situations, try to avoid leaning forward when you are seated. Leaning forward will essentially pull your dress shirt out of your trousers, causing it to billow at the midsection. Of course, wearing shirttail garters will help to prevent this from happening, but it’s still best to err on the side of caution by not leaning forward. Ideally, you should sit at a 90-degree angle with your back resting against the back of your chair. Sitting properly will prevent your dress shirt from coming untucked while creating a more attractive and cohesive appearance in the process.

Check Your Outfit Regularly

Finally, try to get into the habit of checking your outfit on a regular basis. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, there’s always a chance that your dress shirt will come untucked. It’s just something that comes with the territory of wearing a formal outfit. As long as you check your outfit on a regular basis, though, you’ll be able to fix and correct issues like billowing at the midsection. Whether you are working, attending a business meeting, going to a wedding, etc., try to get into the habit of checking your outfit regularly. If you see your shirt billowing at the midsection, fix it ASAP.

Following these tips will ensure your dress shirt stays tucked into your trousers while protecting against billowing in the process.