The parental phrasebook has been up for revision on a few issues lately, but one thing mom and dad have always gotten right is life advice that makes you look better and live healthier. Sitting and standing up straight isn't just about appearance: It's about posture. Brushing your teeth isn't just about bad breath: It's about your future.
The same wisdom demands, when in professional or proper settings, you should tuck — and continue to tuck — your shirt in. And there are apparently benefits to doing just that.
A recent survey of 1,000 men between the ages of 25 and 60 about their respective habits found that those who tuck were 60 percent happier in their jobs, 22 percent more optimistic about the future, had a 19 percent higher income, and were 8 percent more likely to "date often."
Some people may avoid tucking for its relative efficiencies: an untucked shirt doesn't limit range of motion or require maintenance. Sometimes the wrong shirt can cause frustration. It's a hassle that can, in some cases, not be worth it. And we're not suggesting you tailgate tucked this weekend. Football jerseys aren't really meant for that kind of wear.
But with the rest of your wardrobe, there's less of an excuse. The difference between an untucked dress shirt and a tucked one, even when both are tailored, is one of clean lines. It helps (along with a belt) to create proportions, something the fit crowd should embrace and the unfit crowd should exploit.
It also demands a little respect. Untucked shirts give off the appearance of attitude, which, if you're running a hot Silicon Valley startup, may have its benefits. If you're battling for a promotion out of the bullpen, attitude is not your asset.
"There is a little bit more of a resurgence of men taking pride in the way they look and dress," says Bryse Yonts of Fruit of the Loom, which conducted the survey. "Tucking is becoming more the staple for a younger generation, where maybe in the past it hasn't."
The good news is that the data wasn't significantly different between guys who tucked two or three days a week versus guys who tucked five or more. So be a rebel on casual Friday if you must. The important takeaway is incorporating neatness into your style.
Create separation between home and "out there" that lets you feel like you're putting on a uniform when entering the field of battle (which, not surprisingly, also improves your work life). Then you can let loose and allow home to be where you live among a pile of Doritos crumbs and pizza boxes. Just don't go outside looking like that.