I Have a Confession to Make: I Wore Untuckit and I Liked It
Are some brands worth shunning on principle? We found out.
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It’s easy to make fun of Untuckit, the most literal disruptor in menswear. And as commentators across the board have shown, that easy target can be hit from multiple angles.
You could go the New Yorker route and lampoon unsuspecting hourly wage salespeople and beat the capitalization joke of “UNTUCKit” to death. Or you could go the straight-shooting Esquire route and say if you buy from them “you’re a rube” — a blockhead, even! Or you could even go the Jezebel route and point out that, while the brand strives for a kind of devil-may-care attitude, the clothes are actually “infantilizing.” Yeesh.
I have to admit, ever since I became aware of the burgeoning brand of “shirts designed to be worn untucked,” I counted myself in those camps. I saw those who wore Untuckit as helplessly uncool, untethered from any sense of style. But part of being a fully developed human is not judging anything — whether it’s Marvel movies or questionable men’s fashion brands — before experiencing it for yourself. So in the interest of sartorial nonpartisanship, I had Untuckit send me a few items to judge, not by the name or the perceived quality, but by, and hear me out, actually wearing them.
After a couple weeks of testing, I have a confession to make: I wore Untuckit and I liked it, and I have no plans to stop.
At the beginning of my foray into the untucked lifestyle, I was, admittedly, a little skittish. The brand name is mercifully absent from the shirts, but their logo — a small triangle they’ve dubbed the “sail,” stitched on the hem — is visible, and I was worried people might out me for being an Untuckit wearer.
That situation — of passing judgement on a person based solely on the brand they’re wearing, not on how it looks or performs — is one we’ve all been in, on one side or the other. One of the best winter jackets I’ve ever owned was from Abercrombie & Fitch, but when people asked where I got it, I was coy. And I’ll never forget an anecdote from a friend in the finance world who was mocked by a senior colleague for wearing a watch from Fossil. It was appropriate for the office, within his budget and told the time accurately, but none of that mattered because it was Fossil.
After wearing the Untuckit garments for a few days, I stopped glancing at the little triangle and started to take note of the actual construction, and how well they layered. I particularly liked the Pique Polo Hybrid Shirt, an Untuckit staple made from 100% Pima cotton (and a favorite of the brand’s founder Chris Riccobono, according to a PR rep), and the flannel-lined Shirt Jacket, both of which I am currently wearing. The button-up is everything you’ve heard about Untuckit: shortened to sit just below the waist with a couple different fits available depending on your body type. And in a casual fabric, the shorter style felt natural. The shacket was a welcome surprise, with flannel-lining worthy of your L.L.Beans and Lands’ Ends, but styled for someone who won’t be chopping wood every day for the next six months.
There was, however, a criticism that did seem to have legs. Some have knocked the brand for its prices, wondering how they can charge $99 for hacked-off button-ups meant to be worn untucked, and thus lending themselves to more casual situations. Well, I also tried the Performance+ Beaumont Shirt, a slightly dressier option than the Pique Polo with added wrinkle-free and stay-fresh tech. Unfortunately, it was clear from the first wear that this was indeed a cheaper shirt: a little thin, a little unflattering and a little uncomfortable. Sure, it may offer men what appears to be a hassle-free shirt — wash at home, no need to iron, no need to tuck — but the sum of all those parts is an even bigger hassle: you won’t look or feel your best. Most people would be better off with a decidedly low-tech cotton Oxford, tucked.
While I only tried those two shirts, they did make it clear that Untuckit will not, and should not, be a stand-in for your more formal dress shirts. For all its promises of disruption, you still need to stock shirts that can be tucked, and get at least a couple of those tailored. But as the relatively new options like the flannel-lined shirt jacket, not to mention the women’s line, make clear, Untuckit is in mid-leap from niche startup to global fashion brand. Whether they’ll be successful remains to be seen, but for now, what it means is that they’ve got tons of fabric, fit and style options. And from my adventures into the world of Untuckit, there are certainly some that deserve your attention, brand name be damned.
Although, whether you admit to your friends and colleagues that you are, in fact, wearing Untuckit is a Hero’s Journey every man must take for himself.
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