Somewhere around the turn of the millennium, I decided it was hip not to tuck in my shirt. Been walking around ever since with shirt tail flapping, cuffs unbuttoned, even when wearing a suit. Except for a dinner suit. Had to tuck the evening shirt in, otherwise I couldn’t figure out where to put the cummerbund. It’s not like I was some kind of fashion astronaut or something. All the cool guys in Tribeca did it.
Now fifteen years later, I find out I’ve been robbed. I heard on NPR a couple of weeks ago that men who tuck in their shirts make more money than men who don’t. And they’re telling me this now, after a decade and a half of lost income. I could just cry. Some of those were very lean years. I could have used a little more cash.
For all I know it could have been all for naught. I left New York in 2004 and went into a fashion time warp, frozen in time and still wearing, by and large, the same clothes I had when I left. For all I know, my old buddies, the Tribeca cool guys, might have gotten together and said, “he’s gone now. Let’s mess with him,” and tucked in their shirts. Now they’re chilling in their penthouse lofts and I’m trying to get a coat of paint on my ramshackle bungalow in the country.
But that is about to change. The very next morning, before leaving the house, I carefully tucked in my shirt and marched off to work. I have done so every day since. I cannot say there have not been challenges. Now I have to remember to match my belt to my shoes. It’s not exactly rocket surgery. I have brown shoes and black shoes and a brown belt and a black belt. Not that difficult. It’s just remembering to check. Truthfully, I hardly ever wore a belt during my untucked years. Only if my pants felt like they might fall down without one and trust me, that wasn’t often.
While taking that extra minute to find the appropriate belt, I get annoyed that I don’t even know if it’s necessary. Women stopped matching handbags to shoes years ago. Are the other guys still matching shoes to belts? No idea. But I don’t want to slack on this detail and find out 15 years down the road that I have missed out on scads of cash. No way. Fool me once and all that.
Weekends have been the hardest. Keeping a tee shirt neatly tucked into my boxers while couch potatoing is a real pain. So much so that I got to wondering how much money was all this effort going to bring me. So I looked it up and found the story in the Chicago Tribune. “A recent survey of 1,000 men ages 25-60 found that 60 percent of shirt tuckers are happier on the job. They’re also 22 percent more likely to be optimistic about their future and they earn 19 percent more money than the slouchy non-tuckers.”
The Chicago Tribune can be kind of nasty. That “slouchy” jab was totally not necessary. But 19 percent is a lot. And I hadn’t even known about the happiness and optimism. Who can’t use more of those? Also, in my new status as a shirt tucker, I can expect to be 10 percent more socially outgoing and get 8 percent more dates. The outgoing part is very welcome since I am pretty much an introvert but it’s probably best to hold off on the increased dating, being married and all.
I can’t wait til payday. That extra 19 percent is going to come in handy. I could pay off some bills or maybe save up for a horse. I’ve been wanting to buy a horse. I wonder though if I could go untucked on the weekend and get a prorated increase, 15 percent or so? It doesn’t seem fair for my employer to have to pay for me to stay neat on the weekends when I’m not even on the clock.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard where he will speak to you with his shirt tucked in.