Woman looking in the mirror wearing an oversized shirt with faux leather leggings

How to Style an Oversized Shirt in 4 Simple Ways


Sarah Barthet


There are few items in a woman’s wardrobe that are as classic, yet as versatile, as a freshly pressed tailored shirt, and whilst these can look incredibly sharp underneath a tailored suit or blazer, it’s fair to say that times have moved on a little. Gone are the days when shirts had to be well-fitted, starch pressed and formal. With the newfound athleisure and athflow fashion trends having gained traction in recent years, the rules of play have changed and stylish doesn’t necessarily have to mean uncomfortable.

Enter the oversized shirt – the sophistication of a classic shirt, with the comfort of a sweater. That’s not to say the oversized shirt is a replacement for a classic tailored shirt. Of course there is still a place for them, it just means that the spectrum of shirts has broadened, and it’s yet another item of clothing that deserves a place in every wardrobe. There are so many ways how to style an oversized shirt – and that’s what this article is all about. How to style an oversized shirt to still look smart and sophisticated, and the truth is, it doesn’t require very much effort at all.

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Just like the classic tailored shirt, oversized shirts can be worn in so many different ways but have the added benefit of being much more comfortable. The perfect garment for that ‘just out of bed’ chic that works for so many different occasions, whether that’s working from home, going shopping, out for lunch or heading into the office. No matter what the occasion, or what the oversized shirt will be paired with, how it is tucked in is the first place to start.

How to Tuck In Oversized Shirts

It’s crazy to think that this one piece of clothing – the humble oversized shirt – can be styled in so many different ways, with many options for the tucking alone! Before diving in to how to style the oversized shirt with different garments from your wardrobe, we’re taking a look at how to tuck in oversized shirts, if at all! It may sound quite straightforward, but the tuck can be the downfall of an outfit if done carelessly. We’re breaking it down step-by-step to make sure you don’t end up with unnecessary bumps and duck tails.

Fully Tucked In

The first, and most obvious, way to wear an oversized shirt is to completely tuck it into whatever bottoms you decide to pair it with, whether that’s denim shorts, jeans or high-waisted pants. Here’s how to do it in the best way possible:

  1. Start by putting on the shirt first, before the shorts, skirt or bottoms.
  2. After putting on a skirt, lift it up and pull down the shirt from the bottom. This is obviously not possible if wearing shorts or pants – in this case, try to pull the shirt down as much as possible before doing up any buttons or zips.
  3. Once the skirt, shorts or pants are on and done up, raise your arms to the sky and let the shirt loosen a little, so that it’s not as tightly tucked.
  4. Lastly, take a look in the mirror and adjust accordingly. Gently tug at any pieces that are still tucked in too tight, to make it even all around.

The Half Tuck or ‘French Tuck’

It’s fair to say that many of us may be unfamiliar with the term ‘French tuck‘, but chances are, most of us probably already do this. The ‘French tuck‘ is simply a name for a shirt that has been ‘half’ tucked in. It was coined by Queer Eye co-host and celebrity style guru Tan France, who explains that to master a French tuck, one simply tucks in the front of the shirt by about an inch or two, while leaving the back completely untucked.

Some have argued that this can appear scruffy, but we disagree. It’s true that this could appear a little unkempt if using the French tuck on a fitted shirt, but it works perfectly well with any kind of baggy top – whether that’s an oversized shirt or oversized tee. It elevates the outfit without trying too hard, and is great for elongating the legs by revealing just enough waist to give the outfit some shape.

Love it or hate it, the French tuck, or half tuck, doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. It exudes effortless chic and despite the term ‘French tuck’ being relatively new, shirts have been worn like this for a long time. One only has to look back at the fashion weeks of recent years to see that oversized tops have been styled this way on the runway long before it became a ‘labelled’ trend.


Want to try something a little different? Consider abandoning the thought of tucking in the shirt entirely. Instead, leave the shirt slightly unbuttoned at the bottom and use the two sides of the shirt to tie a little knot. The back of the shirt can be left untucked or tucked – it’s all down to personal preference.

Leave Untucked!

Does the shirt even need to be knotted or tucked in at all?! Some outfits just look better if the oversized shirt is left untucked, particularly if it’s worn with leggings and sneakers. Leaving it totally untucked offers even more options – does the oversize shirt need to be buttoned to the top, buttoned half way to reveal beautiful lingerie or corsetry, or can it be left completely undone with a pretty camisole underneath? The choice is entirely up to you and really depends on whatever feels right on the day.

How to Style an Oversized Shirt: Four Outfit Ideas

The oversized shirt is so versatile that you’re bound to get plenty of different looks out of this one garment. To ensure that it matches with most items in your wardrobe, aim to pick up an oversized shirt in a classic shade such as white, blue or pinstripe for maximum wearability.

How to Style an Oversized Shirt with Jeans

Whether you’re a lover of black, white or blue jeans, the oversized shirt complements the look perfectly. Trade in your plain or graphic tee for an oversized shirt to instantly dress up the look. Add your favourite pair of strappy sandals in warmer months or swap for a blazer and the currently trending lug-sole boots during the winter, and accessorise with some chunky gold jewellery to instantly elevate your look, without much effort.

This is a great look to play around with and experiment with different looks. French tuck the oversized shirt into the jeans, leave it completely untucked with the buttons done up halfway to reveal snippets of a pretty bra, or perhaps leave it completely undone, with a little camisole underneath. Swap out heels for some white sneakers for that ultimate street style.

How to Style an Oversized Shirt with Jeans

How to Style an Oversized Shirt with Denim Shorts

Too warm for jeans? Oversized shirts work equally well with denim shorts, especially if using the French tuck. Pair it with a large tote bag and some comfy sneakers or biker boots for that ‘dishevelled chic’ look that’s perfect for every day wear in summer. If you’re determined to wear your oversized shirts with denim shorts in the the cooler months, add a pair of black tights, throw on a blanket scarf, and your favourite knee-high or thigh-high boots. Accessories with chunky gold earrings.

Looking to shake things up a little? Swap out the denim shorts for biker shorts for a completely different vibe!

How to Style an Oversized Shirt with Denim Shorts

How to Style an Oversized Shirt with Leggings

Sometimes, we just want that added little bit of comfort. On those days, throw on a pair of your favourite leggings with an oversized shirt, and pair with white sneakers. For those cooler months, throw on a warm knit sweater either over your shoulders or over the shirt, and pull the the ends of the shirt slightly out of the sweater. Alternatively, pair it with a complementary oversized blazer and swap the sneakers for heels – from day wear to instant night-time glam, whilst remaining equally as stylish.

How to Style an Oversized Shirt with Any High-Waisted Bottoms

There are some occasions when an oversized shirt looks best when fully tucked in and that is when worn with high-waisted bottoms, whether a mini skirt, shorts or pants. High-waisted bottoms are great for accentuating the waist and revealing your silhouette, and you may risk hiding it if the oversized shirt is not tucked in! Our favourite is to pair a white oversized shirt with high waisted black trousers/pants, paired with a black blazer with gold oversized buttons for a little pop of colour.

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