Classic Preppy: Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson is a conservative media personality who recently took over Bill O'Reilly's spot on Fox News with Tucker Carlson Tonight moving into the same timeslot. He's been held up as something of a style icon in the online menswear community for his traditional American, preppy, or Ivy League look depending on who you ask.

Promotional image for Tucker Carlson Tonight.
J. Press is his clothier of choice, having said as much in interviews or responses to fans. His suits, sport coats, and trousers have a looser than currently fashionable fit. The jackets most often have three buttons with the lapels rolled to the middle button ("button-on-center" as J. Press refers to it), two straight flapped pockets, a hooked centre vent, and no darts in front for a straighter, less fitted appearance. This is part of the "sack cut" look some still desire but only they and a few others still make. Even fewer besides J. Press still make a hooked (displaced) vent in back. He has at times been seen in two button darted jackets, which they also sell. All the jackets have little to no shoulder padding with capped or bald sleeveheads for a "natural shoulder" appearance. The shoulder width appears a bit wide for him at times. His trousers are belted with a flat front and cuffed bottoms. They sag below his waist as he's gotten into middle age, something that could be remedied with a better fit and/or braces. Per J. Press tradition, trousers are given 1 3/4" cuffs by default, though his look like they could be 1 1/2". Though a solid navy suit appears to be his main uniform on television, he also wears a variety of earth tone patterned sports coats and trousers. Naturally, there's also a navy blazer or two. What traditional wardrobe would be complete without them?

Khakis and Bean Boots.
Despite being a J. Press regular, Carlson's shirts are made by Mercer & Sons. Curiously, he prefers their "Tennis" collar instead of their signature long roll button-down. It has 2 7/8" points, roughly 3 1/2" spread, and larger than average tie space. The collar has light and thin non-fused interfacing, as Mercer prides themselves on their trademarked SoftCollar. This is one area where he breaks with the typical Ivy League or Trad mindset. It looks a little small for his face and the Modified Spread would probably be a better choice. In their website's Customer Comments section, he is quoted as saying, "No one has a straight collar like yours. No one! Don't ever go out of business." Like most of what Mercer makes for its customers (they are a made-to-order operation), his shirts likely have a full cut, chest pocket, and centre box pleats in back. They have single button cuffs with the button set closer to the cuff attachment than average, per their house style. He has a wide variety of patterns in his wardrobe including stripes, houndstooth, and windowpane. Blue and pink appear to be his colours of choice. For good reason, they flatter him well.

Younger, bow tied Carlson.
He ditched his signature bow ties about a decade ago, claiming that he got tired of the negative attention. He typically wears J. Press neckties now. They are a little more adventurous than his suit and shirt colours. Besides the usual reds and blues, there are orange, yellow, and pink, often in regimental stripes, neat patterns, and emblematics. They are tied in a four-in-hand knot. His breast pocket is almost always adorned with a white linen pocket square arranged so the points show. Most often it looks like a simple puff but in his promotional images it's a three point fold, perhaps to look a little more polished.

The sources of his belts and shoes are unknown. He favours plain belts with a silver engine turned buckle and surcingle belts with emblematics on the webbing. His shoes range from brown tassel or Venetian loafers to L.L.Bean boots with the traditional rubber toe and chain tread sole. He's been spotted in both the traditional 8" lace up and Rubber Moc versions. I don't condone wearing them with sport coat, tie, and chinos as he does, but he may have his own personal reason for it.

Tucker Carlson provides a decent template on how to dress preppy, even if his fit could be improved. I would suggest looking into other shoe options besides loafers and Bean Boots, such as a nice pair of wingtips, especially for wearing with suits. As Ivy Style noted, he received his primary education at the private St. George's School and later went to Trinity College, which would explain him dressing more or less the same since high school.

What do you think of his style? Sound off below.

Disclaimer: From time to time I will cover the style of public figures and evaluate it objectively for the purposes of critique and education. No endorsement of their personal and political views is intended by doing so or should be implied.

Copyright Disclaimer: All photographs are used in this post under fair use for the purposes of education, comment and critique, consistent with 17 USC §107.


  1. I would like to say more than about his style but understand you want to stay on topic and not get political! He dresses okay, if somewhat dull in the American Trad way. I realize the "sack coat" is a thing there but agree with you his fits need improvement. Even nearing 50 you can do better than that in the 2010s.

  2. I was excited to see the photo of Tucker in the khaki chinos with a navy blazer, dress shirt, and tie with the LL Bean boots in the dark brown. I worked for a very traditional (preppy) clothing store in Michigan in the early and mid 80’s, and wore the exact same outfit on a daily basis during the harsh Michigan winters. It was a matter of function, but with a style that seemed to not require a change into dress shoes. I would wear it with a blazer and odd trousers, but would wear it with a suit as well if the day required a suit. Later I worked for Brooks Brothers for a number of years and with my appreciation for the history of fine clothing I also cultivated a personal style based upon the history, but not always in line with traditional norms of dress, this being one example. Others included pegging trousers, wearing them high with no break, and often no socks. You wouldn’t see these as recommendations in Alan Flusser’s book, but I had many in my personal circle who sought to emulate my style. This is a long way of saying I personally lover Tucker’s!

  3. Pardon me, but is he not wearing a modified spread, or medium spread, collar in the picture of him wearing Bean Boots?

    1. You know, he very well could be. I assumed that his glance downwards was pushing the collar points outward. There are sparing images of him online in a medium spread or full spread collar. He looks better in them.


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