Dressing for you body shape doesn't have to be a difficult task. With a few simple tips and tricks you can be dressing in clothes that flatter instead of falter in no time. Read more Men's Style Guide features and check out our Store.
We've all been there, worn something that clearly doesn't fit or suit us and we've looked somewhat comical. Recalling on personal experience of trying to squeeze my rugby player sized calves into a pair of skinny jeans in a changing room with beads of sweat streaming down my face. Or, the time when I thought that one sized fitted all, how wrong I was. Now these were the days in my youth when I was experimenting with my style and I was on the heavier side of life. The male body shape is as complex as women's, but knowing your body shape is key, this is when you can experiment with shape and colour to determine what suits you and what doesn't. It sounds like a lot of leg work, but by following this simple guide on how men should dress for their body shape it'll all make sense, trust me.
If you're on the taller side of life (like myself) then you know only too well the struggles of finding clothes that will be long enough in the arms and in the legs. I know the demoralising feeling of finding the perfect jacket only to realise that the sleeves finish at your elbows. The difficulty with dressing when you're quite tall is that you don't want to look like you're shorter, nor do you want to look even taller. So where does that leave you? Somewhere in the middle I'm afraid. When looking for jackets and blazers it's important to buy them in a fitted shape. This may sound tricky, but it can be done. Take a suit blazer for instance, avoid buying a blazer that isn't your size, I know that most of us can't afford a well tailored suit, but that doesn't stop you from getting measured properly in a shop. That way you know exactly what size you are when choosing a suit blazer.
When buying trousers you want to follow the same rules as you did with you jacket. Make sure you get measured properly so you know what waist and leg length you are. I can't tell you how many times I've bought a pair of trousers for them to end at my knees. With being tall you'll want to avoid extremely skinny shapes i.e. spray on skinny jeans as this elongates the leg and makes you appear taller. Opt instead for a pair of slim legged trousers or jeans, still giving you that slimmer shape whilst keeping your proportions all in order. Colour options are up to you as you can pretty much wear any shade of colour without it impacting on your proportions. Personally, I'd stick to the classics i.e. blue and black as you know where you stand with these.
Many among us aren't vertically blessed, so you have to make yourself seem taller even if you aren't. There are a few tricks of the trade to avoid looking even shorter and tricking people into thinking you're six foot seven. I've known people to buy a pair of jeans in the shortest leg length for them to be far too long and then having to roll up the bottoms until they're two inches thick. This is what we want to avoid, so, the first step is, again, to get measured. This is a massive indicator for yourself so you know what size you are, both for trousers and tops, so you aren't wasting money on clothes that don't fit. When buying t-shirts and jackets you'll want to avoid the long line trend as these pieces are designed to look oversized and longer in the body. These can make you look even shorter, and many of you don't want that, so instead opt for a fitted t-shirt or jacket so that they finish just above your hips, making your torso in proportion to your legs.
When buying trousers and jeans you'll again want to avoid the super tight fits, these only look good on a small amount of people and trust me, I've don't the leg work (no pun intended) into figuring it out. Instead look for a pair that just skim your ankle, this gives the illusion that you're taller than you are, and it makes for a nicer fit rather than baggier trousers. Try wearing a pair of cropped trousers or jeans, still giving you that taller illusion whilst keeping you bang on trend for this and every season. Darker shades also draw people's eye away from your height rather than them focusing solely on you if you were in a brighter colour or pattern.
If you're a naturally thin person you may find it difficult to find clothes that fit you in the waist and in the chest. Making yourself appear bulkier than you are can be quite difficult as it can be plainly obvious that you're wearing more layers than humanly possibly. But, with the right tricks and tips you can make people think you've been hitting the gym more than you actually have. Being naturally thin isn't all it's cracked up to be (so I've heard), you'll struggle to find tops that are fitted and jackets and suits simply drown you. But again, GET YOURSELF MEASURED, it really does benefit you in the long run. When you are naturally thin you want tops and jacket to fit you a little tighter, rather than having a lot of excess fabric. Try buying tops and jackets that are slim fitted when they're made rather than a regular fit, this tightens the fit giving off the illusion that you're bigger than you are. Layering will also help you out a lot, no matter what the season is you can always have a layered look that will make you look bulkier. Try wearing a shirt with a thicker jumper over the top, giving you a smart look whilst creating the illusion of a bigger frame.
When buying trousers you must avoid the skinny fit at all cost, it will highlight your thinner frame and it can make you look even skinnier. You'll want to instead opt for a slim leg fit or even, the bang on trend, wide legged fit, this gives you a little extra room creating the illusion of thicker legs. Again, go for a pair that finishes just at your ankle, even though you want to create the illusion of thicker legs you still want to look slim, and by having trousers that finish at your ankle you can still have a slim shape. Go for the classic colours when buying trousers i.e. blue, black or beige as you can go for a little more detail on top keep he focus up there rather than on your legs. This pair from Dickies are a great option as they are a wide leg fit and are bang on trend for this season.
Speaking from experience, being on the heavier side of life isn't great, however, some of us are naturally stockier in build than others, so you want to create a series of looks where you appear to be slimmer than you are. I can't recall the amount of times I've sat defeated in changing rooms in my youth when I've realised that the style I longed for simply didn't suit or fit me, so I had to learn to create the illusion of a thinner frame. When buying T-shirts or tops you'll want to avoid slim fitted pieces. These are designed to hug your body rather than hang loosely and they will highlight problems areas you want to be kept hidden. Colour is another game player when buying clothes as you'll want to opt for darker shades as they create a slimmer shape to your body. It's important to know your size as you may be left feeling disappointed when a smaller size doesn't fit. Also, when buying T-shirts you want to avoid large patterns or prints on your torso, as this draws the eye towards you body and many of you don't want that.
For our trousers stick to slimmer fits and cuts, this will only help you out in the long run as skinny fits won't suit your frame. Take it from me, a former chubby teenager who longed for a pair of skinny jeans and they simply didn't fit nor did they suit me (you're learning a lot about me today). Instead opt for a slim legged pair, but avoid the wide legged trend as this can make you look bigger. Again, go for a darker colour, but the option is still there for a lighter pair if you want. The darker the colour the slimmer it'll make you look, but on the bottom that doesn't really matter as much as the top. Go for a lighter pair if you want to, but remember to keep it in a slimmer fit as baggy jeans will make you look bigger than you want to be.