5. Dressing Your Body Type Inappropriately

No, we’re not talking about Mickey Mouse ties when we say “dressing inappropriately.” The issue is this – every man’s body is a different shape. Therefore, every style should be different, and tailored to the specific body. Mass manufacturers, however, need to be able to sell as many of the same product as possible and so men’s style is often categorized by “fashions” that everyone should supposedly wear, regardless of their size and shape. As a result, many men find themselves encouraged into buying unflattering clothing that makes them look too short, too tall, too slim or too broad, and so on. Understand how clothing choices affect the appearance of your body, and only choose clothing well-suited to your general physique.  

The Large Man  Heavy men are best slimmed by solid colors (vertical lines, while slimming, are very obvious when the shape of the body bends them into curves instead of straight up-and-down lines). A very deep “V” in the front of the jacket helps make the chest look longer and thinner. Trousers worn at the natural waist elongate the legs and fall more smoothly over a broad stomach, and should certainly be worn with suspenders – a belt simply draws the eye to the midsection.  

The Thin Man  Thin men benefit from adding bulk, but can look swallowed by extreme additions like a double-breasted suit or a vest. They are generally best served by small details that add fabric to a garment, such as thick cuffs, trouser pleats, and pockets with flaps rather than the narrow slits of “jetted” pockets. Good garment fit will also help reduce the impression of slimness. Remember the guidelines from Chapter 1. Bad Fit ; the shirt collar should be snug against the skin, and the cuffs of the shirt should be tight enough that they cannot be slipped off while buttoned. No man should limit himself to a single cut and pattern for all his dress clothing. Dress codes alone would make this impractical. So body shape should be treated as a set of loose guidelines rather than hard and fast restrictions. That said, some fashions will simply never work for certain body types. Know what to avoid, and never let an advertising campaign or a hot fashion tip tempt you into a garment that is completely unsuited to your physique.  

The Short Man Short men face the opposite problem, and want clothing that helps the eye travel smoothly up their body and into the air above them, giving an added sense of height that helps far more than a pair of chunky-heeled shoes. Vertical striping, suspenders instead of a belt, and upward-sweeping “peak” lapels all help draw the viewer’s gaze up. Suits are almost always more flattering than unmatched trousers and jackets, which simply divide the man’s visual impression in half. The trousers should be worn high and cut as high in the crotch as possible, lengthening the impression of the legs.  

Sincerely, Charlie’s Design – Fashion House – Bangkok   

The Tall Man Tall men – anyone over 6’3″ or so — want to avoid appearing too loom, which is mostly caused by the viewer’s eye traveling further up than habit has taught it to prepare for. Anything that breaks the eye’s journey up the tall man’s body will be flattering, so horizontal lines and other side-to-side elements like jacket pockets and belts are desirable. Very narrow vertical stripes are the biggest no-no, since this simply speed the eye’s journey upward. Tailoring can also help size individual elements to be more flattering. Dropping the back of the jacket further in the rear can help shorten the lines of a tall man’s legs, while larger lapels and pocket flaps can make the front look more balanced and proportional.