So we’ve completed the annual cycle of glutinous December where we over indulged in food and liquor, and jumped into guilt ridden January. The first month of a new year is typically spent looking at ourselves in the mirror, regretting the extra portions we consumed in the last 31 of the previous 365 days. I say be healthy and embrace your body type even if it slightly changed over that period of time, be healthy we all don’t need to look like the cover of Men’s Health.
Now it’s hard to approach this subject you all thought this is going to be some sort of weight watchers magazine article. It’s key for us to men realise that though we have less curves than women, whether your beanpole or built like Mr. Universe, we need the same figure-specific approach to style.
Key things to note before continuing:
- If you’re planning on doing major weight loss or gain in the near future then I would hold off applying a figure-specific approach to a body type which will soon be redundant.
- When shopping remember the geographical differences in sizing. Main land continent brands tend to be of a slighter fit.
- Know when to pass on trends, they’re not meant for everyone.
- Find a tailor. Seriously. Sometimes a final nip and tuck will make an item perfect.
- If you’re looking for height specific information then take a read of I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller
THE TRAPEZOID MAN
Typically characterised by broad shoulders and chest with relatively narrow hips. These are the people who have won at fashion. Congratulations! Since the upper and lower body are balanced, the shape is pretty simple to dress. Why I hear you ask? Because you’re pretty much the Vitruvian man. At least as far as off-the-rack clothing manufacturers are concerned. You’re well-proportioned – as long as your head hasn’t doubled in size yet – and so needn’t worry much about adding to, or detracting from, particular parts of your body.
What this means is unlike your other male counterparts, is that you have a licence to experiment with less to zero inhibitions. Give bold prints a try and new cuts.
THE INVERTED TRIANGLE
Think Michael Phelps when you try and envisage the characteristics of the inverted triangle man. Like the trapezoid, this body shape has broad shoulders and chest but narrower hips and waist.
Your main objective here is to add bulk to your midriff and lower body, while slimming down your upper torso ever so slightly, in order to give a balance.
- Regular V-neck T-shirts. Please note the ‘regular’ title please! There is no place in any grown man’s wardrobe for a deep/extreme V-neck, none whatsoever. V-neck’s draw the attention down and away from the chest.
- Belt. The addition of a belt draws focus on to your hips and helps provide a natural break in your outfit.
- Slim-fit shirts. But remember to size up – chances are you have a body you’ve worked hard for, so celebrate the fact by showing it off without screaming about it.
- Horizontal stripes. Particularly from the chest down, as they’ll broaden your comparatively narrow waist.
- Skinny cut jeans or trousers. All this will do is draw attention to the disproportion of your lower half, making it look like you’ve skipped several leg days.
- Wear structured jackets with shoulder padding or wide lapels. This will just further emphasise the widest area.
- Scoop necklines, as well as prints, colour pops and/or detailing on the shoulders – all of which will focus attention on your wide shoulders and negatively skew your look’s balance.
Think tall and thin, more basket baller than a brawler. Rectangular body shapes typically have their shoulders, hips and waist at the same width. The objective is here is to create structure by widening the shoulders while narrowing the lower torso, to create an illusion of a more trapezoid-like frame.
- Structured tailoring which is tweaked to suit you. Once you’ve found the structured blazers and suit jacket of your liking which adds size to your shoulders, have your tailor take them in slightly at the back to emphasise your waist.
- Layer your clothes. Shirts and jumpers can be used to widen the chest, especially by wearing jumpers that are fitted in the waist
- Prints, colour pops and detailing across the chest and shoulders. Pops of brighter colours up top or details like epaulettes will expand the dimensions of your otherwise ramrod frame.
- Wear prints that mimic your rectangular shape such as photographic T-shirts.
- Wear block colours on the torso.
- Double-breasted jackets. Unsurprisingly, tailoring cut in the shape of a rectangle does little to nothing for rectangles.
This isn’t a politically correct euphemism for fat. This is the body shape of the majority us gents.The triangle body type has shoulders and chest that are narrower than the waist and hips, making you appear larger on the lower half of your torso. This may also create the appearance of sloping shoulders. With the triangle body shape, you should focus on fixing the imbalance created by the lower half appearing larger than the upper body.
- Focus on well-fitting clothing. Ill-fitting clothing will just further emphasise this shape. If you don’t already have a good tailor, find one. This advice applies to all men, really.
- Wear single-breasted pieces and button-down styles to streamline the torso.
- Use structured blazers and jackets to give shape to the shoulder line.
- Choose darker colours up top as they are more flattering. You can add colour by layering a bright tee or Oxford under a jacket or jumper.
- Wear horizontal stripes across the stomach. Try vertical stripes or pinstripes instead.
- Wear polo shirts or narrow crew necks. These styles decrease shoulder width.
- Wear skinny or heavily tapered trousers or jeans as these widen the central area of the body.
Oval shapes appear round, particularly at the centre of the body, with shoulders and lower legs looking slimmer by comparison. Here, it is important to focus on lengthening the torso and widening the shoulders in order to make the rest of the body look more defined.
- Wear vertical stripes and pinstripes to lengthen the body.
- Ensure trouser legs and sleeves are the right length as gathering will shorten the limbs. As mentioned previously, a good tailor is your best friend.
- Wear detailed prints or textured pieces in dark colors to provide interest while remaining flattering.
- Wear fitted trousers that help lengthen the leg.
- Wear horizontal stripes.
- Use statement or brightly coloured belts, as this will just draw attention to your widest part.
- Wear cowl necks, polo shirts, or wide crew necks.
- Wear double-breasted jackets.
- Wear shoes with a white sole or trim as this will shorten the leg line
THE LAST WORD
Fit is the key to everything. It’s the difference between looking good and ‘could do better’, and has the power to make budget high-street pieces look superior to designer versions. Ignore its importance, and your style instantly suffers.