If you don’t know how to dress for your body type, spending thousands of dollars on a high-quality wardrobe won’t actually make you fashionable or stylish. Having an eye for clothes that look good is one thing, but understanding which clothes look good on your body type is something else entirely.
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You must accept your body as it is and dress to accent the areas that are most appealing while hiding away the aspects to your frame that are less than desirable. Only then will you know which clothes to pick for your closet and step into the 4th dimension of sartorial splendor.
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The Simplicity of Men’s Body Types
When looking at men’s body types, it is quite a simple affair. We do not need to worry about the hourglass shape, the apple shape. For us men, we just need to worry about the three core body types.
- an inverted triangle body shape
- a standard triangle or oval body shape,
- and a rectangle body shape.
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As life goes on, you’ll likely have each kind of body at some point in your existence, so it helps to know everything about each one, identify which shape best defines you, and learn the rules to dressing up or down so you know how to put your best foot forward.
Even if you’re an Adonis under the fabric, it’s possible to look like a nit should you dress against your body type. Here’s how to ensure your clothes aren’t wearing you.
Table of Contents
General Rules for All Body Types (Men)
Before we get into the body type specifics, there are, of course, a few things you need to consider regardless of whether you are tall, short, heavyset, or lightweight. Some common rules that should always be adhered to and form the foundations from which your body shape specific clothing options can grow.
1. Know Your Tailor
We’ve said before, but it bears repeating: You’re better off spending half as much on clothes and using the rest for a good tailor than blowing your whole budget on the clothes themselves. A tailor knows body types and is a wizard with cloth. Whatever shape your body is, if you’re serious about how to dress, have a good tailor that you use.
2. Ignore Trends
Skinny pants are popular now, as are undercut hairstyles, but if those things make you look like an awful 80’s throwback, don’t wear them. Dressing to your body type is always in fashion and will look far better than trying to stick with the times while ignoring your natural shape.
3. Be Realistic
Don’t ignore the telltale signs that your body is not the shape you want. You’re better off accepting that you might have more around the middle than you did back when you played high school ball than trying to pretend you’re still the athlete you once were.
Inverted Triangle Body Shape
The easiest body type of dress for, the inverted triangle body means you have shoulders far wider than your hips, usually through genetic bone structure and exercise. This is thought to be the “ideal” male body type and most clothes are made with this shape in mind. Since it’s so prized, having this body type makes buying clothes relatively easy.
Be Careful Buying Off The Rack
Though clothes are built with this body type in mind, many manufacturers know that only people who worship at the gym really attain it, so clothes you buy straight off the hangar might hide your physique, rather than accentuate it.
Show Off Your Body
The goal here is to make sure people see the amount of work you put into your physique, rather than hiding it. Your hours toiling away shouldn’t be hidden, but rather hinted at.
Don’t Show Too Much
Here’s the biggest fashion mistake that most inverted triangles make: They go with form-hugging clothes that scream at everyone how much they can bench. Being proud of your body is one thing, looking like a vain attention-seeker goes in the opposite direction. This is of extra concern when choosing and wearing the right suit.
Increase Your Pants
Seek a bigger drop measurement between the waistband and crotch of your pants, as this body needs a little more space in the seat and pelvic regions.
You’ll also want to avoid skinny pants that highlight how big your upper body is while showing off the relative depletion of your legs. Go with a straight fit pant that isn’t too relaxed and slovenly. While everything up top should be keeping close to the literal vest, your pants are meant to help hide your slender legs.
Too much noise, particularly on your shirt will draw attention upward, making you seem top-heavy and awkward. Keep it simple and flowing with colors that show exactly where your body ends.
Rectangular Body Shape
This body type covers those tall, thin guys who are a straight drop from shoulders to hips. It is a relatively small group that comprises the rectangular body types populace.
Do The Opposite of the Inverted Triangle
The simple advice for men with a rectangular body is generally the opposite of what guys with inverted triangles want. While they are trying to imply fitness without screaming it, rectangular guys are doing everything they can to give their body more structure and build.
Do everything you can to emphasize your shoulders. Get items with pads, use horizontal stripes and prints to broaden your chest, then cinch up your waist to create the sense of a V-shaped upper body.
Since rectangular men have very little to naturally draw the eye upward, it’s necessary to work extra hard to get eyes right at about shoulder level. Pocket squares, lapel pins, fat ties, broad collars, scarves, tie pins, and other flashy bits and bobs around your chest and neck are never out of place for keeping the gaze upward.
Adding more mass to your torso is always a fast way to give this body shape a greater appeal. Seek out clothes that are bulky near the neckline and taper at the waist. This is most men’s clothes, so you’re unlikely to need much help.
Triangle and Oval Body Shape
Common among men, particularly in America, the triangular or ovoid body has a wider waist than shoulders. As men age, this body types becomes more prevalent, merely because gravity slowly drags on our frame throughout life, and everything sags toward the center. Heavier guys who have more heft right in the center that slopes inward toward the hips are said to be more oval than triangle, but the rules are basically the same either way.
The One Goal
If you look like this, and most of us do, then the aim is simple: Slim at every opportunity. We want eyes drawn away from the heavy midsection and pointed at the more masculine regions.
Jackets, Jackets Everywhere
When you have a broader body that you want to blur, jackets do the best job. They provide structure to the upper body and can be outfitted with all manner of sneaky pads and primps to give you more size in your shoulders, creating a greater sense of frame.
While big shoulders are the major goal, you also want to avoid anything that cinches too heavily at the waist. Jackets should have a very narrow taper, that is almost implied more than actually trying to go inward on bodies that go progressively outward as you head toward the midsection.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Colors that work best on guys who carry around a more robust frame are darker and more powerful. Science has shown that men with bigger frames – especially wider faces – are considered more intimidating and masculine. Play on that with a lot of severe dark colors that are naturally slimming, but also offer a sense of authority and gravitas.
Bright colors can quickly make a large man into a buffoon, so the more you show, the more you’re likely to be seen as laughable rather than menacing.
Stripes draw the eye upward or downward, so use them wherever possible to draw focus away from your center. Get people looking at your face. Jackets help with this as they can close your midsection in dark fabric, allowing a striped shirt and tie to do the work from the chest upward.
Avoid Form Fitting or Too Blousy
Sadly, us larger folks have bodies that we don’t want to show off. While it’s good to be proud of how you look, anything that fits tight only serves to make us look worse, and makes it seem like we’re unaware of our greater bulk. Don’t do it.
We also don’t want to seem bigger than we are by having oversized clothes. Work on a nice drape that entices people to look upward. Not too close, not too billowy.
Kick Start Your Wardrobe with These Top Notch Brands
Now that you know all about body types and how to dress for each, let’s look at some great brands that you can invest in, to look stylish day in and day out. Add these garments to your wardrobe and you will never have to worry about what to wear again.
The Portofino Linen Shirt by Luca Faloni is a classy yet casual piece that you’ll not only look good in but feel good in too. Every man needs a high-quality shirt in their collection that can not only be worn as evening wear but also to stroll around the city too.
Luca Faloni used 100% pure linen during the shirt’s design process for softness and increased durability. The shirt is available in a slim fit or regular fit option, as well as 24 different colors, to suit men of all styles.
Shirts in the Portofino range feature a “Paramountura” collar which keeps its shape and gives the shirt an overall classic look, along with mother of pearl buttons down its front and sleeves.
Form&Thread designed their Corduroy Gallery Jacket to have a slightly more relaxed fit, making it the perfect jacket for layering. The jacket’s details include three large front pockets, a rever collar tab, a large pleat down the back, and buttons down the front.
To create the Corduroy Gallery Jacket, Form&Thread garment-dyed eight wale cotton corduroy to give the jackets four rich and deep colors.
Although the jacket makes a perfect layering piece, you can also wear it on warm summer evenings. Adding a touch of style and depth to even the most basic of outfits.
You can’t go wrong with simple and versatile black straight-leg trousers. Something that can be worn to a wedding reception or on a morning coffee date.
Percival designed their straight-leg trousers following on from the success of their Everyday and Dress trousers. The Straight Leg Trousers, however, were made wider in the leg to give them that signature straight leg fit.
Created from twill, Percival made the Straight Leg Trousers to be 32” long so the wearer could roll or tailor them to their desired length. To go along with the trouser’s simplicity, Percival included almost invisible pockets on both the front and back.
The trouser’s final features are a front closure button and belt loops that can be used to spruce up the outfit with a belt, for example.
Inspired by the French Veste de Travail, ISTO tailored their Work Jacket from 100% premium heavyweight organic cotton. Jackets of this type are so incredibly simple. However, once layered on top of an outfit, they make all the difference to the overall style and look.
Large lower front pockets, natural corozo buttons, and a top to bottom back pleat elevate the jacket’s design, mimicking that classic French Veste de Travail design.
Final Thoughts on How to Dress for Your Body Type
Now you know the three main male body types. You should be in a position to go out and restock your wardrobe with confidence. The advice we’ve offered above should give you everything you need to know how to dress for your body type. Forget the hourglass shape or the apple shape. For us men, it’s all about geometrics.
Whether you have an inverted triangle body shape, a regular triangle, or even a rectangle body shape, you have the tools here to dress accordingly.
But tell us, what items of clothing do you have in your wardrobe that you simply can’t live without? What is it about them you find so flattering? The comments are open, and we’d love to hear your body shape clothing tips, and tricks.