There’s nothing the fashion world loves more than doling out directions and issuing edicts. “This is in.” “This is out.” “This is cool.” “This is hideous.” “This will make you look like a style superstar.” “This will make you look like a total fashion disaster.”
It’s enough to make your head spin straight off. Lesser men have collapsed under the pressure. And the worst part about it all is that half of those pesky proclamations are based purely on transient trends instead of truly timeless style. What’s the point of following a fad if it’s going to fall out of favour in a month or – even worse – if it doesn’t actually look good on you?
It’s a cardinal style sin we’ve all been guilty of at least once: dressing to suit what’s in style, but not what actually suits you. Your clothes should flatter your body shape, your skin tone, your hairstyle, your eye colour and your personality. A great wardrobe is a mix of classic pieces and current trends, all personalised to be uniquely you. Knowing how to dress for your body shape – and which styles to avoid – is the first step to owning your personal style.
How To Dress For Your Shape
Male bodies may lack the curves of female bodies, and therefore have significantly less variation, but that doesn’t mean differences don’t exist. Think about how often you hear fashion gurus talk about the importance of fit. An expensive garment that isn’t right for your body will look bad no matter how much money you dropped on it, and an inexpensive piece will look like a million bucks if the fit is right. The key to it all is identifying your body shape and learning how to enhance it. Most men fit into one of these five body type categories:
- The Heavy Lifter: The Heavy Lifter’s chest and shoulders are broad, but his hips and waist are narrower. There is a significant difference between top and bottom, with a wide upper body and a smaller lower body, that is frequently the result of regular ‘get massive’ workouts.
- The Athlete: Picture those incredibly fit Olympic chaps. The Athlete is broad across the chest and shoulders, and narrow in the waist and hips.
- The Block Man: The Block Man gets his name because his torso takes the shape of a rectangle, with little difference between the width of his chest/shoulders and the width of his waist/hips.
- The Happy Eater:If the Heavy Lifter is an inverted triangle, the Happy Eater turns the triangle right-side up. His chest and shoulders are narrower than his waist and hips, making his lower half appear larger than the upper.
- The Cuddly Teddy Bear: You know exactly what this guy looks like. The Cuddly Teddy Bear is round and huggable, frequently with narrower shoulders and slim legs. This is probably where we’re all headed eventually, so it’s a shape worth understanding even if it’s not you yet.
As a Heavy Lifter, your large frame is somewhat imbalanced. Your wider upper torso and narrower lower half can be evened out by your wardrobe. The goal is to draw attention to your hips while reducing attention to your upper chest. Focus on pulling the eyes downwards, avoiding bulk on the upper body, and adding a little extra to your legs. FYI – Gerard Butler is a great example of this body type. Sparta!
Put the focus on the right places. V-necks narrow the chest and draw the eye down. Stripes across the stomach and detailing around the hips (think belts or pockets) also help emphasise the parts that need it.
Go graphic. Simple graphic prints and logos will get attention, taking it away from your more substantial upper chest. Any kind of details, prints, or eye-catching colours on the shoulders, on the other hand, will draw the eyes to the wrong area.
Scratch the skinny stuff. Skinny leg cuts will make the top half of your body appear even wider. Try straight or more relaxed slim cuts instead, to balance out your proportions. You can also use statement trousers to lure the eye away from your broad shoulders. If you can, go for tapered jeans.
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