When it comes to dressing to impress, it’s all about the proper measurements to accentuate your body in the best way. There are many styles that every man would probably like to incorporate into his wardrobe, but not all looks are made for all men.
It’s being able to discern between what works best for your body type that becomes the key factor to taking your style to the next level.
As men get more in tune with their best looks and how to accentuate their positive features, confidence in selecting the pieces to highlight those areas become easier. The ability to recognize your body type and adhere to the guidelines associated with each is the a sure-fire way to stay in step with what works for you.
Many men’s style guides out there will mention body shapes like rectangle body shape, inverted triangle body shape or trapezoid body shape—which is sort of unnecessary in our opinion. I mean, have you ever seen see someone with an actual triangular body? Exactly.
This guide is for men of all shapes and sizes, and serves as the perfect unofficial bible for dressing within your range—whether you’re a skinny guy, athletic guy, muscular guy or heavy guy—and spotlighting the areas that best suit your body.
Dressing the Skinny Guy
Subscribe to the GW YouTube channel.
There are those men who yearn to be on the slimmer side who are constantly attempting to lose the weight, and then there are those who are destined to be thin forever no matter what they do.
For the men out there who are looking to gain some insight into how to best present their smaller size to the world, then you have come to the right destination as we have the tips necessary to dress up and out.
For most men – and in particular thinner men – dressing to your strengths involves being a master illusionist in order to convey the proper proportions that create that winning visual.
Skinny men have to pay close attention to how clothes sit on their body – too tight and the discomfort level rises and makes the situation even more arduous. Avoid clothes that are overly fitted and instead take care to find the perfect fit to add a bit of heft to your frame. What does that mean in terms of cardinal rules, you may ask?
Vertical stripes are not your friend
For thin men, stripes have not, nor will they ever be the answer and a man with this body type should avoid forcing the issue by attempting this sartorial route unless they want to take a serious loss in the fashion column.
While stripes give everyone a boost in the vertical department, those stripes on a slim man only produce an even more slender frame than you already have. The 2 vertical striped shirts above are taking a major L, while the horizontal striped shirt below is a W.
Level up your layering
Thin men absolutely must master the art of layering if they truly want to ascend to the next level of style as this particular body type demands it. Tactical layering is the best tool at your disposal to add some mass to a small frame.
That includes scarves layered under coats, t-shirts under open shirts, knits over shirts, etc.. – all while utilizing the right colors and textures to optimize the effort.
Even though layering is the answer, there is some precision involved however, so keep it at a maximum of two layers or you will give the impression of being buried beneath your clothes.
Surrender to symmetry
If your proportions aren’t in balance, then the whole look is compromised, which for a thinner man can be the death knell hard to come back from.
Maintain a balanced look by adhering to the rules of symmetry and you will avoid the conundrum of clothing confusion that befalls many thin guys attempting to ramp up their style.
Be the prince of patterns
We’ve already established that vertical stripes are not going to take you to the next level of sartorial brilliance, but luckily, thin guys still can turn to other patterns to add some depth to their look.
Instead skinny men should leave the pinstripes for wider guys with larger frames and opt for checks or floral prints if you absolutely must bring patterns into the picture.
Add a little padding
Fine tailoring is all about paying attention to the smallest of details, and for slender men that involves padding in the shoulders (ever so slightly) to create a silhouette that is a bit more formidable than to be expected.
» Readers’ Favorite: How to Dress Your Age for Men (in Your 20s, 30s, 40s & Beyond)
Skinny Guy Style Essentials
Now that you’ve come this far, there’s no need to stop when you can master the entire aesthetic with a few more tips for the pieces in your wardrobe.
The perfectly proportioned suit should be the quintessential guideline for thin guys who want to be as impactful as possible when dressing up.
Jackets should accentuate shoulders in the most flattering way to show off your weight and broad shoulders. A double-breasted suit is an excellent option that adds just the right amount of density for skinny guys.
To add shape to your legs and enhance your silhouette, thinner men should wear straight-leg or bootcut chinos that fit well through the thigh and give you more structure. A great fabric that adds just the right heft to skinny men is corduroy, which are a great addition for the fall and winter months in particular.
Bootcut and straight leg jeans are the best options for skinny guys as they give the lower legs some shape, with selvedge denim an excellent choice to consider. Skinny and even slim jeans are another great alternative that are ideal for men that want a fitted look that enhances a silhouette.
The best coats for thin men are ones that drape the body well without devouring the frame. Instead of boxy or longer coats, men with smaller frames look best in three-quarter length coats that can add bulk without stretching out for a prime, tailored effect.
Thinner men tend to have longer limbs, which makes V-neck and crew necks a great way to shape the collarbone and shoulder area. To add some size above the waist, plaid and macro prints are also another option to invest in. And for more formal occasions, a slim, fitted shirt is the best way to make a suit pop.
FAQ’s About Skinny Guy Style
What colors work best for skinny guys?
Lighter colors are the best approach for guys with smaller frames to add dimension to a frame, which equates to white, beige, and pastels as excellent choices for your wardrobe. But to be honest, you can wear any color you like really. What’s more important is your complexion when it comes to what colors to wear.
What are the best accessories for skinny frames?
Avoid bulky, oversized accessories and instead opt for thin, monochrome ties and belts that work best for smaller men.
What type of shoes should a skinny guys wear?
Leave the bigger boots for bigger men and incorporate ankle boots and boat shoes into your shoewear as they look best on smaller legs and give the illusion of more mass.
Dressing the Athletic Guy
Subscribe to the GW YouTube channel.
Now it’s time to take inspiration from athletes who’ve achieved greatness on the field/court with their play and off of it with their stellar fashion sense.
For men who fall into the athletic category, the rest of the male population has no sympathy for you as you are genetically blessed and have the proportions that most men can only dream about.
The reasons are obvious, as your well balanced upper and lower body make you easier to dress and you have carte blanche to choose from all the colors of the rainbow and dabble with more cuts than other males.
Whether this body type came to you naturally or you worked hard to attain it, here are the ways to maximize your athletic body type.
Be daring with an athletic frame
Because you have the frame that most men would trade theirs in for, be bold when it comes to experimenting with your wardrobe. Take risks that most men could never even attempt to pull off, so long as they stay within the confines of your comfort levels.
Have a tailor on standby
Even athletic frames require great tailoring and the principle applies to fit physiques as well. Athletes require expert tailoring not only because of their bigger and more defined dimensions, but also to accentuate their inverted triangle shape that comes with broad torso and a narrow waist.
The Athlete’s Style Essentials
Athletic men look best in single-breasted, two-button jackets that come with wide lapels and possibly some slight waist suppression to maintain a more tailored effect. For the athletic men that prefer three buttons, only button two of them to optimize the look.
Athletes should also look to invest in a few quality suede jackets as well, perfect for the cooler spring and autumn months.
Athletic physiques usually are no stranger to the gym, and this means trousers with a fuller cut are in order, but don’t get trousers that are too slim cut or they will constrict your range of motion. Instead of pleats, opt for plain front pants that give men with thicker thighs and legs a cleaner, more polished look.
Prints and colors should be your mainstay
With an athletic body, conservative dress should be the lane less traveled, with bold colors, prints and patterns that are tailored to fit your frame. Solids and stripes work well for your physique, and if you desire something a bit outside your normal attire, take the subtle approach and pull it off with ease.
Try out some trends
Because athletic men don’t have to worry about concealing their bodies to show off the better parts, you have the full range of opportunity to try out the latest trends, textures, and fabrics as long as you stay within the zone in terms of your complexion, hair color, and skin tone.
Special attention should be paid to your footwear as athletes typically need better construction in this department. However, this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on elegance, and you can find great styles from British canvas to Italian leather boots that accentuate your frame.
FAQ’s About Athletic Men’s Style
What is a good shirt fit for athletic types?
European fit shirts are ideal as they are tapered for the body and feature tighter sleeves. They are also shorter in length, which make them great under a suit jacket or worn solo.
What are the best features to look out for on a jacket for athletic men?
A roped shoulder – the bumped shape of a sleeve’s attachment to the shoulder – offers the best fit for athletic frames and can be found in most British tailoring.
What is the right suit trouser length for athletic guys?
The length of your pants is always a personal choice, but In general, your trousers should break just over the top of your shoes.
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this in-depth guide on how to dress for your body type, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things style useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter.
To join now, just enter your email address below and click “Get Updates!”
Dressing the Muscular Guy
Subscribe to the GW YouTube channel.
Muscular men are the next step above the athletic types, and while they don’t necessarily need oversized fits to look their best, know that there are some brands that cater specifically to your size.
By researching your size depending on the brand, you will better be able to get the best fit to enhance your personal aesthetic. At the end of the day, it is all about finding just the right fit and not fearing a bit of downsizing to optimize your look.
The Natural and Neutral Approach
Bigger men are always going to be seen no matter what they wear, but to downplay your size a bit, neutral and natural colors are a great way to tone it down so you stand out, but in a more subdued approach.
Color has its place in certain apparel for big men during the summer months, but in the fall and winter, opt for navy, dark blue, olive, and brown as essential outerwear. You have a towering physique that noone is going to miss.
Layer Light and Right
Muscular men don’t need to be concerned about layering as they are already bulked up, so outerwear should be kept to a minimum and with the lightest fabrics possible. Light knit cardigan sweaters, cashmere, and long sleeve shirts are ideal, while thick tweeds and puffer coats will only add more dimension which you don’t need.
In the summer months, leather or denim jackets are a good option that maintain a cool aesthetic and accentuate your silhouette without adding too much mass.
The Denim Dilemma
Those thick thighs demand a bit more coverage than the average man’s legs and for muscular men who want to maintain a modern approach to their denim, a relaxed or slim fit that will look best on your frame.
The best denim to consider for a body this toned is stretch denim that improves your range of motion while also molding to your body once they’ve been broken in.
Muscular men shouldn’t even need to be told the importance of a trusted tailor on hand, but just in case, we are here to remind you how necessary they are in customizing your clothes to the shape of your massive frame.
Bespoke suiting is your best bet and you should ensure that your pant and jackets fit properly in the key areas and from there, it is easier for your tailor to make alterations that are in line with your body type and personal sense of style.
Select Your Go-To Brands
There are plenty of brands these days that cater to muscular men and your mission is to sift through them all and find the ones that best represent your style and suit your body type the best.
Whether you are more into athleisurewear or are a suit and tie type of guy, you should be able to find plenty of labels that provide the fit and aesthetic that you prefer that gives you the most confidence and swag.
The Classic Concept
The standard silhouette doesn’t apply to muscular men, and the best direction to take to ensure that you remain in step with fashion is adopt a classic approach that is timeless.
That equates to stocking up on the standards that should be in every man’s wardrobe from crew-neck tees and chinos to cropped pea coats and the always classic trench coat in navy blue or black. Minimize the prints and patterns, optimize the cuts and you will have mastered the concept of classic style.
Muscular Men Style Essentials
Accentuate your hard-earned V-torso and show off your guns in cropped Harrington or bomber jackets to produce the perfect silhouette for your physique.
The best fabric options include a nice polyester-cotton blend that comes with form fitting or a wool-cotton blend that offers breathability and a bit of additional padding.
As you won’t need the insulation, a thin layer is probably more than enough during the cold months for a muscular frame, with cashmere and wool optimal for keeping you warm without adding any extra heft.
A light cardigan is another option as you can open them for a casual occasion and confidently rock knitwear.
This is one of the easiest areas to advise muscular men on as the single-breasted option is the only way to go as double-breasted suit jackets only make you look bulkier. Instead of patterns and checkered patterns, consider mohair or linen fabrics as they are lighter and sit flat against the body.
A simple white tee under your single-breasted jacket is a great look for an informal occasion, while a long-sleeve button-down cotton shirt and Oxford shoes are ideal for a workplace setting.
Slim or relaxed fit jeans that leave a bit of room in the thigh and seat are the best for muscular men, and the same goes for chinos that give thicker legs a bit of wiggle room for a full range of motion.
Slim tees and Henley tees give the best coverage and breathability for muscular men, while button-up shirts should ideally taper below the lats to account for your V-shaped torso. And last but not least – go big and bold on your color choices here from primary colors to pastels.
Muscular men need shoes that optically widen their feet, and thus a wing-tipped shoe that has more width will do that for your thicker thighs and shoulders. Add a bit more of a heel too in order to elongate the muscles in those developed legs.
Another look that men with great calf muscles can pull off are industrial or military-style boots. Of course, sneakers are always a win and you have the full range of color options available at your disposal to explore and experiment with.
FAQ’s About Muscular Guy Style
Which shirts are the best to display muscles?
Tapered shirts, especially henleys that provide a tighter fit on the shoulders and chest while tapering at the waist are the best for showing off a muscular frame.
Which colors give the appearance of a more muscular build?
White is the first color and best choice to display muscles, but also take into consideration beige, yellow, and pastel colors that add some dimension to muscular frames.
Dressing the Big Guy
Subscribe to the GW YouTube channel.
Contrary to popular opinion, bigger men have lots of possibilities when it comes to clothes that present them in the best manner. However, the first concession to remember for the big guy is that most brands are usually not designing their lines with your size in mind.
But on the flip side of things, there have been plenty of classic and newer designers that have made their presence known with exceptional lines that ensure that the big men are not left out of the style conversation.
The following tips are guaranteed to give you bigger men more confidence in curating a fashionable wardrobe from head to toe.
Master the art of visual trickery
A sharper, more streamlined aesthetic consists of some visual trickery that every man should incorporate for an esteemed look, which bigger guys can also use to their advantage.
Men with big frames should strive to become masters of the tuck, starting with dress shirts tucked into pants along with a belt to create a partition between your midsection and crotch.
By creating a vertical line with a row of buttons or a V-neck, you are able to draw attention away from your belly and towards the center of the body.
Figure out your problem areas—particularly around the midsection, thighs and buttocks—and wear darker hues to de-emphasize them. For your better areas, use lighter tones that showcase your slimmer areas.
Choose classic prints and solid neutrals to minimize your size
Men with larger frames are already going to be seen, which means light and pastel colors only bring more attention. As a way to minimize size, opt for colored pants and solid neutral colors like chocolate brown, navy blue, olive green, grey, and black.
These are the ideal colors to complement your shape and can work with t-shirts, blazers, and knitwear. To broaden up your look, standard patterns like stripes and checked designs work to distract from your size and can be paired with darker hued shirts and blazers with muted tones.
Have a great tailor at your disposal
All men should have a tailor, but with larger men who have larger proportions, buying off the rack may be a rarity and makes one all the more important for investing in made-to-measure or bespoke clothing that will typically cost more. Tailor for a full break through the pants, with jackets cut sharply around the corner to obscure the midsection.
Light, durable fabrics work best for bigger frames
The majority of a large man’s wardrobe should consist of lighter, yet sturdy fabrics that provide the support necessary without adding bulk to your frame.
Wool, cashmere, and silk are the best fabrics for suits and coats, with cotton ideal for t-shirts and cotton-blend for chinos as it provides some shape and fewer wrinkles. Selvedge jeans work well with men who have a larger frame as they mold to bodies to achieve a customized fit.
Keep it simple
Big men don’t need to worry about the theatrics of dressing – leave that to men with other frames. The simple approach is the best one to pursue for larger men, with structural suits and trousers that accentuate silhouettes helping to present the best style possible. To avoid looking chunkier, minimize wallets and keys in pockets to elevate the streamlined effect.
Big Guy Style Essentials
Bigger men should have their suits custom-made, primarily in low-rise trousers that come with a cuffed leg length. Single-breasted jackets with one button makes for an enhanced focal point as a visual.
Bomber jackets add a cool factor for any man, and the look applies to men with larger frames as well. For colder months, a long overcoat leaves a great silhouette for the entire body and come highly recommended.
Cashmere and wool-blend sweaters are perfect for slimming a larger frame and flattening the midsection area and minimizing bulge. V-neck designs create a vertical line that is slimming, with fitted cardigans key to a bigger man’s winter wardrobe.
Henleys and V-neck t-shirts slim the neckline and provide vertical focal points that are slimming on a larger frame. Even horizontal striped shirts can work for bigger men, so don’t be afraid to play around.
Low-rise pants and chinos that don’t sit under the belly are the best approach as wearing them under the midsection can give a stumpy aesthetic. If you decide to wear shorts, ensure that they break around the knee and don’t include bulky pockets.
There are plenty of jeans brands that provide an assortment of style options for big men that means there is a perfect brand out there for you. Selvedge jeans are one of the best options as they give the style and structure bigger men need for day to day use.
Suspenders look great on bigger men and work admirably under a blazer as they keep pants above the midsection and enhance your silhouette. A small pocket square goes a long way, as do lapel pins and ties that can add more dimension to your look through patterns, texture, and a range of colors.
FAQ’s About Big Guy Style
How do big men conceal large mid-sections?
Wear trousers directly at your waist instead of around the hips. This creates an optical illusion that reduces the area and makes you look slimmer overall. Tucking your shirts into your trousers also enhances the silhouette.
Can large guys wear turtlenecks?
Men with large frames should avoid drawing attention to their thicker necks, which means turtlenecks are to be avoided. Instead, opt for a V-neck sweater that makes for a slimmer neckline. That said, rules are meant to be broken and it can be done.
What fabrics should big guys wear?
Men who have large frames should veer towards thicker fabrics that drape the body better, including twill shirts, flannel, and Oxford shirts that have structure and are sturdy.
Wrapping Things Up
After this thorough review of every body type for men, there is no excuse for not dressing better and presenting the best version of yourself in a stylish way.
The most important tip that should be taken from this deep dive into men’s body types is that a tailor is an absolute necessity – a skilled one that knows your measurements to the centimeter and can alter your clothes to perfectly accentuate your personal style.
No matter which body type you may have or even move towards in the future, the craftsmanship involved in taking your wardrobe to the next level is an invaluable component of a singular fashion statement.
Gentlemen Within has several articles on style for each piece in your wardrobe, so take a few cues and let us show you how to dress with confidence!
Are you dressing appropriately for your body type?
To continue the discussion, come and join the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
Drop a Line!