Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (2023)

Written by Luc Wiesman

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 sartorial sexual panther”. “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 what you really need: 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.

In This Story…

  • What Your Body Needs From Your Wardrobe
  • How To Dress For Your Shape
  • How To Dress: The Heavy Lifter
    • Focus On Your Right Places
    • Go Graphic
    • Scratch The Skinny Stuff
    • Expert Tip
  • How To Dress: The Athlete
    • Be Daring
    • Play Around With Other Things
    • Expert Tip
  • How To Dress The Block Man
    • Choose Your Prints Carefully
    • Layer Thoughtfully
    • Use Structure
    • Expert Tip
  • How To Dress: The Happy Eater
    • Don’t Put The Focus On Your Stomach
    • Give Your Lower Body A Little More Heft
  • How To Dress: The Cuddly Teddy Bear
    • Stripes are your friends (sometimes)
    • Don’t draw attention to your waist (or lack thereof)
    • Length and fit are hugely important
    • Expert Tip
  • Dressing For Body Shape FAQ

What Your Body Needs From Your Wardrobe

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (1)

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

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (2)

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.

How To Dress: The Heavy Lifter

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (3)

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!

Focus On Your 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.

Expert Tip

You probably enjoy wearing most garments close to the body however, tailored garments can look pretty silly if worn too small. This is not to say a Slim Fitting or European fit is out of the question.

You just need to accept that most read-to-wear brands will not accommodate this shape off the rack. Similar to the ‘Athlete’, its crucial to fit the shoulders and chest and accept that the waist and/or hips will need to be narrowed.

This allows for more accurate sculpting of the back region and accentuating of the smaller waist. School boy error is to find a garment that fits your small waist because you like how ‘tight’ it feels, only to bust out in the chest and awkwardly split the seat of a pant.

– Godwin Hili, Director – Godwin Charli

How To Dress: The Athlete

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (4)

Good news for you Athlete types: you’re the fit bastards that make everyone else seethe with jealousy.

Because your upper and lower body are already well balanced, your shape is much easier to dress than others. You can play with colours and cuts without having to worry much about whether or not everything is properly in proportion. FYI – Football players and athletes are a good example for this body type.

Be Daring

Take advantage of the gifts Mother Nature gave you and experiment with your wardrobe. Your body was made for making a statement, so don’t be afraid to take risks (as long as you still feel comfortable in your clothes).

Prints & Colours Are Made For You

There’s no need to be conservative unless the occasion demands it. Bold colours, prints and patterns are just as well suited to your body shape as solid colour basics.

Play Around With Other Things

If you don’t have to worry about your body type, you’re free to explore other interesting ways to spruce up your wardrobe. Try out new trends, take new cuts for a test drive, investigate new textures and fabric combination,s and work on understanding how to flatter other things – your complexion, your hair cut and colour, etc. – instead.

Expert Tip

Lucky you. Sometimes referred to as an ‘inverted triangle’ shape because of the obviously smaller waist in comparison to the upper body,Its imperative that a jacket fits across the shoulders and chest.

A Slim fit or European fit is a good starting point for this body type.Unless the garment has been Made-To-Measure, the waist and hips of the jacket MUST be narrowed to accentuate this physique by taking it in.

Trousers should be tailored without being too slim and shirts should be a slim fit or contain darts. It’s all about getting the proportions and balance correct, to avoid looking like you will topple over.

How To Dress The Block Man

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (5)

For the Block Man, the primary aim is to add shape where there isn’t much shape to begin with. There’s only so much you can do to physically alter your body, but wearing the right kind of clothing can do wonders for creating the illusion of having a different body type. When dressing, a little style sleight-of-hand will make your shoulders seem wider while making your lower torso appear narrower.

Choose Your Prints Carefully

A print that imitates your rectangular shape – like a geometric pattern – will emphasise the issue you’re trying to correct. Well placed prints or colour, however, can be an effective way to enhance the upper portion of your body.

Layer Thoughtfully

Adding clothing is the easiest way to add bulk to your body. Shirts, knitwear and scarves can be used to widen the chest and shoulders while narrowing your lower torso.

Use Structure

Here’s your chance to put shoulder pads to good use! Structured blazers and jackets add the extra weight your shoulders need. For bonus points, have a tailor take the sides in or thin the jacket’s arms.

Expert Tip

Its important here to clearly define your upper and lower body components. Clever tailoring can achieve a more sculptured look. Look for a tailored jacket with a more padded shoulder to give the impression of broader shoulders. Ensure that the sleeve width of the jacket is narrow as well as area between the under arm and waist. Your goal should be to create the illusion of shape throughout the upper body.

How To Dress: The Happy Eater

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (6)

Again, your wardrobe is your opportunity to correct the imbalances in your natural body shape. For Happy Eaters, that means wearing clothing that adds some substance to a sloping shoulder line and smaller chest. What you wear should reduce the effect of a lower half that appears wider than your upper body. Streamlined cuts and flattering colours are important for you.

Enhance & Emphasise Your Shoulders

Steer clear of polo necks and narrow crew-necks because they decrease shoulder with, and opt for structured tailored blazers and jackets instead. Single-breasted and button-down styles will also help streamline your torso.

Don’t Put The Focus On Your Stomach

Horizontal stripes across the stomach are a definite no, as is any kind of outerwear with details (like pockets) that draw attention to the stomach area. Dark colours will look best on your triangular shape.

Give Your Lower Body A Little More Heft

Wear trousers with a straighter leg. Skinny or heavily tapered trousers will widen the central part of your body, which is exactly the opposite effect you’re going for.

How To Dress: The Cuddly Teddy Bear

Dressing For Your Body Shape: A Gentleman's Guide (7)

As a Cuddly Teddy Bear, the majority of your mass is concentrated at the centre of your body, making your arms, shoulders and legs look disproportionately slim. To make your body appear more defined, you must add shape to your shoulders and wear clothing that appears to lengthen your torso. Beware of anything that shortens you in any way.

Stripes are your friends (sometimes)

Vertical stripes and pinstripes will instantly lengthen your body, but horizontal stripes will make you appear rounder.

Don’t draw attention to your waist (or lack thereof)

Any kind of statement belt will attract attention to your waist and highlight your widest point. A printed or textured piece in a darker hue a better way to add flattering interest to an outfit.

Length and fit are hugely important

Be sure that your sleeves and trousers are the correct length and fit well. They should add shape and definition to your body without making your limbs appear shorter.

Expert Tip

It’s a common mistake to give up on tailored clothing and wear oversized pieces. Focus on comfort with a tailored edge. In other words, the garments should fit well across the shoulders, not be too roomy through the sleeve and underarm, and not be too tight across the waist region or lower half of the body.Avoid jackets that are short, ensuring a longer front balance.Again, its all about balance and drawing the eye away from the belly region.

Dressing For Body Shape FAQ

What is a European fit in shirts?

European fit shirts have a more tapered body with tighter sleeves. They are also typically shorter in length. They look great under a suit jacket or worn on their own.

What is a roped shoulder?

A roped shoulder is a unique feature of a jacket, described as the bumped shape or ridge of the sleeve’s attachment to the shoulder. It is often found in British tailoring.

What is the right length for suit trousers?

The length of your pants is a personal style choice, but if we are talking about the “right” length, your trousers should “break” just over the top of your shoe.



What is the most attractive body shape of a male? ›

Women tend to prefer men with fit, athletic bodies.

They prefer men who are in much better shape than average but not as lean and strong as most men wish to be. Certainly not as muscular as most bodybuilders. Think of the bodies of soccer players, rugby players, and mixed martial artists.

How do you wear according to your body shape? ›

Things You Should Know
  1. Apple shaped bodies, flaunt your legs in flared pants and elongate your torso with V-shaped necklines.
  2. Pear shaped bodies, flatter your gorgeous curves with straight leg pants and structured, shoulder-enhancing tops.

What body shape do men like? ›

The body shape that men generally find attractive in women has a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7. That's the ratio of a 70cm waist and 100cm hips, though the study found that size wasn't as important as the proportions. Men like curves.

What should a 70 year old man wear? ›

Invest in neutral colors.

When you hit 60 years and older, neutrals should become your best friends. But that's not because you should limit yourself to this palette. It's because neutral tones in your jackets and slacks will allow you to have some fun with shirt colors and accessories that pop.

Which part of male body attracts female the most? ›

Felix, 24 percent of women said that chests were the most attractive part of mens' bodies. Another 13 percent of women stated that the stomach area was the sexiest part of a man's body. That's a whopping 37 percent of women who consider the torso the sexiest part of a man's body.

What weight is most attractive? ›

These studies have found that a low waist to hip ratio (WHR) of approximately 0.7 [9] and a low Body Mass Index (BMI; weight scaled for height) of approximately 18–19 kg/m2 [10] are perceived as most attractive in female bodies, while a low waist to chest ratio (WCR) of approximately 0.7, and relatively high BMI ( ...

What should I wear if I have a big belly? ›

Go big on top, narrow on bottom

Pair any full-cut top, blouse, jacket or tunic with a slim base of trim pants, leggings or straight or skinny jeans (here's where the latter come in handy even if you no longer love them). Think of the latter group as a pedestal for the main event on top, and use this combo day or night.

How to dress according to your age? ›

One of the best ways to dress your age is to stick to classic looks. This doesn't mean that you can't experiment, but it's best to focus on pieces that will stand the test of time. Classic pieces only get better with age and can be mixed and matched to create endless outfit possibilities.

What is considered the best body shape? ›

Top hourglass body shape

Considered to be the most attractive body shape, this is very similar to hourglass body shape, except that in this case the curves are more defined.

What size do men prefer? ›

The majority of the men (nearly 86% of them) preferred a woman with a dress size 14 to 16. Only 10% said they prefer women between the size 8 and 10, and 4.2% of them said they prefer women sizes 20 or over. So, the majority of men prefer a blue eyed, dark haired woman who is a size 14-16, who knew?

What is the most attractive weight for a man? ›

Ideal Weight For A Man

The average female height is 5'4. The ideal weight would be around 110–115 pounds (163cm and 51kg). For the average male height of 5'9 (175cm), the ideal weight would be around 168 pounds (76kg), according to women. Or 180 pounds (82kg), according to guys.

What are the most attractive muscles on a man? ›

  • A nice set of abs. In a (not-so-surprising) study conducted by Western Illinois University, women rated abs as the sexiest muscle on a man's body, ThePostGame.com reports. ...
  • A generous posterior. ...
  • Wide, strong shoulders. ...
  • A ripped, tapered back. ...
  • Defined, strong arms. ...
  • A chiseled chest. ...
  • A stong jaw. ...
  • A mysterious mouth.

What makes a man look younger than his age? ›

To keep your skin from adding years to your looks, wear sunscreen, moisturizer, and lip balm daily. Retinoids can help you slough off old skin cells. You can find them in many over-the-counter products or get a stronger version by prescription from a dermatologist.

What color shirt is best for older men? ›

Classic white shirt

Every new retiree should have at least one white shirt in their wardrobe. Just make sure it's opaque and fits well. Do you want to look stylish at your next event? If so, pair a crisp white shirt with a nice blazer and a high-quality tie.

How do you dress if you are over 70? ›

In your 70s, it's a good rule of thumb to avoid looking too prim, too girly, or preppy. However, it's the perfect time to experiment with arty styles like tailored sweater coats, wide-leg pants, unusual clutches, and colorful patterns.

What are the body types according to fashion? ›

There are many different shapes, but the ones generally recognized by the fashion industry are: apple, pear, hourglass, and rectangle shaped body types.

How to dress according to your skin tone? ›

The best colors for warm skin tones often include colors like green, brown, mustard yellow and warm reds. Other warm skin tone colors that you can work with are peach, coral, amber and gold. If you want to use cool colors with your outfit, choose ones that are warmer, such as olive, orchid, violet-red and moss.

How do you wear clothes that fit you properly? ›

10 Guidelines to Wear Correct Clothing Fit
  1. Avoid clothing that fits too tight or too loose as this can make you look bigger than you are. ...
  2. Fit clothing to the largest part of your body. ...
  3. The collar of a suit jacket should fit impeccably.
Dec 19, 2019

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Eusebia Nader

Last Updated: 17/12/2023

Views: 5636

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Eusebia Nader

Birthday: 1994-11-11

Address: Apt. 721 977 Ebert Meadows, Jereville, GA 73618-6603

Phone: +2316203969400

Job: International Farming Consultant

Hobby: Reading, Photography, Shooting, Singing, Magic, Kayaking, Mushroom hunting

Introduction: My name is Eusebia Nader, I am a encouraging, brainy, lively, nice, famous, healthy, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.