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How To: Dress For Your Body Type

Body type. The one thing no one likes to talk about or “characterize” themselves into. For both men and women our appearance, taste, style, etc. changes with time and with trends.

Although the superficial things might change, it’s not uncommon that our body type changes along with them. Generally speaking when we go shopping sizing is often just a guess or estimation when picking out shirts, jeans, pants, etc. A lot of times we’re off but get lazy in trying to find that perfect fit. But, regardless of the situation, we should be comfortable in the clothing we present in because it is often what people notice about us first.

When it comes to men, there are certain body types that are pretty standard and easily defined just by looking at someone. But, just like women, there are different body types for a man. They do not all fit into the same cookie cutter format and sometimes they even are right in the middle of two different body type categories. The most commonly definable types for a man are: athletic, tall, short, heavy and thin.

So, see how interchangeable these categories are? A short athletic build is just as common as a tall one. Or, a thin (or heavy) man can either be tall, short along with athletic or not! It’s a group of categories that men bounce through, especially when it comes to clothing. Understanding that, we have created a sort of “guide” or “how to” that will offer some tips for each individual body type and what would suit them best. Again, it is expected that a lot, if not most of the men will fall into more than one category, so having a basic understanding of all will just make shopping and dressing that much easier.

When athletic build is mentioned, what comes to mind? Well, athletes of course! Athletes are usually built with a rather large frame and broad shoulders and chest with a slimmer waist and muscles galore.
Suit and Jacket: Having said that, when purchasing a suit, a two-button, single breasted suit is the perfect match. Looking for a boxy or straight cut blazer is the most flattering for a typical tough guy.
Colors and Patterns: Combining dark and light is the best option for looking proportioned. Darker colors usually suit athletic built men really well, but throwing in a pair of light pants or jeans with a dark blazer gives off the perfect sophisticated look.
Shirts: Dress shirts or casual, patterns here can be explored and always look great with vertical stripes or plaid. It is said that a straight pointed collar is more flattering for an athletic body type than a spread collar. 


With tall, usually comes lengthy, but like said before, not in all cases. The average male height (in America) is around 5 feet 10 inches, so anything around there or 6 feet and up can be considered tall.
Patterns and Colors: Much like the athletic build, plaid patterns are extremely flattering for a taller man. Bolder patters rather than just striped really help compliment and pull off a chic outfit.
Shirts: The small squares and lines of the tattersall pattern really help complete an outfit when looking for a dress shirt. This shirt looks great under a blazer and paired with some jeans for the perfect date night outfit.
Shoes: Oxford lace-up shoes are the best option for a tall gentleman. Something sturdy, and tough while still being fashionable.


Being shorter in size is nothing to shy away from. There are plenty of ways to look chic, stylish and be on top of the trends. It’s just about understanding which style’s work best for your body type and accentuating your best features.
Suit and Jacket: For suits, the best look for someone that is shorter would be a single-breasted suit with either two or three buttons. A helpful tip is that if a shorter man chooses to wear a double-breasted suit, only buttoning the lower button will help give a lengthier look all together. When searching for the perfect blazer, it’s best to remember to avoid pocket flaps and wide lapels as they work against the natural look.
Colors and Patterns: Working with height is best in this situation, so anything that adds some length is best. Pinstripes as well as the herringbone pattern are excellent choices when it comes to flattering patterns. A smaller pattern and accentuating color helps blend the outfit together seamlessly and provide dimension to the overall look.
Fabrics: Light or medium weighted fabrics work best for a shorter stature so that the outfit does not look weighed down or too heavy giving a compressed look.

There is nothing wrong with working what you’ve got. In this instance, being on the heavier side just means finding the right and comfortable fit while enhancing your best physical features.
Patterns and Colors: Probably the most flattering for any body type, wearing a pattern with vertical stripes will help to lengthen and create a slenderer appearance when dressing. Also, sticking with a solid dark color is something that will be successful just about every single time. Sticking to the traditional and original is what keeps the look consistent and dapper.
Accessories: Accessorizing your look is key when working with a heavier body type. Adding in a dark colored vest to match your suit will help give a more complete and slender look while complimenting the rest of the outfit.
Dress Pants: When it comes to dress pants, sticking traditional is best. Wearing a pleated pant is common for formal and casual situations and the number one option for a heavier body type. To complete the best look with the pleated pant, remember to wear the pants naturally on the waistline being sure to not draw concentration to the belly.


The one body type most desire in both men and women is to be thin. Being thin and in shape is the ultimate goal because the look and feel of clothing and dressing is just easier and more fashionable. This, is the common thought when the thin body type is mentioned, but just like all of the other types mentioned, some things work better than others when finding the perfect look.
Fabrics:Unlike all of the other body types, when a man is thin, wearing fabrics that are bulkier or thicker will help to give some extra body to the finished look. Fabrics such as: tweed or flannels will work best to accomplish this.
Patterns and Colors: When choosing a specific color, the lighter and warmer tones helps to draw the eye in and will offer a wider appearance rather than wearing dark colors which can be slimming. Again, unlike the other body types, for thin men, wearing vertical stripes can work against you and only make you look longer, so it is best to stay away from anything with stripes.
Shirts: Going along with the patterns and colors, this stands for shirts as well. Wearing a lighter color with a simple pattern shirt is best when looking to compliment the rest of the attire. Aiming for more horizontal than vertical and smaller and concise patterns will help to style the perfect outfit combination.

When dressing for a specific body type, it’s important that regardless of the tips and tricks we have given above, the choices are still being made by the man in the outfit. Finding the correct fitting style, shape, color, pattern, etc. can be stressful and confusing sometimes which is something that all of us experience. But, when dressing, completing the perfect look is all about what feels good and helps compliment your style and body type. Accentuating your best features while creating an individual style and confident appearance is really what fashion is all about.