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Understanding Your Body Shape and What to Wear

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

In this blog, we explore different male body shapes and share the secrets on how to dress for each.

We’ve all heard the old adage; “Horses for courses”. Well, the same principle applies to men’s fashion.

Just because you see your favourite movie star looking suave in something, it doesn’t mean you’re going to look the same. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, I know.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The key is knowing your strengths and playing to them. This includes establishing what body shape you have and following a simple blueprint to ensure you make smarter fashion choices.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s your body shape?

Before we can explore the ins and outs of dressing more attractively, it’s essential to figure out your body shape. The best way to do this is to estimate the proportions between your shoulders, chest and waist, and use the image above as a guide.

For instance, if your shoulders, chest and waist measurements all align, then you have a rectangle men’s body shape.

This is where you need to be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to call in a friend to help you make the judgment call. Getting it right from the start will not only save you a lot of money in the long-term, but it’ll drastically reduce the likelihood of some unwanted wardrobe mishaps too.

TIP: When measuring for your body shape, keep in mind that your waist size should be half the size of your height. Without getting to clinical, if your waist size is substantially more or less than half your height you may need to consider a lifestyle change in regards to a diet or exercise plan to make sure you are healthy and happy. You can find out how weight gain can affect your foot health here.

How to dress for your body shape (men)

In this section, it’s all about using your body shape and exploring what you should wear.

Rectangle men’s body shape

A rectangular men’s body shape is one of the most common among tall people with thin frames. The trick to nailing your look is to find clothing that widens the shoulders and creates a subtle taper from your top-down.

What men with rectangular body shapes should and shouldn’t wear:

  • Choose prints and elements of colour pops that expand the dimensions of your slimmer frame

  • Layering in the winter can add more bulk to your appearance, while a scarf can add a focal point

  • Opting for horizontal stripes on your upper torso will add width to your frame

  • Avoid double-breasted jackets as tailoring cut in the shape of your rectangular body shape will do nothing to create the tapered illusion you need

Triangle men’s body shape

Having a triangular body shape can make finding clothes that make your body appear proportional a real challenge. The problem is, most men’s fashion is designed to make your top half look broader and narrower at the waist. However, if you create balance and shape with your clothes, you can solve this conundrum.

What men with triangular body shapes should and shouldn’t wear:

  • Avoid loud colours and horizontal lines which draw attention to your wider frame

  • Stick to classic, dark colours

  • Say yes to vertical stripes as it creates a streamlined effect that makes your body look longer and slimmer

  • Go for jackets with structured shoulders, as this will help hide any sloping shoulder lines. This includes topcoats and tailored suit jackets

Trapezoid men’s body shape

Lucky for you, most clothing will fit you well, as you’re usually the build many fashion designers base their clothing lines around.

The key to success is to accentuate your athletic body shape in slim and fitted clothes.

What men with trapezoid body shapes should and shouldn’t wear:

  • Avoid baggy clothes and dull, uninspiring outfits

  • Go for brands that offer close fit or tailored options

  • If you want to add height to your look, vertical stripes on shirts can make you look taller, while checks add bulk to your frame

  • Jackets and blazers should always be tapered to your waist, so it makes your waist look slimmer and your shoulders broader

  • Always go for normal-length ties

Oval men’s body shape

An oval men’s body shape means the centre of your torso is wider than your shoulders and hips. The biggest challenge is trying to find ways to slim and frame your body.

What men with oval body shapes should and shouldn’t wear:

  • Keep your colour choices simple by sticking to dark solid colours

  • Go for trousers with a loose, comfortable waist

  • Braces are essential for oval body shapes. They pull the trousers away from the front, allowing your waist to naturally hang. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wear a tight pair of trousers with a belt, as this will push your stomach up

  • Pick tailored shirts with a wider collar to remove any unwanted attention to a thicker neck and face

  • Stocking up on bow ties is a smart alternative to a tie, as it doesn’t drape over your stomach bulge

Inverted triangle men’s body shape

With a well-developed chest, broad shoulders and a narrower waist, you’re no stranger to the gym. Either that or you’re one incredibly lucky son of a bitch!

While there are increasingly more muscle fit clothing options these days, most manufacturers tend to cater to men who are out of shape. So, it’s vital that you try before you buy.

What men with inverted triangular body shapes should and shouldn’t wear:

  • Go for slim cotton polo shirts and slim fit shirts which show off your fit body shape

  • If you’re guilty of skipping leg day, avoid skinny jeans. Otherwise, you’ll draw attention to your chicken legs. Think straight-leg trousers and jeans instead

  • Opt for horizontal stripes from the chest down to broaden your narrower waist

  • Avoid super tight shirts, as it’s important to add a bit of bulk to your trim midriff and lower body

Don’t forget the shoes

Whatever body shape you have, it pays to invest in quality shoes that cater for any foot size – like our range of men’s Oxford shoes. They’re wide-fitting, handcrafted by experts in the UK and use the finest materials for a naturally comfortable feel.

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