How to dress for your body shape

The cliché that Italians are the best dressed people in the world is legitimate. Quite simply, Italians are more likely than the rest of us to frequent a tailor. How can you ensure you are wearing clothes that fit and work with your body shape without altering everything you own like Italians do? There are certain things you should bear in mind—whether buying off the rack or bespoke—because it doesn’t matter how well-made or stylish you consider your clothes to be; if they don’t fit correctly, they won’t look good. Here is our guide to getting it right:

The Taller Man

Ready-to-wear clothing is generally designed for men under 6’2”. While some brands do cater to taller men, sizing is generally inconsistent—clothing can leave some guys swimming in excess fabric, while others strain their suits at the seams. However, there are certain ways to dress that’ll help you stand out for all the right reasons. If you’re long and lean, add items that emphasize your horizontal axis, whether this is via prints or patterns or bulkier fabrics and fits that will add girth up top. Jackets with lots of pockets (such as field jackets), knitted vests and wide-legged cuffed trousers are also good for drawing the eye away from your towering height.

The Shorter Man

Any man under 5’9” will understand the difficulty in finding clothes that fit. Anything off the rack overshoots your arms and your cuffs pool on your shoes. Blazers are often oversized with a bottom line that hangs far too low on the leg, and trousers are almost always too billowy and baggy. So when buying clothes or selecting an outfit, piece together items that will ultimately appear to lengthen your body and draw the eye upwards. Tapered or slim-fit trousers will help lengthen the legs, as will wearing socks in the same color as the pants. Trousers in pinstripe or corduroy can have the same effect.

The Larger Man

Some larger-set men find that purchasing flattering clothes can be a troublesome task, opting for pieces that are snug in an attempt to tuck everything in, or, on the other side of spectrum, wearing oversized garments that obliterate the silhouette entirely. Generally, what you should aim to do here is find clothing that accommodates and accentuates your form – there’s no point in squeezing into anything too fitted, but you also don’t want to look shapeless. A good tip is that structured tailoring will help give shape to softer body types.

The Slimmer Man

A slender silhouette means clothes hang off you. Suiting especially can swallow you up, and not everyone is confident enough to wear the current oversized trend. There are, however, some hard and fast sartorial rules that will help complement, not accentuate, a slender frame. If you’re looking to add shape, go for a double-breasted blazer; it’ll add width to your shoulders and give you a waist if you’re somewhat lacking in both areas.

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