Body Type Dressing

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 style superstar.” “This will make you look like a total fashion disaster.”

It's enough to make your head spin. 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 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? 

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Know your body type

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. 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 type – and which styles to avoid – is the first step to owning your personal style.

Know your body type
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: 

Rhomboid Body Shape

Rhomboid Body Shape

The rhomboid body type is characterised by broad shoulders and chest with relatively narrow hips and waist. Since the upper and lower body are balanced, the shape is pretty simple to dress. Generally, most styles and fits suit this shape as long as you keep everything in proportion.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

Like the trapezoid, the v shaped body or inverted triangle has broad shoulders and chest but narrower hips and waist. With this body shape, it’s especially important to pay attention to the imbalance between the upper and lower body.

Rectangle Body Shape

Rectangle Body Shape

The rectangle body type has shoulders as wide as the waist and hips. Dressing for this body shape aims to widen the shoulders while narrowing the lower torso to create the illusion of a more trapezoid-like shape.

Triangle Body Shape

Triangle Body Shape

The triangle body type has shoulders and chest that are narrower than the waist and hips, making you appear larger on the lower half of your torso. This may also create the appearance of sloping shoulders. With the triangle body shape, you should focus on fixing the imbalance created by the lower half appearing larger than the upper body.

Oval Body Shape

Oval Body Shape

As the name suggests, this shape appears round particularly in the stomach area. This often results in narrower shoulders and slimness in the lower leg. Here, it is important to focus on lengthening the torso and widening the shoulders in order to make the rest of the body look more defined.

Rhomboid Body Shape

As a Rhomboid Body Shape, 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 bu lk on the upper body, and adding a little extra to your legs. FYI – Gerard Butler is a great example of this body type. Sparta!

Put the focus on the 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.

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', it's 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. A schoolboy 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.

With this body type being easy to dress, that makes it the perfect canvas for experimenting with new trends. Why not try out bold patterns and or different shapes.

Body Shape Type

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

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. 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 and colours were practically 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 combinations, and work on understanding how to flatter other things – your complexion, your hair cut and colour, etc – instead. 

Lucky you. Sometimes referred to as an 'inverted triangle' shape because of the obviously smaller waist in comparison to the upper body, it's imperative that a jacket fits you 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.

• Add a belt for focus around the hips to help break up and outfit while also drawing attention to this area.
• Wear Breton striped tees- while classic in style, they are also ideal for a man with this shape, especially if the stripes focus around the stomach rather than the chest.
• Choose V-neck shirts and jumpers as they draw the eye down and take attention away from the chest.
• Try statement printed legwear to once again draw the eye downward.
• Opt for unstructured double-breasted jackets as this will widen the torso into proportion with the shoulders.

• Wear skinny cut trousers or jeans as this will draw attention to the disproportion of the lower half. Opt for slim-cut instead.
• Wear structured jackets with shoulder padding or wide lapels. This will just further emphasize the widest area.
• Wear shirts with scoop necklines for the same reason as above. 

Body Shape Type

Rectangle Body Shape

For the Rectangle Body Shape, the primary aim is to add shape where there isn't much 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. 

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 the area between the under arm and waist. Your goal should be to create the illusion of shape throughout the upper body.

• Wear structured blazers that are padded in the shoulder while narrow in the underarms. Finding this ideal fit is hard, so ask your tailor to take in the sides of your jacket and the jacket arms thinned.
• Layer your clothes- shirts and jumpers can be used to widen the chest, especially by wearing jumpers that are fitted in the waist like the one below.
• Try circular necklines to draw attention to the upper torso.

• Wear double-breasted jackets- these only emphasize the rectangular shape.
• Wear prints that mimic your rectangular shape such as photographic T-shirts.
• Wear block colours on the torso. 

Body Shape Type

Triangle Body Shape

Again, your wardrobe is your opportunity to correct the imbalances in your natural body shape. For Triangle Body Shape, 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 and 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. 

Keep it structured and tailored through the upper body. Neglecting this will only emphasis your mid section and you don't want that. Accompany this with straight leg trousers to balance out the look. Have fun in winter layering with simple knitwear underneath blazers and coats, giving the impression of a broader chest and shoulder region.

• Focus on well-fitting clothing. Ill-fitting clothing will just further emphasise this shape. If you don’t already have a good tailor, find one. This advice applies to all men, really.
• Wear single-breasted pieces and button-down styles to streamline the torso.
• Use structured blazers and jackets to give shape to the shoulder line.
• Choose darker colours up top as they are more flattering. You can add colour by layering a bright tee or Oxford under a jacket or jumper.

• Wear horizontal stripes across the stomach. Try vertical stripes or pinstripes instead.
• Wear polo shirts or narrow crew necks. These styles decrease shoulder width.
• Wear skinny or heavily tapered trousers or jeans as these widen the central area of the body. 

Body Shape Type

Oval Body Shape

As a Oval Body Shape, 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 is 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. 

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.

• Wear vertical stripes and pinstripes to lengthen the body.
• Ensure trouser legs and sleeves are the right length as gathering will shorten the limbs. As mentioned previously, a good tailor is your best friend.
• Wear detailed prints or textured pieces in dark colours to provide interest while remaining flattering.
• Wear fitted trousers that help lengthen the leg.

• Wear horizontal stripes.
• Use statement or brightly coloured belts, as this will just draw attention to your widest part.
• Wear cowl necks, polo shirts, or wide crew necks.
• Wear double-breasted jackets.
• Wear shoes with a white sole or trim as this will shorten the leg line 

Body Shape TypeMobirise

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