Thursday, 3 February 2011

GUEST POST - Fashion: Dress For Your Body Shape

A tribute.

Image via Flickr: Fazil Fuad 

Anyone can dress to impress, regardless of shape. This means, however, flattering one’s shape rather than hiding it.

First, you need to acknowledge your shape. You are what you are, and that’s fine. This article isn’t about dropping or adding pounds or wishing you were taller or shorter. Denying your shape will only hurt your style. So, take a deep breath, look in a full-length mirror, and exhale. Are you on the short side or tall side? On the bulky side or lean side?

The Long and Short of It, Through Thick and Thin

Sizes aside, men of varying heights need to tweak with their wardrobes to look their absolute best. What may work for someone who’s 5’6 may not work for someone who’s 6’6. In fact, rules for one may often simply just need to be reversed to work for the other. Here are examples.

For the Short Man

  • Avoid big prints that will overwhelm smaller frames.
  • Vertical stripes are your friend—as long as you’re not on the lean side, which will only make you look skinnier.
  • Wear a small rise in pants (the rise being the distance between the waistband of the pants and the crotch). Going with a high rise will take away emphasis from your rear end. A short rise will also elongate your legs.
  • Swallow your pride and wear short-length suits rather than letting them bunch up at your ankles. You don’t want to look 12.
  • While we’re talking suits, show some cuff to lengthen your arms and keep an eye out for peak lapels, which will elongate your figure.
  • Avoid belts, if you can. They split up your already small physique.

For the Tall Man

  • You can pull of big prints, but avoid the vertical stripes, which will only serve to make you look like a beanstalk. Thick, horizontal stripes work if you’re on the slim side.
  • Since you’re tall, you can afford to split your body up into sections by color and by accessories: a belt, quarter-folded pocket squares, horizontally striped ties, and the like. Even with accessories, wearing one color from head to toe makes you look thinner. Mix up colors and wear lighter colors to add bulk.
  • Minimize the length of cuff you show when wearing suits. On the same note, choose a two-button suit with high-cut lapels to compliment, not deny, your shape.

For the Thick Man

  • Avoid horizontal stripes, thick or thin, and opt for vertical stripes to slim you down. Pinstripe suits are a good option for dressing up. In the same vein, wear a pocket square to bring attention to your chest, not your gut, and wear simple, elegant shirts without plaids or checks. A tie is the inherent vertical assistant, but make sure it’s not too thin so it’s not overwhelmed by her larger frame.
  • Go for monochromatic looks when you can to create a cleaner, slimmer impression. Breaking your body up with contrasting colors, especially if they clash near your belly, will make your frame stand out.
  • I know I said avoid breaking up your body into sections, but a belt will make you appear trimmer as long as there’s not an overhanging belly nearby. Use suspenders so you don’t have to answer the above or below the gut question.

For the Thin Man

  • Avoid monochromatic looks. Mix and match and wear lighter colors to add mass, like whites, creams, grays, pastels, and light blues.
  • No one cares if you’re skinny enough to fit into skinny jeans—don’t.
  • But don’t hide behind hanging fabric. Wear fitted shirts—fitted, not Latex—and use layering with jackets, sweaters, and the like to add bulk.

Guest poster: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
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