Since our inception, we have said many a time how important it is for every man to own a tailored suit. Much like the “Little Black Dress” in womenswear, a suit is a staple in any respectable man’s closet. A suit is a body of armour for men. One that gives the wearer confidence and reaffirms his panache. And while the age old saying, “we are all one” is true in essence, we are all not made the same. Some men are taller than others, while some are leaner than the rest. Herein lies the confusion for many men when finding a suit that will flatter their body type. Because, what you see in the shop, may not necessarily suit you.
Before we begin, as we were writing this article, we had unearthed a well-written piece by Jae of Kinowear about this particular topic. As such, we thought to ourselves, why repeat on the same points when he explained them in such a detailed manner that he couldn’t have written them any better. So, without further adieu, we let him explain the points to factor in, when finding that body of armour…
tall and thin
The Heavier Fabric:
If you’re tall and skinny, get heavier fabrics to add some proportion and additional weight to your body. Lighter fabrics will hang on your body like a thin layer and make you look more frail, so look for fabrics like tweed or a heavier weight worsted wool. Thin men especially need to pay closer attention to the fabric of the suit. Horizontal lines are a thin man’s friend, and textured fabrics such as tweeds and glen check will help add some substance to his frame. The thin man should look to overlap fabric in subtle ways such as with a double breasted jacket and double pleated trousers with cuffs.
Lighter colours always make things appear more bulky, so use this to your advantage. Stay away from vertical stripes (that lengthen) and dark colours (that are slimming) and choose a lighter colour such as khaki or gray.
Three buttons will look more flattering on a tall guy because it has height and length that is proportional to his body. You can even go with a two button jacket if you’d like but choose one with a button stance that’s closer to your solar plex than your navel.
Go For Single or No Vent:
Because most tall and skinny men don’t have much of a backside to make room for, they can either go for no vent or a single vent. Jacket vents were created to allow for better movement and comfort for the wearer as well as being a stylish touch, but tall and skinny men would look like they have a fuller rear if they stuck to the single or no vents on their suit jackets.
Look For Regular Rise Pants:
Tall men have long legs, so their pants shouldn’t make them seem any taller. The best way to prevent seeming any taller than you are is to ensure the pants have a longer rise; the rise of the pants, which is the distance from the waistband to the crotch, helps establish the proportions between the body and the legs. A regular rise will bring balance and symmetry to your already long legs and torso.
Wear Lightweight Fabrics:
A man with a fuller frame, muscular men included, should find a fitted suit that’s slenderizing. Let soft, worsted wools be your guide when choosing fabrics because you don’t want to add heavy fabrics on top of your bulky frame.
Every big man has heard that dark colours are slimming. It’s even more true with suits because you automatically wear the same colour on top and bottom, creating a monochromatic outfit that makes you look visually taller and more slender instead of cutting you in half at the waist and bringing attention to a belly. Choose dark navy or black for your suits for the best effect.
Make It Solid or Vertical Stripes:
Solids work best in creating a slender look. Loud patterns will definitely work against you, but if you’re looking for something other than solids, then vertical stripes are the way to go. Vertical stripes elongate the frame, and they also add some chic style to your suit mix. They create the illusion of height and thin the silhouette, and anything that stretches you in height helps with lessening the appearance of the midsection. Big guys can also choose tiny, innocuous patterns for a bolder look, but only if they proceed with caution.
The two-button jacket is now the norm and designed to work for all body types. Added cushion on the torso can mean a disproportionate look in the jacket. To ensure the best-looking fit in the coat, remember that two buttons are optimal. As an industry standard, it won’t draw attention to your bulky frame, like the modish impact of a one-button jacket or the slimming effect of a three-button piece. Also, look for two button jackets with a deep “V” to help elongate the chest.
Stick To Single Vent Jackets:
While it’s doubles on the buttons, bulky guys must keep the inverse in mind on the vent; specifically, avoid double-vented jackets. Vents, which are the slits at the back of the jacket, allow more movement. They also attract the eye, so huskier guys may not want to accentuate their backside. Instead, go for a single-vent jacket, which will give you the extra room you need minus the extra attention.
the short man
Stick With Subdued Patterns:
Avoid suit patterns that are too loud, because it will only draw attention to your small frame. So avoid patterns like houndstooth, herringbone, glenurquhart check, windowpane check, etc. Solid fabrics are ideal, especially dark colours that have a slimming effect, but a man shorter than average should be careful of textured solids such as plaids and bird’s eyes that cause the eyes to fixate versus moving smoothly up and down (as the short man should seek to streamline his outfit as to allow an observer a smooth path from the shoes to the face).
Embrace Vertical Stripes:
Vertical stripes (especially thin ones close together) are one of the greatest ways to create an illusion of lengthening a short frame. As stripes run top to bottom, they tend to draw the eye upward and elongate the look of the suit. Thus, it gives the illusion of making shorter men seem taller than they are.
Make It One or Two Buttons:
Choose a jacket with one or two buttons. Whichever you choose is your choice, but just keep in mind that a lower button stance will also seem more proportionate to your frame and give you some length.
Go For Double Vents:
Double vents emphasize the outside lines of the body so they create a longer silhouette that complements and lengthens your frame. It’s also more stylish than the single vent so there’s nothing to lose here.
Look For Low Rise Pants:
When it comes to the pant, look for a low rise. The rise is the vertical distance from the waist to the crotch; low-rise pants stretch out the torso, making you seem taller. They dramatize the proportions of your frame to look sleeker and longer. In fact, the lower the rise of the pants, the longer the body looks. Also, avoid cuffs on the pants because they will shorten your legs.