Unless you’re actually after the chic ‘wasted’ look, here’s some fashion advice for those guys who have trouble putting on bulk.
See a tailor
Don’t try to hide your spindly limbs behind bigger clothes — those billowing T-shirts only make your body look like a coat hanger garments draped over it — but at the same time, you obviously don’t want to be wearing skin-tight clothes that exaggerate your slight build. A good tailor makes sure all your items fit, especially around the arms — square shoulders and fitted sleeves are critical.
Don a jacket
Blazers are designed to make men look more masculine, with sharp padded shoulders plus a tapered waist and V-shaped lapel to broaden your chest in proportion to your waist. A vest or jumper underneath a jacket adds even more bulk, especially if you’re layering with thicker fabrics like tweed, flannel, and wool.
You know how they say black is slimming? Well white has the opposite effect, amplifying the perception of size. Lighter colours subtly help your body look larger, while horizontal stripes and patterns — particularly small checks — increase your perceived width and add texture to your frame.
Pick the right jeans
Super skinny jeans that cling to your toothpick-sized legs only exaggerate how thin your pins are, whereas a more relaxed leg helps add some heft — particularly in a thick fabric like denim. A light chino is also flattering and on-trend.
Strengthen your neck
End the ‘pencil neck’ putdowns by adding bulk above your shoulders — zip collars or shawl collars on a chunky knit makes your neck appear shorter and stronger. Crew-neck tees also flatter your neck and shoulders more than a top with a V-cut.
Avoid bulky accessories
An oversized 48mm watch is only going to make your arm look more like a matchstick, so keep all your accessories in proportion to your frame. That means thinner lapels on your suits, skinner ties, smaller bags, and sleeker sunglasses so it doesn’t seem like you’re being gobbled up by your garments.
Easier said than done — especially if your metabolism is faster than Usain Bolt on steroids — but plenty of protein and hitting the gym will add size without the optical illusions. Until then, keep relying on those tailored jackets and woollen jumpers.