How To Dress For Your Body Shape

Categories Fashion

Make the most of what you’ve got with our essential style guide…

What’s your shape?

The first step is to know your body shape, which is determined by the width ratio of your upper (shoulders, chest) to lower body (waist, hips). There are five basic shapes into which all men fit: The Rhomboid (broad upper, narrow lower), Inverted Triangle (much wider upper, tapering to notably narrower lower), Rectangular (upper and lower relatively equal width), Triangular (upper narrower than wide lower) and Oval (torso is rounded, making upper body and legs look markedly narrower).

1. Dressing for The Rhomboid

You lucky devil. This is the easiest shape to dress. Because you’re in near-perfect proportion, with shoulders and chest broader than but in balance with your hips and waist, you don’t need to accentuate or minimise anything, meaning you’re free to experiment with colours, patterns and cuts. Go for it.


2. Dressing for Inverted Triangle

The goal here is to reduce the contrast between your wider shoulders and chest and your skinny waist and hips. Avoid skinny or overly slim jeans because they draw attention to your narrow lower body. Similarly, don’t go for anything bulky in terms of jacket shoulders or loose fitting shirts. Opt instead for double-breasted jackets as they’ll exaggerate your waist. A belt will also break up the line between shirt and trousers and add a sense of bulk to your waist and hips. V-neck jumpers present a slimming effect on your upper torso by drawing the eye down from your shoulders, which then makes your lower body seem more in proportion. Horizontal striped T-shirts can also widen the waist and bring balance to your shoulders and chest.


3. Dressing for Rectangular Body

If you’ve got upper and lower body widths that are similar, your goal is to accentuate your shoulders and minimise your waist and hips to create the illusion of a Rhomboid body type. This can be achieved with structured jackets, particularly those with some subtle padding in the shoulders and wider lapels, which give the appearance of a wider chest. Go for jackets or blazers that are narrower in the arms and underarms as this also contributes to a wider upper torso. Layering can also be use to give you a larger-looking upper.


4. Dressing For The Triangular Body

Do not under any circumstances wear baggy or ill-fitting clothing because they don’t hide your larger lower body but only accentuate it. They’ll also give you the appearance of sloping shoulders. Same goes for skinny or slim-line jeans: you might fit them but their narrowness will only make your torso look rounder. Avoid crew necks or polo shirts for this reason, too, as they make shoulders look narrower, and your middle appear bigger. What you want to concentrate on is getting the best fitting clothes possible. If you can afford it, consult a tailor. In suiting, go for single-breasted, three-button designs that will give your torso a longer, less rounded look. Shoulder pads, structured designs and sharp pinstripes also contribute to a leaner effect and better silhouette. Darker coloured shirts – black, navy or charcoal – also produce a slimming illusion. Be careful not to wear T-shirt or jumpers with any sort of horizontal striping because they’ll only accentuate your girth.


5. Dressing For The Oval Body

Much of the advice for the Triangular Body also applies here. Vertical and pinstripes are your friend, as are trousers, shirts and suit jackets that are the exactly tailored for the length of your limbs. Too long or too short will focus attention on your roundness. Exactly right will make your limbs look longer and your body in better balance. Dark colours and dark prints will slim and add visual interest that distracts from your rotundity.