Buying a Suit for Your Body Shape
The best tailoring tips and tricks to make the most of your shape.

April 1, 2020

Every body is unique, and when it comes to suiting you need to make sure you are making the right decision for your own body type. To help improve your choice of fit and design, we’ve reached out to the experts to give you a few tips on getting the most out of your suit for your body. Below is a list of body types and the Do’s and Don’ts attached to each one.

Pick between Athletic, Large, Slim, Tall and Short. You may find yourself fitting in two categories, this is completely fine and is common for every man. Reach out to us if you need a personalised expert opinion. 

The Athletic Man

The Athletic Man 

With these hard-earned assets you’ll need to make some tactical choices to show off your figure. Many suits are designed to give the illusion of an athletic physique but since you clearly don’t need that aesthetic assistance, be mindful to avoid large shoulder pads, aggressively tapered pants, and extra-wide peak lapels – which are designed to make a chest look broader and the body taller. 

Do’s

  • Make sure you have minimal shoulder padding; you already have built shoulders, there’s no need to make them bigger!
  • V-neck jumpers and t-shirts will help draw the attention down, balancing out your look.
  • Make sure your jackets are taken in at the sides; off the rack suits always assume a large chest means a large waist.

Don’ts

  • Never go for a skinny fit trouser; it will create unbalanced proportions and make you look top-heavy.
  • A wide lapel is not for you; there’s to need to make your shoulders look even broader.

The Larger Man

The Larger Man 

The most important piece of advice here is don’t make the mistake of trying to hide your figure by going baggy – we’ve all tried that and it’s time to accept that it doesn’t work. Tailoring your suit will be a great chance for you to experience the joys of a contoured outfit. Opt for a peak lapel as it gives the illusion of height which will improve your proportions; Pinstripes always result in a more slender look. 

Do’s

  • A clean tailored fit is best; if it fits correctly then it will give you a more defined look.
  • Lighter and thinner materials will help create the illusion of a thinner physique.
  • Making sure your clothes are at the correct length and fit properly; if not they can make you look short and out of proportion.

Don’ts

  • Horizontal stripes are your worst enemy; they will make you look even wider.
  • Stay away from double breasted jackets; I’m sure no one wants to look like a square.
  • Polo shirts and turtlenecks won’t help either; they will slenderise the neck and shoulders, and accentuate the stomach and waist.

The Slimmer Man

The Slimmer Man  

The primary goal for the skinnier gentlemen is to add some weight to your look. The best way to achieve this is to opt for heavy fabrics such as wool and consider some bold patterns like large checks. Double-breasted jackets use more fabric and can add more girth to the torso. The trick is to get spectators to think horizontally, and avoid vertical thinking wherever possible. 

Do’s

  • Shoulder padding and wider lapels are key; they draw focus up, giving you a more structured frame.
  • Pleated trousers are optional and recommended; helping the legs to look thicker.

Don’ts

  • Avoid slim lapels, they will do nothing for you and make you look even skinnier.

The Taller Man

The Taller Man 

We know it’s the current trend, but stay away from cuffing your trousers as it’s just going to make it look like you couldn’t find pants for your extremely long legs. As a taller man, there is a lot more of you to see, so when it comes to suits you need to find creative ways to fill the space and break up space between your head and feet. 

Do’s

  • Unlike the shorter man, leaving a little excess fabric will help you avoid looking like a beanpole!
  • Your jacket should be on the longer side, one that covers your shirt all the way to the hips.
  • Wearing separates is your greatest weapon, mixing up your jackets and trousers will help to break up your height whilst giving you more use out of your wardrobe.

Don’ts

  • I know it’s the trend to show a little sock, but never go for a shorter leg otherwise it’ll end up looking like your pants are too short for you; and that’s the last thing a tall man wants!
  • Best to abstain from wearing long pointy shoes, they will only heighten the issue.

The Shorter Man

The Shorter Man 

Naturally, the approach for a suit complementary to a shorter figure is the direct opposite of that to a taller figure. You want to encourage vertical thinking with one streamlined look; avoid separates and bold patterns. Tapered trousers worn on just above the hips can make you look inches taller, particularly when paired with a shortcut jacket. 

Do’s

  • Slim, short cut suits are your best friend; having excess fabric would make you look even shorter!
  • Wearing high-waisted cuffed trousers can add imaginary inches to your height.
  • Pinstripes will encourage vertical thinking, again giving the illusion of height.

Don’ts

  • Steer clear of long coats; nothing longer than mid-thigh.
  • Avoid wearing belts and suit separates, cutting yourself in half will only make you look shorter.
  • Be mindful of boots, the bigger they are the shorter your legs will look!

Body shapes are unique and plentiful, finding what works for yours is the key to a great suit.

In conclusion, every body type varies greatly and getting the right fit and design to collaborate with your body can be the difference between a great looking suit or one that looks quite average. Notice your own body type and be conscious of this when buying your next suit.

Ryan Dodson

April 1, 2020

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