How to Dress for Your Shape – We’re All Built Differently

Mannequin

Have you ever visited a store, seen a mannequin dressed nicely, and attempted to copy that look? Usually, the results are not exactly what we were expecting in the beginning. I’ve been there, and I’m certain most of you have as well. Granted, modern-day mannequins come in various shapes and sizes, but you hardly ever see more than one variation inside a single store. Just like with mannequins, real people come in many shapes and types of bodies. It is crucial you understand what works best for your body type and what doesn’t in order to know how to dress for your shape. It is really not that difficult, and once you learn about it, you start to see how intuitive it actually is.

There are a few types or shapes of bodies, and we’re going to learn about them right here.

The Rectangle


Rectangle Body ShapeA man with a rectangle body shape shares approximately the same width on his shoulders, waist and hips. These men should look for clothing that accentuates their shoulders, making them seem wider, while narrowing the area around their torso.

There are several ways one can achieve that.

What to Do

You can, for example, layer your clothes. This is one of the easiest ways to make emphasis on your chest and shoulders area. Choosing crew-neck shirts over v-necks is the way to go, this will draw attention to your chest, enhancing it, making it look bigger. Then, you can throw in a button-down shirt to make your shoulders appear wider.

If you’re looking for a more formal attire, a great option is a shoulder-padded blazer. Keep in mind that, in this particular case, it will be best to take your blazer to a tailor – if you already have a personal tailor, even better – to have them take in the back and have the arms thinned a little. This will give you a more structured look overall.

Yet another excellent alternative is dressing with horizontal lines across the upper body. This goes for both short and long-sleeved shirts. Adding these lines will create the illusion of a wider top frame.

What to Avoid

Double-breasted jackets. These already have a rectangle shape around the torso, so single-breasted jackets are the better pick.

The Triangle


Triangle Body ShapeThis type of body makes the man appear larger around the torso, while narrower on the shoulders. It’s a struggle for most men with this body shape. This is because, typically, clothings address the exact opposite features in mind.

But there is always a solution.

What to Do

This is where having a personal tailor comes in very handy, again. Wearing poorly fitting clothing is only going to worsen the case. So make sure you take your clothes to your tailor.

Elongate your upper body by wearing vertical stripes. This will make you look thinner. However, you can also wear horizontal ones, but be careful with how you make use of them; make sure they go from the chest up only. Otherwise, they will make your waist look wider.

Wear structured jackets and blazers. This will create the effect of having wider shoulders.

For formal occasions, choose single-breasted suits with structured fit on the shoulders. By doing this, your body will look slimmer around the waist and wider on the top.

Between crew-neck and v-neck shirts, always choose the former to make your chest look bigger. Dark colors work best for this body shape.

What to Avoid

Prints and patterns should definitely be avoided. These draw a lot of attention to the waist. You can accentuate other areas of your body by accessorizing. You can wear a pair of glasses, for instance, a bracelet or even bright colored socks, if you like. Also, avoid wearing big, adventurous belts.

Skinny trousers are a no-go. They will only highlight the triangle body shape by making the legs look thinner.

Wearing bomber jackets will usually make your shoulders look slouchy, which will exaggerate the triangle shape. This is why structured jackets are a wiser choice.

The Inverted Triangle


Inverted Triangle Body ShapeOtherwise, seen as having a v-shaped torso, men with an inverted triangle body shape have broad shoulders and relatively narrow waist and hips. This is usually the result of long training sessions in the gym, which is great in itself, but presents difficulties when looking to buy clothes that fit well right off the rack.

Still, nothing to worry about, as for the inverted triangle body type, there are several great ideas on how to dress for your shape. We are going to focus on accentuating a fit, toned body.

What to Do

Given that the mid-section of the body is slimmer here, our aim is to add some volume around this area, while still maintaining a well-proportioned body shape.

Horizontal lines from the chest down will help you attain a wider look around the waist.

On the other hand, you can wear plain shirts, but with a more fitted finish. However, make sure the fit is neither too tight that it will hug you around every inch of your body, nor too loose that it won’t let you hint your robustness. Usually, sizing up is the solution.

A v-neck shirt is a great option, too. It will take away the attention from your top – your shoulders and chest – and will draw the right attention to your stomach area.

You can wear double-breasted suits for formal situations.

If you like jackets, a slim fit will do. The wider section of the hips and waist will give you a well proportionate look.

For trousers, opt for slim fit pairs rather than skinny.

For the most part, finding yourself a tailor will be the best approach for this type of body.

What to Avoid

Stay away from structured suits and jackets. They will make your shoulder line seen even wider, drawing attention to the wrong areas of your body.

Differentiate between a regular v-neck and a deep-v-neck shirt. While the first is great for this body shape, the second one will give your body an imbalanced look.

The Trapezoid


Trapezoid Body ShapeThis is the easiest body shape to dress. These men have wide shoulders and a similar waist and hip widths; not to be confused with a rectangle shaped body, which has approximately the same measurements all around.

Here’s another way to see it. While there is a difference between the shoulders and the hips and waist area, it is not as drastic as with the inverted triangle body shape.

What to Do

You can take advantage of having this body shape in may ways. One, being able to try bolder looks. You can wear fit clothings as much as slim ones. But there are still some limitations to consider.

Putting on a blazer will contour your body line more nicely, especially if you button just one of its buttons instead of all.

When it comes to patterns, the most common ones are vertical lines or checks. This decision, however, will be more influenced by your height. If you want to appear taller, choose vertical lines. Whereas if you want to add more volume to your torso, pick plaids or checks.

Being the average and easiest body shape to dress also come with few consequences. You will have to think of ways to accentuate your look with accessories if you want to stand out, and fixing this is not too hard.

Try wearing a watch or a tie. Note that the perfect tie length is achieved when it lands right above the belt buckle, and its length should be approximately three inches. Any more or less will more often than not give your torso an odd look.

Adding a pocket square is an excellent idea as well.

What to Avoid

When it comes to trousers, bagginess and loose fits will result in adding unnecessary bulk to your shape.

Too much clutter. Don’t go overboard when adding accessories. It’s easy to get carried away, but remember to be wise as to how many bracelets, rings, necklaces, or any other complimentary pieces you add to your outfit.

The Oval


Shirttail GartersHaving an oval shaped body means narrower shoulders and hips, while having a wider center area. We want to focus on making the torso seem lengthier, and making the shoulders wider.

What to Do

For the upper area, choose dark colored shirts. These will make the body look slimmer. Alternatively, you can opt for vertical lines that will lengthen the area around the stomach.

Let’s not forget about the collar of a shirt. A collar with a wider spread is great because this will give the neck a thinner appearance.

In general, a shirt should not be too loose nor too tight. Loose shirts will result in unwanted bulkiness around the belt line. A shirt that is too tight will cause many wrinkles. Taking your shirts to a tailor will easily solve both scenarios.

Here is a tip for loose shirts: Wear shirttail garters or suspenders. Wearing either one of these will help keep the shirt in place, thus helping maintain a straight placket, particularly while standing.

Personally, I recommend KK & Jay shirttail garters. They are amazing in terms of quality and have a very modern look. They come in several colors and patterns, and never fail to do the job they’re built for. Hands down, KK & Jay have the best shirttail garters in the market right now, in my opinion.

For layering, wear dark-colored jackets to slim down the line of your body. Single-breasted suits and jackets make the right choice. You can take your suits to the tailor and have them slightly take from the sides.

To give your legs more length, wear fitted trousers. They will seem thinner at the same time.

What to Avoid

Horizontal lines would be a bad choice, they add width to the torso.

Polo shirts are almost all the time stretchy, and they would create the illusion that you’re wearing a shirt with a tight fit.

Avoid double-breasted jackets. They add volume to the center of the torso.

Wide crew necks are another bad choice. A shirt with a neck as wide will only broaden your upper body.

 

The Geniality of the Right Perspective

PerspectiveI think it’s beautiful how there are so many, many ways men can style their own lives through the right pieces of clothing. Humans are creative, imaginative and capable of overcoming any and all forms of situations through proper knowledge.

We come in many shapes, and while this may have been a limitation at some point in our lives, we’ve come to uncover a world of possibilities perfectly suited for each of us. When you understand the circumstances, it’s easier work towards a solution.

Playing with shapes is actually a fun thing to do. Do not be afraid of them. On the contrary, you should embrace them. It’s all about adding and subtracting to the right spots. A well-proportioned outfit will give you the look you’ve been wanting to achieve for a long time.

Now that you have the knowledge to do so, go and experience it for yourself!

If in the past you’ve found it hard to figure out what kinds of clothing are the best for you, I hope this serves as a way to turn those struggles into strengths and that feel proud of the body you’re rocking!

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36 thoughts on “How to Dress for Your Shape – We’re All Built Differently

  1. Tina Reply

    I can hardly believe I was so fortunate to stumble across this information. Very easy workable suggestions on how to better dress whic can make a difference in ones appearance.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      It does make a huge difference, and I think it’s important that every man knows how to look their best!

  2. Dwyan Anthony Alford Reply

    Superb Article! well written. I am The Inverted Triangle body type for sure. This is my first time to read anything like what you presented. Dressing always seemed instinctive to me, or how I wish to see myself at any time. I see there is a science to it. I also never think of going to the tailors, I just accept what I find in the store. You have opened my eyes up to using a tailor as often times I hear myself saying “I wish I could cut here or take up here.” I enjoyed this post a lot. Good knowledge to have.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      Thanks Dwyan! I believe so, too, taking your clothes to a tailor is so much worth it. You feel a difference the instant you put your renewed clothes on. Plus, looking good gives you an incredible confidence boost!

  3. Brian Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    very informative article! I never notice there’s so much to learn about dress for shape. I think I am the “Rectangle”, that’s why I tried for double-breasted once and my wife said I looked weird. Perhaps I should stick to single-breasted. Thank you so much!

    Brian

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      She was right. When we shop for clothes we usually don’t take shapes into consideration, but it’s important to know where you fit amongst these ones we discussed here. Once you’ve done this, the rest becomes much easier.
      Have a great day, Brian!

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      I’ve been in that position before, Mariette, where I couldn’t really tell what was off with my outfit, exactly, but once I came to learn about how to dress according to my body shape I felt like I had cracked the code.

  4. Dany Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    What a detailed article! I always thought that it’s much easier for men to buy clothes.
    There is good guidance provided, but I’m afraid that the final result will not be as expected, as I’m not a fashion expert 🙂
    I will share your article with my friends as I find it useful.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      Hello, Dany, I am happy that you’ve found it informative.
      You do not have to be a fashion expert, really. All it takes sometimes is a small push in a new direction.
      Thanks in advance for sharing with your friends!

  5. Tim Reply

    I have always just bought clothes that fit. Never took my shape in to consideration. After reading your article I can say I am regtangle shape. And I will have to try the crew neck shirt you mentioned. This is some interesting stuff you have opened my eyes to.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      I’m really glad that you’ve liked it, Tim. I know you’ll love the way crew neck shirts will make you look. It’d be great to hear some feedback once you’ve tried them on!

      Have a great day!

  6. Ahmad Ballard Reply

    Hello Andresh, great article. I am considered a trapezoid, and I normally wear slim fit clothing. I’m thinking about trying out some new dressing styles such as wearing dress shirts with a bow tie, and a vest. I will have to visit a tailor in order to measure me so I can find what’s right for me. Thanks again for the helpful tips on dressing for your shape. I wish you nothing but success!!!

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      That’s great to hear, Ahmad. I’m sure you’ll learn lots of valuable lessons upon visiting your tailor. You won’t regret it, trust me.
      I hope you have a fantastic day!

  7. Benji Reply

    This is a really detailed post and you’ve included something for everyone, great job. Quick question; layering is obviously a great technique but what do you do in the summer months instead when you don’t want to be sweating it out all the time?

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      That’s a great question, Benji. When it comes to layering, and especially during summer, you should pay close attention to what kinds of materials you’re wearing. You’ll want to wear lightweight fabrics for summer if you want to layer. A great example are bomber jackets, if you have broad shoulders. On the other hand, you can opt for wearing an open shirt on top of a tee. Look for breathable fabrics such as cotton. Personally, the way I like to layer on hot summer days is by wearing a plain T-shirt underneath an unbuttoned checked lumberjack. This is a great way to bring color to your outfit, too.
      I hope you find this helpful!

  8. Jacob Highley Reply

    I’ve got the trapezoid body type. I have broad shoulders and a similar waste. Good to know that clothing is better for my dimensions naturally. I like your ideas for trying bolder looks but not going crazy as well.
    Vertical lines and checks sound like they would really work for me too. Thanks for the great post!

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      My pleasure, Jacob! Vertical lines and checks are great options for you, indeed, and they are very versatile to work with once you understand how to use them correctly.

  9. Corey Reply

    I have seen tips like this for women all over the place – dress for your skin tone, shape, size, color blah, blah, blah – but never for men. I live in a small kinda redneck community so I never even thought of this… most of the men here (my hubby included) are basic jeans and T, usually a bit too big…. lol. but it is true that men have these issues as well and your advice is great! I hope many see this. There has always been such a focus on how women dress that men get kind of over looked –

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      Yes, there is an abundance of articles like this for women, and not as many for men. It is as important for men as it is for women to understand that looking good is not something that should be taken for granted nor should it be overlooked. Ultimately, what looking good does for you is that it makes you feel awesome about yourself, it lifts your spirit and makes your day a better one.

  10. ecocatherine Reply

    This is a great article. I never really considered these shapes in reference to men, as that is often done with women. i am confident that men who are looking to transform their image will find the information in this post insightful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      Thanks! I really think this information is very useful and any man can benefit from learning a thing or two about himself in order to look and feel better.

  11. Fleur Allen Reply

    A refreshing article that makes people real. It is so true we all very much do come in different shapes and sizes. I’m sure there is countless information for women however this is the first such article I have come across for men. Will be sharing it with my men folk.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      That makes me happy to know, Fleur, I am very happy that you’ve enjoyed it, and I hope your friends do, too!

  12. Jukka Reply

    This gave me some great tips for dressing Andrew! I’m always having trouble finding clothes that fit right. I’m not sure about my body type though. Genetically I have pretty narrow shoulders but I’ve been lifting for years, which has made my upper body wider, at least in some parts. To make things worse I have a bit of a gut so slim fit shirts and clothes are always a bit tight on the mid section and regular ones are narrow on the back and too loose on the mid section for my preference. I guess I’m an inverted triangle with an oval mid section then 😀

    I really liked your article and have an idea for you. I’m always having trouble buying jeans that aren’t saggy and sit well but don’t restrict my movement. I have longish, trained legs and a bit of a gut and it’s just seems you either have to be skinny as hell or just fat to find jeans that fit. So do a similar post about trousers with suggestions! I bet there are tons of guys like me who have trouble finding trousers for their body shape.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      We are all different, and I am glad that you’ve visited my post. I’ve struggled with both shirts and jeans in the past. In my case, shirts were either too loose or too tight for my taste, but following some of these tips helped me find the solution.
      In your case, instead of going straight to the slim size section of the rack, try sizing up a little and see how it fits you on your shoulders. If the fit is right, but you feel it’s a little loose around the stomach, you can take it to the tailor to have them slightly take the sides.

      A post in the same take, but on trousers is a really great idea. Thanks for the suggestion, I will definitely keep it in mind!
      At the moment I may not have an article fully dedicated to it, but maybe you can find some useful tips on this post:
      https://gentlemensartofstyle.com/style-ideas-for-men-quick-style-fix-ups

  13. Tom Priesmeyer Reply

    Very interesting, and useful article. Glad to know how my trapezoid shape can best be optimized. I will definitely take advantage of these tips, especially the one about adding vertical lines to appear taller, as I am only 5’9″ tall. Thanks for this eye opening information.

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      Excellent, Tom, it’s great that you’ve found it useful. I’m sure you’ll feel great once you’ve tried these tips! Adding vertical lines is a great way to appear taller. It’s amazing how something so simple works so well.
      Have a great day!

  14. Timotheus Reply

    I am going to bookmark your website! I am not very good at fashion, and your website offers so much good tips! This article, for example, really helps guys of every shape. I have broad shoulders but with a belly. Broad shoulders were from past youth, days of swimming and hitting the gym. Now, I am older, and suffers from frozen shoulder. So, now I have a belly. Should I dress as advised in your article for inverted triangle? What should I do?

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      That makes me so happy to know, Timotheus! I’m honored.

      Yes, try implementing some of the tips for the inverted triangle body shape to target your shoulders area.
      Try to avoid wide crew necks, they will make your shoulders seem broader. Wear vertical lines to lengthen your torso. When it comes to colors, dark-toned shirts are a great choice. If you look for clothes that don’t have so much of a close fit, this will help you with the area around your stomach. Also, avoid double-breasted suits and jackets, as they will add volume to your stomach.

      Hope this helps!
      Again, thank you so much for your support. I hope to see you around.

  15. Christen Reply

    Very interesting article as I certainly did not think of the fact that men have almost the same amount of varieties in shape as us women do. Thanks for the share! Will definitely reference this post when shopping for the men in my life 🙂

    • Andrew Post authorReply

      Thanks, Christen. Yes, that’s right, while men are not as open about the topic, it is something that affects both men and women alike. However, I think it’s great that there are guides and several articles out there targeting each, individually, just like this one right here.

      I’m glad you’ve found it interesting, and I hope men in your life also do. Have a great weekend!

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