Men may think they have fewer options when it comes to dressing in order to enhance or disguise, but there are plenty of tips and tricks they can use to create balance and proportion. Just a few dos and don’ts can make a huge difference. Bobbie Thomas, TODAY Style editor and author of the Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, offers ways to shift his shape:
Clothing can help to elongate or dwarf your frame, so it’s important to know the dos and don’ts. Stiff fabrics, thick knits and baggy pants will add volume, not height, while smooth fabrics that flow and move with you are best. Avoid contrasting colors, as monochromatic ensembles will lengthen, and look for vertical patterns to add some extra inches visually. Fitted or straight-leg bottoms will be much more flattering than full-cut or wide-leg ones. Overall, keep things lean and sleek, but not too tight.
Big and tallFor men, looking large-and-in-charge is a plus, but there comes a point when oversized may feel over the top. To tone down one’s physique, avoid loud or bold colors, prints and patterns. Instead, opt for classic shades such as olive, chocolate, navy black and charcoal. Pants with pleats or tapered legs and loose-fitting jackets are generally not the most flattering. Two-button suit jackets and flat-front, straight-leg pants are likely to be more slimming. And finally, finish off the look with a pair of sleek, streamlined shoes, which will help create a slimmer appearance.
For those who want to bulk up, loose, oversized clothing is not the way to do it. Believe it or not, it’s best to opt for fitted, tailored pieces, and play up layering items instead. Argyle patterns and other horizontal designs will help to visually expand your chest, while vertical stripes will work against you. Bold colors have more weight than muted ones, and will help to create a flattering visual illusion. Basic hues can tend to fade away and blend into the background. So don’t be afraid to mix and match contrasting shades, and to wear light looks instead of dark.
While one of the most basic body types, proportion is essential. Clothing shouldn’t be too short or too long, but rather just right. Full chests and broad shoulders tend to look stocky in double-breasted and shorter zip-up jackets, but will appear more streamlined in a casual blazer. It’s best to wear darker-colored coats over lighter shirts, rather than the reverse. If thicker on the bottom half, draw the eye up with generous lapels on the upper torso. Look for pants that fall at the natural waist or even slightly higher to compliment muscular legs. And invest in a strategically washed pair of medium blue jeans. Denim that’s faded in the center thigh but gradually darkens on the outside edges will balance out your build.