Fit, Fabric, and Finish: Why Body Type Matters in Men's Fashion.
Contrary to what many men believe, one does not have to have the fanciest most expensive wardrobe around in order to be considered a well dressed man. Nor is it necessary for every man to be a fashion expert to put together a well balance outfit, ensemble, or wardrobe. However, because of the many variables involved most men either rely on advice from sells people, friends and loved ones; With varying degrees of success. If they plan their wardrobes at all.
Fortunately, there are some time tested “rules of the road” that any man can follow that will result in a well balanced outfit, ensemble or wardrobe. I hope we can help. So let's get started
Some of the variables to consider are the persons body type, purpose of the garment, as well as skin and hair color. This post will deal with body type as it will help determine such details as fabric/pattern, fabric color, and such suiting details as button placement and venting.
For example, for men who are below average height (5'8” for American men in 2016*) it is advisable to avoid horizontal pattern as vertical patterns emphasize length while horizontal patterns emphasize girth. If that person also has a shorter torso that person will look most appropriate in a jacket that is shorter than the traditional length to accentuate that attribute. Add peak lapels and a bit of shirt showing from under the jacket at the wrist to complete the look.
On the other hand, taller men are best bested suited by avoiding vertical patterns as they emphasize length. Further, it is advisable to privilege two button jackets with a lower button position. Pairing these details with a nice belt to provide a visual break will ensure a sharp look. Tall men should be careful to ensure the length of pants and sleeves are of adequate length as any gap will draw attention to that appendage. In other words, if the pants leg is too short the person's legs will stand out.
If you are a guy of larger than average stature (Greater than 196 lbs and 38” waist for American men in 2016*) there are some procedures you can utilize to create a polished, well dressed silhouette. For larger men it is probably most important to present well as it is easier for you to appear unkempt. One mistake to avoid is wearing a dress shirts untucked. It does not hide a large mid section, rather it draws attention to it. If the goal is to present a thinner profile it is best to use suspenders rather than belts to create a continuous visual line. In addition this, using lighter weight fabrics will help profile a thinner look.
For men with athletic builds it may be advisable to select from suit separates as most traditional suit will not fit well. Working with a tailor to taper the waist of the jacket will help accentuate the most muscular build you worked so hard for.
Below you will find a nice info-graphic from our friends at Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) that will provide a visual cheat sheet for you use as you grow your wardrobe.
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FastStat web site.