Gentleman’s Geometry: Dressing for Your Body Shape Find your fit and embrace your size

If you’re searching for a guaranteed way to look put together (or trying to avoid looking like you don’t know what you’re doing) attention to the fit of your clothes is essential. Anything that’s too large for your frame looks sloppy, while clothing that’s too tight may accentuate body parts that don’t need attention. While the principle of fit is simple to understand, carrying it out can be a little bit trickier. We’ve laid out some basic profiles to help you understand what your body type is and what will look best on your frame. 

Trapezoid

trapezoid-body-shape

This is you if:

You have a pretty average build. Your chest and waist are well-balanced, and your shoulders are only slightly wider than your midsection, giving your upper body a slight taper. You might work out for a little definition but you don’t have that gym rat build (see below). Your legs are also balanced with your upper body. You’re in luck because this is the body shape most menswear brands cater towards. The way clothes look online will most likely be similar to how they’ll look on you. You have the freedom to try riskier prints and proportions. Use that to your advantage to build a more distinct and adventurous look.

What to Wear

mens-average-build-outfits

On the Daily

  • Slim fit trousers: You don’t need to use extra fabric or extreme tailoring to change your silhouette. Instead, emphasize your natural shape with close fitting pants. Since your shape is industry standard, you should be able to buy pants marked “slim fit” off that rack and have them look like they were made for you.
  • Patterns: Don’t shy away from something a little bit louder because you have the body shape to pull it off. This isn’t an excuse to throw on your best Hawaiian shirt, but you can go bold. Try a strong geo print in a bright color.
  • Standard ties: Since you’re so well balanced, anything other than a standard size tie looks a little wonky on you. Skinny ties will make you look too broad and anything extra long could make you look short. If you really need something a little different, go with a bowtie.

In a Suit

  • Well-tailored trousers: Same rules as your everyday look, make sure your pants skim your body and have a slimmer fit. Ask your tailor for a slight break or no break (where your pant leg hits your shoe), as this looks best with slim fit trousers and will give you a contemporary, modern look.  
  • Taper at your waist: Make sure your jacket comes in at the waist to avoid an unbalanced look between your top and bottom half. Even though your frame leaves some room for mistakes, it’s also easy to get a good fit. Your body type makes it easy to find the right jacket without any tailoring, so hold out for the right piece.

Rectangle

rectangle-body-type

This is you if:

You’re straight through the torso with shoulders that are the same width as your waist, and you may have been called “beanpole” at some point in your life. Your skinny top half is matched by equally slim legs. Your above average height makes fit a bit of a challenge when you find yourself trying to match the length and width of your clothing. Wide fits leave you with a boxy silhouette and large patterns make it look as if you’re being swallowed up by fabric, so avoid both of these. Layers and heavy fabrics are your friends as they create the illusion of a heavier frame, especially on your top half.

What to Wear

mens-slim-body-outfits

On the Daily

  • Layers: Knits, cardigans, or jackets are all great for adding some weight to your shoulders to create the illusion of a trapezoid build. Heavier fabrics, in general, will draw the eye upward and put more bulk on your frame.
  • Details across shoulders: Perfect for summer when the last thing you want to do is put on another layer. Color or detailing on the top half of your shirt will create the same effect as layers with a little less heat. Try to draw the eye upward and accentuate your shoulders to create a broader look.
  • Slim fit trouser: A close fit in your trousers will also help you keep your proportions in check. Anything wider won’t add bulk but actually, makes you look skinnier as the excess fabric overwhelms your frame.

In a Suit

  • Pant Length: The shortest you should ever go on your pant length is the no break look. While the cropped look may be fashion forward, it throws off the balance between your top and bottom half
  • Single breasted jackets: Single-breasted jackets are a must for your frame, as a double-breasted look will make you look even more rectangular. Some structure in your shoulders is also ideal to fill out your top half.

Inverted Triangle

inverted-triangle-body-shape

This is you if:

Sometimes you have trouble walking through door frames. Okay, your proportions may not be that extreme but your shoulders are definitely the widest part of your body and are accompanied by a more tapered waist than someone with a trapezoid build. Since you (hopefully) haven’t been skipping leg day, you may also have some bulk in your thighs, giving some visual weight to the bottom half of your body as well. This can be a difficult body to dress, with most retailers catering bodies less fine-tuned than yours. Luckily, the athleisure trend gives you some room to breathe and the chance to wear something other than sweat-wicking shirts.

What to Wear

mens-athletic-build-outfits

On the Daily

  • Straight-leg trousers: Add some balance on the bottom with a straight line in your pant leg. A little more fabric here will add to your frame and keep your pants fitting comfortably.
  • Horizontal stripes: Your waist is by far the smallest point of your body. A bold stripe can help widen you in the place that you need it most and draw attention away from your broad shoulders.  
  • Belts: Another tactic for drawing the eye a little lower is adding a belt to your getup. Whether you’re wearing shorts or full-length pants, adding one in a standout color will break up your frame a little.  

In a Suit

  • Small to medium patterns: Since your build is bigger, keep the patterns you’re wearing smaller to downplay your size. Small polka dots or more intricate patterns on your shirt will look best on you.
  • Tailor the waist: You’ll certainly need extra room in the shoulders, so opt for a size up in your suit jacket and plan for your tailor to take it in at the waist. A boxy, unfitted look isn’t flattering on anyone. Despite your slender middle, your jacket should still taper in.

Triangle

triangle-body-shape

This is you if: Your midsection is wider than your shoulders This build becomes more common post-college, but does not mean you’re out of shape. Some people’s bodies are more inclined to this build than others. Your legs also have some shape to them and are balanced out by the top half of your body. The most important thing to be wary of is the pinch from trying to dress for the slimness of your shoulders that could cause some tightness around the belly. Looks that work for you (particularly on top) overlap with what looks good on the rectangle-shaped man.

What to Wear:

mens-triangle-build-outfits

On the Daily

  • Structured shoulders: Since your midsection is the widest part of your body, structured shoulders are perfect for balancing it out. This will minimize the visual appearance of any weight on your waist and make you appear more proportional.
  • Detailing/color across your chest: Again, anything that will draw the eyes upwards to your shoulders is a good look for you. Color and detailing that brings the eyes up to your chest is a more flattering look on you.
  • Straight leg pants: When it comes to pants, taper at your own risk. Anything too slim fitting will draw attention straight to the largest part of your body. A straight legged look, and even some pleats, will give you more balanced look with some extra comfort.  

In a Suit

  • Single breasted jacket: The volume of a double-breasted jacket will bring too much weight to your top half. Instead, invest in a classic single-breasted jacket that will sit close to your frame. Structured shoulders will draw the eyes up and balance out your middle with this more formal piece.
  • Darker dress shirt: A darker, deeper color could be more flattering than your standard white dress shirt. The tone will look slimming on your larger top half and create a nice monochrome look with the rest of your suit.