Many men overlook the details of their body when they shop for clothes. In their minds, they're
thinking about what looks good on men in general, not about what will flatter them specifically.

Take it one step further when you shop, and start with the styles that suit your body best.

Styles for Short Men

The idea that short men always want to look taller is a bit insulting. You can look good without
buying into airbrushed stereotypes.

That said, short men do look good in styles that streamline their body and help the viewer's eye travel
easily up the length of their figure to their face.

To flatter a shorter body, look to eliminate unnecessary horizontal elements and thick, chunky details:
Starting at the feet, avoid shoes with needless seams or decorations on the uppers. Keeping the
footwear sleek and smooth on top may not seem that important, but it helps people's attention
focus on the upper body rather than the feet.

Similarly, trouser cuffs don't do anything useful for a short man. Opt for smooth hems to avoid
looking chopped off at the ankles (and make sure the trousers are long enough to hide the socks
completely, for the same reason).

Belts should be kept slim and simple. Avoid anything chunky or eye-catching. Big belts cut your
height right in half.

A little patterning is fine, but avoid heavy horizontal striping or checks. You want most of the
elements to be vertical.

By the same token, avoid unnecessary horizontal elements like extra pockets on the jacket and
shirt. Your upper body look should be clean and simple.

Don't feel like you have to follow each and every one of those rules to the letter. It's not impossible
for a short man to look good in a plaid shirt with a breast pocket. You just want your wardrobe to
generally lean toward the slimmer, sleeker, more vertical style of clothing.

Styles for Tall Men

It should stand to reason that tall men mostly want the opposite of short men: they do well in styles
that are more cluttered and that include heavier horizontal elements. That helps break up the height,
reducing the impression of looming that tall men sometimes give.

Look for understated ways to break your height up without getting too aggressive about it:
Patterned shoes help draw the eye downward. That doesn't make people stare at your feet or
anything -- it just gives a little downward pull to your look, which helps balance the height out
some. Brogues work well, as do styles with visible seams on the uppers like cap toes and

Outside of your most formal dress trousers, there's no reason not to have cuffs on your pants. It
helps cut a bit of height off at the ankles, and the extra durability is just an added bonus.

Wider belts and larger buckles help give a solid anchor to your midsection. Like the shoes, that weights the viewer's eye down a little, keeping them from focusing on your height.

Small horizontal elements like flap pockets clutter your look up a bit, making you less of a monolithic whole. In low-formality settings, go for a busy look.

Horizontal patterns are fine, so long as they're not too bold. A really aggressive check or plaid
on a big man is a lot of visual information all at once, so keep things simple to avoid overwhelming the people around you.

As with short men, there's no reason to make this your style gospel. Tall guys can do just fine in
vertical stripes, within reason. All you're doing is avoiding extremes, and erring on the side of
breaking your height up a little.

Styles for Heavyset Men

There's a lot of advice out there for men who want to appear slimmer. Some of it's good and some of
it's not.

Try not to get hung up on the idea of "slimming down." The goal is to look good, not to look like you
have a different body. Simple solids, dark colors, and a clean silhouette all go a long way toward
making a broad man look big and powerful, rather than out of shape.

Jackets are the big man's friend. Wear one whenever you can! A simple dark blazer or sports
jacket frames the torso and directs people's eyes up toward your face.

Keep patterning to a minimum. Thin lines on wide scales work better than closely spaced patterns. A big body has a lot of surface area, and detailed patterns can easily look overwhelming.

Large accents will help keep everything looking proportional. Avoid skinny belts, slim wristwatches, and insubstantial-looking pocket squares. You want your small details to project solidity.

The goal for a heavyset dresser is to keep everything looking neat, simple, and proportional. Don't be
afraid to be bold -- you've got the body to carry it off.

Clothing and Posture

Men of any size should also keep their posture in mind when selecting clothing.

Ideally, you want your posture to be as straight as possible. The most attractive way for a man to
carry himself (and there are deeply-engrained biological reasons for that attractiveness) is with his
back straight, his chest forward, his chin up, and his shoulders wide and square.

If you already assume that posture naturally, you're ahead of the game. If you don't, it's worth trying to change your habits, but in the meantime you'll want to be aware of your normal posture when you
shop for clothes.

Always try clothing on in your "natural" posture. That means relaxing into your default habits, rather
than stiffening up and puffing your chest out for the mirror. Remember, you're not trying to impress
anyone in the changing room.

This is particularly important when men are getting fitted for custom clothing or adjustments.


jackets take the "pitch" of the sleeve into account: the angle at which it attaches to the shoulder
and torso of the jacket. If you're artificially distorting your posture during the measurements, you're
likely to get a jacket with a pitch that doesn't fit your body.

Be realistic, and shop for the body you have rather than the body you want (that's always good advice,
for issues of weight gain and loss as well as posture). Work on straightening your back and shoulders
-- it's good for your appearance and your health --but be ready to take a pass on clothing if it
wrinkles or distorts on your existing default posture.

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