Fashion Tips for the Male Body

Key clothing tips to be a well-dressed man, no matter your shape.
Man looking into closet
Ask any man what his body type is, and he’ll either: a) stare at you blankly, b) give a one-word answer like "tall," "broad" or "muscular," or c) laugh and say, “Isn’t body type a woman thing?” But understanding your body type can be a powerful piece of information, going a long way toward helping you look and feel confident and attractive — your wardrobe choices will be more informed, and you’ll transform into a savvy well-dressed gent.

We’ll break down the three basic body types, and offer a few formal / semi-formal style tips from menswear professionals, on how to dress each.

Before we begin, let's cover a few universal rules, applicable across body types:
  1. Always wear clothing that’s specific to your body type. It’s a common misconception that baggy apparel will help conceal excess poundage, but items designed specifically for your shape will be much more flattering.
  2. Related to rule 1, a great tailor will know the best ways to flatter your natural build. So it’ll behoove you to invest in one.
  3. In general, try to avoid pleated trousers, since they have a tendency to balloon around the waist and emphasis body mass.
1.The endomorph
If your build is of the Jack Black / John Goodman variety, you’re an endomorph. Endomorphs tend to have big hips and shoulders, and they usually don’t have defined waistlines. When dressing this shape, try outfits that will lengthen the torso, making it appear slimmer.
Outfit tips:
  • Wear dark colors with bright accents to help break up your body shape.
  • Shoulders pads will also make your body look more defined.
  • Wear V-necks and sweaters in thin fabrics — the bulkier the fabric, the bulkier you’ll look.
  • Try stripes, in either direction. Horizontal stripes have a bad rep but can be just as effective as vertical stripes at drawing the eye up, creating the optical effect of a longer neck.
  • Try to avoid flashy or colored belts; they only attract attention to the waist.
2.The mesomorph
“Mesomorphs typically have the hardest bodies to work with,” says Jason Enlow, founder of Claremont Bespoke in New York. “They have very high thigh-to-waist ratios. The drop from the chest to waist is typically 8 or more inches, and their arms usually have issues getting into standard ready-to-wear clothing.”

This is the body type is has larger bone structure, more muscle and an athletic frame. Mesomorphs tend to have shoulders wider than their hips and have a small waistline. Think Mark Wahlberg, Sly Stallone and Daniel Craig.
Outfit tips:
  • If you’re a stockier mesomorph, try a pinstriped suit and trousers; the vertical stripes will help elongate your body, giving you some extra height to go with your broadness and muscles.
  • Feel free to make use of prints and patterns — they can be effective at emphasizing your build.
  • The no-baggy-clothing rule is especially important if you’re a mesomorph; it will hide your natural musculature, which you want to accentuate.
3.The ectomorph
Men with this body type — whether tall, short or in the middle — are characterized by light build, lean muscle, long limbs, a flat chest and narrow shoulders; Clint Eastwood and Ethan Hawke should give you a quick visual. Men with an ectomorph body type will often wear oversized clothing in an effort to look bulkier, but imagine someone like Chris Rock wearing a suit that’s way too big and you’ll understand how it doesn’t work.
Outfit tips:
  • Opt for a double-breasted blazer for dressier occasions; they fell out of fashion for a while, but are back in a big way. It will make you look broader than a classic two- or three-button blazer.
  • Don’t wear vertical stripes; they have the potential to make you appear overly thin.
  • Relaxed slim-cut jeans will tone down your natural lankiness.
  • Avoid suit jackets with full lapels; they will overwhelm your already narrow frame.

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