In today’s world, many people are trying to lose weight either for their health or just for their own image. Here at the Gentleman’s Gazette, we believe that as long as a man is following the general principles of style, in addition to feeling healthy and following his doctor’s advice, carrying around a few extra pounds is nothing to be ashamed of.
With that said, there’s also a group of men out there at the opposite end of the spectrum. Thin men who may be looking to find ways to increase their physical presence. Whether or not you’re actually looking to bulk up though, cutting a masculine figure does have benefits.
Our subconscious sees fitness as an indicator of health and we are always looking for signs of strength in potential romantic partners, co-workers, or even friends. With all that in mind, here are some tips from one slim man to another on how to dress well in order to look healthy and masculine.
Dressing Guidelines For The Slim Man
1. Avoid Wearing Clothing That Makes You Look Frail
Many thin men often try to disguise their frames by wearing clothing that’s too large for them thinking that the extra fabric is going to make them look bigger, however, in reality, the opposite is actually true. At the same time, however, thin men should also stay clear of super skinny or skin-tight styles because these two are just going to draw attention to your thin frame.
What’s the solution then? Simply put, you just have to find clothing that’s going to fit you just right. If they fit properly, your clothes should drape naturally over your body, fitting closely but at the same time not feeling tight or pulling anywhere and also not so loose that they’re baggy or billowing. As such, you’ll definitely benefit in the long run from forming a good relationship with a tailor as you’re probably going to need to take all kinds of different garments in for one type of alteration or another in order to achieve that ideal fit.
In particular, pay close attention to your shoulders and your sleeves. The shoulder seam of your shirt should sit right at your shoulder’s edge. If it’s up too high, the shirt’s going to look too small on you and if it’s down too low, your shoulders are going to look like they’re drooping. If the seam sits right at the shoulder edge, it’s going to properly frame your shoulders and your chest. Similarly, your sleeves should be just wide enough so that your arms can fit comfortably inside of them. If they’re too tight, you’re going to have unsightly wrinkling all around your arms and if they’re too loose, they’re just going to look like you’re wearing a pirate shirt.
The same general principle is also true for your legs. Wearing skinny jeans or pants with a tight tapered fit in things like khakis, chinos, and so forth will just make your legs look like spindly sticks and that won’t flatter you at all.
2. Wear Colors & Patterns That Boost Your Visual Heft
As a general rule, lighter colors like white, beige, or pastels are going to make you appear a little bit larger, overall. Just as darker colors and the quintessential black are said to be slimming, the opposite effect is true for lighter clothing. Meanwhile, wearing patterns will create a sense of movement in your outfit and will also make you seem larger. When we observe a busy pattern, it does take a moment for our brain to be able to explain to our eyes what it is that we’re seeing. That split second of communication means that if you’re wearing a busy pattern, people will have to take a second and that will make you look larger.
With regard to specific patterns, horizontal stripes are of course, the classic choice for broadening the frame whereas vertical stripes will make you look taller and thinner, overall. This isn’t to say however that vertical stripes should be completely forbidden from the wardrobe of a slim man. You should just be mindful of the overall effect that you’re trying to achieve. Also, checks and other grid patterns are other good choices for broadening your frame.
In general though, the smaller the scale of the pattern, the more it’s going to increase your perceived heft. For example, wearing a fine graph check shirt would be a good choice if that’s what you’re going for.
3. Layering Is Key
With each additional layer you put on, you’re going to be adding a bit more bulk. One layer on its own might not necessarily make a difference but if you’re wearing multiple layers in conjunction, you’ll be able to build up your frame a little bit more. Rather than simply piling on a bunch of sweaters, however, you’ll want to approach your layering a little bit more strategically.
Start with the lightest weight fabrics closest to your body and as you move outward, each subsequent layer can be more sturdy. Also, textured weaves like tweed, flannel, denim, or corduroy give more perceived heft than do smoother weave fabrics.
Returning to the concept of patterns for a moment, this same concept of working inward to outward should apply to patterns as well. For example, the pattern on your shirt, if it has one, should be less abrasive than the pattern that’s featured on your jacket or tie.
4. Find Ways To Make Your Neck Look Larger
Turtleneck sweaters are the classic choice to create this effect but you also do have other options. For example, you could have a zip neck, a stand collar, or a shawl collar on a sweater in particular. Also, simply wearing a dress shirt with a sturdy collar assisted further by the aid of collar stays is a good way to minimize the appearance of your neck because the pattern of the shirt will be carried upward a little bit by the verticality of the collar.
Considerations For Specific Garments
T-shirts, polos, dress shirts, or any other type of shirt just like any garment in general for the slim man, should fit the body closely without being too tight. As we already mentioned, fit in the shoulders and the sleeves are key. Dress shirts, in particular, should also be long enough that they stay comfortably tucked in throughout the day. If your shirt is creeping out over your waistband throughout the course of the day, that’s a sign that it’s too short.
Suit jackets, sport coats, and blazers are all designed with the goal of accentuating the features of the male form making the man look more muscular. They achieve this in a variety of ways when it comes to the details of their styling. One way that a jacket does this is by broadening your shoulders.
Many jackets, though not all, depending on the style will have a bit of padding in the shoulder that makes it look more full and also more angular. Optimal shoulder padding for a jacket is subtle, however, adding only about a half inch of height at the very most. Anything more than that and your shoulders are going to look unnaturally angular almost like you put your jacket on with the hangers still in it.
In addition to making you look wider at the shoulders, a proper, meaning a close-fitting jacket will also taper as it moves down toward your waist creating a natural V shape. This V shape is a universal sign of male strength and it should also be echoed even further by related shapes that are created by your lapels, as well as your shirt collar.
Most jackets that you buy off the rack are probably going to require some sort of alterations tailoring. We suggest you start with the ever-versatile two-button single-breasted model, though if you want to experiment with a double-breasted jacket, you can still wear one of those and have it flatter your form too. We would suggest something perhaps with a six on two button configuration.
The length of your jacket should hit just at the bottom of your seat offering you the neatest appearance possible. If it’s any longer than that, it’s generally going to look like the jacket is too big for you. You can choose either notched or peak lapels based on your own personal preference but whatever you go with, we recommend that they be at a width of about three inches which is just a hair narrower than the standard lapel width of about 3 and 1/8 inches.
You should try to find something in the middle usually that will be labeled, fittingly enough, as slim. You can wear your trousers either at your natural waist which we recommend or a little bit lower depending on your own personal preference as well as your actual height.
If you’re a shorter man, you can wear your trousers a bit higher to make you seem taller and if you are tall and slim, you can wear them just a little bit lower because you don’t really need any help looking tall. Style-wise, you can opt for side fasteners, belt loops, or suspenders, though if you do wear suspenders, also called braces, we would recommend that you do keep them under another layer and don’t wear them visibly. The strong verticality of these suspenders is just going to make you look thinner overall which isn’t necessarily something you’ll want.
Here’s a tip when it comes to buying, most retailers are only going to describe the measurements of a pair of trousers using just two numbers which refer to the waist size and the inseam length. These two numbers, however, don’t really give you any idea of how wide the pants are around each individual leg or what the drop height is from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the crotch. As such, the best way to figure out how well a pair of pants fits you is simply to try it on. If the trouser fabric is heavy enough to fall smoothly, a little bit of looseness in the lower legs doesn’t have to be shied away from but at the same time, you don’t want to go too far with this or you’ll risk looking like you’re wearing bell-bottoms or simply wearing pants that have way too much fabric at the bottom.
When it comes to trousers with pleats, commonly accepted wisdom is that thin men should avoid them altogether because of the extra verticality that’s provided by those lines, however, this doesn’t have to be an absolute rule. Trouser cuffs can also add some additional visual weight as well as providing a slight horizontal line around your ankles. If you are fortunate enough to have many of your garments custom-made for you, you can go ahead and make these cuffs on your trousers a little bit wider.
More casual pants can have their pockets slanted forward slightly to break up some of that verticality. Also on the topic of pockets, try to avoid filling them up with piles of stuff, this is a surefire way to make your thighs look unsightly bulky or even lumpy, that’s not an effect you’re going for.
4. Neckties & Other Accessories
Depending on your own personal preference, a necktie with the width of about two and three-quarters to three and 1/2 inches is going to look good on a slim frame. Just remember that the overall width of your necktie should be relatively in sync with the width of your jacket’s lapel so that everything is harmonious overall.
Alternatively, knit ties are often only about two inches wide but their added texture and bulk will add some heft to your frame as we discussed previously in our general overview. Anything narrower than two inches into the realm of super skinny ties won’t do you any favors. Instead, these really slim ties are just going to echo the slimness of your overall frame.
Finally, whether you’re wearing a long tie or a bow tie, consider something with an engaging and inviting visual pattern as this extra visual element will draw attention away from your frame.
Fortunately for the slim man, he’s got a good bit of latitude in what kinds of accessories he can wear that will add bulk to his frame without looking outlandish. Take, for example, a well-puffed pocket square in an inviting pattern. This will work similarly to the patterned tie that we just discussed and that it will draw eyes away from the slimness of your frame.
Proportion is just as important here as anywhere of course and there is a point where an accessory will become too large making you just look like a clown. For example, overly broad belts and large belt buckles aren’t going to do a slim man any favors. For a slim man, you’re simply going to be better suited wearing a moderately sized belt with a conservative belt buckle.
Go for something understated and on the slim side rather than something more utilitarian and chunky. Loafers are going to be a good bet for you as is anything from an Italian manufacturer as their styles are typically slimmer than some parts elsewhere around the world.
You don’t have to be muscular or physically imposing to project a masculine image. Simply by knowing what types of garments fit your body and flatter you, you can look confident as well as stylish all the time.