Men’s Body Types: Fashion Tips For Choosing the right Style

Just because your physique isn’t GQ material doesn’t mean you can’t look your best in clothes. Whether big, tall, short or chunky the trick is to know how to dress for your body type. Just look in the mirror to get started!

Once you figure out which shape your body type is, you’ll be on your way to choosing a suit that accentuates the good and downplays the not-so-good. To make it easy, we’ve outlined the different men’s body types and given you tips for what style looks best on your frame.

Men’s Body Types:

The Rectangle

Are your shoulders, waist and hips pretty much all in a line? Men with a rectangle shaped body tend to be more on the string bean side—tall, thin with long arms and legs. The idea is to widen those shoulders and “beef” you up a bit without resorting to protein shakes. Here’s how:

Illustration of Men's Body Types "Rectangle" shape
  • Wear suit coats and jackets that are more structured with padding.
  • Go for a fitted look with tapered sides and back to make you appear narrow at the waist.
  • Choose single-breasted suits to draw the eye upward. Never wear double-breasted suits or sport coats—they’ll draw the eye outward and define the rectangle even more!
  • Add layers for more bulk. Throw a sweater or vest over a shirt.
  • Try dress shirts with prints and bold colors—you can handle them (and not many guys can)!
  • Stay away from horizontal stripes. Just as in double-breasted suits, they’ll emphasize the width of your frame.

The Triangle

So you’re not shaped like a box. Your shoulders are sloping and narrow compared to your wide girth and hips. Whether tall or short, you carry your weight below the belt. The dilemma is how to draw attention away from the lower half of your body and make it more in proportion to your shoulders. What to do?

  • Wear more structured suit coats and jackets to broaden those shoulders.
  • Choose slightly fitted single-breasted suits. Unlike double-breasted garments, they’ll draw the eye upward plus give you extra room around the waist.
  • Go for dark colored suits made with subtle patterns such as small checks or pinstripes.
  • Wear solid colored pants that have slightly tapered legs. Don’t be tempted by fitted slacks or skinny jeans—your legs will look like toothpicks supporting your body!
  • Go easy on the belts. Those with fancy buckles scream to be noticed…along with the rest of your lower half.
  • Stripes can be your friend. Vertical ones make you appear taller while horizontal ones widen the chest area, making it more in proportion to your hips.
  • Stay away from tightly knit shirts and sweaters. They cling to the widest area of your body, drawing unwanted attention.
    Accessorize using color as accents. Less is more.
Illustration of Men's Body Types "Triangle" shape SW Wilson Custom Clothiers

The Inverted Triangle

You’re the guy with the broad shoulders and chest, long torso and distinctly narrow waist and hips. You have muscles and look great but have a tough time getting clothes to fit. More often than not you’ll need a custom tailor to help you out.

Illustration of Men's Body Types "Inverted Triangle" shape SW Wilson Custom Clothiers
  • Avoid structured suit coats and jackets. You already have a great set of shoulders that don’t need any more padding.
    Double-breasted jackets are perfect for you! They’ll broaden your torso to make it appear more proportional to your wide shoulders.
  • Wear narrow lapels and skinny ties to draw less attention to your shoulders and chest.
  • Wear fitted garments but make sure they provide enough room to spread your “wings” and move comfortably. Here’s where custom clothing really comes into play.
  • Choose pants with slim or straight legs to balance your frame. Skinny pant legs will only highlight the disproportion between your shoulders and lower half.
  • Wear horizontal stripes to visually broaden your torso to match your wide shoulders.

The Oval

This shape is pretty easy to spot. You tend to be short, round and “stocky” with broad limbs that seems small compared to your large belly, hip and chest area. Sad to say, no one will accuse you of working out too much but here’s some things you can do to look your best:

  • Wear structured suit coats and jackets to broaden your shoulders.
  • Stick with single-breasted suits that are slightly tapered. They will make you appear taller and not quite as hefty.
  • Choose solid dark colors or fabrics that have small patterns or vertical stripes. Horizontals are definitely not for you.
  • Pants should be fitted but not tight—just enough to drape nicely when worn at the waist. Pants worn too low will allow the belly to bulge over the waistband.
  • Plain front pants look slimmer but pleated pants provide more comfort and mobility. Go for comfort.
  • Wear dress shirts with a wide collar spread to accommodate your rounded face and a large knot in your tie.
  • Avoid bulky sweaters and oversized clothing. They’ll make you look bigger and sloppy. Casual shirts can be worn outside the pants as long as they cover the belly and backside without being to long or tight.
Illustration of Men's Body Types "Oval" shape SW Wilson Custom Clothiers

The Trapezoid

You’ve hit the lottery! Most of your body parts are in proportion to one another! Your shoulders are broad, your waist is trim and your hips are narrow. In fact, you may be on the athletic side with a descent set of muscles. You can wear almost any style.

  • Wear slim or fitted suit coats and jackets that come to the hip.
  • Pants should be fitted, especially at the waist to show off your physique.
  • You can handle bold colors and patterns that other body shapes cannot but stick with darker pants to keep your body in proportion.
  • Elongate your frame with vertical stripes or emphasize your chest with horizontal stripes.
  • If you have a muscular body and have trouble getting the comfort and mobility you’d like, custom is the way to go. It beats anything off the rack.
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