Tips for Finding the Perfect Suit for Your Body Type
How many times have you walked by a clothing store, saw the sharpest suit ever, walked into the store to try on the suit only to find out the suit fits nothing like it looked on the mannequin?
Yes… This happens to the best of us. Suits come in all shapes and sizes just like body types. Trust me, every single man from GQ models to husky bouncers need help finding the best suit for their body. The key is to realize your body type and make the suit work for you. Don’t try to fit into something that isn’t made for you and don’t settle for an ill fitting suit.
Here are some tips that men, regardless of body type and shape, can use to help them find the best fitting suit.
The Short Guy
When shopping for a suit jacket, ALWAYS go with a size ‘short’ or ‘S’ (i.e., 36S, 38S, 40S, etc.). You may purchase the correct number size but the incorrect length size (36R 38R or 40L). Selecting a longer length jacket will make you look a lot shorter.
Keep everything slim. Avoid fat ties and pleated pants.
Tailor your pants high enough so that it won’t touch your shoes and your suit sleeves should land at your wrist. Doing so will make you look slimmer and taller.
Vertical stripes are your best friend. Pin stripes or vertical stripes help stretch you out.
Wear slim shoes to compliment the suit style. Too thick of sole will look as if you’re wearing boxes for shoes.
The Tall Guy
Just because you're tall doesn’t mean you have to purchase a long suit jacket (40L, 42L, 44L,etc.). Give a regular size jacket a try first (40R, 42R, 44R, etc.). You’d be surprised how well a regular size jacket can fit. You’ll avoid the extra padded shoulders that come with the long size jacket that give off that “boxy” look, and you definitely don’t want that.
If you’re really tall and need to get a ‘long’ sized jacket, find a jacket with minimally padded shoulders. This is also when your tailor comes in: your tailor can work magic to help your suit jacket rest just right on your shoulders.
Avoid a 3-button suit jacket at all costs! The 3rd button makes the suit jacket look extra long, making the jacket look too long even for your tall self.
Give your pants enough of a break so that they touch your shoes. Not to much or else you’ll pants will bunch up at the bottom and you’ll get a slouchy look. The small break will make your legs look not as long.
As for for the tie and shoes, avoid slim fit ties. As much as you want to sport that fresh looking slim tie, it will only make your torso look longer (not in a good way). Go with a regular size tie to give your suit a more proportioned look. Stay away from pointy shoes, they’ll only make your feet look bigger. Go with a round toe shoe.
The Big Guy
A common mistake big guys do when purchasing a suit is they buy a larger suit with extra room for them to move in.. Don’t do it! Buying a bigger suit will only make you look bigger.
Go slim fit. This is a challenging task to find a good slim fitting suit for you but going with a slim fit suit will make you look sharp. Try a slim fit suit one size bigger than your usual size in normal suits. This goes for the suit pants as well. Skip the pleated pants. Pleated pants will accentuate your waist area, and you don’t want that.
Less is more. Try to avoid shirts with patterns or loud colors. Neutral classic colors will make you look sleek and sharp! Style Tip: Wear a 3-piece suit. The suit vest does wonders to give the appearance of a slimmer gut.
Wearing pocket squares and lapel pins not only look stylish but they also direct attention to your chest area, not the waist area.
Go with a ‘wide’ sized shoe to avoid your foot looking like it’s about to burst out of the shoe. Lastly, I know I said keep everything slim, but the one exception to this rule is your tie. A regular-sized tie will look well proportioned to your body.
The Athletic Guy
Yes, you're a finely-tuned specimen. No, the suit won’t fit you perfectly right off the rack. A solid body frame means broad shoulders, which means the waist area of your suit will be wide as well (even if you get a slim fit suit). See a tailor to get the torso area of the suit taken in to fit closer to your body.
Skip the bells and whistles of lapel pins and pocket squares and let your chest do the talking.
Slim fit is your best friend. Accentuate your physique with a slim fit suit jacket, suit pants and shirt. Basically… Anything slim fit!
A thick neck comes with the territory of an athletic body. Again, slim fit works great for you but sometimes you might have to size up for your neck to fit comfortably in a shirt. If this happens, see your tailor to get the torso area of the shirt taken in.
Don’t get shoes to slim or too wide. Look for a medium size shoe with a nice thick sole to fit the rest of your body.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Contact me for more tips on finding the perfect suit for your specific body type!
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Until Next Time, Gents!
Steve A. Nuñez