What’s your type? Your body type that is. Rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, oval, or trapezoid?
Knowing how to dress for your body shape is essential and yet many men still struggle to identify their body type, as well as what kind of clothes they should be investing in.
Here’s the thing, choosing the right clothes for your body type is more than just what’s in fashion at the moment. What suits one person, might not suit the next.
Of course dressing stylishly is important to you, but actually understanding how clothes work and learning what compliments your body can completely transform your style more than just buying based on trends.
If you are not sure which of the 5 body types you fit into or just need some inspiration to nail your dress sense from here on out, then read on. To save you a read, if you fall into the trapezoid or inverted triangle - go for muscle fit shirts.
By the end of the article you’ll have all the know how that you need to identify your body type, choose the right clothes to suit your shape and above all else, feel confident in what you wear.
How Should Men Dress For Their Body Type?
Clothes maketh the man… While you’re more than the clothes you wear, they do have a huge impact on how you express yourself and your identity. Feeling good in your clothes therefore is a sure fire way to exude confidence and show the world who you are.
Clothes made with one body in mind however, might not be of a universal ‘one size fits all’ approach. So your friend is tall and slim- he can get away with wearing fitted and slim/skinny fitting clothes. Whereas you on the other hand are shorter and more muscular and need styles that will show off your muscles without looking too tight or too loose.
The fundamental component of dressing for your body type is to therefore consider how to create the right proportions and flatter any areas that you’re concerned about.
If you are tall and slim, this might be adding some bulk to your shoulders and broadening your chest through layering clothes. For men who are more concerned about their stomach and have a wider lower torso for example, working with clothes that streamline that particular area is the best way to get the most out of your style and keep you feeling good in what you wear. Thinking carefully about what you need from your clothes can help you make the right decisions.
What Are The 5 Male Body Types?
There are 5 main male body types: rectangle, inverted triangle, trapezoid, triangle and oval. Identifying your body shape (sometimes referred to as somatotype) is ultimately the first step in choosing the right clothes for you.
Once you understand which category you fit in to, you can then begin to explore the types of clothes that suit your shape the best, as well as the clothes to avoid. Understanding what kind of styles are right for your body type can actually make fashion fun and hassle-free too.
Do you know which body type you fall into? It’s okay if not, because we’ve done the all important research to help you identify your body type as simply as possible.
Those with a rectangle shape are usually tall (or taller than most) and have an overall slimmer build then other men. This often means that the shoulders are the same width as the waist and hips, giving you that rectangle shape. In most cases if you are longer rather than wider, then you’ve likely got a rectangular body type to work with and dress.
Men with rectangular frames should usually avoid oversized clothes as this will only swamp your slim frame and hide you under layers of unnecessary material. Opting for well-fitting clothes, while also creating the illusion of broader shoulders and a bulkier chest is the key to getting the best out of your clothes and creating stylish yet confident fashion choices.
Here’s what you should be wearing if you fall into the rectangle body type.
- Layering on top. With a slim frame, you want to ultimately create the illusion of a broader top half and layering gives you a great opportunity to bulk up. A good way to achieve this is to choose a slim fitting t-shirt with a crew or rounded neck line that will instantly add some bulk to the bottom of your neck and your chest. A crew or round neck that sits at the base of your neck creates thickness rather than the slimming down effect you get from exposing your chest area with a V-neck. You can then begin layering your staple t-shirt with a shirt (left unbuttoned) or a jacket in a heavy fabric like denim or leather, to keep the casual vibes flowing. The great thing is, layering isn’t just for casual dressing either. For a more smart casual look pair a buttoned shirt with a round neck jumper. Keep your trousers or jeans slim fitting and you’re good to go.
- Horizontal stripes. You might have the saying: vertical stripes are slimming. So in the case of a rectangle body shape, avoid vertical stripes. Instead turn the stripes on their side and you’ve got the perfect pattern to wear for your slim build. Horizontal stripes create the impression of width and are perfect for anyone who wants to appear broader. Opt for a nautical striped T-shirt and pair with cropped trousers or chinos for an effortless and undoubtedly stylish summer look. Playing around with big and bold patterns is a brilliant way to build up some bulk, so don’t be scared to try them out!
- Colour. In the same way that vertical stripes enhance the length of your body, black too works to slim you down. If you’re already slim then wearing black is going to have the opposite effect to what you are want. Instead of choosing an overly black outfit, add pops of bright and light colours. This is your chance to have some fun and experiment with colourful T-shirts and other pieces. If you’re not a fan of bright colours however, then earthy tones and neutral palettes work just as well and add some versatility to rest of your outfit. The key is to explore your relationship with colour and find what works best for you.
- Tailoring. Getting your clothes tailored well always goes without saying but as a rectangle body type the right tailoring can truly switch up your style. If you are looking for smart tailored pieces for the office or a special occasion, getting a tailored jackets that nips in at the waist and bulks up your shoulders is one of the best ways to challenge the narrow width of your body and create proportion. A structured jacket will certainly add in the shape you need to and keep you looking on point at all times.
If you fall into the triangle category you will notice that your body most likely widens at the waist and hips compared to the tip of the triangle- your neck and shoulders- which are slimmer in comparison. This shape is sometimes fondly known as ‘the dad-bod’ and although this body type can happen as a result of aging, some men are just naturally shaped this way. One important thing to consider with this body type nevertheless is the mismatch in proportion between the lower part of your torso and your shoulders and waist. Drawing attention to your shoulders and chest and away from your waist is the best way to achieve the perfect proportions.
If you are a self-identified triangle shape then avoiding anything too fitted from the waist down is going to help you feel more in proportion and comfortable. On the other hand anything too loose or oversized will also stop you from being able to create any shape. So opting for a middle ground between structured, well-fitting clothes and slightly loose pieces will be your best bet. Men with triangular body shapes should also avoid horizontal stripes or anything that will widen the hips.
Here’s the good news, there are many things that you can wear to compliment your triangle shape.
- Structured shoulders. Good tailoring can transform your style, there’s no doubt about it, but with a triangle shape it’s important to focus on the shoulders, which are often slimmer than the waist. Choosing jackets with some structure or even padding in the shoulders will square up the upper half of your body and draw attention away from your waist.
- Slim/straight legged jeans. A straight legged jean is going to be your go-to if you have a more triangular frame. While slim is ideal, it’s good to note that your jeans shouldn’t be too skinny. Instead choose a more regular fit, with room around the ankles. Invest in a good pair of jeans in a blue or black denim that will form the foundation of your style and keep you in proportion to the rest of your body. You can then dress up or dress down your jeans for a casual/smart look day or night.
- Darker colours. Darker colours will always be classic, they’re also slimming and completely versatile. Go for blacks, greys, browns and dark blues. These complimenting colours will go with whatever else you wear and will help to slim your middle area. You can also choose shirts and T-shirts with patterns and stripes but in most cases avoid horizontal stripes which have that widening effect and choose a slimming vertical stripe instead, which will give you length.
Are you a regular gym goer? Do you have a broader, muscular chest and shoulders? If you do then you might just fall into the inverted triangle category. If you’re still not sure, imagine a triangle turned upside down. Your shoulders and chest will likely fit into the two long points of the upside triangle. You’ll be broader and bulkier on top, while your body will taper into the narrowest part of your body- your waist.
Men with an inverted triangle shape can find choosing the right clothes tricky. And while you want to show off hard work in the gym, you also want clothes to fit comfortably on your body without looking too small or restricting your movement.
Men with this body shape should usually avoid clothes that are too baggy and oversized while at the same time, avoid anything that looks uncomfortably small. Men with this body shape should also avoid heavy and bold prints, which also give the illusion of extra bulk.
The types of clothes that suit an inverted triangle shape best are:
-Slim/tighter fitting shirts. A slim fitting t-shirt or shirt that sits snug but not uncomfortably tight on the upper half of your body, is a great way to show your muscular build and flatter your shape. At Tapered Menswear, our T-Shirts and shirts were made with the inverted triangle body type in mind. Thanks to the v-cut shape of the material, our T-Shirts fit well to the chest and shoulders and sit closely on the biceps. At the same time the tapering cut of the fabric helps to avoid any excess material from the waist down, giving you the ultimate structured shape. Likewise feeling good in your clothes is important and Tapered menswear uses 100% super-soft heavy weight-cotton that won’t stretch out of shape overtime but will give you all the comfort to go about your life.
-V-Neck/Round Neck T-Shirts. As a man with a broader and more muscular upper half, you can certainly get away with wearing V-neck t-shirts. The V-Shape can be flattering on an inverted triangle body shape but don’t go too crazy by wearing plunging necklines. Instead choose a slight V-shape that will show off your chest in the best way.
-Straight legged/Slim fitting jeans or trousers. If there’s one thing you don’t want as a man with an inverted triangle body shape, it’s wearing a pair of jeans or trousers that are too super-skinny that you run the risk of looking totally out of proportion to the rest of your body. Skinny jeans can make you look much more top heavy and your legs, much skinnier in comparison. The best way to avoid this is to pick trousers and jeans that have some movement within the material and fill out your slimmer legs a little more.
The oval body type, much like the rectangle, is a uniform shape in that the shoulders and chest are the same (or very similar) width to the lower portion of the body. In terms of men who fall into this body type, they usually have a rounder appearance and they may also be shorter in stature. The goal for dressing as an oval shape therefore is to add some elements that help to slim down the torso and also lengthen it.
Men with an oval body shape should avoid shirts and t-shirts that are tighter in the mid-section of the torso. Like with many other shapes in this article, it’s also a good idea to avoid clothes that are too big or loose. While it might seem like common sense to opt for clothes that will hide your body, this is actually counterproductive and will only make you look shapeless instead. Learning how to slim the body down with well-fitting clothes is the best thing you can do to ace your style as an oval body type.
If you are an oval shape, then there are a multitude of styles that you can wear to flatter and suit your shape.
-Dark colours on top and bottom. Wearing dark throughout your look doesn’t need to look like funeral wear or be boring. In fact a dark outfit is one of the most sleek and fashionable styles out there. Think black, grey or Navy shirts and reflect that with a darker pair of trousers or jeans. The effect of the dark colours will not only keep you looking stylish, no matter the occasion, it will also create a slimmer frame, giving you the confidence to wear your clothes well.
-Long Jackets. Instead of choosing jackets that end at the waist or at the top of the hips, choose a longer length jacket or coat (ideal in the winter). A long or longer jacket will give you some length and an illusion of height, if you happen to be shorter. Of course, don’t go too long if you are on the shorter side. Instead opt for a blazer, jacker or coat that grazes the thighs and has some swing in the material.
-V-Neck T-shirt. A v-neck can be ideal if you fall into the oval shape category. The reason behind this is that the more chest you show off, the slimmer you will look. Whereas a neck line that sits up higher on the neck will add bulk. Add a v-neck T-Shirt into your wardrobe for casual wear with a pair of jeans.
The trapezoid is often known as the “average” male body shape and it is often used as the inspiration in clothes making. i.e. you can often find clothes for this shape off the rack. The trapezoid shape means that the shoulders are broad, but not overly muscular or bulky. The waist is also the narrowest point of the torso. Men with this shape can be short or tall and can often be referred to as sporty or athletic.
While there is much that you can wear with a trapezoid shape, the oversized style should usually be avoided. Oversized clothes give off that shapeless look that will simply hide your body and not make you feel your best.
Men with a trapezoid shape. The best clothes for your body are:
- Tailored Suits. Tailored suits are ideal for this body type. A tailored jacket with some shape in the shoulders will help to bulk up your more slender upper frame while the tapering effect at the waist will create the perfect proportion for your body type. Dress smartly with a pair of tailored trousers and a neck tie that reaches a normal length. You can also dress your shirt and blazer down with a pair of jeans. Unbutton your shirt slightly and pair with accessories such as a pocket square and a stylish watch.
- Patterns and Colour. Vertical or horizontal. Bold or subtle. As a man with a trapezoid body, you have the opportunity to play around with patterns and colours based on your preferences or any particular areas of concern that you have. If your concern is your height, choose pieces with vertical stripes to give you length. Similarly if you want some extra bulk, add a horizontal stripe to your wardrobe. Experiment with colours and neutral shades to find what styles you prefer the most.
- Shirts. If you have a trapezoid shape, a classic buttoned shirt can be a great staple addition to your wardrobe. You can do a lot with a shirt and can even take it one step further and opt for shirts in various colour and prints. A shirt can easily be dressed up or down for either a smart or casual feel, so don’t be afraid to make this piece an essential part of your wardrobe.
How do I find the right clothes for my body type?
Once you identify and understand your body type, finding clothes is a piece of cake. The best way to find the right clothes that you will feel and look good in, is to try out different shapes, colours, patterns and styles. Try on clothes that work with your body shape and find pieces that help to flatter the areas that need a bit more support.
If you are struggling to find the right clothes, then speaking to an expert in menswear can also help. Tailors can give you advice about the types of clothes that will work best with your individual body shape as well as how your clothes should fit on your body.
How to Dress For Your Body Type Male Quiz
If you still need a helping hand, then great news- Tapered Menswear have the perfect quiz just for you. Answer the questions as close to your specifications as possible and we’ll suggest the best shirts for your body type. Alongside this article, you’ll have no trouble finding all the inspiration you need to choose clothes that work well with your body type. Give it a go below!