In today’s article we will turn our attention to a subject that can cause, in varying degrees, both consternation and fascination for many; the male physique. In order to not have this post confused with the men’s health section or an anatomy lesson, I will assure you that we will shy away from any critiques and keep our assessment strictly confined to how best to compliment your physique when you dress, no matter its appearance. How you dress should never be classified in the category of “one size fits all.” Everyone has their own unique body type, whether athletic, stocky, muscular, full figured, skinny, etc. As we have stressed before in this column, a gentleman’s clothes should be tailored in acceptance of this uniqueness. It is interesting that many of us can find humor in the act of a woman who is quite full bodied attempting to squeeze mightily into an outfit that is more appropriate for someone considerably more diminutive in size and yet most men do not give a second thought to wearing something that could easily be confused for their elementary school aged sibling’s wardrobe. In order to ensure that you avoid such calamity we will speak on how to properly attire three of the most common body types.
For those who are on the thin side, with a somewhat skinny frame, the challenge you face is to neither wear clothes that would be too loose as to make them appear to be swimming in a sea of fabric, nor too tight as to draw to much attention to your thin frame and as a consequence a perceived meekness, which unfortunately often gets associated with a slight frame. The important thing for this body type to do, as contradictory as it may sound in theory, is to wear clothes that conceals and reveals the body at the same. This is not a Zen style of dress that I am referring to but a practical approach that has been used by every well dressed man who has fitted this description from David Bowie to the current President of the United States. If you notice they usually wear shirts with slightly higher collars in order to distract from how small their neck is. They also usually wear shirts and jackets that are either padded or lengthier in the shoulder area in order to give the appearance that their frame is wider and filled in a bit more. The tampering with the illusion of their physique is limited however to the upper body as their pants are kept in proportion to their body, full hip, sitting at the waist and draping straight down, not relaxed. Having a slight frame is not at all bad, in terms of dressing well; in fact it simply means you have a great deal more to work with.
On the other hand, you also have the athletic body types, who are presumably those who have endeavored to spend a consistent amount of time in either the gym or involved in some sort of physical activity. In that regard it would make sense to be inclined to display what you have worked considerably hard to build. This body type is usually the easiest to dress, you simply need to wear clothes that come with a more fitted variety, but be careful, those that act more like body art than clothing should be discouraged. It is in good taste that a gentleman leaves at least a minor air of mystery surrounding his physique regardless of how fit it is. This body type should not need any enhancements underneath their natural layer of clothes, and would be taking away from their natural athletic build if they did this. If you rolled down the list of the best dressed out of the modern athlete, including Tom Brady, David Beckham or Sean Avery, you will notice that no article of clothing is so pronounced, that it takes away from their natural body, as it should not.
The final body type that we will concentrate on is the, shall we say… “Full bodied body type”. These are those amongst us who have no concern of filling out our clothes. More times than not, we do not want to flaunt the fact that we will have no chance of being confused with our previously mentioned counterparts. This really is of no concern as a gentleman need not play up or down to someone else’s opinion of him. He need only satisfy his own. The trick of this body type is to wear clothes that shadow your body as clothes that or too constraining for this body type will not only prove uncomfortable but will signify that you are not accepting of yourself, and as is the case in life people will take their cue on how they treat you from this. You want to wear clothes that conform to their own shape and not necessarily that of your body. Perhaps it is only coincidence that America being the least fit nation coincides with the most popular brand of suit in North America being Brooks Brothers with its boxy shape and design, which does not make itself a slave to the wearer’s physique. The best part about this body type is that they usually are awarded with wearing the most comfortable fitting clothes out of the body types which can often lead to a fine disposition, and ultimately that should be the goal of everyone no matter what body type you are. To paraphrase Henry Kissenger, “ a gentleman should accept everything about himself, without apology.”
Marcus Green is the author of A Year Without April, and lives in Seattle,WA. His motto is that “90% of life is simply showing up…dressed well.”