Proportion And Body Type

_t short or tall, portly or slim, most men aspire to look like some idealized version of themselves. Although the model male fashion figure has changed over time, for the past eight) or so years the principal goal has been ro affect a rail, broad-shouldered, slim waisted appearance. Therefore, that archetypal physique will serve as a reference point for the principles that follow.

The rules for downplaying girth or maximizing height can be helpful, but rhev should always be viewed as a guide rather than as dogma. There are many well-turned-out men who consistently dress against type. 1 can recall one portly patron of New York's famous "21' Club sitting down to lunch in a bulky three piece Shetland wool suit tailored out of the most enormous estate plaid. While its scale violated every canon ot anatomical logic, the man looked positively regal because ot its impeccable cut and customized fit.

Back in the thirties, no group ol swells was alleged to have exuded more collectivc swank than the Brazilian diplomatic corps. Contrary to conventional wisdom that swore short men oil double-breasted jackets, these s feet. 7 inch plenipotentiaries not only preferred their lounge suits double- breasted but also finished them off with another sartorial no-no: leg-shortening cuffs. Americas own guru of gestural elegance, hoofer Fred Astairc, always sported cuffed trousers, and he stood barely 5 feet 9 inches.

Dressing for your body type is a subject peppered with misguided prescriptions and arcane rules. For example, heavy men are advised to avoid double-breasted jackets, supposedly because they add bulk. However, in reality, if the jacket's peaked lapels roll below the waist, their long diagonal slant will do more for a man's avoirdupois than any line produced by the single-breasted model. Similarly, striped suits, which rend to elongate the figure, should not be automatically w

Proportion Dress

The long rolled, double-breasted lapel can downplay girth and maximize height.

eliminated from contention just because a man is tall. The important thing is for the scale and strength of the stripes to harmo nize with the particular body type: narrow to medium-spaced stripes for the thin physique; slightly broader and less pronounced lines for the fuller figure.

Scaling the Heights: Tips for Short, Heavy Men

Without question, correctly cut clothes can definitely aid the short, stout man in appearing taller and thinner. When an ensemble's north and south lines begin to replace those previously moving east and west, they stretch out and narrow the corpulent physique, lb elongate the figure, the eye needs to be distracted from the waistline and led north to the shoulders and south below the knees.

Whether tall or short, the heavier man. much like the thin man. should always dress "large. Jackets should be cut with straight-hanging or slightly shaped body lines so they appear to hang loose from the shoulder downward. Close-fitting clothes reveal more than they conceal. There is nothing like the look of a stuffed sausage to call attention to a man's heft.

In general, short men are short, physiologically speaking, because their legs are proportionally short in relation to their torso. Therefore, for a jacket to endow such a physique w ith the illusion of greater height, it must create the impression that the leg line is actually longer than it really is To accomplish this, the jacket's length needs to be kept on the short side, which is tricky, because the coat's length must remain as short as possible and yet cover the seat ol his pants. If too short, the jacket will saw him in half: if too long, it will abbreviate the appearance of" his legs.

Along with a shorter coat, the torso can be optically elevated by raising its shoulder line. I lie slightly higher shoulder gives the added illusion of elevating the torso while elongat ing the leg line. This is not to recommend squaring the shoulder, since you want to avoid the appearance of two right angles bracketing the head Ninety-degree angles punctuating the head of any height-challenged man only emphasize that which he wants to diminish—his physique's lack of statuesque distance from the ground.

The single-breasted, two-button jacket with a medium "V that opens down to the waist is more flattering to the short figure than the higher, closed fronts of the three-button coat. Squat figures should avoid jackets w ith stubby or short-rolled lapels, because they accentuate

Three Button Jacket Rolled Down Two

North and south lines help the short, stout man appear taller and thinner.

North and south lines help the short, stout man appear taller and thinner.

breadth. This includes the low-gorge designs of recent fashion. Lapel notches for the short-legged should rest high on the upper chest, for a longer lapel line. Peaked lapels with their upswept, pointed ends accentuate vertical in more t han the notched variety. Jacket sleeves should finish to show a half inch of shirt cuff: this helps balance off the sleeve and shorter jacket length. The coats sleeves should taper down to the wrist bone, so there is 110 excess material jangling about the hand, creating unnecessary bulk.

Slanting lines minimize rotundity Take the double breasted jacket: whatever extra thickness the double-breasted's overlapping layer of cloth may add across the midsection, the slimming effect of its asymmetrical lapels more than compensates for it. The DIVs diagonally running lapels lead the eye away from the center of the torso, and their upcurving pointed ends elongate and narrow the f mine. Additionally, the classic six-on-rwo double- breasted creates an additional "V effect down the front of the jacket, which helps sculpt the torso and slim the waist.

When it comes to jacket detailing, less is more. Extra flaps, like the change pocket, tend to bulk up and shorten lines. Besom style (unflapped) hip pockets create less thickness and clutter than the flapped variety, although the hacking (slanted) flap pocket can chisel away breadth from the hip. Flap pockets arc preferable to the patch design, whose extra layer of fabric adds heft.

Like its front, the back of this body type's ideal coat should promote a straighrer line by hanging from the shoulders with a minimum of contour at the waist. Viewed from the side, the nonvented back can lend rhe corpulent hip a trimmer line: however, from the back, its one-piece expanse does little to break up the heavy rear end. particularly il the jacket tits snugly. When tailored to lie flat, side vents escort rhe viewer's eye up the coat's sides, suggesting a longer leg line and overall impression of height.

As for the trouser. because the short man aspires to an illusion ol height, he must wear rhe suit trouser on his natural waist, not below it Pushing rhe trouser waist down below the belly is this body type's most common and counterproductive tendency Shortening the trousers' front line and forcing the pleats to open destroy the suit's potential vertical fluidity

The man with a prominent middle needs full trousers that hang straight from rhe waist. By sitting higher on rhe waist rather than lower on the hips, the trousers' elevated fullness

Suit Coats For Men Patron

The well-cut double-breasted coat's slanting lines help slim all 30dy types.

The well-cut double-breasted coat's slanting lines help slim all 30dy types.

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