Monday, June 14

Suiting the Male Frame


Male body types“The typical male body shape can be summed up in three words – straight, apple and pear.”

Most women wear garments that enhance, or hide the varying attributes of our physique. We practice the art of layering, the correct use of colour palettes, and accessorising for effect. Our wardrobe choices are motivated by what looks good on us, as opposed to the common male version, of what looks good, in general. Alas, what many men – apart from the modern-day metrosexuals – do not know, is that similar fashion rules apply to men.

The typical male body shape can be summed up in three words – straight, apple and pear. These shapes can be further categorised as tall and skinny, short and bulky and athletic.

Understanding Your Body Type

Typical male body shapes – pear and apple.

Tall and Skinny: You have long limbs, with a small or delicate frame and bone structure. Common physical traits are thin flat-chested men, with small shoulders and a lean muscle mass.

Bulky: You are short and stocky with a soft and round body. You gain muscle and fat very easily, but have difficulty losing weight due to a slow metabolism.

Athletic or V-Shape: You have large bone structures, large muscles and a natural athletic physique. Other physical attributes are broad shoulders and a narrow waist, with a hard body and well-defined muscles. Athletic or V-Shape builds can be a combination of tall and short.

Short: Generally a combination of body types. You can be skinny, bulky or athletic. The average height of a short man is 5 foot, 6 inches or less.

Dressing to Suit Your Body Type



Typical tall and skinny male physique.

Tall and Skinny

Tops: Wear light contrasted colours and horizontal stripes and geometric prints to add bulk. Layering also has a similar effect, and Polo style T-shirts adds balance to long necks. Wear wide patterned ties, as it deters height. Double-breasted jackets also add shape to slim shoulders.

Bottoms: Wear classic fit or boot cut or bootleg pants, as it adds balance. Formal trousers should be tailor-fitted plaids, with cuffed pipes.

Tips: Opt for square-toed shoes, and heavier fabrics. Avoid wearing slim fits or skinnies.



A bulky physique is similar to the the athletic build, but a bulky body type will have a noticeably broader waistline.

Tops: Wear V-neck shirts and sweaters, with dark colour contrasts. Vertical stripes and small prints have a slimming effect, and draws attention away from wobbly bits. If you have small shoulders, opt for jackets with shoulder pads to add shape.

Bottoms: stick to dark bottoms and relaxed fit bottoms, with a low waist. Formal pants should have English or forward pleats, as it assists in hiding waistline bulk.

Tips: Avoid double-breasted suits and slim fit pants.


Athletic or V-shape


The athletic or V-shape body type will vary, as athletes generally sculpt their bodies specific to sporting activities, to enhance performance. A rugby player will be much bulkier than a gymnast.

Tops: The V-Shape allows for the most wardrobe versatility – most things look good on the solid, muscular frame, but do avoid padded tops as this adds more bulk and could deter shape.

Bottoms: invest in straight-cut, athletic and skinny bottoms, as these styles emphasise the broad shoulders and narrow waistline. Boot cuts or bootlegs also provide a contrasted balance.

Tips: Avoid tiny collars and double-breasted suits.


short man

Typical short male physique.

Tops: Wear small prints and slim ties for balance. Invest in stylish hats to add height. Vertical lines and stripes also create an illusion of height. Opt for V-neck tops, T-shirts that hang slightly below the waistline, to add length.

Bottoms: Keep your colour palette synchronised with your tops to create the illusion of unity. Contrasting colours adds emphasis to height because it creates a break in the way the body’s viewed. Wear square-toed shoes instead of pointy – pointy makes you seem disproportioned.

Tips: Avoid bulky and overly geometric patterns as it makes you seem wider, not taller.

There is no definite body type, but these categories serve as guidelines to finding the perfect blend for your unique physique.

Read more about Fashion Trends for Men here.


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