It’s true. Clothes, if not fit correctly, can make you look short and fat. No matter how much time you spend in the gym or dieting, wearing incorrectly fitting clothes can ruin your look. I get it, loose-fitting clothes can be somewhat comfortable. But they can also make you look 10-20 lbs heavier, shorter, older, dumpier and they project to the world and to the people around you that you don’t care about yourself.
It’s not your fault. Mainstream menswear manufacturers make clothing to fit the average, middle-aged male. If you have a gut, dress shirts may actually fit you better than trim guys or athletic built guys. Mass-produced dress shirts are cut like a box. They have very little taper (if at all) from the chest down to the waist. If you’re skinny or athletic, your body shape doesn’t mesh with how most dress shirts are designed so you end up with puffy, billowy shirts.
One solution: Start looking for “Trim Fit”, “Tailoerd Fit” or “Slim Fit” dress shirts. These shirts will typically have narrower sleeves, higher arm holes and less material in the torso. All of these combined allow the shirt to have a more streamlined look. Don’t mistake “Slim Fit” for tight. I’m not talking about tight, I’m just talking about fitted… there’s a difference. Another thing you can do is try sizing down. If you’re normally a XL, try on a few Large sizes. If you’re normally a Large, try some in a Medium. You might be surprised.
We haven’t even touched on jeans or trousers yet, but the same rules apply. The less material, the slimmer the fit. Pleated khaki’s are out. Pleats are just folded over excess material. This causes a bulky appearance at your belt line, right where you don’t want it. The excess material continues all the way down the inseam with the leg openings being way too wide. These pants typically have a high rise, which makes your legs look shorter, and you looking dumpy.
Let me show you a few examples.
If you’re a jeans, t-shirt and sneakers guy, try avoiding logo’s that make you look like a teenager. Also, try finding tailored-fit t-shirts or sizing down. For jeans, go with a trim fit in a dark wash for a more sophisticated look. Also, go with a pair of fashion sneakers instead of the court shoes.
We’ll call the left ‘Before’ and the right ‘After’.
I still have a white shirt and jeans, but I went with a sized down v-neck t-shirt from the Gap and Vintage Straight jeans from Banana Republic. The shirt on the left is a Large and the one on the right is Medium.
Here’s the same look but with a black shirt. The choices on the right are more age appropriate, while still feeling the same. My legs look longer on the right because of the low-rise jeans. The crotch is where it’s supposed to be, at my crotch. I look slimmer and taller.
Let’s try a more dressy look. You can obviously tell the differences here. The funny thing is, the puffy shirt on the left fits my neck so it should ‘technically’ fit me. Same for the trousers. They fit my waist perfectly. There’s just way too much unnecessary fabric and the crotch is way too low. The shirt sleeves are too long and too wide, the arm holes are too low and there’s too much fabric in the torso causing it to billow and make me look heavier. The choices on the right are instantly slimming. The trousers are low-rise flat front, and the shirt is slim fit.
Don’t even think about wearing dress shirts like this un-tucked. It looks like you’re wearing a dress.
On the matter of sizing down; I found this shirt on the sale rack at Banana Republic for $10. It’s one size down from what I normally wear, but I knew I’d only wear it casually and un-tucked. It fits like a glove. The sleeves are just right, the length isn’t too long to wear out and the torso fits perfectly. Next time you’re out, try stuff on you normally wouldn’t. You never know.
Let me end with a few words on tailoring. If you don’t want to go out and drop a ton of cash on new shirts, take one of your current shirts to a tailor. You can have the sleeves shortened and darts added to the back for about $20-$30. Way cheaper than buying new. Adding darts is the best way to remove fabric and trim down the look of a dress shirt. They’re essentially folding over and removing excess fabric from the back which adds a nice taper to the torso and fixes the billowing problem at the waist. It might be worth the few bucks in order to shed some bulk from your current wardrobe.
We’ll talk custom-made shirts very soon.