It turns out that ex-girlfriend who dumped you as a result of your supposed ‘inadequacies’ was right – size does matter. But what we’re talking about here is all that spare material pooling around your shoulders and ankles, not in your underwear.
The ill-fitting clothing disease has hit epidemic proportions. Walk down any high street and you’ll see a businessman in a suit so large and unflattering that you’ll wonder if the salesman at M&S found out that the businessman slept with his wife.
Take heed of the below points, separated by type of clothing, and you should be well on your way to looking good.
You need to be aware of the trouser ‘break’. This is the term for where your trouser leg ends. Whilst trends change, the general consensus is that when you’re standing up the trouser should end where the top of your shoe starts. If your jeans are long you can always incorporate a ‘turn up’, but trousers will need to be hemmed by a tailor if they’re too long. When you have a load of spare material around your shoe it gives the appearance of small legs. Not a good look.
Tapering is another term you should know. The Oxford definition is: ‘To diminish or reduce in thickness towards one end.’ Essentially, that is also the definition of a leg. Trousers right off the rack are mostly designed for generic legs. As you may have noticed, legs are not generic. Some people have big ass and thighs (me), some massive calves, some stick thin – it’s a lottery. There’s a 99% chance you’ll need them altered in some way.
I heard someone around the office say ‘I bought a new suit. It’s a bit big… But that means there’s room in it if I put on some weight’. FACT: You should dress for what you are, not what you may become. If, as is often said, women think of men in suits like we do women in lingerie, you don’t want to be wearing the male equivalent of Bridget Jones’ granny pants.
Some important points to consider with the sizing of jackets:
- Shoulders: with a suit jacket/blazer, this is the most important thing. Everything else but the shoulders can be taken in by a tailor. It’s common sense, but the sleeve should start where the shoulder ends.
- Buttons: when you do it up the jacket shouldn’t be so tight as to pull in an ‘x’ shape. As a rule of thumb (pun intended) you should comfortably to able to get your thumb under the jacket button and pull the jacket out about an inch. Any more than that, your jacket is too big.
- Sleeves: you want the jacket to end an inch or two up your wrist, preferably leaving half an inch of your shirt visible
- Hips: when done up the jacket should create a ‘v’ shape. To achieve this (and avoid a boxy look) get a slim fit jacket, or get your tailor to bring it in at the sides.
I can’t stress this first point enough – DO NOT buy ‘classic’ or ‘relaxed’ fit shirts. These terms are just another way of saying ‘shapeless’. People avoid slim fit because they think they aren’t slim enough. Slim fit means the shirt is shaped to your body, and some thought has gone into the construction of how it sits on you. Never buy a shirt without trying it on first. A couple of pointers:
- If the buttons are pulling apart, it’s too tight.
- If you have material pooling around your waist when tucked in, it’s too big.
- If you can feel tension around your collar, it’s too tight. Again, look to get a thumb underneath it comfortably.
You’re likely a size smaller than you think. I tell this to everyone. As with the formal shirts, avoid classic fits with polos. Tees should hug your body, but be an adequate length that when you raise your arm it shouldn’t reveal the sins of the fleshy gut.
A general point about how to fit better into your clothes? Get in shape. Do some cardio and lift toning weights regularly. It will pay dividends.