Everybody is different: a suit that works perfectly for one man can look all wrong for another, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed and plump for the wrong fit. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. In this guide, we’ll prove that for every body shape, there’s a suit that fits.
For most men, wearing a suit isn’t an everyday event. When we do, it feels different; special, even. You get that sudden bolt of confidence: your back immediately straightens, your walk becomes more purposeful.
On the other hand, because we don’t wear them all the time, the thought of having to buy a new suit can fill some with fear. How long should the arms be? How much of my ankle should show? Which is the right fit for me? All common questions that can worry men when they’ve got a wedding this weekend and have just realised their old suit doesn’t fit quite as well as they remembered.
However, buying a suit doesn’t have to be daunting. Get the fit right for your body shape, and everything else will fall into place. In this guide, we’ll help you find the perfect suit to fit your body type.
For tall men, the key is to find a suit that shows off your height without making you look too long. Trend-led styles such as cropped trousers or tight-fitting jackets should be avoided as they’ll draw too much attention to your height, and jackets that are too baggy around the shoulders will also not work as they tend to drown your torso. Pinstripe suits or shirts are also not a good idea, as they’ll make you appear taller still.
A two-button, tailored suit is the perfect choice for the taller man. The slim, higher lapels will add width to your shoulders, and the tailored cut of the trousers will taper slightly down the leg without being too skinny, just clipping the top of your shoe. The mid length of the jacket also effectively breaks the body in two, creating a clean-lined, seamless look.
For shorter men, it’s important to avoid suits that are too long in the arms or legs, or that are overly baggy, as they’re likely to drown you and make you look smaller than you really are. Aim for a sleeve length no longer than the base of your thumb knuckle to be safe. Double breasted suits also tend to make men of all heights seem shorter.
Opt for a slim or tailored fit, with sleeves that sit just before the end of your wrist, and choose trousers that graze or are just short of the top of your shoes. Combining this fit with plain or pinstripe suits and shoes that feature a slight heel will give you a sophisticated look that elongates the body.
Those on the large or stocky side should also steer clear of double breasted and heavily-patterned suits, as they’ll make you look wider and broader than you naturally are. It’s also common for many larger men to choose baggy suits in order to hide their chest or stomach, however most of the time this has the opposite effect. While baggy is bad, a suit that fits too tightly will also create an uneven look.
A regular fit suit is perfect for larger men. Take your time, try on a few different sizes, and choose the size that you feel most comfortable in - remember, not too baggy and not too tight: you should be able to fit one or two fingers between the fabric and your skin. Ensure your trousers don’t sit too high or too low - somewhere in the middle is best - and go for a wide-collared shirt to add to the comfortable yet professional look. Choose a plain or pinstripe fabric.
Muscular bodies can be surprisingly difficult to dress for. However, this doesn’t mean that off the shelf suits are off limits if you’re more muscular than most. Don’t prioritise the length of the arms, as you may find you need some minor alterations from a tailor if you’re especially muscular and it’s much easier to shorten a sleeve than widen it. Trousers that are too skinny will also make you look top heavy.
A comfortable, regular fit suit is the right choice for a muscular man, as long as you pay particular attention to fit around the shoulders, biceps and forearms - it shouldn’t be too close in any of these areas. Go for a shirt that fits well across the chest and shoulders as a priority, and pair with chunky-soled shoes.
In the past, it was very difficult for slim men to buy a suit off the shelf. Even though it’s really easy to pick up a slim-fitting suit today, there are still a few things for the more slender man to bear in mind. Avoid choosing a suit that is too skinny, as it can make you look a bit too skinny or cartoonish, although be careful not to go too far the other way by buying an overly baggy suit.
As the name suggests, the slim fit suit is the ideal choice for a slim man. Make sure it fits well in the shoulders and you can move freely, with the cuffs sitting at the base of your thumb and top of your shoes respectively. Team your slim suit with a tie roughly the same width as your lapels to complete the look. Plain suits are very effective, but also consider bolder prints too.