Now, before you think I’ve gone completely mad or think that this is going to be a waste of time, I shall explain.
We here at FashionBeans (and almost everywhere else for that matter), wax lyrical about confidence and having confidence, or trying to be cool and making yourself look cool; ultimately these two factors have a big impact on how we dress and how our outfit works. But how many of you have stopped and actually thought seriously about how you are standing? And how it might be affecting the way you look.
I would say that for a large percentage of men, good posture doesn’t really figure in the average fashion routine, even though almost all of us will at some point have had the “stand up straight, shoulders back” talk from a parent or other suitable source of authority. I am equally sure that each and every one of us has then deployed the usual acknowledgement of said command and then returned almost immediately, or at least whenever practical, to our prior hunch backed stance.
I think it is very easy to underestimate just how important having a good posture is, even more so for those that have a keen interest in fashion and the way they dress. A surprising number of factors that have very little or nothing at all to do with fashion or clothes have a massive impact on how we look (consider Duncan’s article on Oily Skin) and posture is just one of them that we should all be considering. In fact, even as I write this, I keep catching myself slouching in my chair, with a terribly curved back and head hung forward; almost definitely not the posture that would be maintained by the sartorial gentleman.
Irrespective of the fact that both David Gandy and Douglas Booth are models and that David Walliams nearly always look brilliant in a suit, a key part of the looks here is posture. That is not to say that the clothes wouldn’t work if they were standing or sitting all hunched up; the clothes still work when put together, but good posture accentuates a good outfit, and it shows that you are happy in what you’re wearing – perhaps more importantly it sub-consciously shows you are happy with yourself, and are comfortable with who you are.
I don’t want this to become some kind of medical journal piece so I’ll keep this bit brief. Not only will your good posture make you look better, it will also make you feel better in respect of both image and health. First and foremost you minimise the risk of back and neck problems, and your bones and organs will be kept correctly inline which means less stress on joints and your body as a whole. Again, this reduces the chance of developing a more serious health problem. There was a reason your Mum kept on at you – just something to think about.
That aside, the benefits of having good posture is that it immediately make you appear more confident (even if you aren’t), more at ease and you will look less protective and enclosed, which is very useful in a social situation. It will make you look taller and slimmer; next time you are out in town and you have taken care over your stance, have a look around and just count how many more people you look taller than.
For those of us that aren’t blessed with the sculpted bodies of a human Adonis, pulling your shoulders back and keeping your back straight will remove a surprising amount of excess weight. I should know, the gym is certainly not my friend. It is important to remember though that this last point is also very closely linked to the confidence issue, if weight is something that weighs (sorry for the unintentional pun) on your mind then good posture still make you look confident regardless.
Perhaps most importantly it will make your clothes fit better; of course your body is a certain size and that does largely dictate the size of clothes the you wear, but by standing up straight you might find that you can actually wear that slim fit shirt you’ve been lusting after because your stomach isn’t causing material to bunch up and ruffle as much. The number of people I see wearing ill fitting clothes is truly infuriating, but by simply improving your stance you carry your body as it is meant to be carried. This results in less gathering of a shirt or t-shirt and a better idea of what waist size you are – with less belly pressing down you might surprise yourself, it definitely helped me.
Finally, and after some very unscientific research, I have come to the conclusion that people do notice your posture. In as much the same way as people will notice your shoes first, they will take particular notice of someone that looks confident, seems more assured of themselves and holds their head up proudly. It implies that they are comfortable in the way they look and in the end that really makes a big difference. Working on you posture is worth it.
As you can see in the look book above, some items are particularly good (or bad) at showcasing your posture. Items which are structured and tailored, such as suits or blazers, frame the top half of your body and your shoulders in particular. If you posture is good, then your shoulders are pulled back, appear wider and it produces an upside down pyramid (or ‘V’) silhouette – a body shape most males aim for when they begin a muscle building training program. This type of shape creates a very wide and powerful frame; consequently looking very manly and confident to others.
Similarly, other items such as polo shirts and military shirts (with epaulettes or shoulder detailing) will also look much better with good posture. Both of these items of clothing produce a slightly more rigid, ‘boxy’ effect at the shoulders, which definitely benefits from broader width and posture that is not hunched over.
The recent trend for double breasted jackets, blazers and even knitwear will also become your best friend if you have good posture. As mentioned above, creating a broad and manly frame is one of the most powerful tools in sub-consciously appearing confident and attractive to others. The double breasted cut just so happens to emphasis this type of silhouette better than any other. The way this type of clothing is fastened, and subsequent box like appearance it produces, is only highlighted further from good posture.
I don’t mean to say that posture is the be all and end all in improving or taking your style that one little step further, but it certainly does help. A great outfit can easily be ruined by a person with round shoulders or a hunched back, but it is something that could so easily be avoided.
I would also hope that I haven’t offended anyone (mostly with the weight issue), because I speak from personal experience. Posture does make a difference and it can make or break a look, so it is hugely important to get it right.
If you stand up against a wall and your bum, shoulders and the back of your head is touching it then you’ve got it right.
So let’s get some feedback. Do you think Posture is an important part of fashion?
Let me know in the comments below.
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