Spring: that awkward time full of awkward weather. Sunny showers? I don’t want to burst that smiley weather girl’s little bubble, but that certainly is an oxymoron if ever did I hear one. Unless you are about to break into a spout of photosynthesis (where my GCSE biology lessons tell me that sunlight and rainfall are essential), the weather of the upcoming months can notoriously be a bit of a pain. However, the fashionable males amongst us never let the change in weather change the way we think about our style, and that means that spring is as important as any other season to be considering dressing appropriately for our body types. We are all aware of some of the season’s most regular pieces – trenches, denims, leathers, roll-ups, crops and umbrellas galore – but the big question is: which are the right styles for me?
For those lucky enough to have the model-esque tall, skinny physique, there comes many benefits in life. However, being tall can have its disadvantages as the slim giants amongst us run the risk of looking lanky or disproportionate. Fortunately, there are several items that will help you avoid spaghetti-arms and stick-like legs, and the spring is a perfect season to be testing them out.
Chinos, rolled up at the ankle, are perfect for the taller gentleman. They accentuate the length of the legs without hugging too tightly or flapping too loosely (even the ‘skinny’ options seems a bit looser than your average skinny jean). They are great for breaking up the linear structure of your body; rolling up the bottoms help to create a ‘break’ between trouser and shoe, which stops the onlooking eye from gliding down those dangly limbs.
Chinos are also a great opportunity to inject some colour into your wardrobe; bold, solid colours are perfect for adding an additional ‘break’ in flow between your torso and legs, and are great for fitting into that spring colour palette. Pair with pretty much anything you like, but if you’re opting for the colourful bottom half then make sure you anchor with neutrals up above!
Top Tip for Body-Type:
Push up your sleeves to the elbow to break up the structure of any lanky arms, whilst adding additional bulk to the upper-arm muscles.
Whereas the taller, slimmer figure should concentrate on breaking up the structure of their body, the larger figured gentleman should do the opposite. The age-old tip that black is slimming is no lie, but spring is a time for being bright and bold – so why should the larger amongst us have to suffer? There are plenty of other ways to slim down your appearance (and yes, vertical stripes are a part of the team).
Blazers are great for any body type this time of year, but can especially help to slim a larger guy. Opt for a lighter material (avoiding thicker fabrics such as tweed which will add bulk and may be too hot as the temperature begins to rise) and sharp, structured tailoring to contrast the curves of your body type. Sharp shoulders and pointy lapels can surprisingly do wonders to a larger gentleman, but sharp doesn’t mean you have to go smart; make the outfit casual with a lightweight tee, bearing in mind that darker tones show less shadows under unwanted wobbly bits. Alternatively, a shirt with subtle vertical stripes can take the look into the evening, but avoid doing up the top button if you have a bit of a turkey neck!
Top Tip for Body-Type:
Pair with dark, straight, well-fitting jeans that fit your bum and ankles well – skinny jeans will ironically heighten your top-heavy proportions!
At the risk of sending anyone into a mid-life crisis, I do believe that the middle-aged gents amongst us should dress dress differently. Now, by no means am I saying that a middle-aged man can not be stylish, but what I am saying is that they are unfortunately less likely to get away with being as experimental with their outfits as their younger competition. Put it this way: if Lady GaGa was a middle aged woman sporting her meat dresses and telephone hats down the local high-street, she would be written off as either insane… or Madonna. However, as I say, the middle-aged gent can still be stylish, and only a few subtle changes need to be made to add a sense of maturity to an outfit.
The trench coat is a timeless classic and a spring favourite for all ages (although better suited to the slightly taller category). Its sharp structuring will give your look a smart appeal, whilst maintaining a stylish flair. Opt for a monotonous palette and favour the darker shades, whilst paying much attention to detail – I find that the buttons of a trench are essential to the overall quality of the coat. With your student days long behind you – unlike me – you may be able to afford a slightly better quality trench, but there is always the option of buying your own buttons separately and sewing them on yourself (great tip by Ashley Cover in his trench article below).
A waterproof, lightweight fabric is perfect for spring, but a softer material may work well over your suit on your way to work (yes my stereotype of the middle-aged man is based on the 1950s). Pair with brogues, boots, or even boat shoes, but please avoid the hi-tops! If you want a slightly more casual look, or the trench doesn’t fit your figure right, a parka is a great alternative and another spring favourite.
Top Tip for Body-Type:
Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to lose your style – maintain what makes you, you, but just add a few tweaks here and there where needed.
If you’re body type doesn’t fit into any of the above then don’t panic – part two will be bringing you the best spring items for the shorter, muscular and broad-shouldered gentlemen. I know these ‘types’ may be a little stereotypical, but unless I list every single possible combination of body type on the planet, it would be pretty much impossible to cover your exact body shape without knowing you! However, as with any stereotype, by picking tips from each category you may fall into (or perhaps just edge towards the boundary of), then you will have a starting point to go out and experiment for yourself.
If you have any specific questions about your own body types and issues you come across with your daily wardrobe, then I’ll be happy to try and help in the comments below!
As always, you can follow me on twitter for further ramblings, thoughts and comments on the fashion world and beyond: www.twitter.com/TomBloomfield
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