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?
Part one of the spring picks duo brought you the top items this season for the taller, larger and older figures, but now is the arrival of part two: bringing you the best of spring for shorter guys, T-shaped frames and muscular bodies.
The shorter guys amongst the FashionBeans readers often state their frustration at the prejudice fashion world – a world that favours the tall giants amongst us, both on catwalk and in catalogue. This favouritism leaves the majority of the population feeling like they shouldn’t wear the clothes; I’m sure that everyone at some point in their life has bought something that looks great on the model, but not so good on themselves. And so, the shorter gentleman, who is shunned from the front of the model-driven fashion world, is left asking ‘what are the right items for me?’.
Well the key tip to bear in mind is to maintain and elongate your vertical structure. Whereas with tall and skinny gentleman it is best to break up the vertical linear structure with as many rolls, twists, contrasts and horizontal structures as possible, the shorter gentleman should concentrate on two things: maintaining a constant flow from toe to head (not the other way around), and remaining top-heavy. The former can be achieved by creating a complimentary palette of similar colours throughout the outfit, particularly with your shoes and trousers. Use your top half to bring variety into your colour palette, but make sure that the colour of your bottom half is continued through in order to draw the eye upwards (this can be done in subtle detailing, or perhaps a jacket or coat). The latter tip, of creating a top-heavy outfit, will help to draw the eye upwards – and most importantly, keep it there – instantly adding height to your appearance. It also helps to elongate the legs (aided with slim jeans and a belt), which is they key to elongating the rest of your body.
Leather or denim jackets are great ways of adding height to your body; they create a top-heavy look by adding bulk in the right areas and creases and folds across the arms if the sleeves are pushed up. Whereas having the sleeves down may make your arms appear slimmer and longer, it will draw the eyes downwards and therefore make your overall appearance look shorter to the eye. Show a bit of forearm to keep those onlooking eyes upwards.
The leather jacket is also great for the shorter figure because of its tendency to have a large, open collar. Don’t let it swallow you up, but play with the shapes of the large lapels and structural collars to draw the eye upwards above your head – tricking onlookers to believe that there is additional height in the space above you. Opt for a shorter style jacket that falls above your belt line – again keeping the eye upwards. Avoid jackets that fall past your waist as they will reduce your leg length and make you appear shorter than you are. Some denim jackets (particularly bomber jackets) often come with an elastic-like hem at the bottom – this should be avoided as it will disconnect your torso from your legs and make it appear out of proportion and short. Keep the outfit top-heavy but still connected.
Top Tip for Body Type:
If you like to pay attention to the details of your outfit, integrate them into the top half of your look with neck chains, large collars, ties etc. avoiding detailing such as bold socks and belts. Of course shorter guys can still wear these if they like the look – they won’t look bad – but it won’t help to add height to your appearance if this is your goal. Hats can be great for a “quirky” look on short guys, but definitely stunt your appearance – leave the head open to draw the eye upwards and onwards above where your height actually ends.
T-Shaped bodies tend to have emphasised – or rather ‘structured’ – shoulders and collarbones, creating a natural top-heavy frame that resembles the letter ‘T’. T-Shaped guys are rather lucky because they have the option of adapting their body to different shapes and styles. Military pea-coats add great emphasis to the shoulders, skinny jeans emphasise the ‘T’-structure, drop-crotch or carrot style jeans help to even out the appearance, and top-heavy jackets help to emphasise the upper-bulk of the body, creating a muscular appearance.
Scoop necks are perfect for this body type because they add emphasis to the shoulder and collarbone area. Most guys with a T-shape body have quite defined, structured collarbones, and the scoop tee is a perfect way of showing them off. Taller guys with a skinnier shoulder frame should avoid the scoop because it will end up sitting wrong or look too effeminately flappy, whereas on a T-shaped frame they will help add emphasis to your bone structure and muscles. ‘Slash’ or ‘cut’ necks are equally, if not more effective, as they concentrate on the horizontal area from shoulder to shoulder, without the vertical ‘scoop’ downwards.
Top Tip for Body Type:
If you decide to opt down the route of accentuating your ‘T’-structure, rather than levelling it out, then be careful with your shoes. Anything too clumpy or bulky will throw your legs into disproportion and give you clown feet. Square-toed shoes stunt the length of your feet, but can simultaneously add bulk; boat shoes, brogues or espadrilles should work well depending on your outfit.
Those with a muscular body, whether through the luck of genetics or the pride of hard work, should pay just as much attention to their style as the rest of us – huge pecs won’t get you anywhere if don’t know how to dress right for them. The top tip I can give to a muscular guy is to avoid the v-neck. Yes, we know it shows off your man-cleavage, but it also makes you come across a bit arrogant. Subtle is the best way forward, with slim-fitting clothes (but not too tight) and layering in the right areas.
Drop-crotch has been a hit this A/W, and spring will be no different; along with its slightly more timid brother carrot-fit, the drop-crotch trouser has made its way from runway to high-street and the opinions of many a fashion-minded gent across the globe. Whether you love it or hate it, the drop-crotch style is perfect for a muscular gent who often struggles to find the right fit of jeans. Skinny or slim style jeans (if you can get them past your thighs) only serve in creating a muffin top or a frame that is top-heavy in all the wrong ways. Keep your body in proportion with drop-crotch to maintain the wide physique down the body whilst giving you an overall relaxed look – not too showy or arrogant. Pair with military style boots and layering on the top half – avoid bulky coats and jackets and opt for jumpers and cardigans instead. Carry through the autumn/winter colour palette of greens, navy and brown with the trousers, but bring in the spring up above with camels, beige and pastels to brighten up your outfit.
Top Tip for Body Type:
Avoid the “AllSaints” look that is seen on too many muscular guys in Britain, and find your own individual style with accessories and jewellery for detailing.
And so that concludes the second part of my ‘spring picks’ duo. Naturally, your body won’t fit exactly into one of these categories, or perhaps won’t fit into any at all, but the trick is to take my tips from each section you feel may apply to you, and as I always say: experiment. All I can do is give broad suggestions in each category, but it is up to you to take these broad tips and refine them to your own personal appearance and wardrobes. 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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