Most men are not built like Tom Hardy. But clothing brands design their clothes to fit most men. Ergo, if you’re intimately acquainted with the barbell, odds are you’re also au fait with trousers that billow around your waist but vacuum seal your thighs.
Whether you tend towards powerlifting or ultra-running, the rules of style are the same – fit, fabric, form – but the difference comes in how you apply them. Your body might look good naked, but the aim is not to get as close to that look when clothed.
Most gym rats solve the big shoulders, narrow waist problem by choosing clothes that fit right where they’re slim, but stretch where they’re big. Being able to bench double your bodyweight does not excuse a shirt that strains as hard to cover your pecs. You’re not a medium – size up.
Though we understand you don’t want to hide all that work beneath excess fabric, spray-on clothes make it seem as though you’re only dressed at all because it’s a legal obligation.
Get A Tailor
Rather than cling to your body, your clothes should follow its shape. Slim fits won’t upset children, but they’ll still flatter your physique. The only problem is, brands make clothes to fit the average body shape: on V-shaped torsos, shirts and T-shirts are tight up top but loose down low; and if you haven’t skipped leg day, you’ll have extra fabric around your waist but risk your seams everywhere else.
A tailor will get rid of any excess, so your clothes echo the silhouette beneath. It might seem an outlay, but it’s better to have five or six tees that fit perfectly than 20 from the Geordie Shore.
Embrace The Henley
The fact that a V-shaped body is flattered by a similar neckline led men to embrace ever deeper slits until they plunged nearly to the navel. But you’ll notice that Hollywood’s henchest men tend towards a subtler show of strength.
The Henley shirt was first worn by rowers, whose travails on water build the kind of bodies you bench to emulate. That means they’re cut slimmer through the waist and designed to fit snug, while the button collar can be left open to draw the eye down, adding width to your shoulders while narrowing everything else. What works for Chris Pratt works for you.
Less Is More
Male models are like human coat hangers, and unfortunately, not everything they wear on the runway will work for you. Too many layers, particularly if they’re long or you try the reverse layering thing, will bulk up what’s already bulky enough, throwing your proportions out.
In winter, keep to fabrics like cashmere and merino, which add warmth but not mass. Cropped jackets, which end on your hips, will keep top and bottom balanced and stop muscle tipping towards Michelin man.
Break It Up
If you’re tall as well as wide, use accessories to minimise your bulk. A chunky belt will stop top bleeding into bottom, so you look less like The Mountain. For the same reason, it’s wise to avoid monochrome looks. If you can, try split tailoring instead of full suits; if not, use a brighter tie to draw the eye up and add a point of difference. You’re also best off avoiding
anything double-breasted. Chest flyes have added enough breast already.