5 Unflattering Clothing Mistakes That Make You Look Heavier

One of the keys to dressing well is not only choosing the right trends and classics that perfectly exude your personal style, it’s also about presenting your body in the best and most flattering way possible — without trying to distort or alter your body. Anything else is just frivolous costuming. Good clothing doesn’t just change the shape of your body, it also makes everything look balanced, proportional, and neatly framed. That being said, one of the biggest sartorially related issues you can run into when dressing is wearing clothing that makes you appear bigger than you are. We’re not talking about looking more muscular, rather, we’re talking about mistakes that can make you look like a shapeless blob. Here are five clothing mistakes that are making you look bigger.

1. Wearing an ill-fitting shirt 

Smiling Young Woman Who Has Just Woken Up

Your baggy shirt can make you look bigger. | iStock.com

Generally speaking, the right top will be nicely fitted to your body with little excess material. The goal of the fit is to see clean lines that are appealing to the eye and flattering to the body, with no excess fabric that billows or bunches up to make you look like you’re wearing a parachute. Alternatively, you don’t want the shirt so tight that any buttons look like they’re about to pop open. For ladies, going too tight often leads to unsightly bra lines.

Another little feature on shirts that can make you look larger, at least for men, is the addition of pleats. These pleats are extra folds of fabric that are usually placed at the back of the shirt. They’re designed to give the wearer some extra room, especially if one is carrying a little extra meat around the middle. But the excess fabric may billow out in the upper part of your back if you move the wrong way.

In terms of specific fit for dress shirts, know that the shoulder seams should hug your shoulders and end just at the break of your shoulder and arm. Make sure your sleeves aren’t too long or too short. The sleeve should extend comfortably to your wrist. Another trick of proper fit is to unbutton the cuffs, and if they reach too far past your wrists, the sleeves are too long and the shirt is too big.

2. Really baggy pants

man kicking up his feet to nap on a coach

Your baggy sweatpants shouldn’t leave the house. | iStock.com

Though wide-leg trousers can be a nice look, they shouldn’t sag. If you’re rocking pants that are so baggy you have to keep pulling them up to your natural waist, which is about half an inch above your hip bone, they’re too big. Sometimes even a belt can’t fix the situation.

Some people make the mistake, especially if they’re a little larger, of buying or wearing pants that are bigger in an attempt to hide their bodies, which can end up having the opposite effect. Go for the right fit, and you’ll look great.

3. An untailored suit

suit jackets

Suit jackets need to be tailored. | iStock.com

Suits are an incredibly important component to the modern man’s wardrobe — not to mention one of the keys to success and dressing for success. When a suit is ill-fitting, it can convey all the wrong things. Most, if not all, suits will not fit perfectly off the rack so it’s really essential to get to a tailor to adjust the fit to your shape. If the jacket sleeves are too long and the hems of your pants are dragging behind your heel, your suit does not fit nor does it flatter your figure, style expert Tom Julian told Men’s Health. The right suit should feel comfortable yet look fitted to get across the right sartorial message.

4. Anything that is way too tight

man with tight pants

Avoid pants that are too tight. | iStock.com

Wearing anything too tight, to the extent that your shirt buttons are about to pop or you can hardly sit down, will make you look like an overstuffed sausage. In short, wearing anything too tight will make you appear heavier than you really are. The answer to looking thinner is not about packing yourself into ill-fitting clothing, it’s about wearing clothing that flatters your figure and accentuates the positive, while detracting from the negative.

5. Printed pants

An array of prints

Prints are not friendly to everyone. | iStock.com

Prints have always been a hot topic in fashion. One day they’re in, the next they’re out. Still, pants featuring prints can often be a problem. The big issue overall is that when a person wears a very busy or bright print, it adds dimension and volume to the body. This is very bad news for someone who is looking to slim down their appearance. Do yourself a favor and just stick to a solid color. No harm, no foul.

Additional reporting by Jordan Porter-Woodruff