5 Signs That You’re Wearing the Wrong Clothes for Your Body Type

We hate to break it to you, but one size certainly does not fit all when it comes to dressing well. Although the straighter, up-and-down male form has a bit less variation than its female counterpart, outfitting your specific body type still requires some legwork. A broad spectrum still exists for male body shapes — from short to tall, bulky to lanky, and slight to muscular. And, while a good sense of handsome, on-trend style is important, knowing how to dress for your body is key to looking sharp.

The fit of a garment cannot be underestimated especially as it relates to your build. But how do you know if you’re wearing the wrong clothes? Here are the five telltale signs that those sartorial selections are off base for your body type.

1. You look like you stepped into a fun house mirror

Are you wearing the wrong clothes for your body type?

Are you wearing the wrong clothes for your body type? | iStock.com

We all know the weird and wacky body distortions created by those crazy mirrors at carnivals, but if you’re having a similar mirror moment at home, it’s time to step away from your reflection and reconsider your outfit. The less-than-flattering illusion is generally created by horizontal or diagonal stripes, especially if you’re a bit stouter through the midsection.

Cross-sectional lines can visually increase your breadth. Better instead to opt for vertical stripes that draw the eye up and down for an elongating, slimming effect. A subtle pinstripe suit is a good option, as are sleek corduroy trousers with a thin, textured line. That said, those who are quite tall and lanky will want to steer clear of the vertical exposure to avoid looking even taller and skinnier.

2. Your rear is showing

A man with big goals

Is your jacket long enough? | iStock.com

A suit jacket or a sport coat should always cover your bottom. And the slits, called vents, in the back shouldn’t gape open. If you have a bit more junk in the trunk, you’ll want to make extra certain that you have appropriate coverage in the back. It’s best to stay away from double-vented jackets with slits on each side, as this will draw extra attention to your rear. Suit up properly for your posterior, sticking to a singular vent or find a jacket with no vents for even more streamlined coverage.

3. You have belly overhang

close-up of a man struggling to button his pants

Do you have a bad case of muffin top? | iStock.com

Belly overhang, when your tummy folds over your waistband, is a sure sign that your pants, belt, or both are too tight. Even if your waistline has expanded recently, there’s no sense in trying to fit into the same trousers or to keep your belt notched where it always was before. Cut yourself some slack and have a tailor let out the waist of your pants or just buy a new pair. Then, swallow your pride and loosen the belt. You’ll be way more comfortable with a bit more breathing room — and you’ll look much better for it.

4. You’re showcasing whiskers or wrinkles

wrinkled shirt

Just say no to wrinkles. | iStock.com

A good face cream and a clean shave won’t do much to hide the wrinkles and whiskers from clothes that are too tight. If fabric is pinching or bunching with movement, then you’ve likely fallen into the too-tight trap. And it’s not only a concern for those of you who may have gained a few more pounds than you’d like because muscular builds also struggle to find clothes that fit their bodies appropriately.

You should be able to comfortably wrap your arms around your body when wearing a dress shirt or a sport coat without the shoulders and back seam nearly busting apart. Jeans and pants are another place where you’ll want to leave a little room in the thighs so you can use your pockets and avoid the awkward stretching of fabric across the groin area.

This is the time where a good tailor comes into play. You may have to go up a size and then alter your clothing to fit your unique body type.

5. Your body is playing a disappearing act

Stylish man in selvedge jeans

You never want your figure to get lost under your clothes. | iStock.com

A looser fit may be beneficial for a broader, heavyset man, but it can easily swallow a guy who is on the slighter side. If you can’t find the lines of your body underneath your clothes, then what you’re wearing is way too baggy. The more slender set will benefit from a more precisely tailored fit.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachellw and Instagram @rachellwatkins