Being ‘narrow’ – like being unable to grow a beard – is one of the lesser-mentioned style dilemmas facing men.
Let’s face it, most of us are in a battle with our beer bellies to try and look slimmer, not bigger.
But for the pigeon-chested among us, there are some hard and fast sartorial rules that will help compliment, not accentuate, a slender frame.
1 | Wear crewnecks
A plunging V should be avoided at all costs as a matter of good taste, but where possible, opt for t-shirts with a crewneck as these have the affect of making you seem broader.
2 | Break up your colours
It can be tempting to think of it as a form of camouflage, but dressing head to toe in one shade – particularly if that shade is black – actually accentuates a skinny body frame. Break things up with lighter hues by pairing, for example, dark jeans with white or sky blue shirts, or a light grey sweater.
3 | Learn to layer
One of the advantages of being a smaller guy is that you can add extra layers to your outfit to bulk out your frame. For example, in autumn and winter weather, add a sweater on top of your dress shirt to wear underneath a blazer.
4 | Vertical stripes = bad. Horizontal stripes = good
There is some debate over this, but we stick to the age-old principle that vertical lines are slimming, whereas hoops make you seem broader. So be weary of the pinstripe next time you’re buying a suit.
5 | Two or single button jackets only
While we’re on suits, remember 3 button blazers are made to fit the bigger guy, so avoid them if you don’t have the chest or waist to fill it out.
6 | Be conservative with patterns
Very few men can pull off large, loud patterns. Unfortunately for you, none of them are skinny. Stick to (subtle) stripes, gingham or herringbone: anything more adventurous is likely to have an overpowering affect.
7 | Wear clothes that fit
The most important rule of all, no matter what your body shape, is to wear clothes that fit properly. Don’t fall for the same trick as gawky teenagers the world over by thinking bulkier clothes will disguise that fact you’re thin. Nothing could be further from the truth.