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Flatter Yourself: Choose the Right Jacket for Your Body Type

5/20/2015

Flatter Yourself: Choose the Right Jacket for Your Body Type

There's more to looking good in your clothes than just hitting the gym or matching colors. The right blazer or sport coat can emphasize your best features, and minimize your worst. (We're not mannequins after all.) There's a style and fit for every body type--the trick is knowing what those are.

Inverted Triangle

Inverted Triangle

If you have an inverted-triangular frame (broad shoulders and a trim waist,) you don’t likely run into many fitting problems. The balance between your upper and lower body makes it simpler to dress, because so many clothes are made for your body type. Still, a few pointers won’t hurt…

  • Tend toward unconstructed jackets—they keep your torso nicely accented without making your shoulders appear overly broad.
  • Not that broad shoulders are a bad thing, of course. Go ahead and flatter them with a double-breasted piece.
  • Just don’t wear anything with a wide lapel, which will distort and distract from your frame.

Rectangle

Rectangle

If you’re very tall or have a wiry frame, you probably have issues with your clothes hanging off of you.

  • Start by looking for European-style jackets, which generally have a trimmer waist and more structured shoulders. Both help to flatter your chest and give some horizontal dimension.
  • Two-button jackets of any style achieve a similar effect: button the upper and leave the lower undone to emphasize your chest. This goes for casual blazers with jeans as well as suits.
  • Look for jackets with a Long (L) size, as they’re made for taller and slimmer frames. That said, don’t try to cheat by wearing a larger size. Long-sized suits are tailored in, whereas a bigger size will just make you look smaller inside it.
  • Avoid pinstripes (which elongate any frame,) and go for a windowpane or gingham check instead.

Triangle

Triangle

You’ve got a triangular frame if your hips and torso are wider than your shoulders. This often gives the shoulders a downward-sloping look.

  • The best thing to do for your body type is to give your shoulders more shape with structured jackets and wider lapels.
  • You can balance out a larger torso by sticking with one-button and two-button jackets.
  • Also, check your pockets. The subtler, the better. You want to emphasize your shoulders, and pockets just draw the eye down and away from them.
  • Better yet, choose jackets with no waist pockets at all.

Circle

Circle

You have a circular frame if your shoulders and waist are roughly the same width, and you’ve got a round middle.

  • Striped and pinstriped jackets are your ally, as they lengthen the torso.
  • Don’t make the mistake of wearing longer jackets though, as this will achieve the opposite effect. Your jacket should end just below the buttocks—any longer will make you look squat.
  • Go for structured shoulders and wider lapels to broaden your shoulders.
  • You’ll want to avoid double-breasted jackets, which emphasize the midsection.

Jackets are like your body: the more comfortable and confident you are in them, the better you'll look. Whether you're ripped like Bruce Lee or sturdy like Tony Soprano, these suggestions aren't meant to deceive the viewer, just to complement the form you're already wearing.

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