Introduction To Dressing For Your Body Shape

Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to the number of different female body shapes, the list is almost endless. However, like women, men can equally dress to suit their shape, skin tone, hair and even to highlight eye colour.

So when it comes to developing your wardrobe, it’s not only the latest trends and styles that you should be thinking about. The entire process can actually become a lot more personal…

The Male Body Shape Breakdown

When considering typical body shapes, men will often fall into one of five categories: trapezoid, inverted triangle, rectangle, triangle or oval.

If you recognise and accept exactly what type of body shape you are, it will become much easier to identify whether an item of clothing has a positive or negative impact on your appearance – particularly if you understand the reasons why it has that impact. When this knowledge is then applied to your everyday shopping habits, it will not only improve your style and look, but will give you the confidence to know that what you are wearing is right for YOU.

With this in mind, today we bring you an introductory guide to the five body shapes identified above, along with some basic dos and don’ts for each…

1. The Trapezoid

Those with a trapezoid body shape will have broad shoulders and chest with relatively narrow waist and hips.

Due to the upper and lower body being balanced, it means this shape is far simpler to dress than others. In general, most styles and fits will suit this shape because it is well proportioned.

So, if this relates to you, you can easily incorporate new trends, cuts and colours into your wardrobe, with little concern. Good news hey?

Obviously you will tend to steer towards that which you feel comfortable in, and that is important, but you should also realise this shape’s potential for experimentation. Why not try bolder prints and colours that make more of a statement? Like these for example…

2. The Inverted Triangle

Similar to a trapezoid, you will also have broad shoulders and chest, however, your hips and waist are narrower.

This means your upper torso is much wider than your lower torso and, subsequently, the lower half of your body. This body shape is particularly common for those with athletic frames and can also be sculpted through regular weight lifting/body building.

When dressing for this body type the imbalance between top and bottom is something you should pay special attention to.


Consider detailing around the hips with the use of belts or pockets. This will help to break up an outfit whilst drawing attention to this area.

Wear Breton striped tees, which are both classic in style and ideal for men of this shape – particularly if the stripes are focused across the stomach rather than on the chest.

Opt for v-neck knits/tees as they will narrow the chest and draw the eye down.

Use graphic prints and logos to create a central point of focus that will reduce attention to the upper chest.

Try straight or more relaxed slim cuts (rather than too slim/skinny) for legwear as they will help balance your proportions and broad shoulders.

Try unstructured double-breasted jackets as they will help widen the torso without adding width to the shoulders or upper chest.

Try statement or on trend printed/patterned legwear in order to draw the eyeline down.


Wear structured jackets with shoulder padding or wide lapels. This will only emphasise the widest area.

Consider tops with wide scoop necklines. Again, this will only appear to widen that area.

Wear three quarter length sleeves that will broaden the appearance of your chest. Try to stick with shorter sleeves for anything but formal shirts.

Opt for skinny leg cuts as they will make the top half of your body appear even wider – throwing out your proportions further.

Gravitate towards shoulder detailing/prints/colour-blocking. Pieces that incorporate such detailing will only draw the eyes to that area.

Lagos, Nigeria
  • As a personal stylist, when I mention the concept of body shape and colour analysis to male clients.

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