Problem: a double chin or a thick neck
• For ties, stick to medium-sized, classic patterns. Smooth, lightweight silks often result in very tiny single knots, while heavy jacquard silks tend to result in ungainly double knots. Pick the fabric carefully to get a medium-sized knot that is proportionate to the collar, says Samrat Som, creative director of menswear brand Louis Philippe.
• Try having the shirt collar closer around the neck. It makes a double chin look less obvious, says Gordon Alsleben, master cutter and tailor from Savile Row, London, and head of the made-to-measure programme at The Collective, a men’s luxury clothing store in Bangalore.
Clothes make the man: (Clockwise from top) Aamir Khan, Dev Patel; Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Rishi Kapoor.
• Collars should be as thin and narrow as possible, says Som.
• Fashion designer Rohit Gandhi of Cue says V-necked T-shirts are the best option for casual wear.
• Som’s list of things to avoid include very high collars, wide or large collars, colourful and very narrow ties.
• Gandhi says it’s best to stay away from round collars and band collars.
Problem: a big mid-section
• Choose a style of jacket that drapes down and creates an impression of a waist. Even a jacket which is slightly skirted will create an illusion of a waist, says Alsleben.
• He also advises you to pick fitted suits. “Not tight enough to show rolls of fat, but a bit snug. When the suit’s too loose, the width shows more,” he says.
• While buying suits and jackets, look for wider shoulders to visually balance the mid-section, says Som. Pinstripe jackets and trousers have a slimming effect. And suits are better than a blazer with trousers, because those tend to break the body into two halves, emphasizing the middle.
• Paul Jheeta, master cutter from Savile Row, London, swears by the single-breasted, one-buttoned jacket that “gives the illusion of a slimmer waistline”. On trousers, he says, “As a general rule, trousers should have front pleats as it helps conceal the area.”
• For casual occasions, Gandhi suggests leaving the shirt untucked. Another option is the layered look. “It works well to camouflage. Wear a shirt or a light jacket over a T-shirt,” he says.
• In terms of colour, designer Ravi Bajaj’s tip is to dress tonal—pairing dark-coloured shirts with dark trousers. He also suggests wearing a broader belt.
• While wearing shirts or T-shirts, one should be careful to stay away from horizontal stripes, especially heavy rugby stripe patterns, says Som. Even for vertical stripes, heavy or thick stripes should be avoided.
• Som has tips for formal dressing. Double-breasted jackets create a block of single colour in the middle. There should be no big patterns on suits.
• “Flat-front trousers accentuate your mid-section,” says Jheeta.
• A light shirt with dark trousers will draw attention to the mid-section, according to Bajaj.
Problem: short legs
• “Make sure your trousers are high on the waist as this gives an illusion of long legs,” says Bajaj.
• Som suggests using stripes to create a sense of length. Try wearing more striped trousers with solid shirts and blazers, rather than a striped shirt or a striped suit.
• Alsleben suggests buying a fitted suit rather than a classic cut. “Try a waisted garment with the shoulders slightly wider. A one-button front with a longer-looking lapel and slim trousers add the illusion of height,” he says.
• Don’t select double-breasted suits, says Alsleben. The wider the coat, the shorter you look.
• There should be no cuffs at the bottom of your trousers, says Som.
• Gandhi says it’s best to avoid following trends of narrow or flared trousers or jeans and just go for a straight fit. Also, no low-waisted jeans, says Bajaj.
Problem: short and stocky
• For suits, Jheeta recommends a single-breasted, one-buttoned jacket with peak lapels, preferably in dark colours or pinstripes, which enhances height.
• Som cautions against using a stripe-on-stripe pattern with your shirt and suit. It is better to keep just one stripe in the whole ensemble, either on the shirt or the suit.
• Alsleben recommends more room in the waist area of the jacket—it won’t make the shoulders stand out.
• For casual wear, it is better to stick to solid colours, says Bajaj.
• According to Gandhi, there is no shame in adding insoles to your shoes. “If it gives an added half-inch and more confidence, there’s nothing wrong,” he says.
• “No checks and no bold stripes,” says Bajaj. Gandhi adds that printed shirts with trousers can cut your height.
• Jheeta says although the popular notion is that a long jacket will make you look taller, it creates in fact the opposite result. “Stocky-built persons should keep their jacket length on the shorter side to look taller,” he adds.
Problem: very lean
• “If you are too skinny, then you’re lucky,” jokes Gandhi. He thinks the layered look can add bulk; Bajaj suggests bold prints and light colours.
• For suits, Jheeta recommends a double-breasted jacket with a 6-inch wrap, which will make you look fuller at the waist or hip area. The chest area can be given more structure with peak lapels.
• Bajaj tailors the suit with slightly exaggerated shoulders. Som also says suit shoulders can be slightly wider to create a sense of volume but not overly so, which will make it look too big and boxy. They should hug the shoulders and taper down to the waist to create a sense of proportion.
• Have a classic-cut suit with a constructed chest, says Alsleben. Bespoke or made-to-measure suit-makers pad the front of a suit with a fabric called “hair cloth”, which helps keep the chest looking firm.
• T-shirts and sweaters with heavy horizontal stripes should be generously used, according to Som.
• The most common mistake slim men make is to wear clothes that are too big. Very often, this is glaringly obvious at the shirt collar, which fits very loose around the neck. Get shirts custom-made for the collar, shoulders and sleeves to fit correctly.
Problem: a broad chest with skinny legs
• Som advises staying with the classic combination of light tops and dark trousers. Even when wearing blazers and trousers, try the light on top, dark on bottom formula. Or try vertical stripes on top, and solid colours at the bottom.
• Som says checked trousers are interesting options for the more experimental dressers. Pleated trousers with straight legs are preferable to flat-fronted trousers with narrow legs.
• According to Jheeta, this body type looks good in most cuts as the legs get covered in trousers and a big chest and shoulders wear a suit well. He suggests a single-breasted, two-button with notch lapels. “This will help take the attention away from the chest or shoulder area while the second button gives a focal point to a narrow waist. One can also have two patch pockets to enhance the lower area to balance out the silhouette,” he adds.
• No skinny anything, says Som: Skinny jeans, trousers and ties are not to be worn by men with this body type.