Fitness fanatic or armchair sportsman? Tips to get the right suit for your shape.

england rugby squad

The England rugby team looking sharp in team suits after winning the World Cup
Image: wikipedia

You can look great in a suit, whatever your body shape. Just look at this year’s England Six Nations Rugby team – big blokes all, and not a stretched seam in sight. As rugby blogger Total Flanker says, they look the “mutt’s nuts.

Unlike the RFU squad, we can’t all have our suits tailored by Eden Park. But the good news is, an off the peg suit can look just as good as a bespoke number, provided you know what to look for.

Slender frame


Sharp, slim fitting suits in a heavy fabric look good on slender men
Image: bigstock

Make the most of your lean looks by opting for a suit jacket with some structure to the shoulders. This adds width where you need it, but don’t go overboard or you’ll look unbalanced. An Italian suit looks good on a slim man, the sharp lines and fitted cut accentuating your silhouette.

Shorter gents look best in suits that accentuate the vertical, but if you decide to opt for a stripe, avoid pinstripes which make you look too thin. Single block colours look good on smaller men because they make a uniform statement, maximising the impression you make.

Tall? Distract attention from your height by selecting a checked fabric and add horizontals where you can. Go for a striped tie or wear a horizontal striped pullover or cardigan under your suit jacket. Also consider choosing a contrasting suit jacket and trousers to break up your silhouette.

If you’re on the slim side, stylist Pip Mills says selecting a heavier or textured fabric adds bulk and will hang better, giving you a more structured shape. For the shorter man, a two button jacket works best, for tall thin gents three buttons is the way to go.


James Bond accessories

Think like James Bond – tasteful accessories and understated elegance suit athletic frames
Image: shutterstock

Broad shoulders, narrow waist, carrying little to no excess weight? Lucky you. Here’s how to capitalise on all that gym time.

You look great in a classic British suit which offers some structure in the shoulders and a relatively figure hugging cut. It’s a style that flatters without going too tight – think Bond, James Bond. If it’s good enough for him, surely it’s also the perfect choice for you?

Lift your suit by selecting tasteful accessories; a smart wristwatch, silk tie and matching pocket square. And steer clear of shiny fabrics if you really want to ooze class.

Square shapes


Denzel Washington’s jacket has structured shoulders to create an inverted triangle shape
Image: Harry Wad

Are you about the same width around the middle as you are across the chest? So’s Denzel Washington and he looks sharp suited and booted.

The aim here is to give your silhouette the classic inverted triangle look, maximising the width of your shoulders while minimising your waistline.

Go for a suit jacket with boxy shoulders and a relatively slim fit, perhaps opting for a slimmer fitting trouser to further accentuate the look. Avoid checks and double breasted jackets because they accentuate the torso at the expense of your shoulders.

Larger gents


Vertical pinstripes will give you a longer, leaner look
Image: shutterstock

The key here is to accentuate the vertical while also drawing attention to the shoulder line. For this reason you’ll look best in a suit jacket with structured shoulders. The Idle Man says:

“Focus on well-fitting clothing…Wear single-breasted pieces and button-down styles to streamline the torso.”

Pinstripes look great on bigger men because as Men’s Health point out, they “draw the eye up and down instead of side to side” which has an instant slimming effect. Alternatively, plain darker colours also suit bigger men. Lift your look by opting for a bright shirt, tie or pocket square in contrasting colours.

And do go for straight leg trousers over slim fit because the latter will draw attention to your midsection.

How do you suit shop for your shape? We’d love to hear your tips. Tell us over on our Facebook page!

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Posted in Men's Suits.