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AskMen.com Presents The Style Bible
The 11 Rules for Building a Complete and Timeless Wardrobe
In the world of popular culture, fashion is almost always displayed against the canvas of other people. What is considered current or trendy is invariably a question of who is wearing it, whether that who is a model on a foreign runway or a celeb on television. In this climate, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that true style resides in accommodating individuality, rather than blindly following the lead of others.
That last phrase has become something of a cliché, but one worthy of reexamination because it is so commonly misread. When we speak of individuality in fashion, we're not referring to using one's wardrobe as a means to showcase one's independence (by, for example, wearing purple snakeskin boots as a fierce declaration of your free-thinking ways). Nor are we referring to eschewing popular trends simply because they are popular. What we are advocating is the simple act of setting oneself as the primary criterion in dictating what one wears. In other words, don't wear the color purple because everyone in London or Milan is wearing purple. Wear the color purple because you've researched what colors match your skin type and the rest of your wardrobe, and purple came out near the top of the list.
Getting to know yourself in a style sense is not an overnight process. It takes time and experimentation and you will make plenty of mistakes along the way. But the rewards are many. The man who is conscious of his own style walks with confidence, because he knows that hisgarments do not look awkward on him. His shopping excursions are much less exasperating than those of other men, because he knows exactly what suits him and does not need to waste his time discovering as much through dressing room trial and error. And his wardrobe is perfectly streamlined: devoid of those orphan garments that are worn once and then never again, and filled with clothes that will prove useful for years to come. And his bank account is all the healthier for it.
Your first step toward becoming that man consists in determining the style of clothes that best suit your physical body type.
Dress right for your body type
Although Thomas Jefferson decreed that "all men are created equal," when it comes to body type and clothing, that bold statement is simply untrue. Knowing how to dress for your body type as well as which styles to avoid is the key to honing your personal style.
One thing to always keep in mind when shopping for new clothes is that the fit of the garment is its ultimate test. If an expensive jacket just isn't right for your body, it's going to look bad no matter what the price tag. Conversely, a cheaper jacket that accentuates your assets and disguises the things you don't love about yourself will make you look like a million bucks even without a million-dollar price tag. So to learn about how to dress for your body type, how to find the clothes that are most flattering for you, and how to avoid the most common body-type faux pas men make, read on.
The Bulky Man
Buy clothes that fit trimly
Many bulkier fellows mistakenly believe that tight clothing will smother imperfections and flatten out pudgy shapes. However, tight clothing will only draw attention to your flabby bits. In a similar vein, other plus-size men believe baggy clothing will hide bulges. Not so. Overly large clothes will only make you look even bigger. The secret to looking slimmer is to choose clothes that are neither tight nor baggy, meaning that all your clothes should just skim your body without hugging it too closely.
The larger man: tips for a good fit
- Avoid any sweater, blazer, or shirt with naturally sloped shoulders because these tend to attract the eye right down to your mid-section.
- Jackets should be well adjusted around your waist area and should fall right below your buttocks.
- Trousers should be worn on your hips, preferably with a low-rise, which is a shorter distance between the top of the waistband and the crotch of your pants.
- Avoid letting your belly stick out over your pants; this lengthens your torso and shortens your legs, resulting in a very unattractive combination.
Stay away from horizontal stripes
If there's a little more of you to love, particularly in the stomach area, avoid any kind of horizontal stripe. While you're at it, avoid diagonal stripes too. Both draw attention to the span of your chest. What you should wear with pride, however, are shirts and trousers with vertical stripes. Vertical stripes draw the eye downward, elongating your silhouette and visually slimming it. Pinstripe suits are the perfect dress-up clothes for you, especially paired with a crisp black dress shirt underneath. Pinstripe dress shirts will also look great when mixed with dark jeans or black trousers. For casual wear, try to find a pair of dark corduroys with slim stripes that are made from thin material.
A shirt and trousers in two extremely contrasting colorslike black and whitewill break you in half and make a large middle stand out. Choose tops and bottoms that are identical or similar in color to create a cleaner visual impression and to look ten pounds slimmer instantly. And, of course, choose all black for the most slimming effect, but add some colored accessories to avoid looking like you have a funeral to attend.
Choose prints carefully
Unless you're on a drunken adventure through Hawaii, stay away from T-shirts or dress shirts with large or busy prints if you're a bulky guy. These kinds of prints will draw attention to the upper half of your body, which is especially bad if you have a large belly that you would like to conceal. Obviously, printed shirts add flair to a wardrobe, so you shouldn't swear them off entirely. You'll look best in a shirt with a small print that is spaced quite far apart.AskMen.com Presents The Style Bible
The 11 Rules for Building a Complete and Timeless Wardrobe. Copyright © by James Bassil. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.