The Four Fs of Men’s Fashion, Part Four: Form

In the first three weeks of this series, we talked about the aspects of men’s fashion that focus around the clothing itself – fabric, fit, and fabrication. Today, in our final installment, we come to the most important factor, the whole reason that the concept of style exists in the first place: your body –  that is to say, your form.

Why body type matters

Here’s where things can get a little tricky to discuss.  It’s all well and good to talk about fabrics and tailoring, but we tend to be sensitive when the topic turns to something as personal as our physical body shape. However, there’s no reason this has to be an uncomfortable subject; the idea behind identifying body type isn’t about pointing out perceived flaws or feeling down about how you look. On the contrary, It’s about acknowledging that every body type can be enhanced and flattered with the right lines and styles.  In order for you to look your best, you need to understand which styles are most appropriate for you, which aren’t always the safe, comfort-zone options that you would normally default to.

Learning about your form

Obviously you have a general idea of what your body looks like, whether you’re slim, athletic, or on the larger side.  If you really want to nail your style game, though, it’s worth doing a little research into body types, or speaking to your wardrobe consultant about the differences between them.  The three general body types are ectomorph (slimmer frame), mesomorph (more muscular, medium frame), and endomorph (larger, heavier frame), but those are just starting points.  Every individual body is slightly different, so it’s important to discuss your particular form with a professional who fully understands the ins and outs of how to create a flattering look.

It makes sense that when people are left to their own devices, they try to accentuate their assets and hide what they think of as flaws.  If you’re doing this with an untrained eye and some strong personal feelings about your body, though, that approach can end up backfiring.  For example, men who carry a bit more weight than they would like tend to gravitate toward oversized clothing, in an effort to hide their size.  The irony is, though, that bigger clothes only add more volume, which is not the best way to flatter a larger body.

Likewise, leaner, more muscular men often want to show off their form, so they’ll sometimes get clothing so tight that the seams are uncomfortable.  Your outward appearance will always be reflective of how you feel on the inside, so if you’re not comfortable, you won’t look your best.  The key is to enhance rather than deny, so rather than just going with what you think highlights or covers things up, it’s a better idea to find out what would make you look clean and well-styled, which will in turn make you feel more confident about your form.

You may be dreading having an honest conversation about your body with your wardrobe consultant, but it’s important to remember that there’s no particular ‘good’ body form, just different ones.  Any shape can look great when styled the correct way, and you’ll be thrilled to discover the surprises about what looks best on you.  When you see the results in the mirror, you’ll feel great about how you look, and you’ll be glad you went through the effort.

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