Style Advice

How To Dress For A Bigger Body Shape

fashion of bigger man steve mcqueen

Women as always seem to be far more advanced in their understanding of fashion and style. They recognise the need to dress for their body shape and this is advice I would most certainly encourage men to also follow.

Altering the clothes you buy and how you put together your outfits will help men look more presentable while increasing their confidence. Sometimes men can feel blinded by the breadth of young, muscular, good-looking models used in fashion campaigns. They aren’t able to see beyond this and whether that brand will be able to cater for their particular requirements. Here at A Gentleman’s Row, we want to bring together a collection of style tips that the bigger man can use to shop and dress to his body shape.

Vertical Stripes

This is probably the most well-known piece of advice for the larger man. The idea being that the optical illusion of stripes traveling down the body helps to slim it. Look for quarter inch width striped shirts would be my recommendation. I have read some advice that will tell men to wear pinstriped suits, but the style isn’t an easy look to pull off even if you are slimmer. So I would suggest avoiding this.


Men with a larger waist don’t always have large shoulders. High street brands tend to use restrictive sizing methods that give no option but for men to buy the size that fits around the waist but is far too baggy on the upper torso. Seek out jackets that have extra structure around the shoulders.

With suits, always go for single breasted, as double will create too much bulkiness around the waist. As with shirts make sure to get suit sleeves or trousers altered if they bunch at the wrist or ankle. The longer length will make your limbs look smaller and accentuate your middle.


The key with looking for fabrics is to alternate for different layers. Suits in a lighter linen mix tend not to hug the body in the same way a wool version might. While a thicker outerwear will stay rigid and drape the body ensuring it looks stylish but not fit like a potato sack.

Straight leg selvedge denim is a great option. It is not only versatile within a man’s wardrobe (smart and casual) but also adds a stiffer structure to the bottom half of his outfit. If buying from traditional brands than folding up the bottom is both practical (see Fit), but also sartorially recommended.

Creative Tailoring

Patterns are largely avoided, but an intelligent use of alternated tailoring can have a benefit to some. Play around with a lightly patterned jacket, say a windowpane check worn with a solid trouser foundation. You could even throw in a waistcoat (non-patterned). It won’t suit everybody but will do a good job if you are slimmer on top and bigger round the waist in creating a balance.

Final Word

The key theme throughout this article is fit. Don’t be afraid to throw in a few colours or subtle patterns but balance them out with solid colours as a foundation and just always ensure the fit is spot on. No matter your body shape there is never an excuse for men to have ill-fitting clothes.


Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.

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