The 3 Body Shapes of Men and How to Dress Based on Them

Many men assume that body shapes should only concern women, but what they don’t realize is that identifying their own body shape is critical to developing their image. Whether you have a fit athletic body or leaning towards the “dad bod” side, knowing your body shape is very important because it will tell you what clothes will look good and which ones to avoid.

When you start dressing based on what best suits your physique, you’ll look and feel good and a new level of confidence will radiate from you.

Body Shape vs. Body Silhouette

Before anything else, let’s learn a little bit about what a body shape is and how different it is from a silhouette.

The body shape is a person’s natural shape, often most obvious to oneself when wearing the least amount of clothing (e.g. in underwear). Men, in general, have three body shapes: V-shaped, H-shaped, and O-shaped. These body shapes will be discussed in further detail later on.

The body silhouette, on the other hand, is what a person’s body shape appears to be based on the clothes worn. Men can play around with different kinds of clothing to accentuate certain body parts to and give the impression of a different body shape. For example, a guy with shoulders, waist, and hips of similar width (a characteristic of the H-shape) could wear shirts with round necklines to create the illusion of a broader upper body.

Determining Your Body Shape

To help you identify your body shape, stand in front of a mirror in your underwear. Take note of three things: the width of your shoulders, waist, and hips. Compare them to the images below and read the characteristics to find out your best match and how to dress based on your shape.

The 3 Body Shapes of Men

Read about the three shapes commonly seen in men’s bodies and the do’s and don’ts of dressing for each physique.

1. The V-Shaped Body

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Men with a v-shaped torso should focus on the imbalance between the upper and lower body.

Here are some do’s and don’ts on dressing for this body shape:

  • DO Add a belt for around the hips to help break up an outfit and draw attention to the waist.
  • DO Choose Breton stripes, especially the ones that focus around the stomach rather than the chest
  • DO Wear V-neck shirts; they draw eye down and take attention away from the chest
  • DO Try printed bottoms to draw eye downward
  • DO Wear unstructured, double-breasted jackets to widen torso in proportion to shoulders
  • DON’T Wear skinny jeans as these will make the the lower body appear even narrower; opt for slim-cut jeans instead
  • DON’T Go for structured jackets with shoulder padding or wide lapels as this will further emphasize the shoulders and chest
  • DON’T Wear crewneck shirts

2. The H-Shaped Body

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The H-shaped body or the rectangle body type has shoulders, waist, and hips with similar width. They also have a straight rib cage, and tend to be seen in males who are slim to medium-weight.

When dressing for this body shape, the goal should be to widen the shoulders and narrow the lower torso to create the illusion of a more inverted triangle shape.

Here are some do’s and don’ts on dressing for this body shape:

  • DO Opt for structured blazers with shoulder pads and narrow in the under arms
  • DO Go for layers. Shirts and jackets can widen the chest, especially by wearing jackets fitted to the waist
  • DO Wear round necklines to draw attention to the chest
  • DON’T Choose double-breasted jackets as they’ll further emphasize the rectangular shape
  • DON’T Wear prints with rectangular shapes (think: photographs as prints in shirts)
  • DON’T Layer block colors on the torso area

3. The O-Shaped Body

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The O-shaped or oval body shape, as the name suggests, appears to be round. Men with this body shape are visually “curved”; they have sloped shoulders, a full waist, rounded hips and stomach, and a straight, wide rib cage. Generally, O-shaped males are medium to heavier in weight.

For men with this body type, it is important to pay attention to widening the shoulders and lengthening the torso to make the rest of the body more defined.

Here are some do’s and don’ts on dressing for this body shape:

  • DO Go for vertical stripes and pinstripes; they’ll help lengthen the torso area
  • DO Make sure that trouser legs and sleeves are the right lengths as any gathering of fabric will shorten the limbs
  • DO Choose detailed prints or textured pieces in dark colors
  • DO Wear fitted bottoms to help lengthen the leg
  • DON’T Wear horizontal stripes
  • DON’T Use statement belts as these will draw attention to the widest areas of the body
  • DON’T Wear wide crew necks or polo shirts
  • DON’T Choose double-breasted jackets
  • DON’T Wear shoes with white soles or trims; they shorten the leg line

Men knowing their body shape is an important step to looking and feeling confident in the clothes that they wear. If you’re looking for better advice on determining your body shape and what clothes best suit your physique, contact Radiance Image Consultancy today. You can also learn more about the body shapes of women in the next article, The 6 Body Shapes of Women. Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for more body shape and clothes tips!