The Best Suit For Your Body Type

In the last article we talked about the basics options you need to know before buying a suit.

Today we’re going to talk about what kind of suit is most flattering on different body types. Some guys have specific needs when it comes clothing that flatter their body type, while others have it fairly easy. Read on if you find it hard to make things look right on your body!

Tall and Skinny

Go For Heavier Fabric

If you’re tall and skinny, get heavier fabrics to add some proportion and additional weight to your body. Lighter fabrics will hang on your body like a thin layer and make you look more frail, so look for fabrics like tweed or a heavier weight worsted wool.

Stick With Light Colors

Lighter colors always make things appear more bulky, so use this to your advantage. Stay away from pinstripes (that lengthen) and dark colors (that are slimming) and choose a lighter color such as khaki or gray.

Choose A Higher Button Stance

Three buttons will look more flattering on a tall guy because it has height and length that is proportional to his body. You can even go with a two button jacket if you’d like but  choose one with a button stance that’s closer to your solar plex than your navel.

Go For Single or No Vent

Because most tall, and skinny men don’t have much of a rear to make room for, they can either go for no vent or a single vent. Jacket vents were created to allow better movement and comfort for the wearer as well as being a stylish touch, but tall and skinny guys would look like they have a fuller rear if they stuck to the single or no vents on their suit jackets.

Look For Regular Rise Pants

Tall guys have long legs, so their pants shouldn’t make them seem any taller. The best way to prevent seeming any taller than you are is to ensure the pants have a longer rise; the rise of the pants, which is the distance from the waistband to the crotch, helps establish the proportions between the body and the legs. A regular rise will bring balance and symmetry to your already long legs and torso.

The Bulky Man

Wear Lightweight Fabrics

A man with a fuller frame – muscular guys included – should find a fitted suit that’s slenderizing. Let soft, worsted wools be your guide when choosing fabrics because you don’t want to add heavy fabrics on top of your bulky frame.

Use Dark Colors

Every big man has heard that dark colors are slimming. It’s even more true with suits because you automatically wear the same color on top and bottom, creating a monochromatic outfit that makes you look visually taller and more slender instead of cutting you in half at the waist and bringing attention to a belly. Choose dark navy or black for your suits for the best effect.

Make It Solid or Vertical Stripes

Solids work best in creating a slender look. Loud patterns will definitely work against you, but if you’re looking for something other than solids then vertical stripes are the way to go. Vertical stripes elongate the frame, and they also add some chic style to your suit mix. Big guys can also choose tiny, innocuous patterns for a bolder look, but only if they proceed with caution.

Go For Two Buttons If You Can

The two-button jacket is now the norm and designed to work for all body types. Added cushion on the torso can mean a disproportionate look in the jacket. To ensure the best-looking fit in the coat, remember that two buttons are optimal. As an industry standard, it won’t draw attention to your bulky frame, like the modish impact of a one-button jacket or the slimming effect of a three-button piece.

Stick To Single Vent Jackets

While it’s doubles on the buttons, bulky guys must keep the inverse in mind on the vent; specifically, avoid double-vented jackets. Vents, which are the slits at the back of the jacket, allow more movement. They also attract the eye, so huskier guys may not want to accentuate their backside. Instead, go for a single-vent jacket, which will give you the extra room you need minus the extra attention.

The Short Guy

A guy is usually not commented on being “short” unless he’s shorter than 5’5, but whatever your height, use these tips if you want to look taller.

Stick With Subdued Patterns

Avoid suit patterns that are too loud, because it will only draw attention to your small frame. So avoid patterns like houndstooth, herringbone, glenurquhart check, windowpane check, etc. Don’t know what these looks like? Don’t worry, just stick with solid or the more flattering option…

Embrace Vertical Stripes

Vertical stripes are one of the greatest way to create an illusion of lengthening a short frame. As stripes run top to bottom, they tend to draw the eye upward and elongate the look of the suit. Thus, it gives the illusion of making shorter men seem taller than they are.

Make It One or Two Buttons

Choose a jacket with one or two buttons. Whichever you choose is your choice, but just keep in mind that a lower button stance will also seem more proportionate to your frame and give you some length.

Go For Double Vents

Double vents emphasize the outside lines of the body so they create a longer silhouette that complements and lengthens your frame. It’s also more stylish than the single vent so there’s nothing to lose here.

Look For Low Rise Pants

When it comes to the pant, look for a low rise. The rise is the vertical distance from the waist to the crotch; low-rise pants stretch out the torso, making you seem taller. They dramatize the proportions of your frame to look sleeker and longer. In fact, the lower the rise of the pants, the longer the body looks. Also, avoid cuffs on the pants because they will shorten your legs.


If you’re short and skinny, or big and tall, then mix and match the tips and you’ll have your desired results!


Also: To complement your suit, find your perfect mens dress shirts here.

More articles that you may enjoy:

» Finding the Perfect Suit
» How To Tie A Tie: The Pursuit Of The Perfect Knot
» The Elusive Perfect Shave
» What Asia Taught Me About Casual Style

All you need to know is compiled in our Method…


  • Kurt says:

    Where can I get that suit that Justin Long is wearing there? Totally sleek.

  • nillionaire says:

    I’m loving it! Thanks.

  • tim says:

    interesting post – definitely something i haven’t thought about. i usually just go to the store and pick out the size i’m used to. def bookmarking this and revisiting it for my next suit purchase!

  • rational says:

    you are revitalizing my love for suits all over again.

  • david says:

    where can i get a suit like that last picture ? i would so wear that…a little on the crazy side but i love that kind of flair…

  • dennis says:

    i’m rather on the tall side and the tips were absolutely killer.

  • bruce says:

    this is one of my favorite articles. very relevant for my 90% office wardrobe.

  • Jamers says:

    love the part about the rise – it’s so true that pants with low rise makes you look so much shorter than you really are…great article jae!

  • mather says:

    Awesome article jae – razor sharp advice that I can apply right away – that’s why i love this site.

  • sammy rei says:

    jae your articles have been so helpful in improving my style. thanks again!

  • sohby says:

    hey jae – definitely love this series. i don’t wear suits often, but the last two articles have inspired me to dress up a little more. I got a brand new charcoal suit (two button) with a great fit + a nice subtle pocket square and have gotten so many compliments at work…love this site.

  • ryan says:

    i was looking for this ~ i’m on the skinny side and was having problems finding a well-fitting suit.

  • Bill Kane says:

    Wow. this is extremely helpful.

  • faceit says:

    i love the peak lapel suits in the office picture!

  • Michelle says:

    I wish my boyfriend read this.

  • kevin says:

    fantastic – btw the suit pants in that last suit has absolutely no break whatsoever. All my suits break and bunch up like crazy on my shoes. time to hit the tailor!

  • Mike koff says:

    Jae your suit articles are some of the best!

  • Daveper says:

    Thanks Jae! this is the kind of information I would have never come across if it wasn’t for your article.

  • Jose says:

    Damn the last two articles make me want to get a new suit so bad! damn you hahaha

  • Rick says:

    love the nod to The Office : )

  • James Peters says:

    Most of my suits are 3 buttons. And I’m rather short. Now I know what I need to change…

  • Rob says:

    really informative read. Jae, your style articles are by far the most helpful that I’ve run across. I’ve read through almost every article in the archives and await eagerly for your new releases each week. thanks!

  • Nathan says:

    EXCELLENT post! I’m especially short, and I just realized that all my suits make me look even shorter! It’s amazing how good Justin Long looks in that suit – he doesn’t look short at all.

  • Eric says:

    I’m obsessed with suits, but definitely learned a thing or two here. Great stuff.

  • Carl S. says:

    Good article but as a short guy I kind of resent the idea that I should be wearing clothes that make me appear taller, as if there’s something intrinsically wrong about being short. I know most girls prefer taller guys but that’s their problem not mine.

  • Nicko says:

    Definitely agree with all the points here. I have a suit from banana that’s way too big for me now that i look at it. I’m going out to try some suits with these recommendations tomorrow.

  • confider says:

    I am literally 5’5 so this article is a Godsend. thanks Jae!

  • Rocky says:

    Here’s a shopping tip for shorter slimmer guys like myself. I found a great suit under Macy’s Alfani Red label. It’s a slimmer more modern cut in both pieces. The pants are even low rise and it comes in several colors and styles. A great price and fit. I even found it in a 36 short, which was amazing.

  • Matther says:

    What brand is the suit in the first picture? I guess the pattern is a classic Prince of Wales, but I like this one especially.

  • PhiL says:

    This article and the one before (about suits) are gems! I will definitely be referring these articles to friends

  • jayce says:

    Ditto on the last suit….where do we get it!?!?!?

  • Ben says:

    Man this article was so helpful to me and many more. Thankyou!

  • Manuel says:

    I’m having trouble finding a suit because I am a short guy, but I’m not thin I’m more like husky (or buff)so I’m having trouble. What do you suggest??

  • Jay Song says:

    @ Manuel,

    It’s hard to find suits off the rack that fit buff guys because it’s either too tight on the arms or too baggy near the waist due to broad shoulders. I suggest getting an off-the-rack suit that fits well on your chest, shoulders, and arms, and then ask a tailor if they can take it in at the waist. A better option would be to purchase a custom-tailored suit from a website such as

  • Rophielle says:

    im 5’11”. and about 135-140 pounds (real slim guy..genetics) so is this consider tall or average and skinny?

  • Jay Song says:

    @ Rophielle,

    I’d say you are leaning towards more average and skinny than tall. So for suit jacket length off the rack, 5′ 8″ to 5′ 11″ = regular; 6′ to 6′ 2″ = long; 6′ 3″ and taller = extra long.

  • Gazman says:

    Contrary to the advice for short men – do NOT go for low rise pants if you are short. Doing so will only accentuate your short legs. It’s better to stick to a regular rise pants and to wear it at your natural waist. As for patterns, why not? So long as the patterns are muted and refined, then from a distance (4-5 metres plus) they’ll look like a bold colour anyway. Fit is the key. if your suit fits well, then there’s no reason why a short man can’t wear suits will glen plaids or checks.

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