A Gentleman's Guide
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STYLE

 

 

 

THE SHAPE OF STYLE

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Part of creating and maintaining a flawless sense of style is being able to dress ourselves according to our size and shape. We’re not about to spend this month’s style on telling you what to and not to wear, because we’re all free to do as we please when it comes to establishing our own senses of style. What we will do is focus on the how, as it pertains to dressing according to your specific shape and size as we step into spring with March’s Shapes of Style.

First things first, we all love the feeling we get when we step outside and everything is put together right. In fact, there are a multitude of studies indicating that dressing well does wonders for our self confidence and can even change the way we interact with others. Aside from heighting others’ first impression of us, dressing well illustrates the we feel about ourselves, as our confidence is often linked to our appearance. This is why we should strive to look our very best whenever possible, and a major part of that is wearing clothes that fit! Trends in fashion, like life, can come at us fast! Being able to adopt these trends to match our own personal styles and body shapes can be a challenge, which is why we’re spending the month of March on helping you to discover new ways to dress according to your body shape.

Hey, Beaux! Spend a little time with The Dapper Black Box and discover  March’s Bluford ! Learn more here and join for a monthly subscription service like no other!

Hey, Beaux! Spend a little time with The Dapper Black Box and discover March’s Bluford! Learn more here and join for a monthly subscription service like no other!

Some of us have triangular shapes with sloping shoulders, chests that are narrower than our hips and are more than likely bottom heavy- and there’s nothing wrong with that last part! There are also those who boast a top heavy inverted triangle shape, a shape that features a broad upper body and narrow waist and hips. The rectangular shaped Beaux’s chest, hips and waist are proportional to each other and his torso is probably the straightest when compared to other body shapes.  Lastly, the oval-shaped Beaux is a favorite to many, and more than a quarter or men are similarly shaped. This Beaux’s shape includes a slimmer pair of legs a round belly that attaches to arms and shoulders that are typically stronger than those found in other body shapes.Each of these four shapes requires us to pay specific attention to manner in which we dress them and (again) requires for us to do some of that preparation that Benjamin Franklin was so adamant about. However, this should be easier now that we know what we’re working with, and we can spend a little time assessing what the best look for our specific shapes might be.

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THE TRIANGLE

The triangle-shaped Beaux is shaped like, well…a triangle. His shoulders maintain a natural slope, has a narrow chest, and the bulk of his weight finds itself centered between his abdomen. He is bottom heavy and has lives under the assumption that he can loose weight easily…but that’s generally a challenge for us all, right? Right. Anyways, we searched far and wide for the perfect example of a triangular shaped man and Jay Z was the absolute best we could do.

The goal for the triangular-shaped Beaux is to create a look centered around giving his top half some stronger lines and on drawing eyes away from his hips. Finding clothes that create balance can be a challenge, but we’ve got your back! The first consideration we have for the triangle-shaped Beaux is to wear tops that draw attention to the upper body as opposed to those that shed light on wider and larger hips. Spend a little time stocking your collection of shirts with those that sport medium spread collars to add bulk to the upper part of the body, because again, we want to draw attention away from the hips. Casual button ups, collared shirts, t-shirts and jackets with work well for Beauxs with this particular shape, and you can never go wrong with vertical stripes. Vertical stripes create a slimming and streamlined effect which is perfect for casting the perfect illusion of proportion to draw attention away from sloping shoulders.

And while we’re on the subject of stripes, a vertical stripe will always be this body types friend, but it must exercise the most most extreme prejudice when it comes to the horizontal stripes. Remember that we’re trying to draw attention away from the waist and hips, and a horizontal stripe will set the the triangle-shaped Beaux up each and every time! If horizontal stripes are a must, consider wearing them from the chest up. You can thank us later for this little piece of advice. Beauxs with this body shape should be careful to confine the stripes to their upper body, because a patterned or striped pant is not his friend. A careful mixing of solid colors and prints is also beneficial as these create the illusion of shape and take the spotlight away from the hips. Keep in mind that brightly colored or busy prints exaggerate the triangular shape and should consciously be avoided, however they are always great accent pieces.

Another consideration is to include jackets with structured shoulders to give the shoulders a more squared appearance. And, in the event that the triangular-shaped Beaux is shopping for a formal event, he should think about investing in single-breasted suits jackets as opposed to double-breasted jackets. Double-breasted jackets tend to add unnecessary bulk to the waist. The triangle-shaped Beaux will also want to keep his selection in jeans in mind, as he might require jeans that possess a bit of a flare to ensure that the hips appear as balanced as possible. Faded jeans can be a good option as long as the fade occurs below the knee and the best choice in color will always be dark blues, blacks, browns and greys. These provide that much desired slimming effect. And finally, Beauxs with this body shape should strongly reconsider the skinny jean. As a matter of fact, Beauxs of every shape should reconsider the skinny jean.

INVERTED TRIANGLE

The inverted triangle Beaux wears fashion better than any Beaux of any other shape…allegedly. Hey, you don’t have to take our word for it, just ask Idris Elba. The inverted triangle Beaux has wide shoulders, narrow hips and muscles, muscles, muscles! The objective for Beauxs with inverted triangle shape is to find clothes that balance out their entire body to avoid walking around looking like Marvel Comics’ Strong Guy.

Beauxs with this body shape might want to consider spending a little time experimenting with shirts that compliment their broad chests and shoulders. V-necks work here because they create natural visual lines that narrow the chest and leads the eye down to the waistline…..and that sounds more sexual than we intended, but whatever. The v-neck can be a little showy (because we can all see you have muscles and there’s nobody likes a braggart), which is why graphic crew necks make for a good alternate. Whatever choice the Beaux with the inverted triangle body makes, he should ensure that it accommodates the upper body, chest and arms, and dives into a tailored waist.

We understand that there are a lot of Beauxs who’ve worked hard to either attain or maintain their shape, and we’re never here to dissuade anyone from dressing in ways that they might find flattering, so go for what you know.

One of the biggest challenges for the broad shouldered inverted triangle Beaux is going to be finding a button down that doesn’t over exaggerate the physique. The trick here is to focus on the skimming abilities of deep and dark colors. Lighter colors, along with large prints, add width to the upper torso and might not produce the desired look, however you can always experiment to taste.  The inverted triangle Beaux may want to consider staying away from the skinny jean. Again, we should ALL stay away from the skinny jean! Beauxs of this body type are often lacking in the leg department, and a skinny jean will only draw more attention to that. Consider, instead, spending a little time with slim fitting jeans or a patterned pant, as they do a pretty good job in providing distractions from comparatively broad upper bodies. And since we’re on the subject of pants, do yourself a favor and consider pants with a larger seat drop which is the measurement between the waistband and the crotch seam. This little trick will go a long way in providing the torso with a pseudo extension of sorts,

THE RECTANGLE

We’re halfway through the shape of style, which means its the perfect time to square up with the rectangle. The rectangle-shaped Beaux has a thin, tall frame, and his shoulders are roughly the same width as his hips. Nick Cannon is the perfect model here because he fits the description quite well. Extra attention should be paid to ensure their slender builds are carefully, and comfortably clothed.

Styling these bodies could be so simple, there are those who, to no fault of their own, make it hard. The key is to make style the body in a way that ensures it appears more proportionate than it might really be to create a sense of balance. One of the secrets in styling the rectangle shaped body is to wear clothing that aims at widening the shoulders to create an illusion of structure. Such, Beauxs with this shape should keep medium spread collars and pointed collars in their crosshairs, and consider printed shirts and horizontal stripes to give a slimming look that will draw attention to the upper body. Light or pale colored shirts accentuate the shoulders and make them look wider, while adding a layer for effect will provide the extra bulk need to further balance the top. Again, experiment to taste, but a word to the wise- avoid polo shirts with narrow necks because they slim down the shoulders while accentuating the waist line. Also, avoid vertical stripes as well.

The devil lies in the the details here, and you might catch him lingering in an assortment of complimenting prints and color pops as well. Think about choosing a wide collared shirt to reflect a wider shoulder and a high neck shirt is great because it’ll add dimension to the chest. Printed shirts also work with this frame. They’re easy to style and give the torso the opportunity to work as a billboard of sorts, “your ad here”. The printed shirt is an easy go-to and to call them a style staple would be a gross understatement. Beauxs with rectangular shapes are able to wear the hell out of a block print shirt, and their options are almost limitless. Find one that suits your style and don’t be afraid to play with different colors.

Styling the rectangular frame can be fun, and experimentation is always allowed. However there are some cautionary tales. The first of these tales is the flared jean, an enemy to those who seek to avoid making their hips appear as if they are broader than the shoulder. Aim for wearing darker colored jeans instead, because they have a second-to-none slimming effect that will work well in accenting the shape’s perfectly proportioned shoulder-waist ratio. Also work to avoid anything that will make the shoulders appear wider as they really are, which means saying ‘no’ to the double breasted suit jacket.

THE OVAL

The oval shaped Beaux is fully rounded with narrow shoulders and sometimes has a slim set of leges. His shoulders and arms are thought to be stronger, he has a round belly and a fuller face than those of other shapes. The oval shaped shaped Beaux is a full body man, indeed! These round works of art have torsos that are wider than their shoulders and hips and have broader limbs that widen at their midpoints. The oval shaped Beaux is normally on the hunt for clothes that give a slimmer look, and we’ve got a few suggestions that will do just that!  

Solid, dark colors and detailed prints are this Beaux’s best friend. Both are flattering to the type and are always fun paths to explore. While the horizontal stripe may not be ideal for this type, the oval shaped Beaux might find some satisfaction with vertical stripes, as they serve to lengthen the body. Vertical stripes give an elongated appearance, but as with everything else, modesty is key. The oval shaped Beaux will more than likely want to invest in tops (*snicker, we said “tops”) that work to slim the body without giving too much of a hug. Long sleeved v-necks work wonder for the Beaux with no neck, and there’s no shade there because that’s actually a thing. A thing, thing. The v-neck will add length to a short neck, so this consideration is not given in jest.

In working from the top down, we suggest that the oval-shaped Beaux consider jeans with wide leg patterns to ensure the proportions between the upper and lower halves are balanced. Dark colored jeans effect a slimmer frame, and well fitting medium-rise jeans are a good consideration as well! Beauxs with this body shape might benefit from spending a little time going for pants with lighter material and those that provide a figure hugging look, because thick thighs save lives. Slacks and formal pants with flat fronts work well for this shape and, in the event that there’s any shame associated with the shape, aids in disguising extra weight around the stomach.

As far as what to avoid, well, lets just say that the turtle neck is a set up, unless the desired look is uncircumcised penis. Turtle necks draw extra attention to the shoulders and arms and let us tell it, there are other things the people might want to focus on, so please don’t distract them! Stay far away from ill fitting shirts that may do more harm than help to the shape, and before you get to thinking that little situation can be resolved with a simple tuck, don’t. A improperly fitting tucked shit will never allow the oval-shaped Beaux to live his best life and will make him look frumpy. Remember, the tuck is not the enemy, the fit of the shirt, however, can be a totally different story!

Someone somewhere once said that fashion is what you wear and style is how you wear it. With that in mind, please feel free to disregard all of this information if it doesn’t suit your desired look. The goal should always be to experiment with different looks regardless of what your body shape may be. You have the last call. Again, we never want to tell you what to or not to wear, but we will always encourage you to do as you please and to please to do as you do. Remember that your body type and comfort comes before any fashion trend! Dress for the body you have and not the body you want, because the shape of style is now.