The most important thing to remember about any piece of clothing is that it needs to fit properly. Sure, it needs to be comfortable and all that, but it should also hang on your body in way that doesn’t make it look like you just rolled out of someone else’s closet. Lately the tendency seems to be to wear baggy jeans and shirts a few sizes too big, which might be “comfortable” but looks sloppy.
Menswear, western wear in particular, is designed to accentuate a male physique. It’s supposed to create the image of an idealized physique, broad shoulders, big chest, narrow waist, long legs, powerful arms. Clothing that you’re swimming in makes you look like a moving pile of laundry.
It’s probably best, at this point, to go to a photo example.
The anonymous fella on the right is wearing a big shirt that is bloused at the waist (the military term for making things poof out is blousing, it sounds way better than saying “poofy looking”) and pants that are sagging a bit. Granted, he probably just stepped off a horse which will make you a little disheveled, but he looks like he’s slouching and sorta hunched over. (We’re also comparing him to Paul Newman, which is completely unfair according to random sampling of women I know). On the left you’ll see an example of clothes that fit well. The shirt has a slim fit that isn’t too tight, the pants aren’t sagging off. None of the clothes are skin tight, but they fit his body closely. What this does is create clean, straight vertical lines that create a tall, lean silhouette. What’s so cool about that? Statistically most of us are not in ideal shape. It seems counterintuitive but buying clothes that fit closer to our bodies actually makes us look slimmer. This is because of that effect I mentioned up above. If you’re short (like I am) slimmer fitting clothes will also make you look taller. Are you already lean and tall? Wearing clothes that fit properly will only make you look neater and cleaner. You already won the genetic lottery, what else do you want?
One way to make sure your clothes fit well is to get them tailored. Finding a good tailor near you can be hard and expensive. It might not even be an option for you. There’s plenty of instructional videos and guides online to tailoring your own clothes, if you have the time and inclination. The first step, however, should always be to find clothes that fit well to start with. If it doesn’t fit well, don’t buy (it unless it’s an easy fix). What determines a good fit and what is an easy fix? We’ll talk about that in the next part of this series.