So I’m a guy who enjoys looking trendy. I really favor layers, slightly unusual sweatshirts, jackets, and button- ups. I like having looser tops and slightly tighter jeans at the bottom. But I happen to have an unfortunately feminine figure, with not particularly wide shoulders, a tapered waist and wide hips. How can I look trendy and avoid looking too girly at the same time?
Alec, 18/Montana, USA
Hey there, Alec! I know a lot of women who would love to have proportions like yours. I, for one, have “man-shoulders.” It used to bother me a lot but it’s something I’ve grown to accept as part of who I am. Genetics and lifestyle dictate what our bodies look like, and if there’s one thing we can’t control, it’s what’s in our DNA.
However, lifestyle — including your personal sense of style — and your perspective are something you can work with to make changes. So here are my suggestions. I hope they will work for you!
Shape: Work It Out
If you’re not on a fitness regimen already, Alec, then this is something you might want to look into. If you’re already working out, you may want to consult your trainer about your goals. I’m neither a fitness expert nor a health professional so I’m not going to recommend any specifics here. I do know that swimming builds up muscle in your arms and shoulders. Just look at Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian of the winning US Olympic swimming team. A lot of men go for an inverse triangle build. If that’s the physique you want to achieve, time to get crackin’!
What body shape do you want to achieve?
Trousers: From Tight & Tapered to Straight and Relaxed
One thing you should keep in mind all the time is proportion. To achieve visual balance, swap your tight and tapered jeans and pants for relaxed and straight-leg styles, and mid-rise cuts. It means less hip-hugging and a more symmetrical look for you with your loose tops.
Silhouette: Boxy Instead of Baggy Tops
“Baggy” is something I see a lot in the emails people send to me. People tend to hide their “flaws” under so much loose clothing all the time but it doesn’t make the “problem” go away. Instead of settling for something shapeless and unflattering, go in the opposite direction, Alec. Trade your loose sweatshirts, blazers, jackets and other outerwear for a more boxy silhouette. The sharper the angles, the more proportional you’ll look. Hemlines should also go past your waistline, reaching the hips or just a few inches longer.
Visual Cues: Collars, Patterns, Details
Since fall season is here (or just around the corner), you’ll have more options for your closet. Like I always say here, colors, prints and patterns are a few other ways to trick the eye. Wider stripes at the chest and shoulders are one (I’m sure you don’t want to wear shoulder pads!) and the same goes for wider collars on shirts, coats and jackets as well. Instead of wearing shirts with just one pocket, make ’em two! The symmetry helps so make sure you channel the same look for your fall and winter outerwear — double-breasted is the way to go. Hats are also going to be bigger this year for the colder season as well as floor-sweeping scarves that will guarantee you some extra attention. Make sure you have these two in your autumnal wardrobe.
The best of luck to you, Alec!
P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!