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Image Making
by Victoria Seitz, Ph.D., LamasBeauty Contributor
 

Men: Dealing With Those Figure Flaws

*A monthly column devoted to helping women and men be their best and most confident in any situation.

Topics include dress, body language, attitude and etiquette.


Victoria Seitz, PhD
Image Expert

Men have figure flaws just as much as women. Here are some tips to accenting your strengths and minimizing those liabilities:

If you're short and want to appear taller:

  • Purchase suits with vertical pin or chalk stripes and/or three button suits.


  • Avoid plaid, tweed, and double breasted jackets, which add width rather than height.

If you want to minimize your height:

  • Emphasize horizontal lines in suits and shirts.


  • Try plaid patterns and double-breasted jackets.


  • Consider a jacket in one color and trousers in a contrasting color, I.e. navy jacket and gray trousers.

If you want to appear slimmer:

  • Choose dark-colored and/or pin and chalk striped suits.


  • Double-breasted suits with closely spaced buttons slenderize.


  • Choose trim sweaters with set-in sleeves and V-necklines


  • Avoid bulky sweaters, unstructured jackets, and items with lots of horizontal lines and extra details such as pant pockets down the leg.

If you want to appear heavier:

  • Consider tweeds, glen plaids (banker plaids), scotch, tartan, or madras, plaids, corduroy, wool flannel (for winter), and linen and cotton (for summer) Introduce pleated pants, bulky sweaters, warmer, brighter colors, and whites to your wardrobe.


  • Consider double-breasted jackets, square-shoulder, European-cut, and double-vented suit styles.


  • Avoid fabrics that cling to the skin, like lightweight silks and nylon shirts.


  • Consider padded shoulders in suits, shirts, and sweaters.


  • Emphasize horizontal stripes in sweaters and shirts.

If your shoulders are wider than your hips:

  • Consider double-pleated pants.


  • Wear pants in colors lighter than your shirt, or in heavier fabrics like corduroy, denim, linen, wool flannel, and twill.


  • Jackets with patch pockets also add width to the hip area.

If your hips are the same or wider than your shoulders:

  • Emphasize the shoulders and chest.


  • Choose bulky sweaters, shirts with epaulets and heavier shirt fabrics like pinpoint oxford cloth, heavy cottons, and linen.


  • Choose shirts with a lot of details, shirts with horizontal stripes, or two-toned shirts with a lighter color in the yoke area.


  • Avoid pleated pants in favor of plain, emphasizing dark colors like navy, charcoal gray, charcoal brown, olive and black.

If your legs are short:

  • Avoid cuffed pants.


  • Choose pants with vertical lines, such as corduroy or pin or chalk stripes.


  • Hem pants so that there's only a slight break in the pant front.


  • Three-button suits also add the illusion of length.

If your legs are long:

  • Wear cuffed pants.


  • Purchase suit jackets that are slightly longer than usual, with one or tow button closings.


  • Choose contrasting colors for shirts and pants.

If your shoulders are extremely sloped:

  • Choose jackets with padding.


  • Avoid raglan sleeves in sweaters and shirts, rather choose set-in sleeves and jacket lapels that point upward.


  • Avoid unstructured jackets altogether.

If your shoulders are square:

  • Consider raglan sleeve sweaters.


  • Avoid extremes in lapel width.


  • Choose unstructured jackets or suits with natural shoulders.

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Read the next Image Making: Men: Buying Right for Career Success


Victoria Seitz, PhD is a professor of Marketing at California State University, San Bernardino and is author of Your Executive Image, AdamsMedia, Inc, 2000 and Power Dressing, DonJon Publishing, 1991. In addition to teaching, Dr. Seitz was a fashion coordinator for Burdines, Florida and in retail management for Saks Fifth Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. Clients of Dr. Seitz have included Abbott Laboratories, Northern Telecom, Texas Instruments, Yellow Freight Systems, Sally Beauty Company, the United States Armed Forces, Travellife magazine, YWCA and Accountants Overload, in addition to law firms, hotels, newspapers, universities, banks, credit unions, national and local community and professional organizations nationwide.

To learn more about Dr. Seitz please visit her website at www.cbpa.csusb.edu/vseitz.

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