Get in shape or let your suit do it for you.
The Thin Guy
The thin guy possesses narrow shoulders and a small chest. He should therefore select garments that add breadth to his appearance.
He should select jackets with slightly broader shoulders that extend his shoulder line. We recommend a slightly extended shoulder, up to 0.5 inches on both sides, for optimal results. A structure shoulder does wonders here too.
Lapels should be of a medium width or be on the wide side. Undersized lapels will only diminish the appearance of his chest further.
Jackets should never be too closely fitted as this will create excessive slimness. If possible, they should have some drape (excess fabric in the chest) in order to add fullness to the upper body. Boxy cuts should be avoided as they will appear on a thin frame to be several sizes too large.
Trousers should fall straight from the waist and be cut fuller in the leg. Though current fashions champion skinny fit trousers these should be avoided by due to their slimming effect.
Patterns with heavy visual weights such as windowpanes, plaids and checks can broaden his appearance. Similarly lighter colours can make the body appear more expansive due to their tendency to cause the eye to linger.
The Broad Guy
Because of the generous amount of breadth in his upper and lower body the broad guy should select garments that have a slimming effect. Garments which add breadth can contribute to the appearance of rotundity and therefore should be avoided.
The jacket’s shoulder should rest on the natural shoulder. Firm or extended shoulders should be avoided as they will over-exaggerate his natural breadth. A natural shoulder is also more comfortable and flattering as it contributes to a more organic silhouette.
Medium width or wide lapels are recommended. Undersized lapels should be avoided as they will accentuate breadth in the upper body due to the large visual gap between the lapel and shoulder line.
The broad guy should ensure that the jacket gives the body shape without being constrictive. If possible, the jacket should feature some tapering around the waist area as this aids will balance out his upper and lower body. Tight cuts are not recommended as they can create the impression that the garments are several sizes too small.
Trousers should be cut wide enough to be comfortable to move around in while also being slightly tapered. Tapering creates illusion of slimness without sacrificing space in the trouser’s seat or the upper leg where extra space is often required. Tapering is preferred to drainpipe trousers which can make the lower body appear disproportionately small relative to his upper body.
Dark solid colours also have a slimming effect and are recommended for the broad guy. Charcoal and navy will allow the eye to travel uninterrupted up and down the body. Pinstripe and chalkstripe patterns will also create the same effect.
The Athletic Guy (a.k.a. The Lucky Bastards)
The athletic guy, being broad shouldered and slim waisted, should aim to slim the appearance of his upper body while adding breadth to his lower body. This ensures that his athletic frame will be preserved and not exaggerated.
Jackets should rest on the natural shoulder and feature little to no padding. As with the the broad guy, an extended shoulder only serves to over-exaggerate the upper body and therefore should be avoided. Furthermore an extended shoulder would undesirably hide his flattering shoulder line.
Lapels should be of a medium width as this will preserve the shape and expanse of his chest. Skimpy lapels are to be avoided at all costs as they will make his shoulders appear unnecessarily large while diminishing the size of the chest.
Trouser legs should be cut fuller or tapered to maintain visual balance between the upper and lower body. Skinny cut trousers can create the appearance of having thin legs because of their size relative to his broad chest.
Patterns which are most flattering to the athletic man include windowpanes, large chalk stripes and pinstripes as well as herringbone weaves, as they both broaden the lower body and slim the upper body due to their combination of vertical and horizontal vectors.
(photos via. GaranItaly, The Armoury, Karen Woo, The New York Times, Scott Schumann, Guerrisms, W Magazine, Broadsheet, Lee Oliveira)