By Tracy McBride
Q: What is the best way to handle a large waistline? A lot of men want to know.
A: So glad to hear from men! Women are always asking these types of questions, so this month I’d like to indulge the men that read this Q&A.
Regardless of your body shape or size — skinny or heavy, tall or short — I highly recommend avoiding baggy clothes to disguise body challenges. The flipside to that coin is wearing very tight clothes. The better choice is to take the extra time and expense to buy the right clothes or the best clothes and tailoring.
The best way to complement your body in the most flattering way is to find a tailor that you trust. A talented tailor can be of great assistance when it comes to tweaking suits and jackets that best flatter and fit your body type, regardless of your size.
Tips for large waistline/big belly: To camouflage a fuller stomach/waist, invest in lightweight fabrics in darker colors. Avoid tweed, flannel, and other heavy fabrics. Go with light, natural fabrics and dress in mid- to dark-muted shades of one color. I’m not suggesting all black all the time either — this isn’t punishment! It’s a flattering way to honor your now body, right now today.
Business casual wear: Opt for an undershirt and tuck it in (remember it’s only a layering piece). Then slip on a pullover or sweater (nothing with texture or large print) — think cashmere half-zipped. The opening of the neckline in a V is slimming and draws the eye up to frame your face. The undershirt keeps your belly in place, and if it’s a “slimmer” type fabric that I wrote about last month, even better. The pullover creates that slimming vertical line with well-fitting trousers. Depending on your coloring, consider charcoal, navy or chocolate in both trousers and cashmere sweater. Long sleeves help create a proportional and pulled together look. Wear your trousers at belly button level; wearing under your belly will only draw attention to it.
Social/casual/weekend wear: Don’t add bulk. Avoid cargo pants with their big pockets, hoodies with front pouches that only add to the visual girth, fanny packs (hard to believe I even have to mention this one — but I actually still see people wearing these!). Wear sweaters and jackets that hang below your waist — but NOT below your crotch. Find that perfect proportional point for your body. Try wearing jeans and trousers at your hips, not your waist. It feels funny if you are not used to it but give it a chance. Don’t tuck in: wear pullovers instead of button downs to trick the eye. Match the color tone of your top with your belt. The illusion is a longer torso.
Suits: Create a streamlined look by matching the color tones of jacket, pants, and dress shirt. Avoid breaking the look by wearing a black trouser with a yellow shirt for example — too much contrast. Avoid cuffed or pleated trousers, and ask your tailor to add an inch to your waist and subtract an inch from your inseam. Then your trousers can sit comfortably on your hips, without touching the ground. Refrain from carrying bulky items in your pockets – that is what leather brief cases are for. Stick to a wider tie, never a skinny one, and always be sure it touches your belt. I advise to avoid crew necks and absolutely no turtlenecks. Stick to v-necks and flattering shirt collars with detail and interest like contrasting fabric in your power colors. These draw attention up to your communication center — your face.
One of the best slimming tricks is to wear suits or sports coats. The extra layer is a great camouflage, but more importantly it’s more elegant and sophisticated. It communicates you are a man of detail and class. In doing so you will always look better than most men of any size. The goal isn’t to look tall and skinny, instead it is to honor your body and yourself regardless of your size — and that speaks volumes.
Traci McBride is a certified stylist for men and women and the owner of TeeMcBee Image Consulting http://teemcbee.com. Readers with image-related questions can send them to Traci@TeeMcBee.com with “CBC Q” in the subject line.