How to know which suit shape best suits your shape

As we head back into offices, make sure you still cut the right figure

A smart man is one that doesn't take a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to his suits

Two friends, both of whom work in the City, got in touch recently to ask about suiting. They’re gradually filtering back into their offices and, after a lengthy period of style inertia while stuck at home, they were in need of something smart to wear to work, over frames that were somewhat… different to what they were two years ago. One had amassed some timber, thanks to the dark days of the pandemic, the other had hit the workouts hard during lockdown; both needed a suit silhouette that works now.

Likewise, images this week showed the diminutive Rishi Sunak wearing a suit that was pitch-perfect for his small frame, employing some clever tricks to elongate and add extra height. Many men adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach to suiting, but that’s not the case. So what shape suits you?

Athletic build

Double breasted jacket, £319, hugoboss.com / Wide lapel suit blazer, £89.99, zara.com

If you’re in the enviable position of having a perfect V-shaped torso silhouette, don’t be tempted to try and showcase it too enthusiastically; suiting that’s too tight tends to look cheap. Instead, opt for a jacket shape with some sculpting on the sides, to negate the “blocky” effect an athletic frame can have in a suit. Bulging biceps can stretch out in a suit, so make sure there’s plenty of arm room, and opt for slim leg trousers, rather than straight.

 

Tall and slim

Checked wool suit, £1,100, paulsmith.com

The Duke of Edinburgh knew how to make the most of his tall, slender frame; double-breasted works best on this kind of body because the extra fabric and buttons add more substance to willowy types. Proportions should stay classic; soft cuts and excess fabrics can seem as if you’re drowning in materials, and razor-slim cuts can look gangly. This kind of body can take patterns such as checks, because of the height – it can be too busy on smaller, larger frames. It’s also worth looking into broad lapels and padded or roped shoulders if you’re particularly skinny.

 

Short

Slim fit jacket, £279, tedbaker.com

Like Sunak, it’s essential to keep things nipped-in and sharp, because a good tailor knows a wealth of tricks to manipulate the appearance of one’s frame. A long, slender lapel, for example, will add length to the torso, likewise a low drop on the jacket, and roped shoulder – simply put, with a gentle peak in them – add substance. Make sure the trousers are neatly cropped just above the ankle, but not too short: that will only serve to make you look squat.

 

Larger build

Havana suit jacket and trousers, £350, suitsupply.com

In the same way that a long, lean lapel works for smaller frames, they also add the illusion of svelteness to those of bulker dispositions because of the ‘V’ shape they create on the torso. Similarly, take note of the slant of pockets; a slight angle facing downwards will help create a waist. Larger men can tend to opt for looser cuts, but this isn’t the right tack: keep things tailored and precise, to sculpt the form. Cut out extraneous detail; roped shoulders, busy pattern and double-breasted to keep things streamlined and minimal. That way the suit will work its hardest.


Which suit suits your shape best? Tell us in the comments section below