Cut To Size

by | Jun 1, 2011 | Style & Grooming

Pick the best shirt and tie for your body


GOAL To appear broader.

HOW? Whatever your body’s shape, don’t attempt to disguise it.For a narrower build, choose a very narrow cut of shirt and use the collar, colour and tie choice to help give the impression of greaterbulk. A wide, cut-away collar is the most fl attering style for you, as the wide shape makes your chin and neck appear more solid. Avoid bold patterns or stripes as they can make you look like you’re trying too hard. Instead, a subtle pattern such as gingham or a Prince of Wales check will make your outline less defi nite. Plain shirts suit a slim build too – the expanse of a single colour, especially mid-tone blues, greys and pinks, will make it seem like there’s more of you. Then wear your shirt-and-tie combo with a plain charcoal suit for a similar result. Ties with a bold stripe, such as old school styles, add a pleasing contrasting pattern to your simple shirt.

IN BRIEF Neat, subtle patterns are more effective than bold ones and plain colours can make you seem bigger. A cut-away collar and large tie knot make your face and neck seem more sturdy and substantial. Use your tie to add contrasting colour and pattern.


GOAL To enhance your hard-earned frame and to find the right colours and shapes to suit you.

HOW? Choose shirts that are “waisted”. Hold up the shirt and check that the parallel seams that run down each side curve in slightly. This shaping makes a straight waist look narrow and your shoulders broader by creating an ergonomic V-shape. Shirts with a cut-away collar (collar points at least 7.5cm apart) should be worn with a broad tie knot like a Windsor, to help a narrow face seem wider. Checked patterns and stripes (especially stripes that are over a centimetre wide) work well on this build, as the bold vertical lines give the impression of breadth. When you choose a patterned shirt, a plain tie will set it off best. Avoid giving yourself (or other people) headaches by clashing patterns and colours. If the shirt is loud, always go for a tie that is signifi cantly quieter.

IN BRIEF Choose a narrow-fit, waisted shirt to enhance your V-shaped torso. Bold patterns and stripes work well, but be wary of bright colours. A cut-away collar will give a narrow face the impression of width.


GOAL To make your frame look narrower and your face leaner.

HOW? Choose a straight-sided shirt style with a split-back yoke (the seam at the back of the shirt that gives you more fabric for ease of movement). Avoid waisted or narrow-cut shapes that will feel too restrictive and uncomfortable. Instead of disguising, they enhance, by making the buttons gape and the shirt’s fabric look taut. Also, go for a style with a longer tail (the scoop of fabric at the back). This means when you sit down or move around, your shirt is unlikely to come loose. Ensure your shirt has a gusset point – the triangle of strengthening fabric at the bottom of each side seam. It’s a sign the shirt is well made and unlikely to come apart even with heavy wear and after multiple washes. Make your face appear narrower by drawing the eye to a small point below your chin with shirts that have a standard collar (no more than five centimetres from collar point to point) rather than a cut-away collar (up to 7.5cm from point to point). Wear a knot style such as a Half Windsor or Four In Hand, which creates a smallish knot and fits best into this collar shape. Slim, vertical stripes are the most fl attering pattern (as they draw the eye of whoever looks at you up and down, helping you to appear narrower).

IN BRIEF A straight-fitting shirt will flatter big torsos. Go for stripes and avoid chunky tie knots and cut-away shirt collars.

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