Punt the Pleats
Pleated pants only add more material to your waist, which makes it look as if you’re smuggling a football under your belt. Flat-front pants show off a thin waist or help disguise a heftier one.
Strip Down with Pinstripes
Most suits are naturally slimming, because the monochromatic color and texture create an unbroken vertical line from neck to toe. But pinstripes do the job even more efficiently. The chalk lines on a pinstriped suit will guide her eyes up and down the length of your body, rather than across its Great Plains. A sharp crease accomplishes the same feat. But watch out for suits with large patterns: Windowpane suits and glen plaids are fattening.
Untuck and Cover
Any shirt that can be worn untucked helps hide heft. Two important caveats: First, any shirt that’s left untucked must be flat-bottomed. And second, avoid any upper-body gear (sweaters, windbreakers) with elastic bottoms: They cause the material to bunch up at your waist, making even a thin man look like a heavy one.
Bring That Button Lower
If you have a barrel belly, high-button jackets can sometimes show off its contour. Heavier men should choose one- or two-button jackets, which reveal a deeper triangle of shirt above the top button, calling attention away from your stomach. By the same token, don’t wear double-breasted suits. They minimise that triangle you’re trying to show off, and the extra buttons draw her eyeballs to your midsection.
Don’t Fear Fitted
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that baggy clothes will hide any flaws – often, they accentuate them. And don’t make the even worse mistake of thinking that the pants you bought three years ago when you were a 34 waist still work now that you’re a 36. If you can’t fit a thumb comfortably under your waistband without inhaling, or if you have to cinch the pants tight to keep them up, it’s time to go shopping. Same thing with tops: When your clothes are form-fitting, your form looks more fitting.
Turn Down the Contrast
Whenever possible, minimise the colour contrast between the upper half of your body and the lower. A dark shirt worn with khaki pants cuts you in half at the waist (making you look shorter and wider). The same shirt with dark grey slacks de-emphasises your waistline a little and boosts your altitude a bit. Same with belts: A black belt over light pants says, “Look, right here, it’s my waistline!” So expand your cinch collection – add several different shades of brown, maybe a grey, too. Toss out any belt buckle large enough to double as a dog bowl.
Say Goodbye to Your Old Crew
Relegate crewnecks to the closet; they round out your face, giving you that Charlie Brown look. The point of a V-neck makes you appear taller and leaner, and helps reduce any creeping jowl formation. For dress shirts, stay away from spread collars and look for point collars, which again help minimise any roundness in your face.
This article was originally published on MensHealth.com