Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Evans, Donald Glover, and Rami Malek are a few of the Hollywood leading men who qualify as modern menswear style icons. Their red carpet looks always grab our attention, not because they’re wearing wild leather harnesses or a dainty pearl earring, but because they just look damn good in outfits that are equally modern and timeless (which is no easy feat). So, how do these A-listers do it? They all have one person carefully concocting their perfect fashion formulas: stylist Ilaria Urbinati.
Urbinati, a celebrated tastemaker recognized by The Hollywood Reporter’s “Most Powerful Stylist” list for four consecutive years, has cultivated a high-profile client list of actors at the top of their game, which also includes Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ben Affleck, and John Krasinski. The reason for her success in La-La Land? The woman knows how to dress guys of all shapes and sizes in flattering, stylish outfits, from the larger-than-life Johnson, to slender and short Malek.
Not every guy is able to hire a top celebrity stylist, but Urbinati was willing to share her styling tips and tricks with Men’s Health to help you look your best, along with what to look for when refreshing your wardrobe this season. Here’s how to dress for any body type, according to one of Hollywood’s top celebrity stylists.
How to Dress for a Bodybuilder Physique
It’s not surprising that shopping for a larger muscular build can be difficult. Large biceps, muscular backs, and a slim waist don’t always work for standard off-the-rack proportions. But with The Rock as one of her clients, this is a challenge Urbinati has mastered.
“When I started working with The Rock, there was this preconception that guys with a bigger build need to wear larger, loose clothes,” says Urbinati. “I feel the reason I was able to transform Dwayne’s look was because I went for more fitted clothing that maybe a muscular guy might not think to wear.”
Urbinati points out that custom suiting is ideal for a guy with swole muscles, but otherwise, she rarely buys custom clothing for Johnson. The key is to buy larger sizes in shirts that will fit your shoulders and then make tailoring alterations to fit your torso. Even small, inexpensive alterations to a short-sleeve shirt to flatter your biceps are worth the extra step to flaunt your gym gains. As for pants, she has a similar rule to follow.
“It’s almost harder to find pants for my clients,” says Urbinati. “And this goes for all my guys, like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who has very muscular calves, that you should go a size up in pants and take in the waist. I do what I like to call ‘carrotting the legs’, where we taper the ankle and shorten the legs a bit, so there’s little-to-no break in the pant.”
If pants are too fitted, muscular legs are sure to rip through them. By choosing a larger pant and letting out the calf area a tad, your pants won’t catch on your leg muscles and rise up. Shirts with stretch can be helpful for guys with a bodybuilder shape, but when it comes to pants, stretchy trousers can end up looking like leggings if they cling to the body.
Frankenstein alterations do create additional costs, but when you’ve worked hard for your sculpted body, it’s worth the time and money to invest in clothing that will flatter your form. For the best pants that require little-to-zero tailoring, Urbinati swears by Rag & Bone chinos for their slim shape with a hint of stretch and a tapered ankle. The chinos comes in three different styles that range from skinny to straight leg. For her clients, Urbinati goes for style 2 in a smaller waist size to achieve that perfect slim-fit shape.
How to Dress for an Athletic Build
“Tall guys with muscles that have very proportional bodies are usually the easiest to dress,” Urbinati admits. “They just look good in everything.” However, shoulders can still be the one obstacle that calls for some tailoring help. You can either size up and take in the rest of the shirt, or you can try one of Urbinati’s easy alterations.
“The one trick that a lot of guys don’t know is that it’s a very easy and affordable alteration to drop an armpit,” explains Urbinati for when the sleeve of your shirt is riding up to the armpit. This simple alteration will provide you the comfort to move freely, while the slim-fit shirt skims your athletic build.
One of the most flattering trends that Urbinati’s Hollywood clients wear are woven knit polo shirts; not a pique cotton polo you’d see your dad wear on a golf course, but a texture that feels more like a thin-knit sweater. “On an athletic build, if you size down your polo shirt, you’re going to look amazing,” says Urbinati. “It”ll look great on the shoulders with a bit of stretch and stay fitted everywhere else. Most of my clients these days prefer the woven polo over a button-down shirt for the most comfort. COS is one of my go-to brands for a great knit polo shirt.” Urbinati adds that the woven polo has the versatility to be worn under suiting or a bomber jacket as a dressier alternative to a T-shirt for business casual attire.
One of the most surprising and useful tricks this style guru shared was how to take care of that pesky problem of your shirt pulling by the buttons in the chest area. “A well-fitting button-down shirt on an athletic build can sometimes cause the shirt to pull, so we have a tailor put small hidden snaps between the buttons and it only costs about $5,” says Urbinati.
How to Dress for a Slender Build
Similar to how some guys with large muscles believe they should wear looser shirts, skinny guys sometimes think they should wear tighter garb—this is incorrect. The great thing about having a slimmer frame is that you can wear some of the cool silky shirts (popularized by brands like Saint Laurent) that are having a major moment in menswear. Urbinati explains, “On big guys, it’s going to hang like a tent, but on a smaller guy, the loose fit looks great. Rami [Malek] almost never wears poplin shirts anymore, just silky shirts with a natural blousing that skinny guys can get away with.”
Another trendy item slim guys can easily sport is a great pleated trouser. A skinny fit pant might make your legs look like twigs, but pleated trousers won’t emphasize how slender your legs are. Plus, Urbinati firmly believes every guy should own one great pair of trousers to up their style game. “I’ve been really pushing my clients away from wearing jeans, even for casual events,” says Urbinati. “Pairing a nice pair of pants with a button-down shirt, sweater, or T-shirt will easily step up your look and make any guy standout in a crowd.”
It’s always good to shake things up with your everyday style, but it’s not always easy trying out that new trend you’re seeing on the red carpet. “Baby steps are a good way to go,” says Urbinati. “Try one item or trend at a time and keep in mind that it’s just clothing. It’s meant to be fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but it’s also important to stay true to your authentic self.”
To Dress for Your Height, Know the Brands That Work Best for Your Length
For guys who would classify themselves as tall or short (and don’t hit that perfect six-feet tall length), it’s truly all about knowing the brands that cut garments to your ideal length. Urbinati says brands like Sandro, AllSaints, Saint Laurent, and Givenchy make great clothes for guys who are bit more petite, while Todd Snyder, Paul Smith, Dolce & Gabbana, and Officine Générale are perfect for taller men.
Urbinati’s current brand obsessions? Missoni knits have become her go-to for guys like Donald Glover and The Rock that hang perfectly on the body. For a more affordable option, Urbinati recently went wild during a shopping spree at Mango. “I got all these linen trousers and they seem to fit pretty perfectly right off the rack (even on Dwayne). I’ve been using them on all my guys with different body types and the quality is better than your average mass-market brand.”