Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to Pick the Right Suit for Your Body Type

Why does James Bond always look so good when he struts into the room? It’s not the martini in one hand. It’s not the Walther PPK in the other hand. And it’s not the winning smile, though that helps.

Dima Sidelnikov/Getty Images

It’s the suit. A man wearing a suit with a perfect fit is a man looking as close to perfect as he can.

Related Videos

With a great suit comes confidence, poise, and added respect, both from those you meet and from the man in the mirror. But even the finest suits out there are no good if they don’t fit you well — in fact, you’d look better in a $100 suit from Target that happened to fit you perfectly than you would in an $8,800 handmade silk suit from Joe Bananas on Madison Avenue that fit you terribly. You’d look best in one of those that fit perfectly, for the record.

If you want to get the best suit for your body, you need to go to an expert tailor. If that’s not in the cards right now, then take some expert advice before you go out looking for your next pair of coat and trousers. We talked to was Scott Wicken, content director at menswear brand Combatant Gentlemen.

Wicken’s first major piece of advice?

Be Real About Your Body

“You need to be realistic about your body type,” Wicken explains. “The guy wearing a properly fitting suit that matches his body type is going to look a whole hell of a lot better than the guy trying to squeeze into something that’s not right for him. The reverse is true as well; feeling weird about wearing stuff that’s ‘too tight’ and overcompensating with a baggy fit is only going to have a disastrous effect on how you look.”

If You’re Big and Tall

Wicken says bigger guys should “opt for a suit with a proper amount of room in the chest and shoulders to accommodate your frame and make sure the stomach area is fitted but not tight. If you’re on the tall side, just make sure you’ve got the right length in your jacket and sleeves. Something too short or long is only going to enhance your height, and not in a good way.”

Hero Images/Getty Images

He adds that “finding a fit that works for the big and tall guy is about paying extra attention to the details and finding a suit cut that isn’t oversized, baggy, and too long. It might take some getting used to, but you still want things to fit properly. That is to say, trim but not tight, even on a broader frame or if you’ve got a belly. Avoid slim or narrow lapels, [as] they’ll look out of proportion with your size, and make sure your pants strike the right balance in fit. Don’t overlook the right hem either; an overly long pant hem is only going to make the pants look baggier, and therefore, sloppy.”

If You’re Muscular and Athletic

Wicken breaks it down: “Chances are, you’re broader up top with defined shoulders and a narrower waist, and that desirable V-shape you’ve got can be a tough fit when it comes to finding a suit. Often that standard suit set with a 10-or 8-inch drop between the jacket size and pants size isn’t going to work for you. Ideally, you want to look for suits that are sold as separates, meaning you can purchase the jacket size separately from the pant size, ensuring the right sizing. Fit-wise, you want to make sure you’ve got enough room where you need it but not too much that it looks like you’re wearing the wrong size. Depending on your size, a slim cut suit will work (just make sure it’s not too tight) or you can look for suiting that maintains a slim cut but has adjustments, like a slightly lower armhole and increased room in the chest to accommodate your frame. Lapel-wise, a medium to wide-width lapel is going to accentuate your V-shape and a nipped-in jacket waist is going to fit you properly without having to tailor excessively.”

Jason Kempin / Getty Images

“Jacket-wise, make sure you have enough room in the chest and shoulders and avoid extreme tightness in the bicep and popping of the lapel out from your chest (this indicates a jacket that is too small). You want to maintain the slim cut proportions with the pants and make sure the taper isn’t too tight; looking top-heavy is never a good thing.”

If You’re Slender

“As always, you want the right balance, slim but not tight,” Scott says. “Look for a slim cut (obviously) that features higher armholes and narrow proportions. Many slim guys still buy their suits too large so try going down a suit size by one, you might be surprised. Unless you’re popping out in all the wrong places, going down a size could give you a better-proportioned fit. Slim cut suits often have equally narrow lapels, which work well, but you could also opt for a peak or wider lapel if you want to give your shoulders a bit of heft and broadness. Below the waist, you’ll want the pants trim and with a nice taper, any billowing is only going to accentuate your slimness.”

Gregory Hayes/Unsplash

He elaborates: “Tight is never a good look, nor is it going to look right for a professional setting, regardless of how thin you may be. Alternatively, you want a trim fit — a baggy or billowy suit isn’t going to add heft or bulk, it’s only going to look baggy and draw attention to your thin frame. [Bigger guys should] skip the three-piece or vest addition, as it’s only going to add extra bulk to your substantial frame, [but] for thinner guys, you’ve got more freedom here, so try that three-piece option and go with a slimmer tie. But not too slim.”

Don’t Forget the Pants

Too often, men get hung up finding the perfect suit jacket and treat the pants like they’re not 50% of the ensemble. “No matter what your body type or size is, an overall proper fit and proper tailoring, so jacket cuffs, pant hems, pant waist, and seat are always key,” Scott says.

Go Easy on Accessories

Once you have the perfect suit, don’t gild that lily. “Don’t go overboard with suiting accessories;  keep it to one or two max,” Scott advises. “Over-accessorizing with tie bars, lapel pins, and pocket squares is a common mistake I see guys make, [but] simple is better. And keep the bowties to the tuxedos only.”

Editors' Recommendations

The 10 best aprons for men: Cook your meals in style
Cook in style by tying on one of these masculine aprons

Spills and splatters happen all the time – even (and often) in professional kitchens. Kitchen aprons are a chef's best friend. Whether you're a seasoned pro in the kitchen or a culinary novice, an apron is a staple if you want to keep your clothes mess-free and your essential cooking tools within reach. Chef aprons are like a coat of armor, offering protection from an overzealous mixer, food processor, or stubborn grease stain. It doesn't matter how good your food is, it's not worth ruining your favorite shirt over.

There's an apron for every kind of chef, whether you're a BBQ champ that needs something a little more sturdy to withstand the hot temps or a baker that needs pockets to keep measuring spoons, dish towels, and thermometers handy. Even if you don't think you need an apron, you'll be surprised by the functionality an apron can provide upon your first wear. There are plenty of aprons for men that are serious in comfort and durability without being too pretentious. Below, we've rounded up some of the best men's kitchen aprons that will upgrade both your cooking and personal style.

Read more
A Stitch Fix expert tells us what to pack for a long weekend getaway this winter
Use this expert's advice to create a packing list for your next weekend adventure
Various dress clothes out ready to be packed.

The winter months give you a lot to put up with, depending on where you live: Inches (or feet) of snow to be cleared off the drive, salt stains on your pants and coats, biting winds that hurt your face, and drivers sliding on ice. So it isn't all that surprising that many of us dream of a long weekend away to take a break from our winter blues. Of course, if you do decide to take off for a long weekend, you'll need to pack — and figuring out what to put on your packing list may be one of the most stressful parts of your journey.

Lauren Nelson has been a stylist for Stitch Fix for nearly a decade, the majority of it as a stylist supervisor. She knows style, and she knows what you should take with you. Here are the five things that she believes should be on your list of what to pack for vacation.

Read more
Get these cargo pants for men for affordable workwear style
Cargo pants for men: Our top affordable picks

Ask anyone in the fashion industry and the old adage goes, "fashion trends tend to go in circles." Things come in on fads, then fade away, all before making a reappearance some odd years later. This definitely is the case with cargo pants. Cargo pants have made a strong comeback and are now considered "in" again after so many years. Unlike before, they're now just as wearable and fashionable as your favorite jeans under $100. The tough, outdoorsy pants for men notable for their military origin are making a name for themselves in the fashion world. Hence, men's cargos are the best bet for the next spot in your wardrobe rotation.

Regardless of what plans you might have these days, men's cargo pants are the perfect travel pants for hiking, exploring, and everything in between. Amazon Fashion has you covered with some of our best menswear essentials. No matter what your budget you have to work with, this list covers it all and will cover your need to find the best cargo pants for men in 2023.

Read more