NO SIZE FITS ALL: Choosing a Suit for Your Body Type

For many, the idea of suit is exciting– a simple set of clothes that lend a sense of elegance and refinement to anyone who wears them. Unfortunately, the world of formal wear can be overwhelming, intimidating or even alienating to those who do not already know “the rules.” We here at Curtis Eliot know there are no rules! Sure there are guidelines to follow, but the only universal truth is to wear what feels comfortable. In fashion, comfort equals confidence… but that does mean you can wear your sweatpants to a formal event! Our tips for choosing a suit for your body type are below, but contact as today with any questions or concerns.


Many of us dream of having an athlete’s body, but most people do not realize fashion is not necessarily designed for people with more muscles. If you have a V-shaped torso, it will likely work well with a two-button jacket– but ensure your parents are tailored to fit as well. Slim fit can make it seem like you are bulging out, but tailored, bespoke or custom suits can be cut to flatter your figure. Shirts should be kept low-collared to allow for thicker neck muscles and feel free to swap the stifling tie for a fun-yet-formal pocket square or waistcoat.


Skinny people come in all sizes, meaning many of them are left swimming in formal clothes available off the rack. If you have a slim body, consider small details like high-cut lapels, modest shirt cuffs, generous pant cuffs and even lighter coloured fabrics– all of these can add depth and width to narrow body-types. Always accessorize to your proportions and consider avoiding pointed shoes or tall hats that might stretch your silhouette further.


While this term is relatively new, it has a much more positive connotation than many other descriptors we have used in Western culture for people with larger frames. The first thing to know is that dressing formally is inherently dishonest– as seen above, even athletic and slim people have shapes that are sharpened or filled out by good tailoring. Your best options will be through a tailor, they can size everything appropriately instead of trying to match items off the rack. Avoid fads and stick to the classics, some of these tips include: black is slimming, patterns are not; always dress to your proportions; and suspenders are more flattering than belts.


Whether you consider yourself vertically-challenged or you think short people make better lovers, there are plenty of suiting options for those below the average height. Of course everyone knows that vertical stripes elongate and horizontal stripes widen, but did you know a belt can have the same effect? Suspenders or beltless trousers can lengthen a shorter person’s torso. Short jacket and pant cuffs have a similar visual impact, same goes for other details like peaked lapels and lowered buttons.


As with short people, a taller frame requires special consideration when adding a suit to your closet. Unless you are going for the Steve Harvey look, avoid suit jackets with multiple buttons. Adding a belt can also help break up the visual caused by the extra material required for taller people’s suits– a subtle pattern can also add variety and depth.


Fashion can both be inspiring and foreboding to anyone, but formalwear has the potential to be both a refuge and a nightmare for female-to-male trans people. Fortunately many of the tips above apply to trans bodies, both pre- and post-op. Dressing to your height and proportion; accommodating your body’s shape; drawing the eye to your confident areas with accent, colour or pattern– these are just some the strategies a trans man (or anyone) can take advantage of proper suit fitting!

Everybody and every body is unique so the tips above are only scratching the surface of what you can achieve with the help of a tailor’s eye. Questions? Concerns? Contact us at Suits by Curtis Eliot today!