how do I learn how to be fashionable?

This is a current dilemna of mine. I can’t describe my previous fashion stylings, save to say that if it emphasized my shoulders and reminded me of a superhero costume, I loved it.

The probelm is I have really wide hips (I call them child birthing hips) and I have HUGELY muscled legs. Luckily I also have broad shoulders or I’d look like a penguin. Anyways, weight training is paying off and my upper body has expanded nicely, to the point that I no longer have to worry about casting a womanish figure. (I still can’t wear tapered pants because of my wide legs/hips, but everything else is okay.)

So now that I can wear regular clothing without worrying about emphasizing and hiding crap, what exactly does it mean to be well dressed? Now that I’m trying I seem to be pretty hit and miss and when I get it right I don’t know what I’m getting right.

A little help?

Where do you live? Can we call you in the the Queer Eye guys? Though come to think of it, Carson would just put you in British flag jeans and an Eighties tie-belt . . . Hmmm . . .

I’d suggest longish, stylish suit jackets to hide the hips. A really good jacket can be worn with jeans and a wide variety of shirts ands can look both hip and stylish.

Avoid “fashion.” Go with developing your own sense of style - something that will stick with you in the long run.

I’d recommend going to a good haberdasher and asking to try on a few suits. Find a cut and color that looks good on you and stick with it. Buy a suit, shirt, tie, belt, pocket square and shoes all at once so that everything is coordinated, but try to envision being able to use most of the pieces (belt, tie, shirt, pocket square, and shoes) in combination with other suits or other pants/jackets. A good haberdasher should appreciate the business and throw alterations in for free (can’t hurt to ask). He’s also more likely to remember you next time you come in if you buy everything at once. Having a good working relationship with him will make future shopping trips easier (mine calls me a couple times a year or lets me know in advance about sales). He appreciates the business, I appreciate the good service.

Can you post a link to the jackets you’re referring to?

That was a reply to Eve, plnner hadn’t posted when I replied.

Right now I need casual/semi-casual fashions. I’m twenty-three and don’t have a job that requires a lot of suits and ties. And I’ve never really had a problem with suits, I wear suits well due to my shoulders. I actually like wearing suits because of my shoulders. Looks hot.

Depends what kind of money we’re talking. The fashion director here at my mag says, “Hugo Boss has the best cuts, the most flattering—but they are expensive.”

I’d still go to a good men’s store and try on some clothes. You may not end up buying the clothing there, but at least you’ll be able to ask a knowledgable person about cut, fit, fabric, etc. and then go someplace else and buy similar clothes at places within youd budget.

I also stand by my recommendation to avoid “fashionable” except for a few garments. If you’re going to spend money on a new clothes you want them to be able to last you a few seasons without having to replace them again. You may be too young to remember “Members Only” jackets, but EVERYONE had to have them - they were “stylish.” Now, I don’t think you could find anyone who would even admit to owning one. The same can’t be said for a good quality sport coat, pair of slacks, and nice shoes.

Make sure your slacks have ample room in the thighs, that they aren’t too tight around the waist or ankle (parachute pants - another “fashion” that makes me cringe to remember), and as to pleats - try on several pair. Too many pleats can add heft around the waist.

For shirts, vertical stripes will elongate your body, horizontal will accentuate your width (great for shoulders and back, not so good if you’ve got a tire). Make sure the shirts fit (a little too tight in my book is preferable to way too big - if you’ve got the physique for it).

Shorts - I have relatively short legs, but like you I have big quads and hamstrings. I can’t wear long shorts because they make my legs look even shorter. I tend to buy traditional-cut tennis shorts as they seem to be about the right length.

Again, my .02. Congrats on the body transformation. I can remember when I filled out from a gangly teenager and started seeing weight training results. Felt pretty good.

As opposed to being fashionable, I think having your own STYLE is more important.

I think tailored items (not necessarily suits) will work better with your body type - items that are too loosy-goosy will tend to add bulk (and not in a good way.)

Second, go for quality, not quantity. One really nice quality, well taylored jacket is worth about 20 poorly made trendy items. The first time you do it, it hurts to drop $400, or $600, or $800 on an item but you’ll find that the item lasts better, stays in style longer (many items don’t go out of fashion) and fits and hangs better. Call it investment dressing.

Can you post a picture of your recent self? That will help make replies more specific.

Fashion is transitory and frequently ridiculous. Style on the other hand…
The human body is basically a shape. There are tricks to camoflage the stray bumps and lumps. It’s impossible to diagnose specifics but some rules hold true:

  1. when in doubt, streamline: go for clean lines and no clutter
  2. focus on the outline
  3. no more than two “splash” accents
  4. downplay what you don’t like; play up what you do
    [sub]Was that general enough?[/sub]
    This is sheer hypocrisy, considering I’d sooner be boiled in oil than shop, but cut loose some time to just try stuff on. Just browse and explore. It doesn’t cost anything to try, except your time and patience. Figure out what works on you and what doesn’t. Don’t buy the first thing that sorta does. If it doesn’t feel comfortable it’s a dud; you won’t wear it.
    Good luck, anal scurvy, (may I call you “Anal”?) and when you have this tagged you can write a self-help book.

**Did you wear capes? :wink:

I can sympathise. I’m another man with Big Womanly hips and (comparatively) big quads (and I’m 23 too!). As an illustration, I’m 39" around the chest, 29" around the waist… and 36" at the hips!

… which are the kinda stats which would make me a great swimsuit model, but it’s terribly goofy for a bloke.

I deal with this by wearing pants that sit quite low on the hips (also–opposite to plnnr–I have a short torso and long legs, so I want to make my body look a bit longer). Pants that button up around my waist tend to flare out over my hips and quads, which IMO is a bad look for a man. Low riding jeans, OTOH, sit below my waist–so the material runs in a straight line down my hips and thighs. I’m not talking pants that are going to show my pubes or arse-crack, but they’re low enough so that the top of my pelvic bones on either side of my waist can be easily seen.

I also avoid button-up shirts that are not tailored to fit my lower body. Ordinary casual shirts usually fit nice and tight around my shoulders, but they float loosely around my waist–again, a bad look. I instead try to buy fitted shirts that are taken in at the back (darted), so they fit my lower body nicely.

General tips-wise, I’d recommend sticking to the basics: simple, well-cut pants and shirts with a minimum of flashy detail. It’s worth paying more for good quality gear: it really does show in the cut and fit. The occasional wearing of (plain) cargos is fine, but generally avoid baggy pants–they look sloppy and child-like. If you have good legs and a good arse, show 'em off with form-fitting duds and shorts.

(Just an aside here: when (straight) men compare themselves to other men, they tend concentrate on their upper body development. Big arms and a nice chest are seen as the ultimate goal… but many (most?) women are much more likely to notice a nice set of legs and a great butt than a buff upper body. IMO.)

Oh, and good shoes are a must–again, it’s well worth paying a bit more for footwear that will fit well and last. People (particularly women) really do notice a man’s footwear. Also, a few well-chosen pairs of quality jeans should be in every 23 year old’s wardrobe. Don’t skimp on the casual wear items which you know you will wear weekly or fortnightly. Consider the extra cost of quality gear to be offset by the number of wears you’ll get out of it.

As for t-shirts (and shoes): unless you’re at the gym or bumming about at home, don’t wear anything with sporting brand logos. It’s terribly juvenile. Stick to shirts with simple abstract patterns or discreet logos, or solid colours (I’m a big fan of the plain white t-shirt–yum). Again, avoid flashy crap and go for the basics.


Here is a link I got from this board ages ago, that has helped me:

It is for “doing your colors.” Yes, it is color, and yes, the examples are all women, but this is what you will get out of it:

–The right color shirts that will bring out your eyes; believe me, women notice when a man’s eyes looks beautiful

–it will make shopping easier if you know what colors look good on you. You can zero in on the colors you want, less looking and fewer mistakes.

As said before, line is very important, and difficult to see, because color and pattern are so in-your-face. If you have something that just hangs well on you, look for other things cut the same way. Don’t be pulled in by a nice pattern–who cares if it looks nice on the hanger, make sure it will look nice on you!

Men have this problem less than women, but don’t pick something that makes one part of your body look good, but makes another part look worse. The classic examples are leggings and tapered pants if you are at all heavy–your legs may look good, but your top only looks bigger.

For your hips, for example, go for a pant with a line that hangs straight down, and no pleats at the waist. You want to look at the line for the entire body, not just ankles-to-waist, and the straight line look makes the body line look long and lean. If you want to look taller or longer-legged, make sure your pants go to about an inch from the floor.

To emphasize the shoulders (my guess for what a muscular guy wants), the best neckline is probably boat-neck–there are a lot of sweaters cut this way. V-necks slenderize instead, because they continue the vertical and draw the eye to the face. You want the eye to get to the shoulders and stop. Patterns only at the top of the shirt or sweater also help.

Once you know a few things that make you look good, shopping gets much easier! It is worth it–people pick up on your self-respect, and that is the most attractive thing about trying to look decent.

Consider buying used clothes (once you know what works for you). There’s Goodwill, but in any decent sized city there will be a used clothing store that is the next level up. They might reference “consignment” or something in their description.

I buy most of my clothes in these places, and get Ralph Lauren, Alexandar Julian and other quality shirts for about 15-25% of retail. And these places only sell clothes in good condition.

And don’t be afraid to ask any nearby woman if certain pieces of clothing go together or are the right look for you. A male, shopping for clothes alone and asking for help, is just like . . . catnip to cats. They really want to help you, whether it’s the salesgirl or a grandma.