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ALPHA MALE: The Basics of Fit

Friday, September 28, 2012


Paying attention to the fit of your wardrobe will reap all kinds of rewards, including looking better in them.

A lot of the time, this column has discussed the importance of the fit of your clothing as being a key as much as the styles and pieces you select. This is very true, however, what exactly is the right fit? It will vary for each guy based on your build, your comfort level with certain designs of today's modern (read: slimmer) fits, and other factors such as fabrics and how (and where) the garment is made. But taking all the finer

points out for a moment, let us review some basics of how you should wear your clothing for the best fit.

Start with your shirt.

The easiest item to start with is your shirt because it is your base layer. Today's modern button front shirts call for a fit that hugs closer to your body. The shoulder seams should meet with the edge of the top of your shoulder. Sleeve lengths can be a personal preference, but I recommend the cuff hits at the break of your wrist. Try to stay away from "classic" shirt cuts where there is excess fabric around your torso and waist due to a straighter design. You may see this "mushroom effect" or pillowing around your middle when you tuck in your shirt. Today's newer, slimmer cuts fix this dilemma. Even department stores or big box stores are providing these tapered cuts. Try and buy.

Sweaters, blazers, and jackets oh my!

When you start to layer, especially as we head into cold weather, that does not mean bulk has to come along for the ride. Take the suggestions for your shirt fit above and apply them to your sweaters, sport or suit coats and outerwear. Do you typically buy a size Large sweater or size 44 blazer? Try sizing down in both for a change. You will often be surprised by the slight difference, but large effect on your look. Stick to the shoulders hitting your frame properly and the torso hugging you closely, but leaving you with freedom of movement. Pay particularly close attention to the pit-to-pit measurement and fit and how the position of the armholes feel. This can be a challenge, but once you learn your body type, you will be surprised how sizing down often pays off big.

Bottoming out.

Trim fits also apply nowadays to your pants. Trousers or chinos, denim and dress pants all also call for a trimmer silhouette. Many options today offer a lower rise- that is the distance between the waist line and crotch of your pants. They will sit lower on your hips/waist and give you a longer, leaner look. I recommend the taller you are, the less tapered the leg needs to be. Go for a straighter leg, but still slim. Like the shirting suggestions, go for a pair that offers a trimmer fabric in the circumference all the way down your leg. And slimmer does not mean skinny. There are many options for tapered legs or slim and straight without looking like your about to tour with a rock band.

These fit basics can be subjective, and you may have already found what works for you. And I always recommend tailoring "off-the-rack" apparel to achieve that perfect look. Whether you found that perfect fitting pair of denim, just-right blazer or you are still trying to find your holy grail, refer to these basics of fit as you refine your wardrobe. As always, trial and error is encouraged. Eventually, you will be surprised how much excess you can cut out of your cloest simply by cutting down on your sizing and feeling great in your well-fitting wardrobe.

Robert Babigian is owner of WHARF Clothing & Wares, a menswear retail boutique located at 212 Westminster Street in Providence, RI. A native Rhode Islander, Rob started WHARF after 2 decades in marketing and sales to fulfill his desire to combine his loves of consumer branding, small business and style that would fulfill a niche for desirable men's clothing in the Providence market. The apparel and accessories found at WHARF reflect Rob's own personal aesthetic—a combination of traditional New England staples mixed with modern fits, construction and fabrics blended together with a touch of European style. For more tips or to shop the store, stop in and see Rob and his staff or reach them online at shopwharf.com.


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