If you’re a short, stocky guy, you know how hard it can be to find clothes that fit well. This guide will help!
It’s always the length that gets you, right? Something that fits well around the chest might go way past your wrists. Your jacket just hangs below your butt. Your pants need to be rolled over and over again.
But because you’re stocky, you can’t just pick up something with the perfect length – unless you want to look like you’re wearing tights.
Your strong build basically ensures that everything you own has extra fabric dangling below your waist and pooling at your ankles.
We’ve got you covered, though. We’ve put together a list of seven style tips you need to know if you’re a stocky gent.
Tip #1: Get Everything Shortened
Why is it that every fashion brand features models that are 6’2” and wearing size medium. How many of us even know a person with those proportions?
You may not think about it when your shirt is in the shopping cart (though you can’t help but notice when you first try it on), but a 40” chest shirt will look different on a 6’2” guy than a 5’7” guy – even if they both have the same size chest.
Do you have the build of a fullback? Powerlifter? Bodybuilder during a bulk?
Well, we feel your pain. It’s like every shirt you buy off the rack is way too long to wear untucked.
So you’re tired of always tucking in your shirts and rolling up your sleeves. What can you do? The best solution is to get those shirts tailored.
Make sure you find a shirt that fits shoulders and neck, then getting the length and sleeves shortened is a breeze.
Yeah, it takes some extra time and costs a bit of extra cash. And, if done incorrectly, your shirt or jacket can sometimes look totally out of proportion.
For example, if your shirt has buttons, you may find your last button sitting right at the hem, which is as strange as wearing a shirt that’s too long in the first place.
But if you can find a tailor you trust, you won’t have any of these problems, and the cost of alterations will be money well spent.
Tip #2: Avoid Skinny Fit Clothes
Skinny fit clothes aren’t timeless classics, so what does that make them?
They’re part of fashion trends and not what we usually recommend to anyone – especially not stocky dudes.
If your pants or shirts are too tight, they’ll highlight your size in all the wrong places. There’s nothing wrong with your size, but just like with anyone else, you want to show it off in the right light.
And there’s the issue of comfort, too.
Now, you don’t need to go to the opposite extreme and start wearing baggy clothes. That doesn’t work for anyone.
We recommend looking into slim fit if you haven’t already. The taper below the knee cuts out the extra fabric around the calf which can slim your entire silhouette a surprising amount.
You may find that that the best pants and jeans for stocky guys are “athletic” and “slim straight” cuts.
The same thing holds true for shirts. You may never have considered yourself a slim guy, but the fact is that many classic and traditional fit shirts have too much fabric around the torso.
If you’ve got a muscular build, give a slim cut shirt a shot. They taper down from the chest through the hips. That little extra trim can work wonders.
Tip #3: Tuck Your Shirt In
If you don’t have any shirts that are the right length, the easiest fix is just to tuck it in.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it works in a pinch, especially when you haven’t got a chance to take your shirts to the tailor yet.
It may surprise you to know that you can tuck in just about any shirt – even polos (and sometimes t-shirts, too, although that’s a style you might not be into).
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Tucking in your shirt doesn’t always mean you’re dressing up. If you’re going casual, you’re still better off tucked in than with a shirt hanging down past your zipper.
The same goes for sleeves that come halfway down your hands. Giving the cuffs a simple roll looks relaxed and cool and can even fly as part of a business casual wardrobe.
Any piece of fabric that’s noticeably too long for your body will make you look even shorter and stockier. The quickest, easiest way of taking care of any loose clothing is the simple tuck and roll.
Tip #4: Don’t Go Too Thick (With Stripes)
It’s the first true style tip most of us ever hear:
“Horizontal stripes make you look wider. Vertical stripes lengthen your torso.”
It’s partially true, but really, it’s all about the width of the stripes.
It’s true that stripes can give you a horizontal stretch, which is the last thing you want, but that’s really only the case with thicker stripes.
So you don’t have to avoid stripes altogether. Just pick out shirts with thinner stripes.
If you’re short and stocky, your best bet will always be solid colors. But when you want some variety, go with thin stripes and other small-scale patterns like micro gingham and mini checks.
Tip #5: Say No to Bulky Jackets
Obviously, location is a big factor for this tip. If you’re planning a big trip to the Arctic, go ahead. Wear that massive parka.
But most of the time, you can get away with strategic layering throughout the winter and save the big parka for freak snowstorms.
Stacking multiple lighter layers can keep you just as warm as a single large coat and almost always looks better.
That said, puffer jackets aren’t always the enemy. You just want to avoid the super bulky variety.
Also, add some key accessories for extra warmth. It’s amazing what a wool scarf, gloves and ear muffs (or beanie) can do!
Tip #6: Low Contrast Outfits Work Best
There aren’t many rules in style because you should ultimately wear what you feel great in.
But we always recommend low contrast outfits for shorter gents, and this definitely applies to stocky guys too.
Light shirts alongside light-wash jeans; navy shirts on top of raw denim – any outfit that doesn’t have conflicting colors on top and bottom.
High contrast outfits tend to visually cut us in half, so by keeping similar tones throughout, you keep a clean visual line and has a subtle heightening effect.
Go low contrast and clothes that fit well, and you’ll look sharper than you ever have, no matter what your body type.
Tip #7: Keep Your Accessories in Proportion
As you know (and are reminded of time and time again), there aren’t any one-size-fits-all rules.
Short and broad gents look great in shorter and broader accessories, so skip the skinny ties and feel free to wear a larger watch.
A 55mm watch looks just fine on an 8″ wrist, but it would look ridiculously oversized on an average or small wrist.
Going with small accessories will look a bit off if you’re a bigger guy. Everything in proportion!
Clothes for Short, Stocky Guys
There are a few great places to pick up clothes that fit better right off the bat.
As you may know, Ash & Erie is a great choice for shorter, stockier guys. Their standard fit sizes won’t need any tailoring, so you can save your hard earned cash.
Uniqlo and J.Crew also do a great job for stocky gents with their modern, slim-but-not-too-slim fits.
You may find yourself rolling up your sleeves here and there, but in general, these stores will keep the extra fabric off the floor.
You should definitely consider going custom for your formalwear (suits, jackets, trousers and dress shirts).
There you have it: our top tips for short and stocky men who want to dress in a way that flatters their powerful build.
Remember: your body shape doesn’t determine how well you dress. Only you can decide that.
Got any more tips? Leave a comment down below!
I’m a former powerlifter. 5’4″ 230. I’m tryign to cut downn to about 180. My legs and butt are big. Do you have any recommendations? Most of the style now is geared toward skinny which isnt my style regardless but it makes it hard to find oants other than constrcution gear
“Make sure you find a shirt that fits shoulders and neck, then getting the length and sleeves shortened is a breeze.”
Not so fast…shortening sleeves is problematic for shirts. It’s not an easy job and the end result means you have an odd looking sleeve.
At 5’2″ and ~150, the best fitting shirts for me have been Ash & Erie’s standard medium and Pete Manning’s 2X.
Alan Au says
I would add Jimmy Au’s also carries sizes for stockier short men up to 4XL. Suits and sportcoats up to 54 short and 54 extra short sizes. Dress shirts up to a 19 neck.
Please don’t recomment Uniqlo for stocky guys. I was in one of their stores recently and no shirts fit.