If you’re a skinny guy who wants to look a little bigger, these tips will help!
There’s nothing wrong with the skinny body type. A lot of guys (and their gals) love this physique, and having less body fat than other people isn’t exactly a bad thing.
While this article is about using style to add a bit of visual bulk to your frame, I want to emphasize that you do not have to dress in a way that changes or enhances your physique.
If you’re skinny and want to wear oversized tees and relaxed jeans, that’s totally fine.
There’s a lot of pressure these days for men to look muscular, and I think it’s ridiculous. I’m a slim guy, but I’m healthy and happy with the way I look.
My point is, you don’t have to follow the advice in this article, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping these tricks in your arsenal so you can use them when you feel like it.
Tip #1: Trim the Fat
If you only take one thing away from this guide, try to trim the fat from your clothing.
If you’re a skinny guy, wear slim-fit or skinny-fit clothing.
After all, skinny jeans on a skinny person are basically just like standard-fit jeans. They might be skin-tight on an average guy, but on a skinny guy, they’ll fit perfectly.
This may sound counterintuitive. You might be thinking, won’t fitted clothes emphasize how skinny I am? Should I cover up my skinniness with baggier clothes?
I understand the logic, but baggy clothes actually have the exact opposite effect. They emphasize your slender build, while fitted garments will make you look more built and athletic.
For the clothes you already own that don’t fit well, I recommend going to a tailor. For just a few bucks, you can get your shirts, pants, and jackets taken in for a slimmer fit.
You can also get your sleeves taken in if they’re too baggy, a common problem when skinny men buy dress shirts off the rack.
Finally, you might need to get your pants tapered below the knee. Any decent tailor can reduce the leg opening for a more tapered fit.
Tip #2: Wear Lighter Colors
Everyone knows that dark colors are slimming, so it stands to reason that light colors have the exact opposite effect.
Lighter colors add visual weight and thickness to your silhouette.
Try colors like white, tan, khaki, beige, olive, light blue, faded pink, and yellow.
These colors are especially great for warmer weather, but they can be worn all year round. Plus, they all look good together so that you can mix and match them to your heart’s content.
Wearing somewhat monochromatic clothing, meaning a light-colored top with a light-colored bottom or a dark top and dark bottom, helps to look balanced. For instance, if you wear a white tee with black jeans you’re visually cut in half.
For this reason, I’d recommend trying out a few light-colored monochromatic outfits. You’ll look put together and just a bit bulkier.
Tip #3: Invisible Layers
When you think about layering, you probably picture a button-up shirt under a sweater or a vest under a jacket.
But you can layer up in a less obvious way, no matter what the weather is like.
Any extra layers, even thin ones, will add a bit of bulk to your frame.
For example, if you’re wearing a t-shirt, you can wear an undershirt or tank top underneath it. This has the added benefit of providing warmth in the winter and soaking up sweat in the summertime.
I always wear crew neck tees under my long-sleeve tees and sweaters. I tuck the bottom layer in, and let me tell you, it’s very comfortable, and it adds a little bit of heft to my top half.
You can even wear a long sleeve tee underneath a sweater, or a long sleeve henley under a button-up shirt.
The difference is very subtle, but I definitely feel the difference when I wear these invisible layers, and I think you will too.
Tip #4: Avoid V-Neck Tees & Henley Shirts
Some things just don’t look good on skinny guys. I’ve yet to find a v-neck t-shirt that looks better than a crew neck on the skinny body type.
Similarly, most henleys don’t look great, especially when worn unbuttoned. Unless you’re pretty toned and wearing a very fitted henley, you’re not going to look like Ryan Gosling.
That’s fine because I have a better alternative for you:
With a sturdy collar and a more structured placket, a fitted polo can be very flattering on skinny men. It’s a great alternative to v-neck tees or even crew neck tees.
The long sleeve polo is a great alternative to henley shirts. I prefer the fitted merino wool varieties and of course, I wear an undershirt as a base layer for comfort and bulk.
Tip #5: Wear Outerwear With Collars
Speaking of collars, skinny guys tend to have slim necks. You can sort of hide this by wearing coats that have standing collars.
For example, a typical bomber jacket has no collar at all. I’m not saying you can’t wear these, but they will emphasize the size of your neck, especially if you color of the jacket contrasts starkly with your skin tone.
On the other hand, a jacket with a standing collar, like this leather jacket, provides a sort of backdrop for your neck, de-emphasizing its slimness.
If you don’t have any coats with standing collars, you might really like them. If you have coats with stiff collars, try wearing them up to see how it feels.
Tip #6: Try the French Tuck
If you’re on the skinny side, some shirts might be too big on you (i.e., too long and too loose). One quick fix is the French tuck (a.k.a., partial tuck).
This basically makes the shirt sit closer to your body, and exposes your waistline in the front for a casual, rugged look.
The key to doing this the right way is to tuck your shirt in just off-center, either to the right or left.
Don’t go too far around with the tuck. It’s really just the front of your shirt that should be tucked in.
With a polo, you tuck it all the way to the side split, which is a natural stopping point.
I’ve been doing this a lot lately, especially with casual shirts that are a bit too long to wear completely untucked. It works like a charm. Try it out!
Tip #7: Cuff Your Sleeves
Cuffing your sleeves tends to shorten and taper them at the same time.
It produces a rugged, masculine and almost blue collar vibe that I actually really like.
I especially like cuffing the sleeves on t-shirt and short sleeve button ups. This exposes more of your tricep and adds a bit of taper, which makes the sleeve sit more closely around your arm.
If you’ve never tried this, I recommend giving it a shot.
Tip #8: Pad Your Ankles
Speaking of ankles, this next tip is great for guys like myself with skinny ankles.
With certain types of footwear, like Chelsea boots, you’ll find that there’s too much space between the boot’s collar and your ankle.
Sometimes this causes too much movement and heel slippage as you walk around; it can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Instead of throwing your old socks away, but off the tips to create a tube, then fold it 2-3 times until it’s a thick, stretchy band.
Put this band around your ankle before you put your boots on. It will fill up that space between your ankle and boot, making your Chelseas much more comfortable to walk around in.
Tip #9: Keep Clothing Details Proportional
This tip is going to be difficult to follow for casual clothes but is something to think about when buying a suit in particular.
Perhaps the best example of this is suit lapels. If you’re skinny, when possible, opt for slightly narrower lapels.
You might think that broader lapels would help to visually broaden your chest and while this is true to some extent, on really skinny guys broad lapels will look out of place.
Instead, by going with slimmer lapels (but not too skinny!), you’ll look more balanced.
Tip #10: Wear Small Accessories
Speaking of balance, my last tip is to make sure your accessories aren’t way too big for you. This is especially true with ties, watches, and sunglasses.
Skinny ties may go in and out of style, but they’ll always look good on skinny men. If JFK were to come back from the dead, he’d still look good in a skinny tie. However, skinny ties would look ridiculous on bigger guys, like Trump.
Just like with skinny lapels, be sure not to take it too far. As a good rule of thumb, the widest part of your tie should be about the same width as the widest part of your suit lapels.
Similarly, if you have a narrow face, you’ll look best in narrow sunglasses. If you’re not sure how to figure out your face size and shape, check out my guide to choosing the right sunglasses.
Many watches are too big for guys with skinny wrists. My wrist is about 6 1/4 inches around, which is why I stick to watches that are 34-38mm in diameter.
Anything bigger than that looks oversized on me.
There are plenty of great watches in this size range, so don’t feel like having small wrists limits your options. (For tons of more info about watches for the smaller-wristed guy, check out my other site, The Slender Wrist).
Common Questions About Skinny Style
Here’s what people are asking on the web about dressing the skinny body type.
How To Look More Muscular in Your Clothes?
First, make sure your clothes fit. Wear layers, including “invisible layers,” such as undershirts, and wear jackets with collars.
Try wearing lighter colors, avoid v-neck tees and henleys, and cuff your sleeves. Finally, keep clothing details proportional and wear small accessories such as smaller-diameter watches and sunglasses with narrower frames.
What Shirts Make You Look Fit?
Polo shirts, especially long sleeve polos, are great for skinny guys as the collar adds visual bulk to your neck, and the fitted sleeves help your arms to look a bit more muscular.
How Should a Skinny Guy Dress?
A skinny guy should dress however he’d like! Really, there’s nothing to be ashamed of by being skinny. However, if you’d like to dress to look a bit more muscular, try out the tips in this article.
No matter your body type, when you try your best to dress well you’re likely to see a boost in your confidence.
Try not to get overly preoccupied with your appearance, however, if you’re skinny and want to add some visual weight to your appearance try out these tips.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!