The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Your Body Type

The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Your Body Type2018-06-07T13:50:16+00:00

“Whoever wears that which accentuates the way his body is, at the expense of how it should appear, is ruined.” -N. Antongiovanni, The Suit

Eleven Different Male Body Types In Lineup

If you know your body type and would like to jump to it immediately, please click the appropriate link below:

Body Types:

  1. Average Height & Weight
  2. Average Height & Heavyset 
  3. Average Height & Thin 
  4. Average Weight & Tall
  5. Big & Tall
  6. Tall & Thin
  7. Average Weight & Short
  8. Short & Heavyset
  9. Short & Thin

Body Type Modifications:

  1. Athletic
  2. Irregular

If you need help figuring out what body type best describes you, read on!

An Introduction To Male Body Types

Menswear is chock full of “rules” that theoretically apply to anyone wearing men’s clothes. Jacket sleeves end at a certain length, trouser waistbands hit at a certain point, and shirts fit in a certain way.

This is wonderful in the hypothetical world, but practically speaking, it’s a different ball game. Not all men are created physically equal, and we have to account for different body types when we talk about getting dressed.

To that end, we’ve put together a collection of articles that detail the ins and outs of various male body types. We have identified nine different body types and two body type modifications: Irregular and Athletic. Reading this article will provide you with the guidance you need to determine what your body type is, and from there you’ll be able to click on an article dedicated solely to your body type.

You’ll receive suggestions around what to wear, typical sizes for your body type, and more.

Our Methodology

Our methodology was to use frame and height as base lines. We didn’t consider weight on its own as a metric. We took three typical height categories (tall, average, and short) and spread them across three different builds: average, slender, and heavyset. This created the nine body types.

The athletic and irregular modifiers can be melded with any body type.

Irregularities are random biological occurrences or perhaps the results of accidents. They occur in over 95% of men, so it’s highly likely that you will want to read that article in addition to the one for your body type.

Athleticism occurs less often as it requires a lot of hard work to look athletic. Most body types can be subject to an athletic modifier, though it’s unlikely that someone would be Short & Heavyset with an Athletic modification, for example.

Man In Blue Blazer And Grey Pants

Mike, a Short & Average body type.

How To Determine Your Body Type

We made it as easy as possible:

  • Determine your frame using the graphics below
  • Confirm your height category as outlined below
  • Account for athleticism and irregularities where applicable

With three height categories and three frame (not weight) categories, you’ll be able to figure out where you stand pretty easily!

A simple way to think of “frame” is to think of it as the proportional relationship between your height and weight. A guy who’s five feet tall and weighs 100 pounds is small-framed, and a guy who’s 6’4″ and weight 275 is large-framed.

Somatotypes

Though the following terms are mostly used in the bodybuilding world nowadays, there’s value in being familiar with them. They’re called “somatotypes,” and this is our foundation.

Mesomorph Endomorph And Ectomorph Males

  1. Endomorphs: Large-framed bodies, often with a preponderance of fat. Has difficulty losing weight, gains weight easily.
  2. Mesomorphs: Naturally muscular bodies of medium frame. Gains and loses weight easily.
  3. Ectomorphs: Slight-framed bodies, typically skinny. Has difficulty putting on weight.

You probably have a good idea where you fit in (pun intended) with this information. When it comes to menswear, we dive a bit deeper and break things down into height and frame categories, since we’re concerned with wearing more than a bikini bottom as bodybuilders do.

The heights listed below are averages for North American men and that the words “tall,” average” and “short” are used objectively. We don’t think that tall guys are circus freaks, that short guys are puny wusses, or that average guys are boring and nondescript.

Height

  • Tall (5’11” or taller)
  • Average (around 5’6″-5’10”)
  • Short (5’5″ or shorter)

Frame

  • Slender (ectomorph)
  • Average (mesomorph)
  • Heavyset (endomorph)

Again, we did not use weight by itself as a body type metric. Though there is some overlap, weight is not necessarily a good indicator of body type as it relates to men’s clothing. Its value is good for determining how healthy you are, and the only standardized way to determine if you’re medically underweight, overweight, or normal is to use the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale.

The problem is that BMI is a flawed system.

For example, if you take two men who are 6’4″ and 275 pounds, they will have the same BMI. But one could be muscular, and the other obese. You can see how this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as far as body type is concerned.

The take-away: dress for your frame, not just your height or weight.

Man in Purple Pants and Blue Blazer

Paul, a Big & Tall body type.

Taking all this information in, we’ve determined nine different body types that are helpful when considering what items should be in your heavy wardrobe rotation:

  1. Average Height & Weight (classic mesomorph)
  2. Average Height & Heavyset (classic endomorph)
  3. Average Height & Thin (classic ectomorph)
  4. Average Weight & Tall (tall mesomorph)
  5. Big & Tall (tall endomorph)
  6. Tall & Thin (tall ectomorph, lanky)
  7. Average Weight & Short (short mesomorph)
  8. Short & Heavyset (short endomorph, portly/stout)
  9. Short & Thin (short ectomorph, a “shrimp”)

There are also two ways that we can modify most of these body types: by designating them as either Athletic and / or Irregular.

Athletic

  • Typical weight lifting frame.
  • Chest and shoulders are noticeably wider than the hips.
  • V-shaped torso, muscular arms, shoulders, abs and pecs.
  • “Tree trunk” thighs, bulbous calves
  • Causes difficulty when shopping for suits in particular.

*Editors’s Note:* Though runners, cyclists, swimmers, and other such athletes are obviously athletic, we don’t refer to them as such here. This is because their body types don’t often present the same issues related to clothing as a more muscle-bound athlete, like an American football player or wrestler.

Irregular

Uneven Shoulder Slopes In Pink Shirt

This person’s right shoulder slopes more than his left.

All human bodies have some sort of irregularity. We have lots of body parts that come in pairs, so there’s inevitably a difference between them. Shoulder slopes can be uneven, one hip can be higher than the other, legs can be bowed, and much more.

You likely have some kind of irregularity regardless of your body type. As such, we suggest you read our article on irregularities in addition to the one for your body type.

You can simply click the link to any of the above-mentioned body types to read an article full of information on what you should wear to always look your best. As a reminder, getting dressed is as much an art as it is a science. What you’ll see are, as Glenn O’Brien once said, not rules but “guidelines based on aesthetics.” Good judgement and a flair for style will enable a man to pull off a look that his body type says he shouldn’t, so don’t be afraid to experiment with things you like, even if they don’t fit into your mold.

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8 Comments

  1. Peter July 18, 2018 at 4:52 am - Reply

    hi, I have a sloped shoulder just like the guy in the sample picture above. I noticed it once I finished my bespoke suit process, it was my first time and the tailor didn’t pickup that condition maybe because it’s very small detail. I didn’t notice it before when I just got the suit finished, but once I wear it a couple times at home and take some pictures then I figured it out. there are a slight horizontal lines behind the neck, a little crumpling above my right-side vent (ps: it is my right shoulder slope lower)

    So, my question is, how can I talk to the tailor to fix it. is this will incure a lot of alterations and ruined my original bespoke cutting, since a lot of hand-stitching and other parts measurement are done perfectly. I just want to know if it’s worth the fix. which part do you think to get altered? I’m thinking to let out the center back a little bit, so maybe the “pulling” will be gone. do you think that will solve the issue? anyway I will have a little bit room extra at the waist if I gain some weight in the future 😉

  2. Charles-Philippe July 18, 2018 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Hi Peter,

    This is a really interesting question and thank you for sharing it. Firstly, is this any chance that this is a new condition that has happened since the suit has been finished? I ask as it might not be an oversight on the tailor’s part. I once had a slight sloping in the shoulder due to my sitting position at high school but an osteopath sorted it out and it’s not bothered me since.

    If you know of a good one in your area, it might be worth trying a session and maybe the problem could be corrected this way.

    Alternatively, if this was something you had at the time of sizing as well as fitting with your tailor, it’s something he should have picked up. I wouldn’t hesitate or feel embarrassed about talking to him about it since the very reason we turn to tailor-made bespoke suits is that we get a true fit. If there are some issues like this, they ought to be addressed.

    As for what to get altered, it’s hard to say without seeing the issues but then again, I’m not a tailor. I would recommend that you ask him when you discuss it. Bring the suit with you so he can see it for himself!

    All the best,

    CP

    • Peter July 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      Hi CP,

      I compared with other set of pictures I took when I just got the suit finished, it didn’t have all the issues I mentioned before but my sloping shoulder is already a condition since long time ago. Another issue I forgot to mention is bowing on my left chest jacket, while the right side is fine with a nice drape, also no pulling on the waist button. So I’m still guessing whether the issue is because of slope shoulder or maybe I gained a little bit of weight recently.

      Anyway, I have scheduled for appointment with my tailor and let he advise. Thanks for all your suggestions, I just recently found out about this website and enjoy it a lot. Very thorough information with nice illustrations, keep up the good work.

      Cheers!
      Peter

      • Charles-Philippe July 19, 2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

        Hi Peter,

        Hmm, it might be the weight gain or it might be a few oversights on the tailor’s part.

        I hope the appointement goes well. Let us know how you get on as we’re actually very interested!

        Best,

        CP

        • Peter Tambuwun July 23, 2018 at 3:25 am - Reply

          Hi CP,

          I visited my tailor yesterday. We decided to let-out the side seam for an inch, it should diminish the side vents pulling and adjust my lapel to lay flat.. the crumpling behind my neck issue actually is because too long which result dropping, so he will shorten it about 1/4 inch. It will be finished in a couple weeks, I hope everything will turn out perfect this time!

          Cheers,
          Peter

          • Charles-Philippe July 23, 2018 at 5:18 am

            Hi Peter,

            Good to hear that the jacket’s being corrected. Out of curiosity, are you being charged for this extra work or is it being done free of charge?

            All the best,

            CP

  3. Peter July 23, 2018 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Hi CP,

    It’s free of course, though it’s been almost two months since my suit finished made. Maybe next time he will ask for a fee.

    Cheers,
    Peter

    • Charles-Philippe July 23, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Hi Peter,

      That’s what I hoped but was curious so I hope you don’t mind my asking! Good to hear!

      All the best,

      CP

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