In this article, you’ll get in-depth analysis of what an “average” body type is for a guy, typical sizes for various ready-to-wear items, what to wear, and how to wear it. Once you’re done, we suggest you read about body type irregularities and, if you’re quite muscular, how to dress an athletic body type.
Much attention has been paid to dressing for one’s body type in the women’s sphere, but men have different body shapes too. Why shouldn’t we get some guidance on this?
To that end, we’ve put together a collection of articles that detail the ins and outs of various male body types. If you’ve landed on this page and aren’t sure if it applies to you, please see the high-level guide to this one which covers nine different body types, two body type “modifications (“athletic” and “irregular”), and the methodology with which we created them all.
If you’re the enviable “average” guy and are here intentionally, enjoy the tips below. We trust you’ll find them easy to remember and enjoyable.
What Is An “Average” Male Body Type?
The average North American man is about 5’6″-5’10” and is neither skinny nor heavyset. He’s reasonably symmetrical, may have some natural muscle definition or look a bit on the softer side, and likely weighs around 130-160 pounds.
Since so many of us are, by definition, average, it’s important to talk about how the average guy should dress.
How To Dress The Average Male Body Type
Ah, to be 5’9″ and 160 pounds. You can walk into any store, buy 32×32 trousers and any top labelled “Medium” and have it fit you perfectly. What a charmed life it must be to make sartorial decisions based solely on mood as opposed to maximizing or minimizing some aspect of the body! Do you have any idea how good you have it, average reader? You have it so good, you can wear literally anything you want.
Most of us would kill for that kind of wardrobe flexibility, whereas you just had to be born.
- Typical chest size for the “average” man: 40-42
- Typical jacket length for the “average” man: Most often will be a “regular” length in ready-to-wear, but may vary based on maker, individual build, and personal preference.
Speaking of personal preference, that’s really the biggest determining factor in which jackets you wear. Two-button, three-button, single-breasted, double-breasted, center or side vents, it doesn’t matter. You can wear whatever you like.
For what it’s worth, we don’t really care for standard three-button jackets, though a 3×2 is fine. We also aren’t crazy about suit jackets that have center vents, though center-vented sport coats are technically “correct.”
- Typical trouser waist size: 32″-34″
- Typical trouser inseam: 30″-33″, though this can once again be based on preference for the kind of break you prefer and how high (or low) your trousers sit in relation to your waist.
Side fastening tabs and cuffs? High-waisted or low riders? It’s all irrelevant, because you can get away with whatever you want. With that said, we suggest having the good taste of wearing trousers at their appropriate placement on the waist. You can learn more about that here.
- Typical necktie width: Skinny ties range can be as narrow as 2″, and kipper ties can be as wide as 5″. We suggest ties between 2.75″-3.5″ depending on your personal preference.
Again, you have free reign over whatever you want to wear. We suggest keeping the novelty ties at home.
Just so we’re on the same page: pattern scale refers to the overall size of a pattern on a garment. Small-scale stripes like pinstripes are thin and tightly spaced. A larger-scale stripe like chalk stripes, on the other hand, are thicker stripes that are often spaced more widely. This concept applies to dots, checks, plaids, paisleys, florals, and whatever else you see that has a pattern on it.
Some men have to be concerned with the scale of pattern that they wear. Not you, handsome. Wear whatever you please, but remember that good pattern mixing is still based on judicious selection of pattern scale.
Braces Versus Belts
- Typical belt size (remembering to size up from your pant waist size): 32″-35″
- Typical brace size (“suspenders” in American English): Not applicable, as most are adjustable “one-size-fits-all” models
Though as a rule we’re firmly in the braces camp for superior style and comfort, average guys can make that call based on whimsy. Keep in mind that if you wear your trousers low that you lock yourself out of using braces, which look foolish on low-riders.
- Typical shoe size for the average guy: U.S. 8D-10D (7-9 in U.K. sizing, with medium width)
Same song and dance, the average guy can wear whatever he wants on his feet. If you’re wearing a heavier tweed suit, put on some British benchmades, which tend to have a thicker, more structured profile. If you’re wearing a slim worsted suit, some Italian loafers might do the trick. Enjoy the fact that for you, there’s pretty much no wrong answer.
Average Build Celebrities
One of the best ways to help determine your body type is to compare it to someone famous (i.e. someone easily searchable on the Internet). Do you look like a particular actor, musician, or athlete? We’ve listed some celebrities with average body types below, but we’d love to hear more from you in the comments!
A Final Thought On The Average Male Body Type
Reading through this article, it’s easy to think that the average guy can wear whatever he pleases. It’s true that he has more leeway than the rest of us, but it’s likely that he has various irregularities that need to be addressed. We strongly encourage you to read our article on irregularities in the male body to fully flesh out your wardrobe.
If you’re a bit musclebound, read this article on the athletic body type.