Dressing to Look Bigger

If you feel too skinny, you may be trying protein shakes and plenty of reps at the gym, but why wait for those kind of results? With a few wardrobe tweaks and some creative styling, you too can look thicker and more muscular in as long as it takes to change your clothes—into the right thing, of course!

• Dress It Up
Even if you love tight dress shirts, if you know what’s good for you you’ll give yourself a little extra room. Smartly tailored shirts don’t have to be small to make you look good. Keep the long lines and simply add a tiny bit of extra fabric around your body.

Brighter shirts can also help you look larger than life, so check out designers on trips out in cities like New York and London, or online at shops with bright options like Paul Smith or even a bright, preppy dress shirt from J. Crew.

• Make Your Upper Body Appear More Muscular
Add width to your shoulders and upper arms by wearing small shoulder pads. If you get most of your clothes altered by a professional, you can ask for ones that mold to your shoulders. Remember that you’re not a linebacker, so keep them thin to mold to your shape.

• Fit Matters
Jackets, whether they are single or double-breasted, need to be as fitted as they can be. Gaps and bunches are your enemies! Loose areas beneath your arms will make you look like you’re even thinner, and I have a feeling that that’s not the look you want.

• Jacket Length’s Very Important
Be aware of the necessary jacket length for your figure. All jackets should hit somwhere near the buttocks, but definitely not below them. This is where a tailor really comes into play. Longer jackets swamped a smaller shape, even if they’re impeccably styled, and shorter jackets will emphasize the slimness of your legs.

• Don’t Ignore Collars
Back away from the low necklines and v-necks, because they can frame a slender neck. Instead, channel Sherlock Holmes with heavy stand-up collars, zip necks, or a funnel neckline.

• Textured Fabrics are Welcome. . . Everywhere
Don’t balk at the thought of wearing thicker fabrics, because they’re one of the easiest ways to look bigger faster. Stock up on thick corduroy fabrics, heavier wools and wool blends, and even fabrics like fleece. If you live in a cooler climate, then this rule applies doubly to you—you can choose thicker overcoats and suits during the winter months. Top everything off with a heavy scarf wrapped around your neck to draw the eye upwards towards your shapely shoulders and defined chest.

• Trousers Smarts
Wear trousers with a simple, flat front. If you love pleats and pockets, embrace this style and add on extra pounds. Cuffs can add thickness to your legs, and if you’re tall and thin, you should definitely get on this trend right away.