Sharp-Dressed Man

How to choose the right suit for his body type

To help your groom find the perfect tux for him, check out this rundown of tuxes and the frames they do and don't flatter.

Double-Breasted: Short, stout guys used to be told to steer clear of these boxy jackets. In fact, a double-breasted jacket can tastefully camouflage a generously sized groom—especially now that shaped double-breasted jackets are in the limelight. "In the right size and the right cut," says Bernard Toll, spokesperson for Lord West Formalwear, "a double-breasted jacket can be a wonderful way to hide some things he doesn't want to show"—like a beer belly.

Single-Breasted (One- or Two-Button): This classic tux jacket will look great on nearly every body shape. Go for a two-button on taller men, and a one-button on shorter ones. The reason? It's a matter of proportion: the more shirt that shows, the longer the visual line, making the man who's wearing it appear taller. Generally speaking, the higher the buttons (and this goes for vests as well) the taller and narrower the guy should be.

Single Breasted (Three-or Four-Button): The unbroken line and slim fit of the ultrapopular, high-buttoning jackets look terrific on tall men who are on the slim side. But barrel-chested or pudgy guys might look as if they've been stuffed inside them.

Cutaway: The traditional morning coat, with its swallowtail lines, looks good on just about any frame. "As a matter of fact, the cutaway creates a look of height on short men," says Toll.

Tails: The severe break between the front and back of this highly formal tuxedo can be very unflattering on short or round men. But with the right body proportion, i.e., long legs, a shorter man can pull it off.

High Vest: Like the high-buttoning coat, a high vest works better on guys who aren't superchunky or broad in the upper torso. But if he's set on this look, choose a vest in a muted color. A very fit man should feel free to go for broke with patterns and colors, says Toll. "Anything that will give him an opportunity to express his individuality."

Low Vest: Low vests work well on any body type, but generally you should make the same color/girth decisions you would for a higher vest (see above), says Toll. The danger of a very low vest is that it can sometimes look like a belly sling.

Peaked Lapel: For a shorter man, a peaked tuxedo lapel is a godsend. It'll make the body look longer, since it draws the eyes up and out. But it looks good on tall men, too.

Shawl Collar: Depending on the width of the collar itself, shawl collars can be tricky. Be careful of the proportion: a narrow collar on a wide body may make him look even broader—but that can be offset by the vertical line of the jacket. The point here? Trust your eye, or the eye of the representative at your tux shop.

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