Plain cloths with a matte finish are best — the big man in a
shiny suit appears redolent of a glistening whale. Stout gentlemen
should gravitate to dark colours, as lighter hues have a magnifying
effect. A preponderance of black is best avoided, however. Charcoal
greys or midnight blue are far less likely to leave you looking
like a lumbering nightclub bouncer.
The heavier guy should approach double-breasted suits in much
the same way as a bottomless brunch buffet: with caution. The most
slimming configuration of DB is the 6x1 (fastening on the bottom
button), the style championed by Cifonelli. Here, the deep V shape
created betwixt the swooping lapels elongates the torso, giving the
impression of both extra height and lower weight. Nevertheless, a
single-breasted two-button coat is a safer alternative for the
husky customer. Consider a three-piece, the waistcoat will help
hold the belly in.
Insofar as suit detailing goes, if you’re not skinny, your
lapels (and tie) shouldn’t be either. Inset pockets are preferable
to patch, as the latter can broaden the hips. The fit needs to be
precise — not too tight, which will accentuate bulges; not too
voluminous, which will only add to your bulk.
The portly man’s well-fed tummy often protrudes over a
flat-fronted trouser, making a slightly roomy pleated pant that
sits at the natural waist a more comfortable, flattering choice.
Keep jeans straight, trim but not slim-fit, and in dark selvedge
denim. Nix the belt, which draws attention to the body’s swollen
mid-section. Braces / suspenders present a visually pleasant
vertical line and help trousers stay atop the belly.
With woollens, stay away from chunky knits (particularly
turtlenecks) as they’ll add real bulk to your build, and choose a
lightweight, flattering V-neck sweater. V-neck tees are slimming,
too, as is wearing your shirt unbuttoned to the breastbone. Your
shirts should have point collars, which create the illusion of
length in a round face — spread and cutaway collars, meanwhile,
will only serve to widen the appearance of your visage.
If, despite following this advice, you still appear somewhat
rotund, remember that in many cultures, carrying a few extra pounds
is seen as a sign of prosperity, indicating that you can afford to
indulge your every appetite. With head held high, wear that weight
proudly, celebrate abundance — and order up another serve of foie
gras crème brûlée.