Men's Shirts: Which Style is Best for Your Body Type?

Pulling off a great shirt is more than just finding one you like online or in store. Each man is different and as well as varying style tastes, body shape plays a big role in what shirt will best suit.

For men, there are four main body types that should be considered when shopping for a shirt:


For short men, the aim is to focus attention on the face rather than the length of your body. Choosing vertical stripes that elongate your frame can work wonders and big prints should be avoided. Large prints tend to overwhelm a short frame but that doesn't mean you can't wear prints at all. Just make sure they are kept small and that prints are proportionate to your body.

Accessories are a shorter man's best friend and using them cleverly will help bring attention up to the face. Hats are a fantastic way to provide the illusion of a bit more height, and a slim tie will lengthen your frame. If you are really short, choose a necktie that is both slim and short to lengthen the appearance of your torso.

To really make the most of your shirt, wear pants with a small rise (the area between the crotch of your pants and the waistband) and opt for square-toe shoes.


As a tall guy you tend to stand out already, so getting the right shirt is doubly important. Look for slim fits that hug your shoulders perfectly and make sure your shirt is a good length. Vertical stripes should be avoided and shirts should never billow.

Just as they are with short men, accessories are well worth considering when choosing a shirt. Really tall men need to break up their height and accessories such as a belt or hat in a contrasting colour is the best way to do this.

For those that are tall and skinny, horizontal stripes can help bulk you up and balance your frame with your height. A single, large horizontal stripe across the chest area is particularly flattering, as it helps broaden your shoulders, giving the illusion of a strong physique. Layering is another way to add bulk.

Solid colours (especially black) tend to thin you out even more, so play around with colour.


A slim guy will struggle to pull of bold prints, so keep your choices more subtle and opt for checks and small prints. Most slim builds are also tall, but if you happen to be short, a bold, horizontal stripe can be introduced.

A fitted shirt looks great, but skinny is a big no-no. Skinny will make your rib cage stand out, so ensure there is movement in your midsection. Too much movement though and you'll be swimming in your shirt.

Layering can help add bulk to a skinny man's frame, and on colder days a chunky knit cardigan looks great. You could also try throwing on a blazer with subtle shoulder padding, which will help broaden your shoulders.


For men carrying around a bit of extra weight, a common thought is to buy big in the hope of hiding an oversized stomach. This works against you, however, and can make you look even larger. Instead, larger men should look for shirts that contour the body without hugging too tight. Pinstripes have a slimming effect and dark vertical stripes will help elongate the body, putting it in proportion. To elongate yourself further, try teaming your shirt with a pair of dark corduroys with slim stripes or a pair of dark jeans.

Stay away from bold colours, horizontal stripes, plaids and checks.

In short, here's what you should be looking for when buying a shirt:

Short - Vertical stripes
Tall - Slim fits and a belt to break up height
Slim and Tall - Bold horizontal stripes
Slim and short - Small prints and checks
Large - Contoured shirts in a dark pinstripe


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