How To Dress When You Are Small And Thin
Is your physique closer to that of the jockey than to that of the weightlifter? Don't worry about it! To be well dressed, it's not the size that counts.
Disclaimer: David is a loyal Belair® Prince reader and contributor. Having tested several tricks to dress according to this morphology, he wanted to share his advice with the community. Let's let him speak!
Let's make it clear at the outset: the garment doesn't allow everything. If it can help to sublimate your morphology, it will not be able to change it under any circumstances.
Remember, Rick Owens caused a scandal with this quote:
"Physical exercise is modern sewing. No outfit will make you look or feel as good as a sharp body. Buy less clothes and go to the gym instead."
Although the tone is provocative, the idea is relevant! Indeed, your self-esteem and the eyes of others are as much about the maintenance of your physique as it is about choosing your clothes.
But by the way, what does it mean to be small and thin?
Simply put, I correlated these approximate and arbitrary physical criteria to ready-to-wear sizes (yes, Rick Owens' spectrum is not that far). Basically, a small and relatively thin man usually makes XS. This gives more precisely the 44 in jacket, 36 in pants, 37 in shirt.
You will understand: for the rest of this article, understanding the importance of cutting accuracy will be your top priority. If knowing your size is essential, knowing how to recognize a beautiful cut is also a must.
VERTICALITY, UNSTOPPABLE TRICK TO "WIN" A FEW INCHES
To illustrate my point, let's quickly analyze an outfit in pictures. It consists of adjusted parts that fit into the verticality: from head to toe, the line is uninterrupted.
The trousers are fitted and worn short. The buttons of the cardigan continue the line on the bust, extended by the officer collar of the shirt. No censorship, no dogma: when a piece suits you well and brings something new to your wardrobe, go for it..
To reinforce or not the vertical effect, one can also play on the length of the pants, wearing a coat or scarf.
THE LENGTH OF THE PANTS, AN EASY GIMMICK
You can touch everything on pants, especially its length. In my opinion, the fabric should not "break" more than once on the shoe, or risk packing the silhouette. Similarly, making a reverse 1 instead of a hem 2 draws the look down, which is not the desired effect: the goal is to e-ti-rer the silhouette while remaining proportionate.
When it is about wearing the coiled trousers, there are no good or bad choices: it all depends on the result you are aiming for. Pants that break on the shoe artificially elongate your figure, while coiled pants reduce the imbalance between long legs and a short bust.
Personally, I prefer the second option that brings dynamism to my look. I don't mind seeing my socks more because they are an integral part of the outfit, even adding a touch of sophistication.
Nevertheless, this choice is valid because I live in an informal environment, namely the university. If I worked in a company, I would have opted for a model that does not break but just touches the tongue of the shoe. It's all about context!
You can clearly see the formalism that emerges in the photo on the left, while the one on the right offers a more relaxed rendering.
LONG COATS, ALLIES OF VERTICALITY
The coat can be the structuring part of your outfit. First visible layer, it is he who will give first the "mood" of the outfit.
Despite my small size, I am a big fan of the long coat. I even encourage you to wear a knee-deep drop. But you have to wear it open! He will then create the famous vertical line on his own. It covers the other rooms and, unless you wear a sailor underneath, it is "his line" that will prevail.
To me, the only coat that a "small size" can wear closed without fear is the crusader. It offers a generous build thanks to its double-buttoning and its cut slenders the silhouette, while drawing the waist.
On the other hand, be careful with some coats arriving mid-thighs that may have a "traitor length": too short to create true verticality and too long to give stature to the bust. A few centimetres down are therefore ideal.
THE SCARF AND ITS MULTIPLE EFFECTS
Adding a scarf to an outfit allows you to choose the line to favour. If left to hang along the jacket, it accentuates the vertical line. If it is wrapped around the neck, the volume thus created brings the look on the shoulders and flatters the body. And when it is hanging, the scarf asserts verticality and visually grows its wearer.
MASTERING VOLUMES: THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Now let's see how to give volume to our featherweight. Your brain can rest, it is now your eye that will exercise!
THE INEVITABLE FITTED CUT
Wearing "fitt" clothing at the top accentuates the size. Here, the goal is to highlight back and shoulders by creating a non-vertical line. I say non-vertical and not horizontal, the desired effect being a V bust. Verticality is broken, my silhouette goes from an I-shape to a Y.
Downstairs, wearing fitted trousers slenders your figure. The choice of leg opening is always tricky. It is often said that unless you are a fan of Hedi Slimane, it is better to stay on a classic semi-slim. This is obviously a sure bet, but this choice reduces your possibilities for stylistic experimentation.
Even if you're thin, almost skinny jeans won't shock you. It will emphasize your shapes much more than a semi-slim would. Again, it's up to you to choose the image you want to return.
Rafik's note: if skinny can indeed lend itself to certain fine physique, it can also convey a form of "gameism". As usual, there is only one solution: try and make up your mind.
THE LOOSE: A LITTLE-EXPLORED PLAYGROUND
So there we enter the fuzzy zone where only your good taste can tell you if the whole thing fits you. That said, you learn a lot from your mistakes.
Ideally, a successful loose cut will enhance the pectorals and shoulders by blurring the waist. It therefore rests entirely on the top of the bust. Make sure the sleeves don't eat your hand (you can otherwise roll them up) to show that the loose effect is wanted.
Wearing this kind of cut is very interesting. However, you must already have the eye to distinguish the porous border between loose and too large. In addition, it is important to know the brands offering these cuts. (View sweaters collection)
Same fight for the lower body, but easier to master. However, the choice of the cup is also essential.
Ready-to-wear cuts are designed for standard morphologies (understand neither thin nor small). It may well be that a cut labelled semi-slim looks right on you. It's all about thighs and calves!
So choose the "carrot" cuts, which give volume to the thighs while tightening at the ankle. The cut must of course remain harmonious without being too wide at the thighs or too fitted to the calves. The balance is hard to find. Otherwise, and that's what I did, you can buy pants that fits you at the waist, but whose cut is too straight, and have it retouched. Mine's leg opening has gone from 21 cm to 17.5 cm!
BONUS: FORMAL CLOTHING WHEN YOU'RE SMALL AND THIN (BY RON D.)
Ron D. is a regular contributor to the very good magazine The Rake and Parisian Gentleman, which you are no longer introduced to.
Reflecting on this article, I didn't think I'd talk about the formal locker room, but an email sent to Ron - asking him about his "tips" to choose a ready-to-wear garment when you're doing 44 - raised a technical point that I hadn't thought of.
I give you his answer below in full:
"First of all, I very rarely buy ready-to-wear and when I do, I make sure the length is perfect. This is one of the things that is difficult (or at least not desirable) to retouch.
There is a myth that it would be better to avoid natural Neapolitan-style shoulders when ours are not huge. I find the argument wrong, it all depends on how the bust is built around it. The fit is even more important than for the larger sizes, to make it flattering.
The pitch of the notch should not be too high as can sometimes be seen, nor too low (old French or English style). The width of the sleeves must be retouched accordingly so as not to look like a bag... but we must not fall into the other extreme and seem to leave Dior. That would be anything but flattering.
The width of the trouser bottoms does not influence much but we avoid the paws of eph. It all depends on the size but an opening of 18 to 19 cm seems to be rather a good measure, it is more the cut of the pants that can play. Taking advantage of simple or double tongs can be a good idea to give a certain amount of volume to a body that may lack it."
Padded shoulders and tight waist, Sean Connery's Anthony Sinclair jacket sublimates the 007 V-shaped torso.
The drape cut is indeed a special cut, little worn on the sartorial planet and very difficult to achieve in ready-to-wear.
Even if it concerns the lovers of bespoke (Anderson - Sheppard, Liverano - Liverano), know that it is to leave an excess of fabric to the chest (this is what gives the drapery) while pinching the waist to highlight the shoulders. I find the effect very successful.
Jake Grantham is also a big fan of drape cut, although not everyone has his flair to adapt it to his morphology.
Interesting effect, isn't it?
By writing "how to dress when you are small and thin?" and entrusting you with some tricks already experienced, I remember that the most important thing is the gradual construction of knowledge and a "culture of clothing".
In reality, whether you are small or large, thin or wrapped, the main thing is to visualize your morphology. Try clothes to play on volumes and lengths, to choose the piece most suited to the image you want to return.
To go further, I would say that you have to dress for yourself more than for others. Just because you're wearing a coat at your knees while you're 1.60m in measure doesn't mean the opprobrium will be on you! Your style should reflect your personality and not be a compilation of pieces that seek to mask a particular physical characteristic.
This may seem contradictory to the whole article, but it is actually the next step. First learn to use the garment to enhance yourself, then leave aside these established rules to treat yourself to finding your style.
As Picasso summed it up:
"Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist."