Archives for December 2017

How Can a Man Mask a Big Belly?

Q: What is the best way to handle a large waistline? A lot of men want to know.



A: I’m so glad to hear from men! Women are always asking these types of questions, so this month I’d like to indulge the men that read this Q&A.

Regardless of your body shape or size — skinny or heavy, tall or short — I highly recommend avoiding baggy clothes to disguise body challenges. The flipside of that coin is to avoid wearing very tight clothes. The better choice is to invest the extra time and expense to buy the right clothes with appropriate tailoring. The best way to complement your body in the most flattering way is to find a tailor that you trust. A talented tailor can tweak suits and jackets to flatter your body type, regardless of your size.

Tips for large waistline or big belly: To camouflage a fuller stomach or waist, invest in lightweight fabrics in darker colors. Avoid tweed, flannel, and other heavy fabrics. Go with light, natural fabrics and dress in darker, muted shades of one color. I’m not suggesting all black all the time either; this isn’t punishment! It’s a flattering way to honor your current body, right now today.

Business casual wear: Opt for an undershirt and tuck it in (remember it’s only a layering piece), then slip on a pullover or sweater. Avoid clothes with texture or large print; think cashmere, half-zipped. The opening of the neckline in a V is slimming and draws the eye up to frame your face. The undershirt will keep your belly in place, and if it’s a “slimmer” type fabric, even better (google “smoother undershirt”). The pullover, along with well-fitting trousers, creates that slimming vertical line. Depending on your coloring, consider charcoal, navy or chocolate in both trousers and cashmere sweater. Long sleeves help create a proportional and pulled together look. Wear your belt at belly button level; wearing it under your belly will only draw attention to it.

Social, casual, or weekend wear: Don’t add bulk. Avoid cargo pants with their big pockets and hoodies with front pouches that add to the visual girth. Do I really need to mention fanny packs? I actually still see people wearing them! Wear sweaters and jackets that hang below your waist , but NOT below your crotch. Find that perfect proportional point for your body. Try wearing jeans and trousers at your hips, not your waist. It feels funny if you are not used to it but give it a chance. Don’t tuck in; wear pullovers instead of button downs to trick the eye. Match the color tone of your top with your belt. The illusion is a longer torso.

Suits: Create a streamlined look by matching the color tones of jacket, pants, and dress shirt. Avoid breaking the look by wearing black trousers with a yellow shirt for example — too much contrast. Avoid cuffed or pleated trousers. Ask your tailor to add an inch to your waist and subtract an inch from your inseam, then your trousers can sit comfortably on your hips, without touching the ground. Refrain from carrying bulky items in your pockets; that is what leather brief cases are for. Stick to a wider tie, never a skinny one, and always be sure it touches your belt. I advise to avoid crew necks and absolutely no turtlenecks. Stick to v-necks and flattering shirt collars with detail and interest like contrasting fabric in your power colors. These draw attention up to your communication center — your face.

One of the best slimming tricks is to wear suits or sports coats. The extra layer is a great camouflage, but more importantly, it’s more elegant and sophisticated. It communicates you are a man of detail and class. By doing so, you will always look better than most men of any size. The goal isn’t to look tall and skinny, instead it is to honor your body and yourself regardless of your size — and that speaks volumes.


Develop a Signature Style to Meet Your Goals

Q: Would you share some tips for men who want to express what you call “your brand at a glance?”



A: I’m so glad you asked. First, think about what you want your appearance to express. Research proves that 65 percent of all communication is visual. What are your clothes saying about your personal brand? Developing your signature style requires knowing who you are and what you want others to note about you before you open your mouth.

Here are some tips for women and men: the fit of your clothes will always be No. 1 in my book—regardless of the cost of the item. It is vital that the clothing be tailored to your body, sleeves perfectly hemmed, and the break in your trousers just so. There should be no pulling and tugging at your waist or buttons. Pay attention to proportion – know your body shape and what length of jacket flatters your unique shape.

The cut of each garment should flatter your body shape. For example, wide hips give you the opportunity to put more emphasis on your upper body. Men can widen the lapels; women can add button detailing on jackets or punch up and visually add width with a scarf.

Know how color interacts with your skin tone, especially near your face. Men should pay attention to the color of their shirts, ties, and pocket squares. Women should do the same with collars, jewelry, and scarves. Know what certain colors communicate to others:

  • Red: Action/Angry/Passionate
  • Purple: Creative/Imaginative
  • Blue: Trust/Loyalty/Integrity
  • Green: Balanced/Self-Reliant

Don’t forget the details:

  • Polished and cared-for shoes, leather purse or briefcase.
  • Updated and flattering eye wear.
  • Watches or jewelry that go with the mood of your outfit.
  • Grooming must be top notch, and watch out for overly aggressive scents.
  • Manners and etiquette often have room for improvement; brush up on yours and avoid pointing out others’ faux pas.

Body Language: If you have ever received mixed messages when meeting someone new, it was likely because of a visual mismatch between their body language and facial expressions. Are you dressed confidently, but your stance, handshake, and eye contact are weak? Are you a friendly, open person, but your body language is turning people off before you can share who you are? Do you stand or sit with your arms crossed over your chest? OK, maybe you are always cold, but break that habit. Others may be reading it as either you don’t believe what they are saying, you are judging them, or you are not open-minded. Check your posture too because your clothes will always hang better if you don’t slouch. Good posture communicates confidence. Be thoughtful about how to make others comfortable with you so that they respond as you want them to. Appropriate body language will set you apart from the crowd — as a leader and not one of the sheep. How do you do that?

Utilize an unexpected mix of the classics; use color and layering to show that you are not a rookie but an experienced problem solver. Be mindful of texture, print, and shine as you build your wardrobe. Most people do not go that extra mile to achieve their signature style. Instead, they play it safe, dressing exactly like everyone else. Of course, most men and women need support and direction to pull it off successfully. That is why an image consultant needs to be on your speed dial. Don’t lose an opportunity by blending in with the crowd. Jot down three to five “style words” that you want others to know about you at a glance. For example — polished, knowledgeable, fun, detail-oriented, outgoing, chic, eclectic, classic, sharp, risk-taker, etc. Give some thought to how your clothing choices can visually communicate those style words. Communicating your signature style is about using the tools of color, fabric, cuts, layering, mixing, and matching to create your unique image. This isn’t easy. Since few people are successful at everything, getting help and support will ensure that you invest wisely in your wardrobe. Your image is your brand; nurture and protect it. You will find that it will pay dividends in personal confidence, increased opportunities, deeper relationships, and goals met or exceeded.