Men's Clothing Advice, the Italian way: Introduction
Within three minutes of meeting someone for the first time, you make a decision about whether you’d like to establish a personal, social, or professional relationship. According to research, 55% of this decision is based on appearance, 38% on the tone of voice and body language, and only 7% on what the person has to say.
Women have long understood this, and take care of how they look and present themselves. Italian men also use most of this information. The tricks of Italian men's dressing have traditionally been handed down through the generations, but for men in the rest of the world this knowledge is sometimes not as well known.
Not all men can look like Brad Pitt, but they can look their best if they dress with their body shape in mind. Just as women worry about cellulite and thunder thighs, men can be short, have skinny legs and arms or a beefy middle. Such flaws can be easily hidden instead of highlighted with an appropriate choice of attire, this one step can give a boost to a man's looks and confidence and make him more outgoing and successful.
So what is the best any man can look?
To answer this you need to understand the ideal male physique, and its variations. This means examining physical proportions and balance. It is these two factors that give some men’s bodies the appearance of perfection.
Ideal male body shape and different male body types
1.Hip/Shoulder proportion: For perfect proportions, a man’s hips are smaller than his shoulders.
There can be three kinds of body type:
The V-shape: Hips are approximately 4 inches smaller than shoulders. This is the ideal body shape for a man.
The Super-V shape: Hips are smaller than shoulders by more than 4 inches.
The Straight and Pear shapes: Hips are smaller than the shoulder by 3 inches or below, or are equal to shoulders.
2. Body/Leg proportion: Ideally the length from head to leg break is equal to the length of the legs. Leg break is the level where the legs are joined to the body, in this case.
There can be three kinds of male body proportions:
Balanced legs: The length from head to leg break is equal to the length of the legs, or at most there is a difference of 1 inch. This is perfect body proportion.
Long legs: The length from head to leg break is less than the length of the legs, there is a difference of more than 1 inch.
Short legs: The length from head to leg break is more than the length of the legs, there is a difference of more than 1 inch.
3. Chest/Waist proportion: Waist is narrower than the chest.
Average waist: The difference between chest and waist measurements ranges between 5 to 8 inches.
Thick waist: The difference between chest and waist is less than 5 to 8 inches.
Narrow waist: The difference between chest and waist is more than 5 to 8 inches.
4. Arm proportion:
Ideal arm: When the arm hangs parallel to the body, the wrist bone is at the same level as the leg break.
Long arm: The wrist bone is lower than the leg break by 1 inch or more.
Short arm: The wrist bone is higher than the leg break by 1 inch or more.
5. Shoulder/ Neck proportion:
The shoulder slope ideally has a 2 inch drop from the base of the neck.
Square shoulder: If it is a less than 2 inches drop, the shoulders are square.
Sloped shoulder: If it is a more than 2 inches drop, the shoulders are sloped.
6. Neck proportion:
When four fingers are laid between the hollow of the neck and chin and they cover the distance, this is perfect length of neck. The small finger rests at the hollow.
When there is no space to fit all four fingers, it is a short neck.
When there is space left over after placing the four fingers, it is a long neck.
7. Height and build: The male body could be slim, medium-sized or heavy. The heights could vary too, and all of this affects the proportion and balance discussed in the points above.
Short : 5’ 7” and below.
Average: 5’8 to 5’ 11”
Tall : 6’ and above.
Now that the ideal male body shapes and various body types are known the discussion can move on to how every man can try and dress his way towards an ideal physical proportion and balance.
Often, the illusion of a perfect proportion and balance can be easily created --- a straight body can be given a v-shape, a relatively short man can add a few inches to his height, or a man of heavy build can shed a few pounds merely by dint of covering up or emphasizing different parts of his body. Always through the judicious use of clothing, of course.
In the following pages we will discuss the various bodily flaws in men and how to conceal them with judicious use of attire. But remember half the battle of looking good is exuding confidence. Even the best-looking or best-dressed man can’t hold a candle to one who is totally sure of himself, and projects this assurance through his body language.
By Damyanti Ghosh