When the spare tire doesn’t fit in the trunk anymore

When the spare tire doesn’t fit in the trunk anymore
Q. Now that he is in his 40’s, my husband is beginning to show a little weight around the middle. It isn’t significant, but he’s a bit upset about it.  He would never ask, but are there some clothes that would hide this?

A. For all the griping men often do about clothing and business dress, what one wears can provide advantages: whether it is making one look professional, younger, cooler, more fun, or less heavy. There are definitely straightforward suggestions I can provide him and all men, general guidelines to consider before setting out to invest in new clothes. If you are heavy (particularly around the middle), focus attention on your face by wearing compellingly interesting shirts and ties. Create an illusion of slimness by using vertical lines when possible; they force the eye to sweep up and down. Dark colors can make you appear ten to fifteen pounds lighter. And buttoning your jacket (if it still fits correctly) can also accomplish this same illusion of slimness.

  • Striped suits – pin, chalk, shadow – with closely-spaced stripes
  • Single-breasted suits, jackets, and coats
  • Jackets with tailored (slightly padded) shoulders, nipped waists, and center vents
  • Medium- or lightweights. Avoid bulky fabrics.
  • Smooth textures
  • Dark, cool, and muted colors
  • Simple patterns. Avoid “busy” patterns, such as bold plaids, which add bulk visually.
  • Blazers/jackets and trousers of nearly matching or similar tones help direct the eye up and down. Avoid sharp contrasts between jacket and trousers, which direct the eye across.
  • Opt for flat-front (non-pleated) styling or very small pleats. No matter what some may tell you, pleats do not conceal/camouflage a belly.
  • Trousers with side-tabs can be a good alternative to attention-grabbing belts.
  • If you are wide in the seat (hips), avoid carrying anything in your back pockets.
  • Vertical stripes in dress and sport shirts are visually elongating.
  • Choose shirt collars that are low in back and on the sides, and with a narrow spread. Avoid the horizontal line of a wide-spread collar.
  • Also wear button-down collars and trim tab collars.
  • Wear long (four-in-hand) neckties and narrow (also four-in-hand) knots. Avoid bow ties.
  • For sportswear, wear sweaters that cover (extend past) the waist in cardigans or pullovers. They actually do help conceal/camouflage a belly.
  • Choose non-bulky sweaters with vertical stripes, vertical ribbing, or not-too-large patterns.
  • Avoid belts in sharply contrasting colors.
  • For a man who can carry off this bit of style, an eye-catching scarf in the colder months makes a great vertical line. So does a good-looking pair of braces (button-on suspenders).
  • Wear knit shirts such as polos and T’s untucked, thus, avoiding accenting the unattractive overhang of a “beer belly.”
  • Avoid wearing anything too small, too tight, or too short.
  • Emphasize neutral colors; avoid anything too bold or bright.
  • Meticulous grooming plus well-cut and carefully tailored clothes are essential to avoid triggering any thoughts of “sloppy fat.”
AN IMPORTANT OVERWORD: You can use many tricks to create the look you want. You cannot eliminate all the negatives, but you certainly can learn to emphasize the positives. To summarize: Aim for smooth textures, dark and neutral colors, vertical lines, precise tailoring, meticulous grooming. Be open to trying a few of these proven approaches. You will be happy with the results.

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