You find a good piece of clothing at a store.
You're thinking of buying it.
But it's one size smaller.
Right up front — if you're buying clothes that you plan to fit into after sticking to your diet/workout for a few months, you're probably never going to wear them.
There's nothing wrong with planning on changing your body size or shape, but it's not a guideline for your wardrobe.
A man's got to work with what he has when he gets dressed in the morning.
To that end, it's worth leaning what works for different bodies.
There are very small sartorial adjustments that can go a long way toward making men of all body types much better looking. Knowing which to use and which to avoid is just part of being a savvy dresser.
Clothes for Tall Men
Tall men aren't really at a huge disadvantage (unless they have to fly in an airplane).
Modern culture mostly approves of height, so clothing doesn't really have to try to disguise it.
Tall men do, however, want to avoid appearing looming or gawkish, particularly if they have some breadth to their frame as well.
Too much of an imposing presence makes people feel self-conscious or off-put rather than impressed.
A tall man can keep from seeming too oversized by adding visual elements that break up his height.
Horizontal details are the key, including clearly-defined jacket pockets, a belt rather than suspenders, patterns with horizontal elements, and even a hat to put a firm upper limit on his profile.
Broader tall men will want to keep the horizontals present but understated, especially in the patterns, while slender tall men can seem a bit more filled out by wearing really bold horizontals and thicker cloths.
Clothes for Short Men
At the opposite end of the scale are short men.
It's a little insulting to say that short men should try to look taller, and results in some really awful clothing.
Far more accurate would be to say that a smaller man should make sure he's still going to be noticed and appreciated visually in a group of larger men.
That means a more eye-catching style with lots of deep or bright colors and some unusual (but not horizontal) detailing.
The upward sweep of peaked lapels on a jacket is a great detail for smaller men. So is a colored pinstripe or a bright, narrow tie, both of which help catch the viewer's eye and then guide it upward.
Shoes should be kept uncluttered, just plain leather, and it's best to avoid obvious height-adding like chunky heels.
A man who looks like he's trying too hard just isn't as attractive as one who's confident with his own body.
Clothes for Heavyset Men
A generous fit is a key to all clothing for big men. Avoid the temptation to squeeze into tight-fitting clothing. It will be uncomfortable as well as unflattering!
Larger men should instead seek out fabrics with a good, clean drape and wear their jackets and trousers slightly loose.
Putting a neat frame of unbroken cloth on either side of their midsections. In a dark color, the effect is particularly slimming.
A slight taper a the waist of a jacket helps draw the eye up toward the face rather than keeping it down on the chest — avoid untapered jackets, which will produce a decidedly boxy effect.
Trousers should be worn high, on the natural waist, so that they drape cleanly over the belly rather than squeezing tightly beneath it.
Suspenders will help get a more comfortable fit and keep the waistband of the trousers from bunching unattractively.
Clothes for Thin Men
Where a looser fit flatters a broad man, it threatens to swallow a skinny man entirely.
The slender subset of the population will want their clothes fitted as tightly as comfort allows, never so tight that the fabric pinches or bunches with movement but just short of it (leave some room in the thighs for the things you keep in your pockets, of course — you don't want to have to turn to a man-purse to hold your keys).
Heavier fabrics, especially those with some texture, add visual weight to the body — herringbone tweed, corduroy, and other fabrics with a distinct unevenness are great for holding the eye and bulking you up.
A little visual clutter in general is going to be useful, so add pocket squares, neckties (even a bow tie if you feel confident enough to pull one off — the entirely horizontal flare adds lots of visual width), watches and belts to your daily ensemble.
Wider lapels on the jacket are worth keeping in mind, but avoid too much flare, especially if you wear thick shoulders as well.
It's easy to get into 1980s territory when you try to add too much all at once…
Clothes for the Muscular Man
If you're a serious athlete, chances are you're going to have some fitting challenges no matter where you shop. Any non-tailored menswear will be cut for a more sedentary man's distribution of weight.
Very muscular men have more dramatic changes in width, particularly between narrow waists and heavily-built chests and backsides.
A jacket will need a more dramatic taper than usual to fit well over both the shoulders and the waist.
Broad enough for the shoulders without a sharp taper will leave too much cloth billowing around the waist and piling up around the hips.
Trousers will need to be worn high enough to drape over the bottom rather than cinching tight around it and chopping it off visually.
A longer jacket in the back can help smooth the shape out a bit as well.
Trousers may do best tapered, so that the cuffs are considerably narrower than the necessarily-broad thighs.
Clothes for the Average Sized Man
If you don't fit into any of these categories, congratulations — it must be very easy for you to find clothes that fit.
That doesn't mean that just any old clothes will do, though. Average-sized men by definition don't stand out in a crowd. The clothing has to do it for them.
Be thinking about unusual details rather than inherently eye-grabbing ones, though there's nothing wrong with a bit of color or unusual patterning.
But take advantage of a body that wears most things well to explore your options, trying different cuts of suit jacket and more unusual combinations like vested suits or even vests without the suit.
Hats, ties, belts, suspenders, pocket squares, and more are all fair game — though we still advise staying away from the man-purse.