Congratulations! You finally kicked the dad bod and lost the beer gut for good. It isn't easy, but you did it.
Which means you've probably realized that weight loss brings its own problems when it comes to your wardrobe. After all, 6 months ago you were dressing in XXXL clothes which just don't look good on you anymore!
The problem is, many guys don't have the cash to drop $1000+ on a completely new wardrobe! So what's a stylish guy to do? Walk around in a shirt 5 sizes too big for him and call it a new fashion trend?
Slow up there, buddy. You've got options.
In today's article, I'm breaking out EVERYTHING you need to know about dealing with weight loss when it comes to your stylish man's wardrobe.
We'll be covering:
- How To Dress A Slim Body
- What Alterations Do Clothes Need After Weight Loss?
- How Much Do Clothing Alterations Cost?
- What Is Weight Loss Imposter Syndrome (And How To Get Over It)
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How To Dress A Slim Body
Before you lost the weight, chances are you had one of two larger man body types:
- Triangle (or pear-shaped) body: wider in the hips, narrow in the shoulders
- Oval (or apple-shaped) body: round torso with big hips and chest
Don't worry, that's all in the past. Now you've shredded that weight away, you'll fall into the more desirable body types. Depending on your muscle definition, you'll likely have one of the following:
- Inverted triangle body: broad shoulders, muscular arms, small waistline
- Rectangle body: waist is about the same width as your shoulders (skinny bod)
- Trapezoid body: broad shoulders and chest with a slim, but not skinny, waist
Here's the tricky part – all of these desirable body types are VERY different from the oval and triangle body shapes.
As a bigger guy, there are certain rules you'll have followed when dressing to stay comfortable and look slimmer than you are. It's hard to break these habits, but now you've got a more slender frame, you have to adjust the way you dress to match that.
Those baggy shirts and wide-cut jeans won't do you any favors now you've lost weight. In fact, they'll actually make you look heavier than you are – which is pointless given the effort you put into shedding those excess pounds!
How To Dress An Inverted Triangle Body
The goal here is to balance out the upper and lower parts of your body.
You want to show off those guns without looking like a cartoon character.
Buying clothes off the rack can be challenging for you – you may find clothes that fit your shoulders are noticeably baggy around the torso. Every guy can benefit from having clothes tailored, but for you, it may be a necessity.
Look for close-fitting clothes that reduce visual clutter and emphasize the clean, sharp lines of your torso.
You can wear slim-fit garments to show off your torso but remember to size up. You want to hint subtly at your fitness, not scream it by wearing figure-hugging clothes like ‘extra skinny fit.'
Go for unstructured jackets – the silhouette works better in streamlining your frame. The added bulk of a structured jacket will add unnecessary bulk to your frame.
While you might be tempted to try skinny/slim-fit pants, straight-leg trousers and jeans are a better bet. Wearing patterned pants, camo shorts or checked trousers is a good idea because it distracts from your comparatively broad upper body.
How To Dress A Rectangle Body
If you have a rectangular frame, your goal is to use clothing to create the illusion of broader shoulders and a slimmer waist. Unfortunately, weight loss can make a man's shoulders seem narrow – and that's something you can't really change!
Creating a slim silhouette across the middle of the body is key to giving the illusion of broader shoulders.
Use layering (for example, a cardigan over a dress shirt and underneath a sports jacket) to add shape to the upper half of your body.
Opt for wide collar shirts and wide lapels to create the illusion of broader shoulders and roll-neck sweaters to make your chest look wider.
Jackets or blazers with shoulder pads will also help create the illusion of broader shoulders.
It's also important to consider color. Pops of brighter hues up top or details like epaulets will expand the dimensions of your slim frame. A neatly tied or draped scarf is an easy way to add a point of difference to your look, as well as flesh out your upper torso.
Dark-colored trousers or jeans will make your legs look slimmer, indirectly adding width to your shoulders. Trouser cuffs are a good choice as they add substance and shape to your lower half.
How To Dress A Trapezoid Body
If you're lucky enough to have a trapezoid body type, then I envy you!
Dressing can be easy – most clothes will fit you off the rack, but your goal is not to become complacent. You should still take your clothing to a tailor when needed.
You're also in danger of blending into the crowd with this common body type, so try to have a few distinct details in your outfit at all times.
Utilizing vertical stripes will make you appear a little taller. Checks and plaids add horizontal bulk, so pick which one you need based on your height.
Wear dark-colored trousers along with light-colored shirts. This will make your legs look proportionate to your upper body. Like the inverted triangle body, trapezoid frames run the risk of looking unbalanced if you're the guy who skipped leg day, so to speak.
An average build just needs clean lines and a good personal style to look sharp. Details such as pocket squares will help separate you from the masses.
What Alterations Do Clothes Need After Weight Loss?
The fact is, pretty much every item of clothing you own would benefit from alterations after you lose weight.
After all, you shop for the body you have – not the body you want. In short, this means every item in your wardrobe is likely too big for your new, healthy body.
As such, it's essential that you understand which garments to alter, which to replace and which to just toss in the trash. After all, not all clothes look great on all body types, so it's time to re-evaluate your wardrobe and make a change.
Weight Loss Suit Alterations (Jackets and Pants)
When it comes to altering a suit, there are some things that are easy to do and some things that just don't work.
A good tailor will be aware of the limitations of a garment and should inform you of this. If they don't, then consider this a red flag – any tailor worth their salt understands what's realistically possible when altering a garment and should be honest with you about this.
That being said, alterations CAN be made. It's just important to manage your expectations.
When it comes to altering suit jackets, it's important to understand proportions.
Sure, any jacket can be made smaller. There's enough fabric on a larger jacket for a tailor to adjust the fit. However, that doesn't mean a drastically altered suit jacket will look good once it's been taken in.
When it comes to proportions, it's important to be realistic. Lapels, pockets, and shoulder width are all designed in proportion to the rest of a garment – meaning the larger the garment, the larger they're made. In other words, on an XXXL jacket, the lapels are wider, the pockets deeper, and the shoulders broader.
A tailor can't do too much about this – so when they make the jacket smaller, these key features of the jacket will remain large. In short: the proportions will be off, and your jacket could look poorly designed.
It's also important to note that the shoulders of a jacket are very expensive to alter. The broader shoulders of a larger man's jacket can only be altered by tailors who specialize in custom jacket construction. Which means you'll pay a premium for their service.
Ask yourself whether it's worth it – would it be cheaper to simply buy a new jacket?
Pro tip: In order to keep the proportions of a jacket well balanced, I would advise only altering your jackets down 2 sizes. Any more than this, and the above issues begin to become very obvious.
Once again, proportions and placing become an issue when drastically altering pants to accommodate weight loss.
There are two places that a tailor can alter the width of your pants to fit your slimmer figure:
- The backside
- The outer leg
When it comes to altering the backside of pants, a tailor will bring the trousers in at the seam that runs down the backside. This process is cheaper than altering the outer leg. However, it runs the risk of bringing your back pockets too close together.
As you know, the back pockets of your pants should shit at the center of each butt cheek. When a tailor brings in the backside of pants, these pockets will be drawn closer and closer together – moving them away from their correct placement and ruining the balanced appearance of your pants.
You can ask your tailor to take your pants in at the outer leg. However, this can cost nearly twice as much as the former method. Once again, consider the cost and decide whether or not you think your old pants are worth altering.
Weight Loss Shirt Alterations
When it comes to altering a shirt, it's important to remember two things:
- Most shirt alterations are permanent
- Collars and cuffs are designed in proportion to the size of the shirt
Here's the deal – a shirt can be altered in many different ways. It can be shortened, taken in at the sides, re-cut entirely and even transformed from a long sleeve garment to one with short sleeves.
However, you need to think carefully before handing your favorite shirt over to the tailor. These alterations, while relatively easy to accomplish, are all permanent.
Think of tailoring your shirt like getting a haircut – you can cut as much off as you like, but you can't stick it back on.
This is when communication with your tailor is key. Your shirt's fit is a very personal thing – so don't be afraid to tell them exactly how you like you shirts to fit.
That means discussing:
- How far down your body you like your shirts to fall
- How you like your shirts to fit your torso (tight, slim, loose)
- What sort of tie knot you wear with your shirts (this will affect collar alterations)
- How much room you like across the chest
Chances are you won't know the answer to all of these questions. But that's okay – your tailor should help you understand what you want from your shirt and discuss the different options with you before he even considers any alterations.
Considering you've lost a lot of weight, chances are your tailor will be taking in the sides and adjusting the collar. Once again, it's important to understand proportions here.
Sure, a tailor can work his magic on a shirt, but there's only so much he can do to keep that shirt looking in proportion! The collar and cuffs of a shirt can be taken off a re-cut to an extent – but it's important to remember the cost of doing so will be higher according to the level of alterations required.
If you've gone down by anything more than 2 sizes, I'd advise investing in a new shirt rather than altering it. Unless you shop designer, it'll probably be cheaper.
Weight Loss Jean Alterations
The types of alterations your tailor can make to your jeans are very similar to your suit pants. In short, they can adjust:
- The width of the legs
- The length of the legs
- The waistband
- The rise
The same cautions apply here – with any adjustment that involves taking in the backside of the pants, it's important to be aware of pocket placement.
However, with jeans, it's far easier to make smaller adjustments and make up the rest with a good quality belt.
Unlike suit pants, a good quality belt can help jeans fit a more slender frame. The tougher denim used in jean construction means that folders and overlaps in fabric (created from tightening a belt on larger trousers) will be far less noticeable around the waistline.
However, the issue of the crotch area still persists. When wearing jeans that are too big for you, the crotch area will be an obvious sign that they don't fit you. When you weighed more, you likely had a larger butt and thighs, meaning that your pants were designed to accommodate this.
Now you've lost weight, this area will be far baggier than before. A lower crotch means less length in the leg, which can make you look shorter and stumpier than you are.
Think MC Hammer… you know what I'm talking about.
You can ask your tailor to help alter this as well as the legs and waist. However, at this point, you're essentially asking your tailor to construct an entirely new set of pants.
Once again, the same question comes up: is it worth it?
If you wear levis, maybe. However, there's little point in paying out for tailoring on a pair of bargain basement jeans.
Weight Loss T-Shirts, Sweaters, and Polos
This is a bit of a gray area. Sure, a tailor can quite easily alter the fit of t-shirts, sweaters, and polos. However, when you compare the cost of tailoring to the cost of a new garment, it rarely seems worth it.
The fact is, even if you buy premium quality tops, you're not spending a whole lot of money on these items (in comparison to suits and shirts).
A premium t-shirt might set you back $50. Heck, even a T-shirt designed by Tom Ford only costs around $150.
Will it cost $150 to alter a t-shirt? No. But chances are you have at least 5 t-shirts in your wardrobe, so the cost of tailoring can stack up pretty quickly.
Unless you've had your tops tailor-made for you, I'd avoid asking your tailor to take in your t-shirts, sweaters, and polo shirts.
However, if you do want to get your tops altered, ask your tailor to adjust:
- The hem: it should fall around the middle of your fly
- Sleeves: they should sit about 2 inches up from your elbow
- The torso: should fit so that there's no stretch across the body, but a slight hint of body shape is shown underneath the garment
- Shoulders: Should end where your shoulder ends (unless your top is ‘oversized' in design)
How Much Do Clothing Alterations Cost?
Alterations come in at a variety of price points depending on the time and effort required for the task.
Chances are, if you're asking a tailor to alter a garment to fit your new, slim figure, the alterations he makes could be rather costly.
Before you contact a tailor, it's important you have a basic understanding of cost and labor requirements when it comes to different types of alterations.
Minor Repair Costs
For guys who do absolutely no needle and thread work themselves, tailors are a source of repairs as well as alteration.
If you need minor fixes done — a button sewn on, a zipper replaced, or a splitting seam stitched back up before it gets out of hand — expect to pay around $5-10 per fix.
These are quick, simple, and cheap. Not much to 'em. Get 'em done when you need to.
Trouser Leg and Shirt Sleeve Length Alteration Costs
Shortening a trouser leg or shirt sleeve is about the simplest adjustment you can have a tailor do. (Lengthening is also simple so long as there's spare cloth inside the hem.)
Be ready to tell your tailor the length you want, especially with trousers — you'll want to have them pin the legs in place so you can stand in your shoes and see how the “break” looks.
The typical cost for a simple sleeve or hem adjustment is usually around $10-20. Sleeves may be a bit more expensive since it's harder to keep the buttonhole where it needs to be and the cuff looking proportional than it is to fold the fabric under the trouser leg and stitch it in place.
Jacket Sleeve Length Alteration Costs
Suits and sports jackets are a little tougher to adjust than shirts and trousers, but not much. An unlined jacket is easier to adjust than a lined one, and one with non-working cuff buttons is similarly easier than one with working buttonholes.
Figure on paying $20-30ish for a jacket sleeve shortening.
Trouser Waist Alteration Costs
Tightening up the waistband of most trousers is a simple procedure. If you're just having the band itself tightened, you won't be paying more than $20-25 or so.
Some tailors will also want to adjust the seat and crotch to get rid of excess cloth there when they take in the waistband. At that point, it'll probably be closer to a $50 job, but you get a better fit out of it.
Shirt & Jacket Waist Alteration Costs
“Taking in” or tapering the width of a shirt or jacket below the chest is a good way to prevent unsightly billowing around the midsection.
It's often a must-have alteration for off-the-rack clothes, which tend to be cut as loose as possible so that each size fits the maximum number of customers.
Expanding a shirt or jacket with added darts generally falls into the same price range and skill level as well, though it also requires having the extra material available, which can be a separate cost.
For all these width alterations, expect prices to start at around $20 and go on up as high as $50 or $60 for a lined jacket.
Trouser Leg Tapering Costs
If you've got too much cloth billowing around your calves and ankles, you may need your trouser legs tapered.
This is another reasonably easy one that you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 for.
Sleeve Tapering Costs
Just like the legs, if you've got excess cloth hanging under your arms when you wear a shirt or suit, you can have the sleeve tapered for a closer fit.
As with most of these, the suit adjustments are going to be a little pricier than the shirt adjustments. Figure $20-25ish for shirt sleeves and more like $30-40ish for suit sleeves.
Jacket Length Alteration Costs
Adjusting the overall length of a jacket is a trickier operation, and it has fairly strict limits. You're not likely to have enough cloth to go more than an inch or so longer than it started, and if you go more than an inch or two shorter, it looks disproportionate.
So have limited expectations here, but expect the cost for adjustment to be comparable to other jacket alterations — probably in the $30-40 neighborhood.
Sleeve Pitch Alteration Costs
The sleeve “pitch” is the angle at which the sleeve connects to the jacket. It's an important part of suit construction that a lot of guys are totally oblivious to — and, unfortunately, it's a tough fix.
If you try a suit on and there are spiraled “twist” lines on the sleeve, it's a good sign that the sleeve pitch doesn't line up with your arm/shoulder angle.
Try not to buy suits like that in the first place. But if you get a fantastic deal and you think it's worth paying for the alteration, a skilled tailor can adjust the pitch — just expect it to run you $100 or more for a quality job.
Shoulder Adjustment Costs
This is another one that's not going to be cheap. Again, try not to buy suits unless the shoulders sit properly — the seam on top of the shoulder should meet the sleeve right where your shoulder meets your arm so that it's not hanging over onto the bicep or scooted up toward the neck.
Having the shoulders tightened up can be done, but expect it to be a $75-100 job or more. And if the shoulders are too tight, there's not much hope at all — loosening them would be a gamble at best and probably impossible, depending on how much material was available.
What Is Weight Loss Imposter Syndrome (And How To Get Over It)
One of the biggest struggles guys experience when they lose weight is adjusting to their new bodies.
I'm not just talking physically – big adjustments need to be made in the mind as well.
Many of the guys I speak to talk to me about still having the mindset of a larger man:
- They lack confidence in their appearance
- Feel like people judge their weight
- Avoid wearing tighter clothes to hide their figure
It's called imposter syndrome: when men doubt themselves and feel like a fraud instead of realizing their newfound potential.
Unfortunately, imposter syndrome is a state of mind that many guys experience in many different aspects of their lives – especially when it comes to how attractive they perceive themselves.
Guys who lose a ton of weight still act like they're obese, completely ruining their potential when dating and presenting themselves in public situations.
If you're experiencing this, you're not alone. Every guy experiences feelings like this at some point in his life.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help get over your imposter syndrome and realize your successes.
Solution #1: Talk To Other Men
You're not the only guy who has lost a ton of weight and finds it hard to adjust.
There are hundreds of communities online that help guys realize their newfound potential when it comes to weight loss.
My advice? Do some research and find a group of like-minded guys to talk with. Share your experiences with weight loss and see if they'll share theirs.
You never know; you might make some pretty great friendships along the way.
Solution #2: Share Your Successes
Losing weight is hard – but you got through the grind and look great as a result.
You might not feel successful right now, but it's about time you started to recognize your weight loss for what it is: a big accomplishment that's worth celebrating.
Sharing your success with others is a great way to recognize your accomplishments. Post a before and after picture on Instagram, create a Facebook post about your journey – heck, throw a party if that's what it takes!
My point is this: people around you will be blown away by your transformation. Chances are, you're the only person that's struggling to recognize your progress!
Listen to them and share your success – it'll change the way you think. Trust me.
Solution #3: Buy New Clothes
It sounds simple, but buying new clothes is the #1 way to start feeling good in your new body.
Here's the deal: in your current state of mind, you look at smaller-sized clothing and think, ‘there's no way I'll look good in that.'
Chances are, you don't even try those clothes on. You just walk past them and head for the big and tall section.
Gents – changing rooms exist for a reason! Pick up a variety of smaller sizes and go and try them on. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how good you look in slim-fit jeans or a tapered shirt.
It's all about mindset. To get over imposter syndrome, you need to force your brain to see the progress you've made!
Solution #4: Let Go Of Perfectionism
A trap that a lot of guys fall into chasing their perfect weight.
Guys, I'm here to tell you that the perfect weight doesn't exist. If you get caught up with being ‘perfect', you'll never reach your goal – because no weight will ever be good enough.
A better way of approaching your weight loss is to celebrate your current weight. Whether you've lost 5kg or 50kg, progress is progress and should be celebrated for what it is: freaking awesome.
Sure, have a goal weight in mind. But celebrate every stage of your journey equally. That way, you'll view yourself in a far more positive light and realize that the progress you've made is awesome.
So you've crushed your weight loss goals – but how about your career goals? Click here to discover my top tips on improving your mind as well as your body.