How to Dress Your Dad Bod (And Hide Your Potbelly)
Two dad bods walk into a bar. Both guys, equally stocky with a potbelly that may or may not have fathered a bunch, are wearing the same clothes, but one looks better. One is a big man; the other is fat. There's a distinction in what appears to be meaningless semantics. The assumptions with fat are lazy, weak, and sloppy; big is imposing, confident, and powerful. The difference between the two is in dressing well, and that's dressing for the body you have now and presenting it in the best way possible.
Our keywords are proportion and balance. Given the roundness of your midsection, you want to optically balance it out by accentuating the shoulders—which also projects confidence—and lengthen your legs.
You already know that most off-the-rack stuff aren't made for heavy-set men, so whatever you can't have tailor-made, get it altered. Disregard size labels, be prepared to try on a variety of fits, and get a good tailor, your ally and your best asset.
But there are non-negotiables for a sleeker look: For tops, it should fit your shoulders squarely and hug the chest. For pants, go for one with a waistline that rests around the largest part of your belly.
Because you had to accommodate your tummy, chances are hems and sleeves will be too long, and these make you look stumpy. That's where a tailor comes in. As long as the piece fits in the key areas, he can alter whatever can be trimmed or expanded in order to fit you properly as well as hide your flaws. This will make you look more polished.
Here's how to choose the clothes that will suit your daddy body:
1| Layering is an essential dad bod trick because it breaks the bulkiness of a large posterior (by visually cutting through the silhouette), while keeping the outline more defined (meaning no muffin tops).
2| Go for a structured jacket in a stiff fabric that doesn't cling and emphasize your belly; think workwear pieces like shirt jackets, waxed or canvas jackets, and bomber jackets with ribbed cuffs.
3| For formal occasions, stick to a single-breasted suit with classic notch lapels paired with a crisp shirt. You want your jackets to fall just under your waist—just around your muffin top—to conceal it.
4| For outerwear, try an Eisenhower jacket.
5| For suits, the menswear rule of not doing the jacket's second button will do your pooch a favor.
1| Check out London dress shirt company T.M. Lewin. They offer shirts that are fully fitted and loose in all the right parts.
2| Except for business settings, wear tailored shirts untucked. Sweatshirts and pullovers also work for you when untucked. A smooth plane of fabric over the stomach draws less attention than a shirt squeezed by a waistband. The fit has to be perfect.
3| For shirts, choose round-hem options that are meant to be untucked. For sweatshirts and pullovers, go for a nice, close fit with no wrinkles or bulges.
4| For tees, go for crewnecks. Avoid V-necks and not because of douchebag associations. Consider a raglan sleeve T-shirt to make your shoulders look broader. Don't tuck them in either.
5| The Shark Fit shirts of Italian luxury sportswear brand Paul & Shark are a good place to start for polo shirts. They are tighter around the chest and have more squared shoulders and slightly shorter sleeves. The fabric falls flat over the front, too.
1| Steer clear of anything that says skinny or slim. It will throw off the balance of your figure and make you look top-heavy. Wide-legged trousers are hot this season, but you have to pass up that trend no matter how cozy it looks because they can make your pins look shapeless. Our vote is for straight, loosely tapered trousers for balance's sake.
2| For casual wear, go for selvedge denim or cotton twill chinos. They're heavier, so they fall better.
3| A cropped style works for you, too, and believe it or not, shorts are your best friend because they give length to the leg. This isn't a free pass for cargo shorts; avoid cargos at all costs. You still want something that's tailored with the hem an inch above the knee.
1| The circular band of a belt will just slip off of a round stomach—which is something suspenders won't do. Suspenders also allow the front of your trousers to fall into a smooth drape.
2| A skinny tie with a tiny knot on a big guy looks goofy. Go big or go home with a brawny necktie knot like the full Windsor on a cutaway collar.
3| We're all about drawing the eye upward, so experiment with a statement pocket square or a cool tie that shows off your personality.
4| Go for loafers or low-cut sneakers that creates space between the foot and ankle, and therefore the illusion of length.