5 Style Tips for Skinny Guys Made Simple

The Men’s Variety editorial team regularly researches & reviews the top gear, products and staples for life. Men’s Variety may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed by our writers and do not influence editorial content.

clothes for skinny guys
Skinny guys and clothing choices

Skinny guy clothing ideas to look your best

Do you have narrow shoulders, a small chest and skinny legs?

It’s okay. Guess what?

You’re an ectomorph. That’s just your body type. It doesn’t mean that you’re not eating enough protein or you’re wimpy. Ectomorphs have super-fast metabolisms and lean, stringy muscles.

You have a hard time putting on fat or muscle mass which can lead to you feeling a bit stressed out during the summer months when it seems like everybody else is coming out of their clothes to show off their physique.

I know the feeling because I’m the classic ectomorph. I struggled with body image for years and dreaded the summertime because I didn’t know what to wear.

Lots of outfits just didn’t complement my body type and I hated taking off my shirt in front of people.

After I learned about the different body types (specifically my own body type) I changed my whole workout routine, my diet, and my wardrobe.

For some ectomorphic fitness and diet tips, check out this guide from ACE Fitness. For some help with your skinny man style problems, check out these 5 style tips for skinny guys.

skinny man suit
Athletic cut is best for skinny men

1. Avoid Baggy Clothes

Putting on baggy clothes is probably the biggest mistake you can make as an ectomorph. Yet, that’s what most of us do. We try to cover up our lack of body mass with baggy shirts and jeans, but those hide our good features, as well.

They make us look even thinner than we are. That’s because at first glance people can still see that you’re thin, but they can’t get any exact proportions beneath all that drapery. So, you look skinny and insecure at the same time.

You’re an ectomorph. So, own it. Try wearing slim fit jeans with a distressed look instead of baggy jeans that fall off your hips.

When you wear baggy jeans, you’ll need to cinch up your belt so tight that it will create unattractive jumbles around your waist area. Skinny distressed jeans are in fashion. So, why not take advantage of the trend? Check out these skinny distressed jeans from Jordan Craig. You can find something similar on Amazon.

Don’t get me wrong, baggy shirts have their place.  They’re super comfortable and stress free, but you still have plenty of style options available.

So, don’t just go for the default choice. Trust me, a super tight fitted T-shirt won’t earn you any cool points either, but there is a happy medium here.

Consider this – most people don’t have bulging forearms. It’s the upper arm and chest that get all the pump. So, you can wear a long-sleeved button up shirt and roll the sleeves back to just beneath the elbow and look just like everybody else with a medium build.

Then, you can leave a couple of buttons undone at the neck, too. You’ll still show some skin without revealing your biceps, chest and shoulders.

rolex
Accessorize right

2. Match Accessories to Your Size

Accessories help add context and nuance to your style. A pair of glasses, a nice watch, jewelry, or headwear can help you stand out from the crowd and reveal aspects of your personality that go beyond tops and bottoms. Yet, you must be careful with accessories when you have an ectomorphic body type.

It’s important to match your accessories to your size. This is especially true with jewelry. If you want to wear a necklace, you should choose a style that complements your neckline. Try on a 3mm width necklace and work your way up from there if you like.

There are some conflicting opinions about this. Some people think that big jewelry makes you look bigger, but I tend to disagree. An oversized chain will only make your neck look smaller, but a thin necklace will make you look more muscular.

Adrien Brody is one of Hollywood’s hottest skinny guys. He always rips the red carpet and wears accessories that complement his slim build. Take a look at how he wears his jewelry in this photo.

View this post on Instagram

After, after, after, after party 🤦🏻‍♂️

A post shared by Adrien Brody (@adrienbrody) on

The same is true for watches. A watch with an over-sized face will make your wrist and forearm seem small by comparison. Medium sized, square face watches and circular watches with a diameter no bigger than a half dollar will match up with your frame more appropriately.

Also, make sure that the wristband is properly fitted to your arm. Skinny guys have slim wrists and most watches won’t fit properly straight out of the box.

You need to take them to a watch shop and have a couple of links removed so that the watch fits snugly on your wrist.

This minimalist watch from Fossil is a great choice for skinny guys (visit Amazon).

Layering matters
Why men who are skinny should layer clothing

3. Wear More Layers

Wearing multiple layers of clothing might sound counter-intuitive for the hot summer months, but you can pull it off with a touch of subtlety and the right fabrics. Layers are ideal for day trips, long stay outings, and unpredictable weather conditions.

Adding one or two layers of clothing creates just a touch of padding to your body. If done correctly, you won’t look like you’re trying to cover up anything either.

The trick is to make sure that each layer is properly fitted for your body. This might seem like Jedi level style game, but the rewards are worth the extra effort.

For your tops, try starting with a body-conforming vest. I’m talking about a tank top shirt that fits snugly to your body. It’s cotton. It’s lightweight. There isn’t much material, but it covers the exact same places that you need to bulk up.

Then, you put a polo shirt, crew neck T shirt, or button-up shirt on top of that vest. Personally, I like soccer jersey shirts (See Amazon). They’re made of 100% polyester, which is a bit heavier than cotton.

They have a ribbed short sleeve that tends to hug the upper arm and a closed V-neck collar line. Soccer jerseys are perfect for skinny guys. Take a look at this soccer jersey from Puma (Amazon). You see how it doesn’t dip so deep into the upper chest?

Now, for the bottoms. Regrettably, there’s not much layering that you can do in this department without looking like a tool. If you’re heading to the gym or some type of athletic outing, then you can try wearing form-fitting leggings underneath your shorts. Dark colors work better than bright ones.

Otherwise, just wear trousers or shorts that fit you nicely. Avoid anything too loose or too tight. You can look for heavier textiles like polyester blends or linens but be ever-mindful of the climate.

shirts for skinny guys
Soccer shirts are great for skinny guys

4. Wear Horizontal Print Shirts

People with endomorphic body types have a wide girth and it’s easy for them to pack on the pounds around their midsections. So, style gurus advise them to stay away from shirts or jackets with horizontal lines.

Well, the opposite is true for people with ectomorphic body types. Skinny guys need to invest heavily in horizontal print tops and avoid shirts and jackets that have vertical lines.

Your body type is slender and elongated. Tops or even trousers with vertical lines create a visual perception of height and slimness – two things you don’t have a problem with already. There’s no need to double down on this characteristic.

Instead, choose tops that have horizontal prints or checked patterns. These garments will visually broaden out your chest and shoulders. You will tend to look a few pounds heavier, as well.

Whether you plan on improving your golf game this summer or you’re just looking for a sporty top, this horizontal print top from Puma (Amazon) is a great example of how lines in the right places can make you look more muscular.

There are plenty of examples of trousers with vertical lines, but you’d be hard-pressed to find pants or shorts with horizontal prints or lines in them.

The same effect that works so well for tops, seems to fall flat on your legs.

Horizontal lines on trousers will just look banded and won’t add the perception of girth to your legs. It’s best to just avoid vertical lines and don’t waste your time trying to find trousers with horizontal prints either.

tshirts skinny guys
Notice Ryan Ryan Phillippe's shirt

5. Complement Your Physique

For men, the classic V-shaped upper body has always been ideal – broad shoulders and chest with a tapered waist. Yet, it’s difficult to achieve this body type when you’re a skinny guy.

I chased that ideal body type for years, only to become more and more frustrated when it eluded me. Then, I decided to embrace my own physical proportions.

I’m tall and have good muscle tone even though I’m on the slim side. With some changes to my wardrobe, I was able to find ways to complement my own unique physique. Here’s what I learned –

V-neck collared shirts don’t match well with people with small chests. A V-neck shirt dips down into the center of your chest and tends to drape on ectomorphs because the upper band of the pectoralis muscles in the chest aren’t well defined.

Go for a crew neck shirt instead. A crew neck shirt that has a medium fit will hug your upper body in all the right places. This will hide the lack of girth in your upper chest and instead draw attention to your other great physical qualities like your thin waist and handsome smile. See Amazon for ideas.

Here’s another one of your strengths. Ectomorphs can achieve great muscle definition and tone in their arms, even with just some light workouts.

If you work out just a couple of days a week with bodyweight exercises or free weights, then you could easily go sleeveless at the beach. What you lack in mass, you’ll make up for in the definition of your muscle groups.

Also, crew neck shirts with short sleeves fall around mid-bicep and can still make your arms look well-proportioned without revealing too much of the upper torso.

An older, well-worn shirt will tend to flare out at the sleeves as the fabric breaks down over time. You should keep those old shirts for the days when you’re just sitting around the house and make sure that the shirts you wear out in public maintain their elasticity.

For the lower body, you should complement your height and not your girth. Track suits or jogging pants that taper at the ankle are especially useful in this regard because you can push them up on your calf.

This has the visual effect of extending the length of your legs.

Super short shorts are to be avoided at all costs because they’ll show off more of your thighs. The quadriceps are one of the largest muscle groups in your body.

So, if you’re a skinny guy then you don’t want to draw attention to your upper legs. They’re not going to be big no matter what exercises you do in the gym, so keep the focus elsewhere.

clothing think guys
Being a skinny guy doesn't mean style can't happen

Bringing It All Together

There you have it, fellas. Just because you’re a bit lanky doesn’t mean you need to hide your body. You have a slim body type but there are strengths that come along with it.

You naturally have a tall, slim build and with just a little bit of exercise, your musculature can look toned and well-shaped.

Play to your strengths. Don’t hide under baggy clothes. Feel free to show off your well-sculpted abs, thin waist, and lean arms.

Find accessories that don’t overcompensate for your slim frame, even if that means you must wear a thinner piece of jewelry or a more muted watch.

Unlike big guys who struggle with their excess weight, you can wear horizontal patterns with ease. In fact, they look good on you.

You can also wear layers of clothing that make you look bigger than you are and certain types of clothing styles that push your best qualities to the forelight.

More Reading:

Best hair thickening products for men

Brown shoes black suit ideas

Best skincare regimen hacks for men

About Freddy Blackmon 105 Articles
Freddy Blackmon is a freelance writer and journalist who has a passion for cars, technology, and fitness. Look for articles on these topics and more. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.