Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Right Clothes Can Help Hide Middle-Aged Spread

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Right Clothes Can Help Hide Middle-Aged Spread

Article excerpt

AS BABY boomers advance ever deeper into middle age, the yield of all those years of living high on the hog are visible at various anatomical sites and must be addressed. No, disguised.

We're talking bellies and butts here, folks. For all the dieting and exercise that have been resorted to, often despairingly, they have in many cases gotten bigger. A new strategy is clearly needed.

What is called for is emphasizing the vertical and taking the play away from the horizontal in the choice of clothing color and style.

Most women understand this, most men do not.

Guys built like fire plugs see nothing wrong with wearing rugby shirts with big horizontal stripes that make them look like helium balloons over the wine country.

Durand Guion, a senior men's fashion coordinator at Macy's in San Francisco, has made a study of this generational crisis. The man who has added upholstery over the years, he said, "has to concentrate on colors - dark navys, charcoals, blacks - that immediately give a longer, leaner illusion."

In buying suits, "pinstripes give the eye the illusion of length," says Guion. But avoid wider pinstripes. Subtle is better.

"A lot of short men think they can't wear three-button button suits, but they're great for shorter heavier men." This is because the top button is higher, giving the appearance of a long, lean line.

The weight the years pack on is even more of a problem for the shorter man. Yet solutions are possible. Take the double-breasted suit, usually regarded as a no-no for a man of this configuration

"I feel the double-breasted suit can be complimentary on the shorter man," said Tom Julian, a menswear expert at Fallon McElliott in New York. "But the four-button looks better. With six, you can make the body too top-heavy."

But four buttons are too many in a sport coat for the short and stout. "There is too much chest and torso impact," said Julian. …

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