world of men's style / fashion / grooming

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This Year’s Body


The Times’ latest exhausting entry into body-watching has been bouncing in and out of our tipline all weekend. The gist is this: the emaciated look is out, and the gents you see on the runway and in GQ are getting gradually beefier.

It’s the kind of advice that’s really only useful to industry folks, but since the Times Style Section is hardly a trade pub, we’d like to tackle this one head-on. If you were considering applying this wisdom to your own life, now might be a good time to back away from the newspaper.

At the risk of seeming thick, there’s something obvious that should probably be said: you can’t change your body type. Hit the gym all you want—hey, it might even be good for you—but stocky frames will stay stocky and a guy with narrow shoulders will not transform himself into a lumberjack through the magic of super squats. Your body is your body. Get used to it.

And since we’re already in obvious territory, we’ll go for two: There’s nothing wrong with that. Try stuff out and eventually you’ll find something that works for you. Hey, maybe we can help.

But this kind of aloof body talk is exactly why a staggeringly large number of gentlemen become genially embarrassed as soon as they hear the word “fashion.” For our part, we’ll stick with “style.” Fashion is about shaping yourself to fit the ideal of the times, whereas style is about using clothes to present yourself in the best possible manner. (You, not somebody else.) Naturally, we prefer the latter…and this is a pretty good example of why.