6 Ways Men Can Look Thinner With Color-Coordinated Looks

Women often receive the lion’s share of credit when it comes to desiring a slimmer figure, but men are not exempt from battling similar physical insecurities.

marcus paul, men's fashion week
Paul in a contrasting look featuring a white top, slim-fit denim and black sneakers.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

“I think anyone who is in any sort of spotlight or being documented [wants to look their] best. If you look your best, you feel your best. I’m a strong believer that when people are dressed up, they have a certain confidence level that almost speaks for you without even speaking,” said Marcus Paul, the curator behind Pusha T and Desiigner’s wardrobes.


Celebrities are subject to such a spotlight on a daily basis, and as the media and fans are quick to point out any visible physical differences, it’s understandable that they would dress in a manner that produces a slimming image. The camera does add 10 pounds after all, right?

As a fashion stylist, Paul understands how there are several instances in which men, whether high-profile figures or not, aim to achieve a slender appearance. He spoke to Footwear News to share insight on how using color coordination is a fundamental technique in the process. Read below for the key takeaways.

marcus paul, Madiyah al Sharqi Collection launch
Paul wears tailored charcoal gray pants with low-top sneakers.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

Color Palette Is Key

While black is a standard option known to create a slimmer-looking figure, other dark colors can also come into play. Think an earth-tone palette. Paul recommends burgundy, forest green or dark green, charcoal gray and navy as favorable choices. But that’s not to say select lighter colors can never work.

“A classic white helps in terms of the tops, not necessarily the bottoms. That’s probably the one exception of when you could not go by the rule of minimizing contrast. You can do a white shirt with a slimmer-fitting trouser. White or light soft blue — those colors help, generally, for tops.”

Minimize Contrast

On the one hand, Paul points out that creating levels of color in an outfit is more effective than a monochrome look. However, he advises to avoid contrast.

“You never want things to compete [as far as] your upper half and lower body. You want to minimize the contrast. If you have a bright yellow shirt and black pants, then that gives a different effect than if the pants are navy and the top is black. It has a certain distinction if you see a beautiful navy blue velvet jacket and black pants. It gives you a different feeling than looking at an all-black palette.”

marcus paul, Roc-A-Fella and Biggs Burke AF1 Launch Party
Paul in a burgundy jacket paired with a navy top and hat.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

Stick with Smaller Patterns

Patterns and prints aren’t off-limits, but size does matter. In this case, the smaller the better. Houndstooth checks and pinstripes are both solid options.

“Small patterns play a part if you’re going to do a tonal patterned shirt. But it’s better if it’s tonal versus multiple colors, [which] doesn’t help with a slimming effect. Pinstripes as well give a sense of elongation and make a shorter person look taller.”

Body and Sole

Unfortunately, the current trend of “dad shoes” isn’t the way to go for men that want to look thin. To keep the slimming effect in action down to the toes, thick-soled shoes won’t do the job as they will visibly weight the body down. And just as with apparel, color is critical in footwear as well.

“Stay away from chunky shoes, shoes with big soles and that sort of thing. I would say go with a dark color – if you’re wearing dark palettes, you don’t want a bright yellow shoe. Not only will it be aesthetically displeasing, but it draws attention away from your look.”

Marcus Paul, saks fifth avenue
Paul wears denim with a navy coat and low top sneakers at a Saks Fifth Avenue event.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

Accessorize for Edge

While dark colors might seem less inspiring than bold brights, there are other ways to create an edgy aesthetic. Paul suggests a number of different accessories that can spruce up an outfit.

“Accessories make a difference. A pen added onto a lapel of a [formal] jacket or a jean jacket, a necklace, bracelets. Ties even help in elongating the top half of someone. These are all different tricks of the trade.”

marcus paul, men's fashion week
Paul wears a navy suit at Men’s Fashion Week in New York, July 2015.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock


“Get a great tailor always — whether it’s for suiting or jeans. That makes a world of a difference,” said Paul. If a tailor seems out of budget on a regular basis, shopping for appropriate silhouettes also helps.

“Bomber jackets generally have a slimmer silhouette. If you’re not an innate, slim, tall person, then avoid the oversized clothing you’re starting to see now in more of the fashion lines.”

He continued, “It’s all contingent on what the dress code is. If we are talking suiting, there are certain things you just don’t do. You don’t wear pants with pleats because it adds volume. I would say [go with] flat-front trousers. In a more casual way, V-necks also give the appearance to make someone look slimmer and taller.”

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