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Men in magazines: Tall, thin, atypical

By Lashawnda Becoats
Special to The Observer

A few weeks ago, while thumbing through the April issue of GQ magazine, I became frustrated. All the men in the advertisements and fashion spreads looked the same – skinny.

I was looking for clothing pictures for a look book I was creating for a male client. The images in the magazine didn’t represent my client. He’s not tall or rail thin. As I continued to read I realized that some men must get aggravated looking at fashion magazines too. All men don’t have a 26-inch waist, yet page after page that was all I saw.

I buy clothing for my male clients, and as a part of my job I read men’s fashion magazines regularly. It never occurred to me that men have to look at the same stereotypical images in magazines that women do.

I’ll admit I love looking at the sexy underwear ads featuring David Beckham, but I don’t know many men who are shaped like he is.

While I love the clean lines, bright colors and slim cuts of the slacks, jackets and shirts for spring, the average man has a waist of about 38 inches. It would be challenging for most to pull off those looks day-to-day.

Everywhere we turn we’re all being coaxed visually in some sort of way to conform to a certain look. Women have been facing body-image issues with fashion and beauty for many years. Men face similar challenges, yet we don’t talk about it. We should.

When I’m out and about shopping for clients, I notice a lot of men like to buy what they see. Many don’t take into consideration some of the basics:

Will the style look good on me?

Does this color work with my complexion?

Is this style appropriate for my age?

I see a lot of men with the wrong physique trying to squeeze into skinny- or slim-fit jeans, and that’s wrong. I teach my clients to invest in clothes that fit their body type.

I asked a guy friend what he thought. He said magazines do influence what he buys. He admits most of the clothes don’t fit, so he buys a larger size then takes them to be tailored.

Women’s magazines such as Instyle and Marie Claire are improving their take on women of various sizes with monthly features for fuller figures including fashion tips and trends. It’s only logical.

Hopefully men’s magazines won’t be too far behind.

Lashawnda Becoats is a certified life coach. lbecoats@gmail.com
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