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Forget Sucking in Your Gut, Men: Just Tone Up--or Tone It Down

April 02, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Here's a message to all those guys graduating from high school this year: Take a good look at your physique and appreciate it, because it's all downhill from here.

Once you get into college with the fraternity and tailgate parties, the aging process begins, and you develop a minor paunch. A few years later, when you get a desk job, it gets a little bigger. And by the time your hair starts to thin and your child is in Little League, you could look pregnant.

Of course, the key to preventing a bulging stomach is a sensible diet and exercise. However, that's easier said than done.

There are millions of men with stomachs that protrude, but who want to dress fashionably without calling attention to their lack of stomach tone. Here are some options:

* Hiding an out-of-shape physique requires dark, muted colors, brown, navy, black, charcoal gray. Light pastels and loud colors and patterns are taboo.

* Clothing with vertical patterns such as pin-stripes have traditionally been described as "slimming," but get stripes that are subtle. Anything bold accentuates a man's physique.

* Don't try to pull pants over the stomach and don't let them hang too low, either. Keep pants at the mid-point. "You'll want to go with slacks that don't appear tight, but you don't want a baggy look either," says Bill Snyder of Posh Gentlemen's Clothing in Newport Beach. "Pleated slacks provide some room and they're stylish."

* Don't use a belt as girdle by sucking in the stomach and cinching a belt around it. Not only will that be uncomfortable all day, but the underwear is being etched into the skin, and there's no missing the rolls that hide the belt buckle.

* Older men can get away with stretch slacks that have a large elastic waistband that keeps the stomach somewhat flat.

* A sweater can hide a bulge, but it needs to be the right size. If it's too big, it'll look like a tent. Stick with darker tones; even in spring, a man can get away with navy or teal. Stay away from whites, pinks, yellows or any shade that can make a man look like an Easter egg with legs.

* Make sure ties are not flashy, and that they rest over the stomach. Nothing looks worse than a short tie on a rounded stomach. Knot the tie so that it ends at the belt buckle.

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