Why do man boobs happen? We're taught that men aren't "supposed" to have breasts, but in reality, it's relatively common – and based on the common causes, could happen to almost anyone.
Some men have more flesh up top as a result of being overweight. Others may suffer from a medical condition called gynecomastia, which is an excess amount of breast tissue.
Among both adolescents and adults, certain drugs or medications can cause gynecomastia, according to Dr. Frederic Deleyiannis, a professor and surgeon at the University of Colorado, Denver and Children’s Hospital of Colorado.
In rare cases, tumors or other problems with your liver, kidneys, or testicles could also result in the condition.
Whatever the cause of your top-heavy troubles, exercise is often the most effective option, Dr. Deleyiannis says.
But while you’re breaking a sweat to get rid of man boobs permanently, tweaking your style can also help you hide any unwanted bumps in the meantime, California-based personal brand and style strategist Joseph Rosenfeld says.
1. Compress Your Problem.
A compression shirt made for men is a functional base layer and smart first step toward concealing your chest Rosenfeld says. Athletic apparel brands offer plenty of comfortable and cool options when it comes to compression wear.
2. Hide Big Issues with Small Patterns.
“Camouflaging the problem area with patterns can definitely work,” Rosenfeld says. But you have to choose those patterns carefully.
Rosenfeld suggests small patterns that don’t feature a lot of color contrast. Think gray-and-black plaids or small blue checks on a darker blue background.
3. Think Thick.
Wearing thicker fabrics or several layers of clothing is a great way to hide your man boobs if you live in colder climates, Rosenfeld says.
But for those in more temperate locations, tightly woven textiles can offer some of the same concealing benefits, he says.
Look for shirts that feel slightly rigid and starchy, not feathery or thin.
4. Find the Right Fit.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking baggy threads will hide your flaws.
“Nothing is worse than putting on a piece of clothing with the intention of trying to camouflage part of your body, only to see that area looking bigger because you’re wearing something that’s too big,” Rosenfeld says.
At the same time, tight clothing can be just as unsightly (and revealing).
A properly fitted shirt is your friend. If you can’t find one off the rack, spending a few bucks on alterations is worth it.
5. Turn Down the Contrast.
Minimize the color contrast between the upper and lower halves of your body. A dark shirt worn with khaki pants cuts you in half at the waist, making you look shorter and wider.
But the same shirt with dark slacks de-emphasizes your waistline and boosts your altitude. “Head-to-toe monochromatic dressing can be as slimming as it is elegant,” Rosenfeld says.
6. Watch Out for White.
“When you wear white or light colors, your chest looks even bigger,” Rosenfeld says. He recommends dark or neutral hues.
Matching your shirt choices to your eye or hair color won’t make your chest appear smaller, but it’s still sharp-looking, he adds.
7. Slim Down with Pinstripes.
Most suits are naturally slimming because their uniform color and texture create a straight, vertical line from head to toe. Narrow pinstripes do this even more efficiently.
On the other hand, watch out for suits with large patterns. Windowpane suits and glen plaids are fattening.