Christmas shopping for the men in your life is always a challenge. However, with a little insider knowledge, you can buy him clothes which he will be pleased to wear beyond Boxing Day! Colour Me Beautiful Image Consultant Julia Cumming gives us the low-down.

Those of you who regularly ready my column will know how insistent I always am that looking good is not necessarily about spending lots of money. You will also know how much emphasis I place on only choosing styles and colours which flatter your colouring and body shape. And it's no different for shopping for men.

However, for most men shopping for clothes is usually a chore rather than a pleasure so it is more often the task of us girls to make sure the men look good. We can all relate to the fact that the well dressed man wears clothes which:

* complement his colouring

* flatter his body shape

* fit his personality

* are appropriate for the occasion, be it business or social

* keep his look up to date

Understanding his body shape is the first step towards wise buying. Men are fortunate in as much as their body shape tends to be much more streamlined than a womanÕs. Basically there are 3 male body shapes:

1) The Inverted Triangle

He has:

* Broad shoulders

* A full or well-defined chest

* A trim waist and narrow hips

He'll look great in:

* Italian cut suits which are sharp and tailored

* Ties with angular patterns, plain or woven silk

* Double breasted jackets with wider lapels

* Flat-fronted trousers

* Tops ranging from polo shirts, roll necks to V necks; stripes are great

He should avoid:

* American style deconstructed suits

* Baggy T-shirts and blouson jackets

* Heavy-knit sweaters (sorry, Gran!)

* Floral patterns

2) The Rectangle

He has:

* A straight torso, a flattish bottom and stomach

* Straight shoulders

He'll look great in:

* Most suits; single breasted are great, slightly shaped around the waist (eg British cut)

* Ties which pick out at least one colour from his shirt, simply patterned

* Pleated or flat front trousers will be fine

* Sleeveless V necks are good over shirts; most top styles work well

He should avoid:

* Tucking his tops in

* Sloppy shoulder lines and larger lapels

* Belted cardigans (as if he would!)

3) The Rounded

He has:

* Rounded shoulders and a wider neck

* A cuddly tummy which curves beneath a flat upper chest

He'll look great in:

* Softer tailoring (eg: American cut suits); nothing too sharp or close-fitting * Ties with spots, paisley or florals

* Deconstructed casual jackets or dropped shoulder styles

* Lightweight fabrics for tops

* Looser fitting trousers with wait adjustment for comfort

He should avoid:

* Horizontally striped ties

* Styles which are too baggy or too tight

* Trousers hanging below the tummy

So, hopefully now you will have some ideas for Santa to bring him on Christmas morning. Still stuck for the perfect present? You could always get him a Gift Voucher for a one- to- one consultation with me. Choose from either a Colour Consultation (£90), where he will learn all about which shirt/tie, suit/casual colours to go for, or a Colour/Style Consultation (£150) where he will learn all about colours plus which shapes of clothes most flatter his body shape.

Ring me on 01753-882636 or e-mail me at to buy your voucher. Full details are on my website at .