3 Short Man Style Tips – Real World Examples From Peter Li

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This is an interview I did with Pete Li of Crossfit Lazarus.

I met Pete at InfusionCon this last March.  He was one of the best-dressed guys at the convention and as that he’s shorter than the average height I thought he’d be the perfect guy to ask for some short man style tips.

 Here is the actual interview Pete and I conducted in Arizona – Enjoy!

Pete is a snappy dresser who focuses on putting his best foot forward. It’s not about a specific style or a particular set of patterns and colors. He just wants to look his best, so people (like me!) who meet him as strangers are automatically impressed.

In the video he’s dressed very casually, just in his shirtsleeves, but you’ll notice that Pete’s still got a nice, personalized style that speaks for him.

Being in good shape doesn’t hurt, of course — must be all that crossfit!

2-Brush-Cut-Real-MenReal-StyleShort Man Style Tip #1: Make the Hairstyle Stand Out

One of the first things I noticed about Pete was his hairstyle.

His hair is two key things: it’s unique and it’s vertical.

You can see in the video that Pete’s got his sides buzzed close. That’s a remnant from his military service that he’s decided to keep, both for the look and the personal nod to that part of his history.

On top the hair’s thicker and a little more sculpted-looking. It’s not super slicked (Pete uses a grooming clay, which gives a less “wet” look than a pomade, mousse, or styling cream), just given a bit of shape.

This is a great example for shorter men to be thinking about. I’m not saying you should run out and get your hair cut just like Pete’s — but you should be thinking about styles that have a nice, clean, defined shape. You don’t want lots of hair sticking out all over the place on the sides of your head and down around your neck.

The higher people’s attention is focused on your body, the bigger you look. If your hairstyle looks sharp up top, that’s going to make you seem bigger than you are. And, of course, you’ll look like a man with a stylish haircut, which benefits anyone regardless of his height.

man-glasses-sharp-lookShort Man Style Tip #2: Rock Some Funky Glasses

I love Pete’s explanation for his: he saw the thick plastic rims that are trendy right now and liked the style, but wanted to make it a little less cookie-cutter and a little more personalized, so he went with tortoiseshell instead of plain black.

It’s such a minor, simple change, and it has a big effect. That’s one of the things I love about fashion — the little personal details give an outfit incredible power.

As far as style for a shorter man goes, this is doing pretty much the same thing the haircut does. It pulls the viewer’s eyes up to Pete’s face and makes them look him right in the eye as they interact. That really bold detail around his eyes is keeping people’s attention where he wants it. And if you watch the video, you’ll hear Pete say that he’s got contacts, but actually prefers to wear the glasses just for the style!

Of course, if you’re short and have perfect vision, this might not be useful advice (although there are some pretty stylish brands out there these days that make “vanity” glasses, where the lens is clear plastic with no magnification or correction). There’s no real alternative for guys who don’t wear glasses, unfortunately — a sharp hat, where appropriate, is probably the closest you’re going to get in terms of accent pieces that keep people focused on your face.

A giant facial tattoo would probably have a similar effect, but we’re not going to recommend that on this website!

RMRS-Good-Fit-vs-Bad-Fit-400Short Man Style Tip #3: Keep the Fit Close

The shorter you are, the more obvious it is if your clothes are too big for you.

You can see in the video that Pete keeps the fit of his shirt very close. For someone with his build that probably means buying a “slim fit” from the brands that offer one, and some trips to the tailor for adjustments on some of his shirts as well.

Same goes for the fit in the pants — shorter guys want to keep that as close as possible, especially in the crotch and butt.

Clothes that are loose enough to start to sag do double damage to short guys: first it’s a distraction that keeps people’s eyes down on your lower body, and second it has the unfortunate effect of making you look like a kid who hasn’t quite grown into his hand-me-downs yet.

If you’re short and built more on the hefty side, you obviously won’t be able to wear quite as tight a fit, but you should still make sure you’re eliminating any sag at the seams (crotch, armpit, etc.) or the hems (trouser and shirt cuffs, shirt bottom, and so forth).

And, of course, if you’ve got an athletic build — say, because you do a lot of crossfit, just for example — a close fit has the added bonus of showing off your body. If you got it, flaunt it, right?

Rules You Can Break

Something I liked about this conversation and the video we made is that it shows Pete breaking many “rules” for shorter men — and looking good doing it.

If you look at the video, you’ll notice that he’s wearing a pretty bright plaid shirt, and we talk about some polka-dotted items he was wearing earlier as well.

That’s something most generic articles about looking taller will tell you to avoid. Horizontal elements like the cross-striping in plaids and busy visual patterns in general are things that short guys are usually told to stay away from.

There’s a decent logic behind that — the simpler and cleaner your patterns, the easier it is for people’s eyes to travel up your body to your face — but it’s not carved in stone. A fashionable guy can wear just about anything as long as he’s being smart about it, and that includes a short main wearing plaids (or other checks, for that matter).

Because Pete’s got a really simple, defined style from head to toe, wearing a busier pattern doesn’t affect him that much. He’s still got your attention right away, and it’s up on his face where he wants it as you talk to him.

Having the confidence to own your style, it turns out, does a lot more to make your presence known than struggling to look taller.

Of course, a good fit never hurts either.

Want to learn more about CrossFit? – check out CrossFit Lazurus’ Facebook page here!

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About Antonio

Antonio Centeno is President of ATailoredSuit.com and the founder of RealMenRealStyle.com. He has created over 700 articles & videos on men's style, blogs over at the Art of Manliness, and is the creator of the internet's best selling personal presentation course - A Man's Guide To Timeless Style. Antonio has studied clothing design in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. He is a former US Marine with an MBA from UT Austin and a BA from Cornell College. He loves to hear from old friends and make new ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanette.davidball Jeanette David-Ball

    Hi Antonio – what a great post! Shorter men do get it rough in our society I think. I am a very short woman (under 5’1″) but I find little and curvy women never lack for male attention! What I love about shorter guys is that they are often snappy dressers and when they exude confidence too they don’t lack female attention either!

  • menstyle

    That’s a great insight Jeanette, thank you!

  • Gazman

    Antonio, you’ve done it again. Great video and very useful tips. You are a terrific communicator.

  • menstyle

    Thank you Gazman!

  • Pete

    Antonio! Great post, glad I could help :). Hope things are well!

  • Radek Silhavy

    I would like to ask, if there are some tips/rules regarding pockets placing on jacket if i am short :-)

  • Los Angeles Style

    I enjoyed reading this, it was informative and yet fun to
    read. By doing these new styles and unexpected clothing increase your outlook.

  • RMRStyle

    Pete – thank you for the info and hope all is well there at CrosFit Lazurus – will have to email you as to whether you found that new space!

  • menstyle

    Thank you!

  • Spock Sackmary

    Great article, very helpful for my younger son who will always be tiny. Now, how about an article for us tall guys (6’6″ and up)?

  • John

    Great video! Good tips for us short guys.

  • sroyle

    Great video. I love your website. I have been redefining my style recently and by happenstance stumbled upon some of the same things. I’m 5’8″ and in my fifties. My hair is salt and pepper (still more pepper). My haircut was already unique but I added a pomade that changed the look of the haircut. I also changed my eyeglasses and went to silver steel framed large roundish frames (Ray Ban). In addition I now sport a short well trimmed beard. All this has garnered some “looks” from some of the women in the office and I can tell that people’s attitude toward me has changed slightly…for the good. I agree with what you and Peter say. I think the important thing is to keep other’s focus on your face or at least upper torso. I also wear my brighter or contrasty colors on my shirts (matched to my complexion) and tend to wear more neutral/duller tones on my pants. My shoes are shined but the style is not real fancy. I also think tailoring is a good idea. Since I no longer have Peter’s build, most of my clothes fit me pretty well. If I may, I might also suggest that button down shirts be kept clean and pressed (office wear). Light starch on shirts except for white which should be medium/heavy IMHO.

  • menstyle

    Thank you sir!

  • menstyle

    Thank you sir! I have just the article for you http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/tall-thin-man-menswear-advice/ .

  • menstyle

    Thank you sir!

  • menstyle

    Thank you sir. Those are great style upgrades indeed!

  • menstyle

    Hi Radek,

    This article might be useful http://www.atailoredsuit.com/proper-proportion-mens-clothing.html .

    If you do get it adjusted, just be careful about making it too short.

    Respectfully,

    Antonio

  • vicsuz

    Hi Antonio, what kind of shoes for Short Man?

  • menstyle

    You can basically wear any type of shoe. If you want to look taller go for clothes that make you look taller and not heightening shoes. This article from Modest Man might help http://www.themodestman.com/shoes-for-short-men-dos-and-donts/ .

  • Marlon

    Thanks Antonio. I’m 5’6″ (but 5’4″ is the average height in our country) and really loved plaids and checks pattern. Nice to know on this article that I can pull it off (appear taller) even on wearing plaids and checks.

  • menstyle

    You’re welcome Marlon!

  • VA

    Hi, great tips here! I am 168 cm or 5ft 6in tall and usually like a medium to long hair style to go with. But I have noticed that it may sometimes make me look a bit shorter. Are there any good medium to long hair style tips for office going short men you would recommend? Thanks!

  • menstyle

    I just came out with a Classic Hairstyles for Men Ebook. It has everything you might want to check that it out here http://goo.gl/K7qLd .

  • VA

    Thanks! Will do :)

  • menstyle

    That is great! You’re welcome