These are required of all men.
For the not so tall men, there is a third…
Short man taxes. (aka The Tailor)
And it sucks!
Everything our more modest friend’s purchase has to be altered.
And some thicker fabrics can’t be.
What’s a short guy supposed to do?
Tried that. Didn’t work.
But there are ways that you can wear your existing wardrobe to make you look taller.
This article is going to break down each item with tips on how to wear them in order to look taller.
When wearing pants, you want to achieve the slimming look. The slimming look cleans up the lines and elongates your legs.
Medium or high drops – The proper crotch drop in your pants is a critical component to style and fit for men who lack substantial height. If the drop is too low it will shorten the legs even more. Avoid low drops at all costs.
To the extent possible, pants should be slim through the leg and narrow at the ankle.
Avoid cuffs – a 2-inch cuff cuts into the length of your leg and makes it look shorter. The goal is is to have one continuous and unbroken body line along the leg.
No pleated pants – pleats give the illusion of wider hips. Wide and tall generally don’t coexist, but lean and long do. The goal is to portray this look.
Little to no break in the pants – The break in the pants is referring to the amount of fabric that is bunched up over the shoe. It’s better for shorter guys if the break is minimal. A quarter break (fabric covers 1/4 of an inch of the shoe) is acceptable but no break (there is no bunching at the bail of the pant leg) is best. Both techniques elongate the legs by not giving the appearance of a stump atop the shoe.
How Short Men Should Wear Shirts
Shirts can be very tricky for short guys. Many times dress shirts can look like a tarp on shorter gentleman because of the excess fabric that billows and/or bunches. To combat this reality, make sure that the shirts are:
Slim or fitted through the chest – this helps to narrow the torso. Even if you are an athletic built gentleman, you want to make sure that the shirt that you are wearing narrows your chest for the cleanest fit.
High armholes – higher arm holes allow for a slimmer fit with more movement. Again the slimmer fit leans the body out to our eyes .
Tuck in the shirt – tucked in shirt shows the waist and helps with elongating. Tucking in a shirt also allows the shirt to fit more snug on the body which lengthens it as well. If a shirt is un-tucked it should not be lower than 2 inches past the waist
Sleeve Length – Generally, sleeve lengths should stick out 1/2 in. to 3/4 in. from your blazer or suit jacket. Keep the sleeve length to 1/4 in. as a shorter gentleman, so it doesn’t elongate the arms.
How Short Men Should Wear Blazers
Blazers are not for covering up but adding style and should not take away from the outfit or your body type.
- Should be better proportioned – the overall scale of elements of the jacket should be equal in size.
- Shorter jackets – take note that shorter jackets for men 5’8” should not suffer in the fit across the shoulders and arm. Jackets usually cover the butt but a shorter jacket will expose the leg more giving the illusion of height.
- Narrower Lapels – lapels that are narrow keep the shoulders from looking wide. A wider looking shoulder does nothing for adding “height” to a not so tall guy. Also, notch lapels instead of peak lapels will slim the chest and shoulders too which gives the appearance of length.
- Slimmer Sleeve Widths – Arms hug the body and act as sight lines up and down a man’s physique. Slimmer sleeves add length to the arms making them appear lean as opposed to short a portly. The leaner and longer the arms appear, the leaner and longer you body will appear.
- Higher Buttons – The positioning of the waist button (button stance) is critical because it will draw the eye upward along the body. Secondarily, a high waist button gives the appearance of a high waist and longer legs. This adds height as well.
How Short Men Should Wear Shorts
It has been touted that short men should stay away from shorts. Some believe that they shorten the leg because the shorts break up the sight lines from skin to cloth. However, there are ways to wear them to your style advantage
- Slim trough the thigh – narrow silhouettes make the legs look longer. You don’t want them too tight as it will negatively adjust the comfort level
- Wear them slightly above the knee – shorts that lie above the knee lengthen the legs as well.
- Medium or low rise cuts – As with pants, the waist to crotch length should be shorter as it opens up the length in the thigh as well as helps to slim the leg
- Wear low top sneakers – When wearing sneakers they should be low top tennis shoes because they don’t shorten the leg.
Many times tailors don’t want to alter coats because of the fabric. This makes getting a regular sized topcoat difficult for shorter men. If a tailor were up to the task, it would come at a premium cost due to the labor of working with fabric that’s made for outwear. Topcoats are meant to be a stylish weather shielding piece so the fabric is thicker and heavy duty.
To avoid this headache you want to purchase topcoats that are made specifically for your shorter frame. These type of coats are going to have design elements that are similar to that of blazers and sport coats for shorter guys.
Proper sleeve and body length – proper scale and proportions of the jacket will keep it sleek which is important for layering during the cooler months.
Notch lapel (If topcoat or peacoat) – keeps the eyes inward (toward the chest) as opposed to a peak lapel pointing the eyes at the shoulders
Proper button placement – Buttons are like small bullseyes. The eyes are drawn to them. If the buttons are out of place then the topcoat will lose the illusion of length. For example, the higher the buttons travel up the coat, the longer the coat will look and the taller you will appear as well.
Accessories can make or break an outfit. They are often the highlight of the look when worn intelligently. There can be issues with short guys and wearing accessories.
Many times accessories are not scaled to fit the stature of a smaller guy. It’s important that shorter guys and sport neckties and scarves that are constructed in a manner that will fit their height. After all, ties can’t be altered.
Other tips that will help short guys wear accessories better are:
Wear shorter ties and scarves that fit your body.
Master different types of knots to help adjust the length of the tie or to fit the size of the gent’s neck
Stay away from wide ties as they take up too much of your torso and gives a crowded look
Wear subtle accessories up high as the will draw the eye up. Keep them subtle so that they don’t overpower the wearer’s height.
How often have you walked into a sporting goods store or the sports section of a menswear establishment and seen sweatpants in a “short” sizes. It’s not too common. Sometimes shorter guys have to resort to extreme measures such as secretly shopping in the boys section for hoodies and sweatpants.
The problem with this is that the pieces in the boys section look like pieces from a boys section. As a man, you’ve graduated from Scooby Doo and Batman clothing.
Solution: Find brands that have your sizes. When you do there are some things that you can do to make you look taller.
Wear hoodies with the zipper open – as the shirt peeks through the open sweatshirt, it creates a horizontal window of the shirt that elongates the torso.
Wear slim sweats or joggers that run slim through the thigh – as with pants and shorts, the slim thigh makes the legs look longer
Plain sweats are best – too many designs can be too busy and shorten the pant legs when worn.