Odds are that, if you're reading this article, it's because you are dissatisfied with your height. Don't be offended; I would have liked to be a few inches taller as well, but unfortunately, we don't have much control over how tall we will be - at least not yet.
Until we do, short men will continue to have a slight disadvantage in the fashion world. This is especially true in terms of finding threads that fit properly; few manufacturers make clothes for men who are shorter than 5' 5".
That's why I'm here to help you find the clothes that fit right and make you look taller in the process. I also have some advice on how to wear them to get the best effect. These short-man fashion tips are for guys who want to look good and feel the confidence that comes with being tall and stylish.
Before we start with the fashion advice, the following are some simple yet often overlooked tips that can help you appear taller regardless of what you're wearing:
- Maintaining good posture is key if you want to hit your maximum height potential. Remember to sit with your back straight and stand proudly with your head up high at all times. A slouched stance will only make you look shorter, not to mention insecure and timid.
- Keep in mind that, as a general rule, short hair works best for shorter men. Long hair tends to hide the neck and shoulders. This makes your head and body look like one body part, which doesn't help you in your quest to look taller.
- Another tip to maximize your stature is to stay fit and trim at all times. Heavier and extremely muscular men tend to look broader and stubbier. Staying lean and having some muscle (such as built, defined shoulders) without overdoing it can help add some height to your overall frame.
Hit the Stores Before You Go Out
The best way to start shopping is by cracking open the yellow pages or getting on your favorite search engines to find various men's clothing stores in the area. Call these stores and ask what styles and sizes they carry. You should also ask the salesperson if they can make special orders for shorter men or if they offer custom-made clothing.
Finally, another way to land yourself smaller sizes is to order clothing from "short size" catalogs or try finding garments in the boys' section of larger department stores (you'd be surprised by the great stuff you can find!).
General Styling Tips
When looking at what clothes to order, here are a few style tips for shorter men that you should keep in mind:
1. Wear Vertical Stripes
Anything that elongates your height is a good thing. For example, vertical stripes in clothing can help extend the look of your shorter body. Patterns such as pinstripe, chalk stripe and herringbone also offer that "vertical" effect.
Note: Steer clear of plaid and checkered shirts.
2. Wear One Color
Wearing a shirt and pants in the same color will prevent obvious breaks in your natural frame. As a result, it can give the illusion that you're taller.
3. Opt for Dark Shades and Light Fabrics
Dark colors, especially black, tend to have a slimming effect and help shorter men seem more elongated. The same applies to light or medium-weight fabrics. Heavier fabrics, on the other hand, tend to make you look bulkier and shorter.
4. Keep Lighter Colors on Top
If you do decide to mix light and dark colors, wearing the lighter ones on your upper body (shirts, jackets, etc.). This will draw people's eyes upward and create the illusion of being taller. Conversely, wearing lighter colors on the bottom draws the eye downward and makes you look shorter.
5. A Proper Fit is Key
Finally, remember that it's important that your clothes fit flawlessly. Looser garments can make you look stumpy, so opt for a fit that is trim rather than baggy.
The Clothes That Will Do the TrickSo what clothes for shorter men will help you achieve the look I've outlined above? Let's break it down by category:
One way to elevate your stature is by wearing height-increasing footwear or apparatuses such as lifts, thicker insoles, Elevator Shoes and shoes with thicker soles. These can all easily add a few inches to your height.
Shopping Tip: When shopping for shoes, try sticking to bulkier styles so that your feet don't look too small.
Avoid wearing blazers and cardigans with more than three buttons. These will draw unwanted attention to your shorter upper body. Also, make sure your blazers and jackets fall slightly below your buttocks, as this will make your body look slightly more elongated. While you should try to avoid double-breasted suits, if you do choose to wear one, do up all the buttons (including the lower ones), as this will give you a longer look.
Also, when wearing a sports jacket, make sure there's as little contrast between your jacket and trousers as possible to maintain the natural vertical lines. Center and side vents also add the effect of a prolonged vertical line.
Shopping Tip: Get a jacket where the shirt sleeves stick out about ¼-inch rather than the usual ½-inch or ¾-inch. This will prevent your clothing from elongating the arms, which makes you appear shorter.
In terms of sweaters and T-shirts, V-necks can help make your torso look longer. Turtlenecks, on the other hand, can make you look stumpy as they conceal your neck.
Look for formfitting shirts in order to avoid excess fabric when tucking them in and opt for point collars instead of spreads. Finally, keep in mind that tucking in your shirt can place the emphasis on your legs and torso, which might make you look shorter.
Shopping Tip: Shortening the length of a shirt is generally easier than reducing the length of its sleeves, so make sure the shirt fits properly around your shoulders and body. If it does, then you can have the overall length and the sleeves adjusted.
Your pants should sit on your natural waistline just above the hips. Wearing pants too high will make your torso look shorter. Also, avoid wearing low-rise pants (even if they are the trendier alternative), as they tend to make legs look shorter than they already are.
Furthermore, avoid any kind of puckering around the hips, from tucking in your shirts or having full pockets. This will make you look wider and hence shorter. Your trousers should break on your shoes slightly more than average to help make your legs look longer by covering your socks properly. This is particularly important if you are wearing Elevator Shoes that you want to conceal.
I also recommend shunning cuffs altogether. If you do decide to wear them, have your tailor hem them slightly narrower than normal (that is, 1¼ inches instead of the usual 1½ to 2 inches). Finally, keep in mind that pants with no pleats or a single pleat are more flattering than multiple pleats.
Shopping Tip: If you can't find any pants that fit properly, you can always have them custom-made or visit a specialty store near you.
When it comes to accessories, shorter men should avoid bow ties. Instead, they should wear narrower ties for a slimming effect. Solid, regimental and diagonal patterns work best. Also, choose the less intrusive four-in-hand knot over the bulkier Windsor variety.
When buying a belt, remember that you can have it adjusted to any length by simply adding more holes. A belt that doesn't have holes is even easier as it's fully adjustable for a perfect fit. Finally, keep in mind that suspenders can emphasize your natural vertical line, so avoid them if possible.
Shopping Tip: Again, you can find many stylish accessories in special catalogs, at local specialty stores, or in the boys' section of larger department stores. If you're having trouble finding socks that fit, you can always give the socks in the women's department a try.
Just Look Good
Remember: The key is not necessarily to look as tall you can but to look as good as you can. The proper fit and the right styles can make you look great regardless of your height.
Until next time, keep on stylin'.