If you’re on the short side, looking your best is all about elongating your silhouette, reducing clutter and drawing the eye upward. You should wear fitted clothes with clean lines cut to flatter your form, and go for monochrome or closely complementary colours. Here’s your guide to dressing for short men.
How to dress taller
Choosing a new suit? Go single breasted for an unfussy midsection, and avoid waistcoats which clutter you up. It’s vital to choose a suit that fits you perfectly – and keep a tailor or seamstress in reserve to have your trouser length or sleeves altered if necessary.
Your suit should be slim fitting without being so tight it restricts movement – slimming your outline gives the impression of height. Go for trousers without cuffs at the bottom as these can make short legs look even shorter. The ideal length for all your trousers, not just your suits, is a quarter break – the hem should just touch the top of your shoe. It’s important to avoid bunching fabric around your ankles if you want to make your legs look longer.
For your jacket, you’re looking for a shorter fit – the vents should cover your backside, but no more – a jacket that’s too long won’t do you any favours. The top button of your jacket should be above your navel because it draws your centre upwards. Choose a British cut suit with structure in the shoulders and a tapered waist to give you shape. Narrow notched lapels will also help to slim and elongate your overall look. For more help choosing a suit, our essential guide to men’s suits infographic has plenty of helpful tips.
Trousers for short men
Low rise chinos and jeans are less than ideal for the shorter man because they lengthen your top half at the expense of your legs. The trick is to dress in a way that keeps your body in proportion.
You should also avoid trousers with too low a crotch because these can make your legs look stumpy and your clothes appear too big for you. Ideally you want your jeans to sit on your hips, chinos and trousers a little higher – your waistband should cross your middle no more than a couple of inches below your belly button.
Shirts for small men
At all costs avoid wearing too much fabric or you’ll look like a choir boy minus the ruff. If you can pinch a couple of inches of fabric all around, that’s enough. Pay particular attention to your shirt tails – they shouldn’t be too long – and unless your shirt is specifically designed to be worn untucked, you’ll look better tucking it in.
Go for relatively high armholes – this stretches your trunk – and opt for slightly shorter sleeves. The usual advice is to let your shirt cuffs protrude by a half to a full inch from the cuff of your jacket – you need to be looking at a quarter inch.
Do you like short sleeved shirts? If so, you might find the comparatively wide sleeves make your arms look a bit twig-like. A slim sleeve that ends mid bicep is most flattering for those of smaller stature.
Patterns and colours for short guys
Steer clear of anything too fussy – busy patterned shirts and t-shirts break you into smaller pieces making you look shorter than you really are. If you do like patterns, vertical stripes are your friend; keep them narrow or the dead space between them ruins the illusion of height they lend. Stay away from horizontal stripes.
Monochrome ensembles look great because they lend your look a sense of continuity, helping to lengthen the overall you. If you want to add a splash of colour to what you’re wearing, go for a colourful pocket square. Remember that working with single or at least complementary colours still means colour, so go ahead and experiment a little – think royal blues, plums or greens.
Shoes and accessories for the vertically challenged
Always wear smart, good quality shoes. A pair of Chelsea boots will blur the line between the end of your leg and your foot, making you appear taller. The slight lift in the heel also adds a little to your actual height! Penny loafers are another good choice.
If you’re going for accessories, keep them simple and wear them high on your body to draw the eye up and down your frame. Quality sunglasses are a must and a hat is worthy of consideration as long as it has a narrow brim. Keep to slim wrist watches too – it’s all about minimising the bling to maximise your body. Avoid belts, particularly in a contrasting colour, because they cut you in half and make you look shorter. Braces work better for smaller men.
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