What to wear for tall men

The horizontal line of a belt helps balance the height of very tall men

The horizontal line of a belt helps balance the height of very tall men
Image source: Samuel Windsor

Tall men look best when they dress to give themselves a lean silhouette that’s not swamped with fabric. You can wear both colour and texture as long as you choose a cut that keeps you in proportion. And far from hiding your feet, you should wear tasteful shoes which draw the eye.

If you’re tall, or shopping for someone who is, here’s how to create a look that’s sharp and flattering for the taller man.

Best fit for tall men

Good fit is more important than how much you spend

Good fit is more important than how much you spend
Image source: Samuel Windsor

The cut of your clothes really matters if you’re tall. Too generous and you’ll look like a scarecrow in a gale, your shirt sleeves and trouser legs billowing about your gaunt frame. Too tight and you’ll end up looking like an adolescent undergoing a growth spurt.

You should choose a fit that gives you form but without straying into skinny fit territory. You should also avoid shirts whose tails are too short and trousers that ride up at the ankle. Always opt for socks which cover the calf so you never show skin. Even if your trousers are a good fit, this will make it look as though your legs are too long for them.

For tall guys, a good seamstress or tailor is a contact well worth making – he or she will, for a small fee, alter your purchases to achieve the perfect fit every time and that’s money very well spent.

Suits for tall men

Tall men look best in slim British cut suits with a tapered waist and two buttons like this Blue linen suit from Samuel Windsor

Tall men look best in slim British cut suits with a tapered waist and two buttons
Image source: Blue linen suit from Samuel Windsor

Tall men suit fabrics which offer texture and pattern – plain block colours can emphasise your size and may make you look rather shapeless. Instead go for subtle checks with horizontal lines that provide the illusion of width to balance your height. Cotton twills are a good summer choice and then for winter, there’s always tweed, with its complex pattern. Stay away from strong vertical stripes which lengthen you.

Avoid boxy American-style suits which, with their unstructured shoulders and rather generous cut, run the risk of making you look like a flapping marquee on stilts. Your standard British cut is the way to go – nipped in at the waist, some structure to the shoulders, and not too much excess fabric.

Always go for two buttons on a single breasted jacket – three makes your top half look out of proportion. Double breasted suits look good on tall men because they add interest to your midsection, helping to break what could be a rather monolithic bearing. For those who prefer a single breasted jacket, a waistcoat does the same job.

Colour and texture for tall men

Split your body in half using colour and texture like this Samuel Windsor tweed jacket

Split your body in half using colour and texture
Image source: Samuel Windsor tweed jackets

As a tall fellow, your goal is to break the gaze by adding interest in different areas. Bringing texture into your ensemble is a great way to do that. Wearing a pair of straight cut indigo jeans? Great – now add a chunky nordic sweater. Sporting chinos? Try a soft tattersall shirt, woollen tank top and tactile corduroy jacket – your size definitely gives you the green light to experiment with layers.

Colour is another way to split your silhouette into smaller parts so that your shape works for you rather than against you. Wear a bright gilet under your suit jacket or twin a pair of charcoal wool rich trousers with a contrasting knitted polo in bold burgundy. Alternatively, opt for bright moleskin trousers and checked weekend shirt.

Best patterns for tall men

If you’re wearing a short sleeved shirt, long trousers look best

If you’re wearing a short sleeved shirt, long trousers look best
Image source: Samuel Windsor

You’re probably used to wearing horizontal striped shirts – they’re almost de rigueur for tall men, and with good reason – the stripes interrupt the eye as it heads ever upward. But this look doesn’t always suit people of your stature – like those whose height comes predominantly from the length of their legs.

If you’re short in the body, long in the leg, horizontal stripes won’t work as well – but you can still wear patterns with aplomb. Floral prints look great on you, as do geometric patterned shirts. Beach holiday in the offing? Gents like you look great in long linen trousers and a Hawaiian shirt. Try to avoid short sleeve shirts and shorts though – do one or the other or you run the risk of looking very lanky.

Shoes for tall men

You can’t go wrong with a pair of dark brown leather shoes like these Prestige lightweight brown leather Derbys from Samuel Windsor

You can’t go wrong with a pair of dark brown leather shoes
Image source: Prestige lightweight brown leather Derbys from Samuel Windsor

If you’ve been advised to wear nondescript shoes to hide the fact that you’ve got big feet – forget it. What you’re after is proportion, and drawing the eye down as well as up helps to create a sense of balance. That said, you should avoid overly-loud footwear that could run the risk of making you look clown-like.

Wear smart Chelsea boots with your dark jeans, or for those who like their navy chinos, why not opt for dark brown leather brogues or Derbys? There’s nothing wrong with a snappy pair of loafers and during the summer, wear boat shoes with your shorts or linen trousers.

Don’t forget the accessories

Lose the vertical tie and go for horizontal accessories like belts, sunglasses and a watch

Lose the vertical tie and go for horizontal accessories like belts, sunglasses and a watch
Image source: Spectral Design

If you were ever under the misapprehension that it’s hard for tall men to find a look that flatters, by now you should realise just how lucky you are; tall men just have a lot of canvas to work with. Accessories look great on you too. A belt, for example, is a must because it splits your body into two pieces, making the overall impact less overwhelming.

But we’re also talking quality wrist watches, classic sunglasses like Wayfarers, Aviators and Clubmasters, and reading glasses which project an air of confidence and authority. Being tall gives you permission to sport a bit of man bling too – a nice pair of cufflinks should do the trick.

Do you have any menswear tips for the taller man? We’d love to hear from you so do head over to our Facebook page and drop us a line.

Posted in What to wear guides.

What's your thoughts on the subject?