Our idealized body type for a man is tall and athletic. For this reason, many short men desire to appear taller but aren't sure how to choose clothes that accomplish that goal. This detailed guide, 7 style tips for shorter men, will give you an understanding of what pieces to reach for to look taller and well put together.
Shorter men have the challenge of selecting clothes that elongate their form, drawing the beholder's eyes vertically along their frame. You may find that tips for short men get bundled into fashion advice for wide men. Although there are plenty of short petite men, the basic concept of drawing the eye up and down rather than across the widest part of you is the same for both short and wide men, doubly true for men who are both.
Fit for Shorter Men
If there is one piece of advice universal to everyone, no matter your body shape, it's to wear clothes tailored to fit your body. There's no exception for short guys. The most important tool in your arsenal is your trusted tailor. Off the rack clothes will likely be too long in the trouser pants, jacket sleeve, and dress shirt length. Your shirt should not extend past your hip bones. Your sleeves should not extend past where your fingers meet your palm and you should watch for bunching in your sleeve, a sure sign of poor fit. If you consistently find that off the rack clothing needs significant tailoring, you should consider investing in bespoke items designed for your physique and sewn to your exact measurements.
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Draw the Line: Creating Height
Second only to fit, dressing to your body types means intentionally drawing the viewer's eye in a flattering way across your body. For shorter men, this means vertically. Chunky, flashy accessories like a watch or loud tie clip are a bad choice for short men because they segment your silhouette and emphasize your height. Simple, chic accessories are a better choice.
Solid colors or a monochromatic theme are also a safe bet for a shorter man. When arranging a monochromatic outfit, keep the lightest shades towards the top and darker shades to the bottom. For example, a light blue dress shirt, dark blue slacks, and navy shoes.
Likewise, short men should be cautious in selecting patterns. A plaid or checkered pattern that moves in both vertical and horizontal lines will emphasize your squareness rather than your height. Low-key, vertically-aligned patterns will always make a short man look taller. While some bolder options can still be very flattering on a shorter man, you will get a much stronger lengthening effect with simpler ones.
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Proportion needs to be taken into consideration when selecting items to add to your wardrobe and when mixing individual items together. A large, broad-shouldered man looks silly when he dons a skinny tie and a delicate watch. That juxtaposition of sizes is the same reason that a shorter guy looks clownish with oversized accessories or bold, large patterns. In general, chose shapes and sizes that match your own relative shape and size. When mixing pieces together, make sure no one item is overpowering any others.
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Fabrics for Shorter Men
You could choose to add pattern and texture by reaching for vertically-oriented fabric as well, like corduroy or herringbone. Fabrics that add bulk around your midsection, like corduroy, should be avoided if you want to minimize your width (such as in the case of a larger man) but can be striking and very flattering on a short and petite man.
Avoid Short Sleeves
Height comes from length in your limbs as well as your torso. This is why two men sitting on barstools might appear to be the same height until they stand up and demonstrate the difference in the length of their limbs. Wearing a short sleeve shirt emphasizes how short your arms are by breaking them up visually, and even makes them seem much shorter than they actually are. A long sleeve shirt, then, has the opposite effect and draws that sharp line from shoulder to wrist. If you are attending an event and you are worried a long sleeve shirt will be too warm, opt for light and breathable cotton or linen.
Befriend the Blazer
Shorter men look taller wearing a suit jacket or blazer. As I mentioned above, a long sleeve elongates a short man, but blazers and jackets have the additional benefit of padding on the shoulder, making your torso appear longer as well. Just the added bulk of the fabric should do the trick, but extra padding in the shoulder can make this effect even more pronounced.
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Cuffs and Breaks
A short man can opt to have a slightly shorter break where the trouser pants meet the shoes. This elongates the frame because it's more in proportion to the rest of the pant leg. A taller man would look better with a wider cuff to match the proportion of his long legs.
Dressing to your body type can be a real challenge for many men, but luckily it's just a place to start. Learning the basics of how to draw a line across your body and how to choose proportional accessories will give you the ability to dress any body type. Once you have grasped these concepts, you can begin to play with riskier choices to find combinations you've never considered before. Keeping these tips in mind while buying your clothes, as opposed to when trying to get dressed for the day, will go a long way to making sure you always look your best. A well-dressed man should prepare his wardrobe with care and select pieces that he will be able to mix and match with other articles of clothes he already owns.
And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!