Introduction

In part one of this guide, we outlined some general guidelines and techniques that should be applied when dressing a shorter body frame. These tips can be applied whether you are slim, overweight or well-built, because the aim remains the same: focus on streamlining your appearance to visually extend your silhouette.

This streamlined appearance can be achieved by experimenting with various cuts, styles and colours. All of these will be outlined in today’s article, along with a full break down of the key items that belong in every short man’s wardrobe.

When all these tips and techniques are combined with your unique personal taste, the result should be the ability to produce stylish and original looks that flatter this common body shape.

Jackets & Blazers

Jackets and blazers can look great on all men, if the fit is correct.

For shorter body frames, a slim fit is ideal. This type of cut will help elongate your upper body and subsequently make your torso appear slimmer. Ensure the fit on the shoulders and length of the arms are correct as this will further emphasise this visual effect.

Whilst it’s entirely possible that you have longer legs and a shorter torso, or vice versa, it is advised that the length of the jacket or blazer remains the same: finishing at the bottom of the buttocks. This again will streamline, and also smoothen the appearance around the waist.

Anything much longer than this, such as a full length mac or overcoat, will have an adverse effect and shorten the legs, leaving your proportions out of balance. Instead, stick to cropped versions, Harringtons, denim jackets, single-breasted pea coats or on trend bombers for optimal results.

As for colour choice, in part one it was highlighted that navy and black will help provide a lengthening effect. Not only that, when they are layered over lighter hues it can create a definitive vertical line that will elongate your torso.

Whilst both navy and black are timeless and effortlessly stylish, if another colour is desired ensure you take into account what you are wearing on your bottom half – large variances in tones will break up your vertical lines and only shorten your frame.

Formal wear in similar hues or slightly lighter shades on top will draw the eye upwards, therefore helping to lengthen. Colourful blazers with darker bottoms will work to the same effect, but avoid stark contrasts.

Single-breasted cuts are the most effective on this body shape, with no more than three (one or two is ideal) buttons being advised. If double-breasted is unavoidable, ensure all buttons are fastened.

Lookbook Inspiration

As was the case in part one of this guide, it is important to note that the fashion industry is dominated by tall, lean models and therefore the lookbooks included within this article should be utilised solely for inspiration.

For example, although the jackets shown below would flatter the shorter man, styling touches such as turn-ups, going sockless and the like should be avoided:

Short Men's Lookbook Inspiration - Outerwear

he by mango  aw11Massimo dutti  april 2013Massimo dutti September 2012ami ss13gap aw12allsaints ss13unknownallsaints aw13zalando ss13CERRUTI 1881 Ready to wear ss13burberry black label ss13diegel ss13
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Fremont Denim JacketAllsaints Fremont Denim Jacket
  • Topman Stone Poplin Single Breasted MacTopman Stone Poplin Single Breasted Mac
  • Reiss Benson Technical Twill Funnel Neck JacketReiss Benson Technical Twill Funnel Neck Jacket
  • Easy Classic Harrington JacketEasy Classic Harrington Jacket
  • Allsaints Blenham Leather Bomber JacketAllsaints Blenham Leather Bomber Jacket
  • River Island Light Brown Casual Hooded Bomber JacketRiver Island Light Brown Casual Hooded Bomber Jacket
  • River Island Red Bellfield Harrington JacketRiver Island Red Bellfield Harrington Jacket
  • Lot78 Leather Bomber JacketLot78 Leather Bomber Jacket
  • Rag & Bone Falmouth JacketRag & Bone Falmouth Jacket
  • Asos Bomber Jacket With Borg CollarAsos Bomber Jacket With Borg Collar
  • Nudie Perry Organic Denim JacketNudie Perry Organic Denim Jacket
  • Asos MacAsos Mac
Legwear

Contrary to popular belief, for the shorter man it really is the skinnier the fit the better. We’re not suggesting you go out and buy ‘spray-on’ jeans; so tight that you subsequently feel inclined to start up an indie band (unless that’s something you want to do). However, you should consider slimmer tapered fits, as these narrow your frame instantly and give shape and definition to your legs.

Classic black and indigo slim fits are endlessly versatile and will see you through many a season, and many a look – yet it is important that you experiment with other colours so your look doesn’t become stale. Just remember to stick to darker hues on the bottom so the eyeline is drawn upward. With slim fits having remained consistently popular for many seasons, the choice is vast, with most chinos, jeans and other trousers now readily available in this style.

In winter, try a pair of corduroys – the vertical cords offer a similar effect to that of pinstripes.

A mid-rise will flatter better than low as it naturally lengthens the leg. Turn-ups, giving your trouser hems a roll, excessive breaks around the ankle and bold, contrasting socks are generally all ‘no nos’ as they will only help break up your vertical line and shorten the appearance of your legs.

For those who like to sport a summery short, stick to a length that finishes just above the knee as this will reveal enough leg to keep proportions balanced.

Lookbook Inspiration

Short Men's Lookbook Inspiration - Trousers and Shorts

dockers ss12tommy hilfiger sportswear aw13house of fraser aw13reiss ss12reiss aw12urban-outfitters x champion 2012ben sherman aw12CALIBRE aw12El Burgues
Key Pieces
  • River Island Blue Corduroy Stretch Skinny TrousersRiver Island Blue Corduroy Stretch Skinny Trousers
  • He By Mango Prince Of Wales Suit TrousersHe By Mango Prince Of Wales Suit Trousers
  • He By Mango Premium Chino TrousersHe By Mango Premium Chino Trousers
  • Allsaints Yin Cigarette JeansAllsaints Yin Cigarette Jeans
  • Reiss Solace Soft Chinos With Garment Wash Dark GreyReiss Solace Soft Chinos With Garment Wash Dark Grey
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Cotton Chino TrousersHe By Mango Slim-fit Cotton Chino Trousers
  • Reiss Shropshire Denim ChinosReiss Shropshire Denim Chinos
  • Topman Mid Brown Skinny ChinosTopman Mid Brown Skinny Chinos
  • Asos Slim Fit ChinosAsos Slim Fit Chinos
  • Etro Slim-fit Brushed Denim JeansEtro Slim-fit Brushed Denim Jeans
  • Tailored Essential Twill TrousersTailored Essential Twill Trousers
  • Mcq Alexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Dry Denim JeansMcq Alexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Dry Denim Jeans
Tops & Shirts

If out shopping for a new shirt you should consider both fit AND length. Satisfied in the knowledge that it can be tucked in, many men will overlook length and simply reach for the slim fit. However, a shirt that is too long will bulk out the top of the trousers when tucked in, therefore widening the hips and weakening any attempt to streamline.

Look for shirts that finish just below the waist and reveal a quarter inch of cuff if worn under a jacket. The colour of the shirt can be entirely dependent on taste, although lighter and brighter colours will create a lengthening effect in relation to the rest of the body. If intending to layer, ensure the shirt is lighter than the jacket on top so the torso appears slimmer.

Alternative necklines on tops and tees provide an instant way of changing the overall visual. V-necks are the most effective for shorter men as they will define and streamline the appearance of that particular area of the upper body.

In relation to colours, prints and patterns, the top half of the body is where the most experimentation can take place. Bearing in mind part one’s tips on layering and avoiding contrasts that are too bold, you can wear lighter and brighter colours confidently.

Detailed, intricate prints sit well on shorter men, whilst vertical stripes (and vertical patterning/prints in general) are a must when attempting to lengthen. Light to dark dip-dye pieces are almost designed for this body shape too, as they complement it so well.

Knitwear

Knitwear choices should be dependent on fit and fabric. Stick to slim fits as opposed to oversized or slouchy – merino wool or similar lightweight v-neck sweaters are well worth your consideration. Available in a range of colours from brands such as John Smedley and AllSaints, these pieces work extremely well as layering pieces, yet are strong enough to work on their own over a tee/shirt with jeans.

Cable knits provide texture and warmth in the winter, with the vertical detailing actually working to help elongate and streamline. Cardigans are perfect for framing a lighter coloured shirt or tee underneath when left open (creating the strong vertical line highlighted in part one).

Don’t forget that knitwear varies in neckline size and detailing from season to season, and is a great way of adding physical height particularly around the neck – try hooded styles or those with a heightened collar.

Overall, remembering to steer clear of the bulky, shapeless fits will set you on the right track.

Lookbook Inspiration

Short Men's Lookbook Inspiration - Knitwear

zara man september 2013zara man february 2013reiss aw12h&m modern classicsallsaints ss13he by mango september 2012massimo dutti august 2012gant rugger aw13club monaco ss12
Key Pieces
  • Acne Brent Cable-knit Wool SweaterAcne Brent Cable-knit Wool Sweater
  • River Island Brown Cable Twist Knit V Neck CardiganRiver Island Brown Cable Twist Knit V Neck Cardigan
  • River Island Blue Twist Chunky Cable Knit JumperRiver Island Blue Twist Chunky Cable Knit Jumper
  • Savile Row Inspired Merino Wool Rich V-neck Jumper With SilkSavile Row Inspired Merino Wool Rich V-neck Jumper With Silk
  • Merino Wool Shawl Neck JumperMerino Wool Shawl Neck Jumper
  • Allsaints Code Merino CardiganAllsaints Code Merino Cardigan
  • John Smedley Mazarine Fine-knit Merino Wool CardiganJohn Smedley Mazarine Fine-knit Merino Wool Cardigan
  • Allsaints Code Merino V-neck JumperAllsaints Code Merino V-neck Jumper
  • Slim Merino CardiganSlim Merino Cardigan
  • Allsaints Hilson CardiganAllsaints Hilson Cardigan
  • Reiss Marlin Woolly Cotton Club VeeReiss Marlin Woolly Cotton Club Vee
  • Faconnable Cotton-jersey V-neck SweaterFaconnable Cotton-jersey V-neck Sweater
Accessories

Accessories can be integrated effectively into any wardrobe, including that of the shorter man. In this instance the aim is to use those that complement and strengthen the desired look or overall silhouette – ultimately, continuing on the quest to streamline and lengthen.

In terms of top half accessories, bow ties should be avoided. Instead, opt for narrow ties in a block-colour. Long necklaces and slimmer scarves help to streamline whilst adding a touch of individuality and some welcome detailing, but steer clear of snoods or any widening pieces that will appear to shorten.

Hats are a great way to instantly add a few inches and with so many styles to choose from, all that is left to decide is whether you feel confident enough to pull one off.

When considering belts, go for thinner styles in black, brown or tan that will complement (rather than contrast against) other colours within your outfit. Bold printed and coloured versions will split the body in half instantly, ruining any attempt to draw the eye upwards and creating a focus point at the centre that also widens that area.

Pocket squares and watches are great for adding pops of colour too but remember not to apply this to your sock choice.

Lookbook Inspiration

Short Men's Lookbook Inspiration - Accessories

zara man ss12drykorn ss13Kitsune ss11reiss aw12unknownbanana republic ss12massimo dutti 2010zara man september 2012zara man august 2012zara man november 2009river island aw12allsaints aw12
Key Pieces
  • Reiss Danton Formal Suit Belt With Feather Edge BlackReiss Danton Formal Suit Belt With Feather Edge Black
  • He By Mango Leather Suit BeltHe By Mango Leather Suit Belt
  • Reiss Cindersaur Geometric Cuboid Print Pocket Square Burnt OrangeReiss Cindersaur Geometric Cuboid Print Pocket Square Burnt Orange
  • Asos 4-way Pocket SquareAsos 4-way Pocket Square
  • Mp Di Massimo Piombo Printed Silk ScarfMp Di Massimo Piombo Printed Silk Scarf
  • He By Mango Textured Wool FoulardHe By Mango Textured Wool Foulard
  • Charvet Slim Knitted Silk TieCharvet Slim Knitted Silk Tie
  • Asos Slim TieAsos Slim Tie
  • J.crew Floral-print Cotton Pocket SquareJ.crew Floral-print Cotton Pocket Square
  • Nixon Mens The Time Teller P Mint Watch – Matte PepperNixon Mens The Time Teller P Mint Watch - Matte Pepper
  • Uniform Wares 200 Series Calendar WatchUniform Wares 200 Series Calendar Watch
  • Miansai Silver Anchor NecklaceMiansai Silver Anchor Necklace
Footwear

Choice of footwear is an important decision when it comes to any outfit build. In this particular wardrobe the focus should be on shape and fastening type.

Shoes with a slight heel will instantly add height and improve posture, which is crucial to appearing taller. A pointed toe, particularly on formal footwear, will also lengthen and alter the direction in which the eye travels.

In terms of casual shoes, Converse styles with contrasting toe caps offer much the same effect as pointed styles. With contrast soles a hot trend right now, play with colour combinations in an attempt to appear heightened – white soles are extremely effective at this.

Boots can still work on shorter men, especially if you tonally blend them with your trousers/jeans and cover the extra height with your hems. This ensures there’s no clean break at the ankle, which means the eyeline will travel down the length of the leg and to the end of your toe in one fluid motion, deceiving the eye into thinking they are longer than they actually are.

You could also try tucking in your trouser leg into your boots, so long as the result creates one fluid line with no bunching or sharp contrasts in colour (think black/charcoal boots with black skinny jeans).

Finally, remember that no matter what footwear you choose, tucked in laces will elongate whilst untucked or buckles will widen.

  • Mr.hare Mens King Tubby Special ShoeMr.hare Mens King Tubby Special Shoe
  • River Island Grey Suede Lace Up ShoesRiver Island Grey Suede Lace Up Shoes
  • Nonnative Dweller Shoes Wingtip Cow Suede With Gore Tex 2l By RegalNonnative Dweller Shoes Wingtip Cow Suede With Gore Tex 2l By Regal
  • Fred Perry Twisted Wheel Fontana LoafersFred Perry Twisted Wheel Fontana Loafers
  • Kg By Kurt Geiger Dorset Leather BootsKg By Kurt Geiger Dorset Leather Boots
  • Allsaints Cabot BootAllsaints Cabot Boot
  • Ps Paul Smith Starling Oxford ShoesPs Paul Smith Starling Oxford Shoes
  • River Island Black Pointed BroguesRiver Island Black Pointed Brogues
  • Asos Chukka Boots In LeatherAsos Chukka Boots In Leather
  • Rivieras Cotton Mesh Slip-on ShoesRivieras Cotton Mesh Slip-on Shoes
  • Converse Jack Purcell Leather SneakersConverse Jack Purcell Leather Sneakers
  • Converse All Star Hi PlimsollsConverse All Star Hi Plimsolls
Final Word

Whether you closely follow trends or prefer a more timeless approach, you should always be showcasing the best parts of you – no matter whether you are tall, short, big or small. This guide has been geared towards providing shorter men with the tips, techniques and key pieces they need to help them develop a wardrobe and personal style that suits both their personality and body shape.

As previously stated, the extent to which the advice is incorporated is entirely dependent on personal style and taste, and should therefore only be used as a guideline.

However, hopefully you will now have a better understanding of how certain fits, colours and styles dramatically affect your look and the way your body shape appears to others.

Make sure you share your personal tips for elongating a shorter body type in the comments section below…