Creating the illusion of extra inches when armed only with the clothes on your back may seem like a tall order. But by tailoring your wardrobe (in some cases, literally) to suit your stature it’s possible to piece together outfits in a way that helps both you, and your style credentials, reach new heights.
Stylist Freddie Kemp, from online style counsel provider Thread, is on hand with the long and the short of it.
Make The Cut
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a lot of clothes providers cannot be relied upon to cater to everyone’s needs – namely, yours. But just because it doesn’t fit off the peg doesn’t mean you need to leave it on the rail. Befriending a local tailor is the best way to make your favourite purchases work for you.
The reason? There are certain clothes lengths and proportions that work best for shorter blokes. “A blazer, for example, should finish just below your bum in length and the sleeve should finish with 1/2 inch of shirt cuff showing,” explains Kemp.
“For smart shirts, sleeves should finish just below your wrist, any longer and it could swamp you,” he continues. Fingers crossed your tailor will realise this too; if not then use these recommendations as a litmus test of quality and take your business elsewhere.
Not Your Bag
Streetwear hypemen look away now. Wearing baggy clothes like longline T-shirts and skate hoodies is doing nothing for your lofty ambitions. “You don’t want anything oversized or too big as this will only emphasise your stature,” says Kemp.
Opt for slim or straight fits instead. You might miss out on the next Yeezy drop, but at least you don’t have to spend the night camping in Soho with a crew of 15-year-olds (and their mums, obviously).
Try to keep your outfits tonal rather than resorting to block-colours worn on top and bottom. “By avoiding anything too contrasting you create a continuation of colour down your body, which can help to give the illusion of a longer frame,” explains Kemp.
This is, however, not an excuse to deploy your triple denim, Canadian tuxedo. Woah there, cowboy etc.
Feet For Inches
Step away from the Cuban heels. Instead, selecting the appropriate footwear is a classic case of less is more.
“Prioritise low-top silhouettes like brogues or Oxfords rather than boots or high-tops, which cut your legs down to make you look shorter,” says Kemp.
Tonal soles offer the same lengthening effect as your clothing, while thicker lug or commando soles not only exceptional grip but can also add a welcome inch to your overall height.
Along The Right Lines
OK, so it’s probably the advice you’ve heard a hundred times before, but in this case that’s because it works. Avoid horizontal stripes (apologies to those Bretons amongst you) because they make you look broader.
“And so it follows that vertical stripes make you look taller,” Kemp continues. “Although it goes without saying that you should avoid overdoing this with vertical stripes on top and bottom [unless it’s a suit, of course].” A good vertical stripe shirt like a blue and white striped button-down Oxford shirt is a wardrobe must-own.
Tips For Tuck
Sartorial advice for short men is not universally effective. An important distinction must always be made between guys with different body proportions; work out which part of you is longer and this will guide your choices.
“If you have longer legs and a shorter torso, keep your shirt untucked to elongate your upper half,” advises Kemp. This works the other way around, too: if you have a longer torso and your legs are on the short side, tuck in your shirt.
And what to wear on your bottom half now? “Again, it’s all about proportions. If your legs are long and your torso is short, then shorts can look great,” says Kemp. But short legs are broken up and further shortened by shorts. If needs must then be sure to wear them on your waist, not hips, to give your legs an extra couple of inches.