Some men have a BIG problem being small. Maybe it’s because a tall man is likely to earn £100,000 more over a thirty-year career, or maybe it’s the worry of spending your life as an armrest. Whatever the reason, a lack of height can be a real issue.
While, like ageing and grey hair, some men embrace it, the notion of being below average in a line-up is just not an option for some. Yet while nothing short of a miracle will take you from Danny DeVito to Shaquille O’Neal overnight, there are some tricks you can play on people’s eyes using your wardrobe to give the illusion of height.
Orthopaedic shoes and Cuban heels aside, here are a few style tips to make you appear taller.
Believe it or not, hidden in the body is an extra inch – all you need to do to unlock it is stand up straight.
Alongside eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting eight hours sleep every night, posture is the most natural way to increase height.
If you’re unsure how to achieve (and maintain) good posture, then imagine a thread running through your body, holding your head up. Keep that image in mind throughout the day – make sure your head’s held up high, your back is kept straight and your chest pushed out.
Keep Colours Constant
A tonal monochrome outfit streamlines the body and makes it appear taller by not breaking up the vertical line that eyes naturally follow.
The technique of wearing a single colour in different shades (which just so happens to be a key trend this season) allows people’s eyes to scan up and down the body quickly without stopping. And the darker the colour the better, until you reach black, which will actually shrink you, so settle for navy or charcoal.
Wear Fitted Clothes
Fit is everything when it comes to wanting to look taller. We’ve all seen that exaggerated picture of the man in a baggy suit; not only does he look like he raided his dad’s wardrobe, but as though he is too small to buy clothes that fit off-the-peg.
It’s important to know your size (most men buy a size too large), what cuts suit your shape (if you’re short and stocky, spray-on jeans are probably not for you) and what brand’s fit you best.
In short, throw away those baggy, low-waisted trousers and find yourself a good tailor who understands what you’re trying to achieve.
Remember the rule that horizontal stripes make people appear wider was proved, disproved and then proved again? The same logic applies to vertical stripes and lengthening.
Evenly spaced vertical lines – whether in patterns like striped shirts, or in fabrics like corduroy – make the wearer seem taller because other people’s eyes want to follow them up.
Image: Hackett SS15
Much like ensuring your clothes aren’t too big, the finer details shouldn’t be either. Therefore, elements like lapels, tie width and knot, collars and even the amount of shirt cuff you show should be smaller or thinner than average.
This helps keep everything in proportion to your size and avoids highlighting small features.
Image: Burton AW15
Keep Details Upstairs
By now it should have become clear that the aim is to draw people’s eyes to your upper body.
Style magpies will be drawn to accessories so use pocket squares, hats, tie pins and glasses to achieve this (but never all at once).
Image: Mango Man SS14
Use The Power Of V
Any man who has ever worn a suit will have noticed himself feeling and looking taller. This is in part because a well-fitting suit helps with posture, but also because of its shape.
The ‘V’ created by the blazer (you guessed it) draws the eyes upwards and makes shoulders more pronounced. This technique also works with V-neck jumpers, which elongate the neck as well as provide a great excuse for layering.
Image: Next 2015
Things To Avoid
Alongside the dos, there are a few don’ts when trying to give the appearance of height:
- Try to avoid belts, particularly in contrasting colours. These stop the eyes from scanning up the body quickly by adding a horizontal break (remember, vertical is your friend).
- Shorts and short-sleeved shirts can accentuate your shorter limbs, so where possible opt for linen trousers and roll long sleeves using the Italian method. Of course, wearing shorts is often unavoidable in high summer, so keep an eye out for styles that are cut a little higher to give the appearance of longer legs.
- When it comes to shirts, if the hem passes your hipbone, tuck it in, or wear a different shirt. Anything longer than this will shorten your legs.
- Don’t let your height rule your life. Remember, for every short man wanting to be taller, there’s a tall man wanting to be shorter.
Are you a shorter gentleman? What styling tips and tricks have you found work well for you?
Make sure you share them in the comments section below.