Style Tips for the Shorter Man
General Tips for the Shorter Man
If you are a short man who wishes to appear taller, the overall goal is to choose clothing that makes the body appear longer. This is done, in part, by creating a straight, streamlined silhouette.
In general, clothing should not be baggy or otherwise ill-fitting; you want to create a clean "straight up-and-down" line with little interruption, as this adds the illusion of length.
Another problem with oversized clothing on a shorter man is that it ends up making you look like you are swimming in your clothes, as though you borrowed them from your larger brother or uncle. Of course, this also tends to make you look shorter as well.
Tips for Pants/Jeans
For all pants, including jeans, make sure your pant legs are hemmed to the proper length so that they break only slightly. The term "break" refers to where your pants fall on your shoes, creating a horizontal crease in the fabric across the front of your pant leg. If the break comes too high or is not defined enough, your pants will look too short when you stand or walk. If the break is too low, there will be a lot of excess fabric around your ankles, and your pants will look oversized-- this can especially be a problem for shorter men. A slight/short break is the best choice for the short man. If you also happen to have smaller feet, a slight break will keep your pants from "drowning" your shoes. Jeans can break slightly lower than dress pants-- but one should still avoid lots of excess material around the ankles.
Cuffing jeans or other pants makes the legs appear shorter-- have your pants hemmed to the proper length as described above. Avoid white or light-colored shoes with jeans, as this breaks the overall line of the leg.
As mentioned in the "fitting pants" section, another thing to consider when choosing pants is the "rise"-- the distance between the crotch and the waist. If the crotch of your pants hangs too low, the legs will again appear shorter, and the area around your seat and crotch will look odd or boxy. Look for low-rise (or short-sized) jeans, or have a tailor alter the crotch of dress pants if it is too long.
In dress pants and khakis, pleats should be avoided, especially deep pleats. Flowing, full-cut dress pants should also be avoided. Pleats can take away from your clean vertical line, and bagginess in pants can make you look like you're drowning in too-big clothing. When possible, it is generally better to stick to flat front pants and avoid lots of extra material.
In general, baggy jeans should also be avoided. Very baggy jeans will tend to make you look like you are drowning in them, making you look smaller. This is not to say that you should wear ultra-tight jeans, but rather that when observing fashion trends, keep overall proportion in mind, and remember that certain cuts of clothing may suit your better than others. If you do choose a relaxed or baggier cut, be sure it fits you well and is proportioned for your frame to begin with (i.e., proper rise and inseam length).
For more information on pants, check the "fitting pants" section.
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Tips on Shirts
Try to find shirts that are hemmed to rest only and inch or two below the waistline of your pants; if your shirts are longer than this, tuck them in to avoid giving the appearance of short legs. In general, button-front dress shirts should always be tucked in for the same reason (in addition to the fact that it is a tidier look). Keep in mind that a tailor can alter the hem length of shirts in addition to the sleeve length for a better fit.
Avoid very baggy shirts, or shirts that puff out when you tuck them in. Look for shirts with higher armholes (to avoid extra material under the arms) and that fit properly-- neither baggy nor clinging to your torso.
Shirts and jackets with vertical stripes can add height to your look. Choose vertical stripes that are on the thinner side-- too wide and you may start to look squat, or the pattern may overpower you.
On casual shirts, a lower collar can make your neck appear longer (for example, on a polo shirt). A V-neck t-shirt can also have the effect of making your neck seem longer.
For more information on pants, check the "fitting a shirt" section.
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Tips on Suits
When choosing a suit, request a "short" cut-- short-sized suits are proportioned better for shorter men. Short men's specialty stores will stock a larger selection of short suits than your average men's clothing store.
Adding a slight taper at the waist of the suit jacket can create a longer look for the legs. A two-button jacket with a relatively low stance that shows more of the tie will make the upper body appear longer. Very subtle pinstripes can emphasize length, but avoid any strong pattern that will overpower.
For suit pants, avoid cuffs; the goal is to create long lines, and cuffs interrupt the line. As with all pants, make sure the rise on your suit pants is short enough, and avoid pleats and excessive bagginess. Keep your pants streamlined, like the rest of your silhouette.
Match the color of your belt and shoes to your pants for an even longer look-- a monochromatic color scheme creates an uninterrupted line.
For more information on suits, check the "fitting a suit" section.
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Tips on Ties
Most men's neckties are proportioned (in both length and width) to fit average-height or taller men. Typical sizes are between 58 and 60 inches in length and about 4 inches in width.
For shorter men, a tie of length of 54" to 56" usually fits well. A narrower tie width also usually looks more proportional on a short man-- too wide a tie ends up making a short man appear smaller and stout. Look for ties that are between 2.5" to 3.25" wide at their widest point.
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