9 Style Tips for Shorter Men (How to Look Taller and Leaner)Posted by Brock McGoff on
If you follow these short man style tips, your height will never be the first thing people notice about you.
Let's get one thing out of the way: there's nothing wrong with being a shorter man. After all, height is one of many things in life that we have no control over.
No one did anything to "earn" their height, or lack thereof. It's just the genetic hand you were dealt, and we love you just the way you are!
That said, I think we can all agree that our clothes should enhance our appearance and flatter our build, not detract from it by making us look shorter and/or stockier.
As a wise man once said, your clothes are either working for you or against you, but they're always working.
Why not make sure they're working for you? You can do just that by following these nine tips:
1. Avoid loose fitting clothes
Fit is subject to trend, and we're not saying you should wear skinny fit everything. But we do think short men look best when they wear closer fitting clothes.
The idea here is to "trim the fat" from your garments. This means:
- Pants that don't stack up on top of your shoes
- Sleeves that don't go past your wrists
- Shirts that don't wear like tents
- Jackets that don't go past your knees
We take all of this into consideration when designing our shirts, pants and outerwear, but you can always pay the Tailor Tax to get something you already own tailored for a closer fit.
2. Avoid oversized details
This is especially true for smaller guys who are short and skinny. Often times, mass manufactured garments will have details that are just too big for smaller frames.
An Oxford shirt, for instance, might have a chest pocket that's way too big for a short, slender guy. Not to mention, it might be way too low on the chest, which only makes you look shorter.
We recommend buying clothes that are made specifically for shorter men, or avoiding clothes that have these extra details.
For example, if you're buying a button up shirt from some store at the mall, try to find one without a chest pocket. If you're buying a sport coat, try to find one without elbow patches.
Or just shop at Peter Manning NYC ;)
3. Wear low contrast outfits
You should wear colors and color combinations that you like, so take this advice with a grain of salt.
But a surefire way to add some visual height to your frame is by wearing low contrast outfits.
If you're wearing a lighter colored shirt, for example, go with lighter colored pants as well.
If you're wearing darker colors, wear darker colors throughout your entire outfit.
The key is to avoid stark horizontal contrast between your top and bottom halves (e.g., white shirt with black pants).
4. Choose small scale patterns
Short men are often told to avoid horizontal stripes, but the direction of the stripes doesn't matter nearly as much as the size.
For example, thin horizontal stripes are just fine, regardless of height. Thick horizontal stripes, on the other hand, will look too big on a shorter man. And yes, they might make him look shorter.
This is true for any type of pattern. If you like vertical stripes, thin stripes are better than thick ones.
That's why our gingham shirts use a mini gingham pattern, rather than a large scale gingham pattern.
It's all about the details!
5. Wear proportionate accessories
This tip has more to due with the overall size of your frame, not just your height. But it's an important point nonetheless.
The idea is to wear accessories - ties, watches, glasses, etc. - that are proportionate to your size.
For example, if you have 6" wrists, any watch larger than 40mm is going to look way too big, which will make your wrists look very skinny.
A 36mm watch, on the other hand, will look just right on you.
Photo credit: Worn & Wound
Here's another example. Shorter men are often told to wear small tie knots (like the Four in Hand), but this one size fits all solution lacks nuance.
If you're a short and stocky guy with a thick neck and broad chest, and you like wearing dress shirts with spread collars, a Four in Hand knot will look way too small. A Half Windsor is your best bet.
Bottom line: when it comes to accessories, always keep proportion in mind.
6. Avoid bulky outerwear
We believe in function over form, and sometimes you need a big parka to keep you warm and safe during extremely cold winter months.
But for most of us and for most of the year, we don't need to go full George Costanza to stay warm.
Bulky, puffy, oversized outerwear tends to dwarf a shorter man, making him look shorter and stockier than he really is.
Why wear all that bulk when a couple of insulated layers will do?
We recommend going with a thinner lightweight down jacket or a wool topcoat, and layering up with sweaters or vests for extra warmth.
In most climates, these sorts of layered outfits will keep you warm enough throughout winter, especially if you remember your gloves, scarf and hat.
7. Wear height boosting shoes
Again, take this tip with a grain of salt. Shorter men can wear whatever shoes they like, and we don't recommend elevator shoes or lifts because, frankly, they're not very comfortable.
That said, if you want a small boost (maybe you're going to a concert or on a date with someone who loves wearing six inch heels), there are certain types of shoes that have thicker soles and heels.
Photo credit: Thursday Boots
Boots are probably the best option. From work boots to dress Chelseas, almost every boot will give you 1-2" of extra height, without using any sort of lift or special insole.
Note: We're big fans of fellow NYC brand, Thursday Boot Co.
Certain sneakers will also give you a small boost. Look for sneakers with thicker soles and higher heels (more of a drop between the heel and toe), such as chunky tennis shoes or "fashion" running sneakers.
8. Work on your posture
You've probably heard this before, but it's so true! Most guys have terrible posture, especially if they work on computers all day.
Try this right now:
- Stand up w/ your weight on your heels
- Tilt your pelvis forward to straighten the curve in your lower back
- Pull your shoulder up to your ears, then down and back (like you're trying to hold a tennis ball between your shoulder blades)
- Puff your chest out while keeping your shoulders down and back
- Pull your head back in line with your spine
- Tuck your chin down (don't let it drift up as your head pulls back)
If you need help, stand against a wall when you go through these steps, and just hold it for about 60 seconds.
Try to hold the position when you step away from the wall. Feels nice, right?
Even if it feels a little unnatural, that's actually closer to how we should be standing all the time - how we were meant to stand.
Correcting your posture will ensure that you're standing at your full height, and it will help your clothes fit and drape more naturally.
9. Shop smarter
The best way to dress well as a shorter man is to buy clothes that were actually made for your build.
The unfortunate truth is, 99% of men's clothes are made with the average man in mind. In America, the average guy is about 5'10" and 190 lbs.
If you're shorter than average, you're going to have a very hard time finding anything that fits and flatters your body at any mall or department store.
The solution? Try Peter Manning NYC. We carry a full range of high quality, stylish wardrobe staples for men - everything from jeans and t-shirts to suits and tuxedos.
We also carry outerwear, including leather jackets and wool-cashmere topcoats.
It was all designed for you by guys who understand the struggle. No tailoring needed, so you can save your time and money.
With free shipping and returns in the U.S., no surprise UPS i-parcel shipping for international customers, and a substantial first time customer discount, you really have nothing to lose.
Shop our entire collection of great-fitting clothes for short men here.