Type to search

Practical advice

The Definitive Style Guide For Short Men

Let’s face it: if you’re below 5 feet 8 inches tall (or 1.72 meters), you probably find it hard to find the right clothes for you. Making a lasting impression through the way you dress is harder because you often make compromises as to what clothes you buy. I understand your problem and I want to give you specific advice on how to solve it… for good.

If you read on the internet about this or that technique that makes you look taller, you’ll only be disappointed by the results. My approach is different: I’m going to give you ALL the techniques available and what I ask from you is simply to apply as many of them as you can.

Before we get into the juicy details, I’m going to give you a basic concept that is at the foundation for any short man’s style. You need to understand that, unless you apply these basic principles, all the other techniques simply won’t work to their full potential.

This principle is based on the most common mistake short men make to make themselves look taller. You know what they say: if you want to get out of the hole you need to first stop digging. So let’s see where you’re still digging.

Rule: don’t wear clothes that are either too big or too small

Here’s what happens when a short person that is not style-savvy thinks he’s clever and wants to solve the problem on his own. He thinks that if he’ll wear bigger clothes, they will make them look bigger.

While the reasoning seems good, this is not the case in reality. Dress someone in clothes that are too large and he’ll look like he’s drowning in them. I can’t even remember all the times I saw a “clever” guy who looked awful in his over-sized dress shirt. He looked like he could swim in it. Of course, he could barely do anything with his hands because the sleeves were too long, not to mention all the wrinkles that formed on the shirt because the fabric didn’t cover his body neatly.

The fact of the matter is clothes need to fit you perfectly, no matter the height or the number of pounds. Clothes should seem that they are actually a part of the body, an expressive continuation, if you want. If you saw a guy of normal proportion but with over-sized arms, would you not find it weird? Look at clothes as a body part that needs to be in proportion with the rest of your body. Short or tall, this is the most important rule and I urge you not to break it.

OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s see some specific things you can do to make yourself look taller.

#1 Wear vertical stripes and avoid horizontal stripes and patterns

If you’ve been doing even the smallest amount of research on how to look taller, this is the number one advice you’ll find. But it’s more than just vertical stripes here. Any vertical elongation is your friend. A stripped shirt is the first thing to consider but, since everyone knows this trick, you might not make that good of an impression. In fact, some people will instantly spot that you’re short and wearing a stripped shirt to compensate. Women, especially, are very good with clothes.

My recommendation is to wear stripped shirts if you’re medium height. If you’re shorter than average, I’ll give you better tips that will make you look taller.

So, let’s get back to the premise: any vertical elongation in your outfit can make you look taller. What am I talking about?

  • Wear ties (especially slim ones)
  • Wear suspenders
  • Wear casual shirts whose buttons stand out. For instance, if you have a gray shirt and red buttons, they will create a vertical line from your neck all the way down to your pants. Much sneakier than wearing plain-old stripped shirts, right?
  • Wear a vest and a shirt of roughly the same color. We will discuss why you should opt for monochromatic outfits later but the important thing is that the sleeveless vest will “create” those two vertical lines near the shoulders.
  • Wear pinstripe suits
  • Wear shirts and other clothing outfits that have subtle vertical stripes. The length of the stripe doesn’t matter as long as it’s vertical.

#2 Wear the same color (or shades) from top to bottom

Monochromatic outfits can give you a big hand in your quest for looking taller. Wonder why? Because, when someone looks at you, their gaze tends to move from top to bottom. It’s those few seconds that they subconsciously decide how short or tall you really are, and it’s that precise time you want to “trick” their mind into thinking you have a few extra inches.

If you wear the same color (or close nuances) from top to bottom, the gaze will go smoothly. There will be no “break” from, say, a white shirt to a pair of black pants. You will bee seen as a whole and will appear taller.

#3 Wear brighter colors

I’ve heard some people say it’s better to wear darker colors if you don’t want to look short. I’ve heard others saying the opposite. I will go with the second crowd and here’s why.

Vivid colors make you stand out more. This will make you seem bigger (i.e. taller + wider) and we’re taller that we’re interested about. As long as you wear the same nuances top to bottom (see previous tip) you’ll do great.

Of course, the range of vivid colors you can wear is limited if you’re planning on doing so top to bottom. Who would be crazy enough to be all dressed up in pink?

Let me give you the vivid colors I think would be best suited for such an attempt. Some of them may not see that vivid but, for us men, any color that has a slightly higher level of luminosity is vivid. Choose the ones you like and make sure they contrast nicely with your skin tone.

Oops! i forgot to include light gray in the picture above, it’s great and very stylish. Ok, on to the next tip.

#4 Only wear short hair

If you’re wearing long hair and you’re short, you should definitely consider a short hair style for men. When you’re not that tall you want that smooth slick look to be on your side. Don’t be fooled by the fact that long hair will elongate your face. In most cases, it will only make it look wider.

Instead, go for a shorter hair style and raise it up with some gel. You will gain 1-2 inches only by doing this.
Take a look at the guy on the left and see just how much height he gained from his haircut alone.

#5 Wear shoes with thicker soles

You probably didn’t think about this one but it makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Gain a little height from here as well.

#6 Only wear 1 or 2 button blazers

Blazers with 3 buttons and more usually have less elongated lapels. Like we discussed before, vertical lines are your friend. Go for one or two button blazers. They are more stylish anyway and are the preferred choice of most men anyway.

#7 Wear V-necks

The V-neck will elongate you in pretty much the same way those lapels did from the previous tip. The deeper the V, the better the effect. This goes both for v-neck sweaters and for vests.

#8 Wear cuff-less pants

Cuffs are in the end a matter of preference but if you’re short, they will only subtract from your height. Stay cuff-less to have your feet appear longer.

#9 Avoid pocket squares and bow-ties

As stylish as they may be, bow ties and pocket squares don’t help you at all in your quest for looking taller. Go for ties (slim if possible). They are just horizontal obstacles in your outfit. You need a smooth outfit top to bottom.

#10 Avoid double breasted suits

Double breasted suits have two rows of buttons and give a general appearance that you’re bulky. Stay with single breasted and you’ll be just fine.

#11 Stay slim
Though this is not a clothing advice, I will include it because I think it’s important. Extra fat on your belly and hips will only widen you, something you can’t afford. Exercise regularly and you’ll not only look taller but live a healthier life as well.
#12 Avoid pockets in general

Unless you happen to have vertical pockets, avoid them. Horizontal pockets only add horizontal lines to your outfit.

#13 Don’t wear belts that contrast too much with your clothes

While belts are very stylish if you know how to match them with your outfit, you should avoid using them to make contrast. having, for instance, white pants, a white shirt and a black belt will literally break the outfit in half. This will make you look shorter.

#14 Wear hats

Though you can only wear them outside, hats can instantly add a few inches to how tall you are. Fedora hats are extremely stylish so make sure you try a few of them on.

There you go: all my best secrets (which aren’t secrets at all) about how to look taller revealed! Like I said in he beginning of the article: the key is to apply as many of them as you can. One or two won’t make that much of a difference.

Until next time,

George Lavas

George is dedicated to fashion and style for men. Based in the UK, George enjoys writing about lifestyle and fashion from both sides of the pond. George created BeStylish.org to help readers create a strong sense of style with minimum effort believing that everyone can look and feel good, all day, every day.

  • 1