Style hacks for shorter guys
By Libby Banks, 10 September 2016
Let’s be clear – this is not about apologising for your size. Some of the most influential men in history barely nudge 5’5’’. From Socrates to Picasso, Churchill to Messi, great stature has nothing to do with your inside-leg measurement. But if you want to add a few inches, here are six hacks that’ll help your style reach new heights.
Invest in a decent suit
A cliché, but a cliché for a reason. Great tailoring is the most effective and flattering way to add some height. A decent blazer in a shorter cut will build up your shoulders and, if you keep it buttoned up, will make your waist look smaller. Win-win. Make sure you button it just above the navel for maximum effect. Fit is crucial, so ask a tailor to make adjustments if necessary. And don’t feel condemned to wear dark tailoring – once you get the fit right, you can experiment with colour and pattern, as perfectly demoed here by Aziz Ansari.
Beware the ego
Buy clothes that fit you. There is something irrational but ingrained in most of us that skews the size of the clothes we buy to match the size (and height) that we’d like to be. This is especially true of trousers and jeans. While it is tempting to add a couple of inches to the leg measurement, this is counterproductive. Avoid too-long trousers that bunch where they meet your footwear and, for maximum height, chose shoes that match in tone to lengthen your legs.
Use colour theory
Create the illusion of height by choosing pieces in similar tones. Darker tones look better at the bottom as they have a lengthening effect (don’t ask us why – they just do). For a safe option, navy is pretty much universally flattering, but don’t feel limited to conservative colours. For inspiration, look to Kanye West, master of tone-on-tone styling.
Slim it down
Lengthening your legs is the name of the game, so try to avoid longer cuts and choose slimmer-line tops that don’t go past your hipbone (or, where possible, tuck in). It’s tempting to think that baggy shapes will add to your stature but in fact they have a tendency to stretch the silhouette outwards. On the bottom half, buy mid-rise cuts and avoid the drop crotch at all costs.
Often it’s not about the clothes. Long hair makes you look shorter and accessories can be used to great effect. Hats, statement glasses, jewellery and pocket squares all draw the eye to the upper body, and this creates the illusion of height, so feel free to go wild.
Forget the rules
Sound advice is all very well, but confidence is the shorter guy’s ultimate secret weapon. By all means follow the above hacks, but remember that the most important thing is not what you wear but how you wear it. Here a pyjama-top-clad Tinie Tempah perfectly encapsulates the fashion mantra that is 'not giving a sartorial sh*t' what people say.