How to dress as a short man?
Dressing when you’re vertically challenged. needn’t be a chore. And, luckily, we have loads of inspiration-many of history’s greatest and most stylish me were, indeed short.
Winston Churchill: 5’6″
James Madison: 5’4″
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Debated, but no more than 5’7″
This short (pun intended) guide gives you some practical tips for suiting, shirting, and casual wear so you can look your best.
Fit is paramount on all body types, but this is especially the case for the short man. In this body type, we need to shrink the proportions of our clothing so it fits us properly.
As much of today’s clothing proportions are designed for men between 5’9″ and about 6’1″, it’s going to be extremely important for you, as a shorter man, to become good friends with an alterations tailor. They’ll be able to help you dial in your fit.
Suiting for A Short Man
Two button single-breasted would be best.
Double breasted is certainly workable if you have the confidence to own the look. Both four and six-button can work; the former is preferable in most cases as it draws less attention to the upper body.
Fit is especially crucial here, and you can play with proportion to give the illusion of greater height.
Ideally, the shoulders of any jacket will make you look proportional. Adding a slightly structured shoulder will build up this area and give you greater mass- and the llusion of greater height.
The length is a finnicky (and enormously subjective) component to jacket fit. Ideally, we’d recommend the suit jacket cover your seat. However, for the shorter man, a slightly shorter jacket tail may actually prove beneficial as it can give the illusion of a longer leg line.
English-style side vents, especially if they’re longer, can add an elegant line.
Avoiding flap pockets and overly wide lapels is also advised, as they give a horizontal line.
Patterns and Colors:
Anything that elongates the figure is certainly advised. Pinstripes and chalk stripes of a tasteful width are always a good decision. A subtle herringbone can be good to spruce up an outfit for a more conservative office.
Patterns are bit of a risk, as anything especially block-y (think windowpanes or big checks) can create horizontal lines. However, a guncheck or a subtle glen check/Prince of Wales check can do nicely for your suits and sports jackets.
When wearing a jacket and trousers, do try to ensure there’s as little contrast as possible between the two. High contrast outfits cut you in half and (you guessed it!) create those horizontal lines we wish to avoid.
A Navy blazer and charcoal grey trousers are classic combinations for a reason.
Light or medium weight wools, linens, and cottons all work well. Heavy tweeds are fine for warmth, but excess bulk in suiting creates this odd visual effect where the subject almost seems to be “squashed” by his suit.
Shirts, Ties, and Trousers for A Short Man
Shirts and Ties
The shirt collars best for you are the straight point, button down or tab collars. Vertical stripes (pencil, bengal) will be an asset as well.
Bow ties should be avoided for exactly the reason you’d expect- horizontal lines. Neckties can hit at the belt buckle to avoid gap between the tip and your waistband. Feel free to play with color here.
Additionally, consider a four-in-hand or double four-in-hand as opposed to the bulky (if symmetrical) full Windsor knot.
Generally, stick with flat-front as opposed to pleated trousers. However, if you need the room, go for a single pleat instead of a double.
Opt for a slight break to even no break at all on the hems. Note: no break shouldn’t be confused with cropped.
You may also consider a higher rise on the trouser, as they give the illusion of a longer legline.
Cuffs are fine, generally. Opt for a shorter 1-1.25″ instead of a 1.5-2″.
Shoes and Accessories
Stick to substantial shoes to add bulk and heft. Goodyear welts, double soles, and even some extra stacking to the heel can be beneficial.
However, we’d recommend avoiding lifts or “elevator shoes.”
Braces also give you a vertical line.
Small faces should avoid overstated styles and try thin, lightweight (like rimless) metal frames.
Make sure it is knee length, again for a vertical line.
Short hair works best. Long hair hides the neck and shoulders and can make a man look smaller.
Many of us want to be a little taller. But, that’s one of the parts of our makeup that we can’t choose.
So, for your style, choose closer-fitting garments, and feel free to crop your jacket tail a little to show off some leg.
Opt for vertical lines in stripes and suspenders as opposed to horizontal lines in bow ties and belts.
Above all, though, confidence is key. Most of us want to be a little taller. In this age of modern technology-and for better or worse-we can choose many parts about our appearance. But, the one thing we can’t change is our height.
We can, though, choose to own what height we have.
Thanks for reading, and we do hope this helps you dress as a short man.