Short Cuts: 7 Style Tips for Shorter Guys

Words | William Phung

The rules of engagement for short kings to bring the reign and make them gains.

1. Get in Line

The primary objective of the short guy is to extend the lines of his outfit as much as possible which will not only make him look taller but will also improve his overall proportions for a more flattering fit.

When it comes to tailoring, the most obvious way of doing this is to pick a suit with a slimmer cut. If buying off the rack, several key details, such as the shoulders, armholes, sleeves and trouser leg fit should follow the natural curves of the body without feeling tight. By doing so, they form uninterrupted vectors that give the illusion of height. An alterations tailor can make several changes and will advise the most appropriate measures to take.

2. Dark & Handsome

The human eye will tend to glance over darker colours like navy and charcoal, instead of lighter ones like tan and mustard, and draws it smoothly downwards. When selecting cloths, this is a crucial thing to consider. Although it does not limit the spectrum of colours available to short men, it makes a tremendous impact when wearing a suit. When it comes to separates, greater harmony in tone and intensity between jacket and trouser will mimic the effect of wearing a dark, solid, coloured suit without looking too studied.

3. Stripe Right

Stripe patterns, such as chalk stripes and pinstripes, guide the eye vertically. If tailored correctly, the lines should run without any disruption up and down the jacket and trousers. In general, the closer and thinner the lines, the more subtle the effect. Checks can also help short guys appear taller but be aware of their size. Too big and you risk appearing too wide at the expense of verticality. Despite what the lyrics of Scarface might imply, be careful of pushing it to the limit.

4. Lapel Well

If the length of women's skirts is the most variable thing about their fashions likewise the width of the lapel on men's jackets. Just like large men, short men should consider their lapels with intelligence. A smaller lapel establishes acute angles that reduce the perception of width and therefore amplify height. But go too far, and the approach is self-defeating (style should never be too self-conscious). We recommend a dependable width of 8-9cm with a high notch (the space where the collar and lapel meet) for a harmonious appearance regardless of your body shape.

5. Discretion is advised

Discrete details are a short man's best friend. Although eccentric additions to a suit can lend it 'personality' more frequently they suggest the wearer is overcompensating for something (the likely case). When it comes to pockets, jetted or welt pockets compared to larger patch pockets, reduce visual bulk and strengthen the slimming effect of classic tailoring—ditto for cuffless trousers vs cuffed trousers. On a short guy, to maximise the perception of height, no single detail should overwhelm the other i.e. they should not distract from the overall silhouette. Everything should work in harmony, like a symphony and not like a teenage garage band.

6. Layer Up To Play It Up

During the colder seasons, layering is an effective way to add both breadth (which can make a man appear more muscular) and height. A coat or tailored jacket, for instance, amplifies and echoes the vertical lines of the garments underneath. This is part of the reason why tailoring looks so flattering and even more so for short men. A good coat, such as a topcoat or Ulster, that transverses the casual/formal divide, is a blue-chip investment, regardless of what else you might wear with it.

7. No Break

From a distance, the human gaze considers first the overall silhouette, then the face, and is then drawn downward. Thus it is imperative that the gaze is controlled and uninterrupted on its journey. No matter how well you start, it is the ending that leaves a lasting impression hence the importance of your trousers. To ensure that the illusion of height is maintained, the leg line ought to fall straight from the waist and fall above the shoe resting with a very subtle break if any at all (a cuff looks more flattering with darker colours - see above). Shorter guys should avoid showing too much ankle (how provocative!) regardless of what is en vogue. Also footwear that is similar in intensity and hue to your trousers provides insurance against any other offences, but one shouldn't be too obsessed by this. Your stature is not defined by the shape of cut cloth.