Suit Styling Tips for Short and Tall Guys

 Size does matter.

Short Guys

Select clothes that elongate the body to create a well proportioned silhouette.

Elongating the body can be accomplished by opting for fitted, but not tight, garments. Bagginess adds width which diminishes height.

Yasuto Kamoshita, Creative Director of United Arrows.

Structured shoulders also elongate the body by raising the shoulder line. But they should not be conspicuous otherwise the wearer may appear self-conscious about trying to appear taller than he actually is. The shoulder line can be also be raised with high notch lapels – around the upper chest is best.

Since the eye tends to linger on lighter colours, we advocate selecting dark and smooth worsted fabrics instead. This will help the eye trace the body creating the illusion of height.  Heavy patterns should be avoided for the same reasons as light colours. There there are exceptions however like stripes and herringbones which create a slimming and therefore elongating effect.


Christian Kimber menswear
Melbourne designer, Christian Kimber’s shorter jacket raises his legline.

Besides elongating the body it is imperative to raise the legline. The simplest way is to ensure trousers sit properly on the natural waist instead of the hips. Additionally selecting trousers with a high rise will also raise the leg line. But if the trousers feature a low rise don’t pull them up higher. Otherwise, y’know camel toe.

The leg line can be further raised by with a jacket that is long enough to just cover the rear. Though a shorter jacket makes the leg line look longer, avoid shortening the jacket any further. Doing so runs the risk of making the torso appear truncated – unless this is what you want (see Thom Browne).

Trouser cuffs also diminishes the leg line by adding visual heft. But they can also be a powerful statement of individuality (or if everyone is doing it: conformity). The choice is yours.

Nock Wooster Yellow Shoes
Fashion consultant Nick Wooster shows how a short guy can wear cuffed trousers.

Tall Guys

The tall guy’s objectives are the opposite of the short’s: shorten the body and lower the leg line.

Adding breadth to the upper body is the first step. Heavier cloths add breadth by making the torso appear more substantial as do large patterns, lighter colours and extended shoulders.

Steve Calder of Calder Sartoria, Melbourne.

Lower lapel notches are also recommended. The lapel notches should fall lower than usual (around the upper chest). Note however that if the lapel notches are too low they can make you look hunched over.

Generous cuts also add breadth and therefore shorter the body further.  But keep in mind that clothes should never completely hide one’s natural figure as this will only make them appear oversized.

Brunello Cuccinelli, shows how lower lapel notch help tall guys achieve a well proportioned appearance

In order to lower the leg line, wear trousers that fit lower on the waist.  However since the waist maintains the visual balance between the legs and the torso avoid wearing the trousers too low i.e. on the hips.

Though it seems counter-intuitive, low rise trousers are not advised for tall guys or anyone for that matter. Low rise trousers always compromise how you look by lowering the waistline. The 90s were great.  Low rise trousers aren’t.

(photos via. Pinguimo, thetrendspotter, hypedvision, Calder Sartoria, Forbes)


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