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10 Style Secrets For Short Men

Laughing beach guy in shorts and shirt


Height has got nothing to do with greatness.

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We talk about fashion at Man’s Life all the time. We have conversations about it and we ask questions to the men around us. Working as a stylist, one of the most common questions that have come from men has been this: How to dress right according to their height!

While being tall comes with its own set of woes, men who fall in the shorter spectrum of the height range can find styling themselves difficult. Those who are vertically challenged find it daunting to find clothes that fit well and flatter their height. Take cues from actor Shahid Kapoor. He isn’t the ‘tallest’ leading man, when compared to some of his contemporaries, yet he’s almost always impeccably turned out! Let’s uncover a few styling tricks for shorter men….


Slim toned young man measuring his chest with a measuring tape

Understanding your body proportions is extremely important before we get down to styling yourself. You need to know what to shop for, and that depends on your body ratio. Do you have a long torso and short legs or vice versa? Once you understand that, nothing can stop you from looking your finest!


Portrait of smiling Indian businessman in pinstriped suit outdoors

Follow the styles of up and up. Try keeping everything vertical and avoid horizontal stripes on T-shirts or even if it’s on a tie. Horizontal stripes obstruct the feeling of elongation that vertical stripes provide—making you look even shorter! 

Man’s Life Tip: Invest in a good pinstripe tailored suit or get yourself a mid-rise striped trouser to pair with your shirt to look taller.


Portrait of an Indian businessman writing on paper at desk in office

Large prints can get overwhelming and widen your appearance making you look stout. That doesn’t mean you should stick to plain, boring clothes. Instead, try on smaller prints to create a sense of uniformity, which will naturally make you look taller.

Man’s Life Tip: Instead of a loud and bold printed T-shirt get yourself a tee that has smaller prints on it like dots or tiny motifs. Get yourself smaller checks and self-printed shirts for formal wear.


A guy wearing a suit


The next time you go shopping, especially for a suit, buy a set that is from the same colour family—if it’s the same colour on the top and bottom, even better. This will make the viewers’ eyes move seamlessly from the top to the bottom of your outfit. Mixing too many colours cuts you visually, making you look shorter.

Man’s Life Tip: If you decide to wear a darker and lighter shade of the same colour together, wear the contrasting colour on top as it draws the eyes upwards.


A young man wearing oversized clothes

In an attempt to cover up or keep up with a body image, men tend to wear baggier clothes. This does nothing in adding ‘height’ to anyone who is not blessed with it. Whether it’s jeans or a suit it should fit like a glove—there should be no fabric pooling around your ankles and you definitely shouldn’t wear a shirt that can fit two people.

Man’s Life Tip: Whether you are skinny or currently shopping in the plus-size store, try on your clothes before purchasing them. Knowing your size is key.


Young fashion businessman's legs in classic suit and shoes on wooden floor

Your legs are a key factor in making you look tall. The longer the legs, the taller you look! Ah, this is why we love playing around with fashion! You can make your legs look longer by just dressing right! It’s that simple. Kiss your low rise jeans goodbye; they just make your torso look longer and you shorter. Wear mid-rise and high rise jeans as much as you can. This one is a hard pass: a dropped crotch. It gives the illusion of shorter legs and there is always excess fabric hanging in between. If your pants are long, avoid cuffing or rolling them, instead take them to the tailor to get them altered.

Man’s Life Tip: Avoid break in your trousers (trouser break is defined as the amount of fabric that covers the shoe). If you do need to have one keep it at a 1/4 and not more, as the break interrupts the illusion of length.


Measuring front of jacket

We talked about proportions and a suit is all about that. The easiest way to get suits right for you is to get a bespoke one. You have complete control over how it should be made so that you look taller and not slumped over. Always have your jacket made shorter than the regular, This shows more legs and as we now know, more legs make you look taller! Go for thinner lapels as it doesn’t widen your shoulders making you look taller. Get your waist button on your jacket positioned slightly higher creating an illusion of longer legs adding height.

Man’s Life Tip: Along with going for slimmer sleeves for the shirt and a mid-rise trouser, get a notch lapel (notch lapel is when the lapel is sewn onto the collar of a jacket at a certain angle, creating a triangle between the two) instead of peak lapels for your jacket, narrowing your chest giving the appearance of height.


Low contrast footwear

Shoes are key elements in a ‘short’ man’s closet. They can add the extra few inches provided you get them right! All you have to do is make sure that your shoes or footwear do not contrast too much with your pants. Try wearing footwear that is the same colour as your pants.  If you are wearing black jeans don’t pair them with white sneakers, instead, go for a black or charcoal one. What this does is visually elongate your legs as there isn’t any colour blocking to disrupt the eye. In case you are wearing shorts make sure the footwear is close to your skin tone, so browns and beiges are your go-to choices. The uniformity of colour is what will help you elongate your legs.

Man’s Life Tip: Pick shoes that have pointed toes rather than rounded or squared-off toes. They shorten the foot. Pointed toes elongate the foot eventually making the legs look longer. Avoid high-ups in shoes as far as possible. If you are comfortable walking in shoes that have a slightly taller heel like actor Shah Rukh Khan does, go grab them.


Portrait of young man wearing black shirt, grey scarf, trilby fedora hat and looking at camera

Accessories can make or break your look. Pick socks the same colour as your trousers, the idea is the same as that of picking the colour of your shoes, you do not want too much contrast. Play around with hats as these instantly add a few inches to your height. When you decide to wear belts go for something slimmer as thick belts divide you into two parts, making you look shorter.

Man’s Life Tip: You can add scarfs or cravats to your outfit to draw your eyes upwards thus creating an illusion of length.


Portarit of a tailor while making a business suit using the tape measure

Have your tailor on speed dial. Clothes that are available in the market are meant for everybody irrespective of their body size. Get yourself a tailor who knows how to get you dressed impeccably. Getting clothes altered is going to be your dressing-up arsenal on looking top-notch.

Man’s Life Tip: Do a little research on the tailors available before settling for one.

These styling tips will not only help you look amazing, but also stand tall (pun intended).


[All Image Credits: Shutterstock]