9 Style Tips for Shorter Guys

Dressing for your height can be tricky, but we’ve got you covered. Here are our best style tips if you’re under 5’8”.

@adamgonon wears one of our Bedford jackets.

1. Slim Fit is Flattering

A slim or more tailored silhouette can instantly improve the impression you make. It will help you look more put-together, regardless of your body type, and can even help you appear taller. By contrast, an oversized fit can make you look wider and shorter.

2. Ditch the Belt

The horizontal line a belt creates across your waist interrupts the clean lines of an outfit and can make you appear wider than you are. If you find that you need one, though, be sure to select a slim belt with a minimal buckle. Large buckles can create a focal point that draws attention downward and away from the face.

3. Rounded, Slim-Profile Shoes

We recommend selecting a classic shoe, like a loafer, with a rounded toe and a profile that more closely follows the contours of your foot. Look for a shoe whose top line or collar hits lower on the ankle, as this will also lengthen your appearance (square toe or wide shoes have the opposite effect, so steer clear of them). A substantial, hard sole can also add some height. 

4. Skip the Trouser Cuffs

Cuffs on your trousers can add weight, dragging your appearance down and making you look shorter. Slim trousers with clean, uninterrupted lines give the impression that you’re taller than you actually are

5. Shorter Jacket Length, Sleeve Length & Inseam

Finding the right length for your clothes is arguably the hardest part of shopping off the rack. Custom clothing eliminates the guesswork, though, as you can modify your jacket length, sleeve length, and inseam length precisely to your own proportions and taste. In general the bottom hem of your jacket should hit just below the seat or fly, but you might benefit from a slightly shorter jacket length (particularly if your torso is on the longer side) as this can draw the eye upward and create better visual proportions. Take note of the length of your jacket sleeves—their ends should hit at your wrist bones and show about .25” to .5” of shirt cuff, so any excess fabric stacking along your forearm or hidden shirt cuffs will indicate that they’re too long. We recommend no break or negative break for your trousers, as well. This means the trouser hems won’t touch your shoes, ideally showing a bit of ankle and creating a clean line from hip to heel. Bunched excess fabric around the ankle gives the impression that your trousers are too long for your legs.

6. Medium and Narrow Lapels are Best

The choice between a medium and narrow width lapel should be determined by your body type. The short and skinny guy should opt for a narrow lapel, and the short and stocky guy should opt for a standard or slightly slimmer lapel, though not necessarily narrow. The lapel proportion should, in a sense, echo your frame. It’s also important to consider the type of collar on the shirt you’ll wear with the jacket. A narrow lapel will match better with a shorter or smaller collar style, while a standard or slightly smaller collar size will go better with a standard lapel width

7. Modern Collar Styles

Modern collar styles tend to have a profile more proportionate to a shorter guy’s stature and build. Our Franklin Spread and English Spread collars are great examples, as they have the appearance of the popular spread collar many men gravitate toward (like our President Spread collar) but don’t overwhelm a shorter neck. A very tall collar will make one’s neck and head look disproportionately small.

8. Medium or High Rise Trousers

Trousers with a higher rise elongate the legs and draw the eye up toward your face, making you look taller. Conversely, low rise trousers pull the eye downward and elongate the torso and shorten the legs.

9. Small Patterns and Matching Colors

Keep it simple. Dressing for your height means thinking about your proportions. Patterns and colors can help you create the proportions for the impression you want to make. Vertical stripes, solid colors and monochromatic color schemes, and patterns of a small scale like ginghams, pindots, and small florals, will prevent you from being overwhelmed by your outfit. A matching suit is a great choice, too, as it will lengthen your silhouette, whereas two separates will break it up.