Style for Short Men

Short men have a tough time trying to treated with the proper respect they deserve.

Society place great emphasis on of height, especially for men and this creates the tendency for shops and retail stores to stock mostly clothes that are made for regularly sized men, ignoring the short man market. What to do for all the "vertically challenged" men out there?

First of all, you should know what factors play a key part in making sure you look decent and respectable.

Most critical of all is FIT, FIT, FIT!

A non fitting shirt on a short man, even in the correct fabric, collars and cuffs will still make him look like a joke, because ill fitting shirts make you look shorter than you already are. A well fitting shirt does not just consider the different measurements of the body; it also ensures that the proportion of the shirt is suitable for you.

A well proportioned shirt will not make you look like a school child wearing his father's shirt. The darted and tightened waist controls the fullness and dress tails are shortened so that you can tuck in your shirt without touching the pants crotch line. Other details include sewing a smaller pocket, shorter collar height and narrower spread to accommodate a shorter neck.

Surprisingly, such detailing is often missed by custom tailors, so make sure you ask for yours.


The proportion of a shirt takes note of the sizes of various details, and modifies it to make it look pleasant with regards to other garments, such as the pants or suit.

A fine tailor will modify dress shirt patterns for the short man, to achieve the right proportion. There are many details to take note of. Darts on the back side of a shirt will tighten it and control the fullness. Pockets must be reduced in size, and placed higher up the shirt. Shirttails are shortened to prevent them from being stuffed into the pants, and piling up at the crotch line. The armhole height and size must also be considered carefully.

Other details such as split yokes, a smaller placket, narrower cuffs and smaller collars are also essential in considering proportion.


Perception is to make short men look taller visually by choosing the right fabrics and patterns, combining them with appropriate accessories like ties, pants and suits.

Following the current fashion trend is almost a guaranteed dead end for short men, because designers and marketers do not design shirts for them. They are for tall, handsome and hunky models that only exist in magazines.

The logical step was to choose only the fabrics, patterns and colors that flatter a shorter man.

Make sure your shirt fits well with as little bagginess as possible as the excess cloth adds width, which lowers your height.

Use darts on your shirts to control the fullness. Darts will contour the shirt and align it more closely to your waist. This effect is most pronounced when you are sitting down when you feel the cloth stretched across your back.

Try your best to incorporate as many vertical lines on your shirt as possible.

Designing your shirt with two contrasting colors of vertical lines on the placket will help. Wear clothes with vertical lines or striping. Vertical lines or stripping make a person appear thinner, and thinness in turn gives impression of more height. You can also design your shirt with two vertical lines on your placket.

Short men should avoid wearing sharply contrasting clothes and pants together, these will easily expose the real length of your legs and make you look shorter. This will be discussed in more detail below.

Wear clothes with shoulder pads. Shoulder pads make your shoulders appear broader and your whole body slender.

Avoid tucking in baggy tops because they will make you look like an ice cube (wide and short).


Wear fine double ply cotton fabrics and avoid patterns.

Choose mainly understated stripes and subdued patterns with rich colors blended in subtle hues. Narrow stripes are most suitable for the small man, at most ½ inch apart. Solids should make up most of their wardrobe as they make you slimmer and thus taller.

Fabrics needed to have supple weaves with good resilience and luxurious drape to flatter a shorter man. This means high quality, preferable Sea Island cotton.

Avoid dense and unforgiving fabrics that have horizontal lines, large distinct patterns or contrasting checks. These fabrics add width and shorten you visually.


Wear shirts that are aligned with the color of your trousers, to prevent the effect of slicing you into two visually and also to make your legs look longer. That means blue jeans, blue top, black pants, and dark top.

You can lengthen your upper torso by wearing a belt that matches your top.

Dark colors such as black, navy blue, and charcoal grey projects power and competency, especially for short men. Lighter colors make you appear more approachable.

If you want a commanding and confident image, try wearing dark colors.


As for neckwear, solids lengthen your bodies most, light stripes and small patterns can be worn and ties wider than three and half inches should be avoided.

One trend you can follow are the skinny ties. These ties look better as they are more proportional to the rest of the body. Try to keep your tie widths to maximum of 3 inches.

Tie lengths are another tricky area. Know and measure your preferred length even before stepping in a store. And bring a measurement tape with you. This is for good measure in case you buy a tie that reaches your knees. Joking!

Jackets and Suits

For your jacket, wear it short, at the point where your buttocks meet the legs. Your jacket sleeves must always show that little bit of cuff, but lesser than normal, or you will look like you have outgrown the suit. Less than 3/8 of an inch.

This is also part of being proportional to the rest of your outfit. Talk to your tailor about this.

For short men, keep your garments clutter free. A wide expense of fabric gives the perception of height.

Therefore avoid double jackets because they have more clutter in front and are designed for tall people. You body will look compressed in them.

Choose ventless suits, as they are cleaner, make you look taller, and are most slimming. Remove all pockets from jackets, this just adds to the clutter.

You might also consider unbuttoning your blazer or jacket for more vertical lines down your shirt.

All this can help avoid the image of looking shorter and help you look taller than you really are.

Pants and Belts

Wear pants at your natural waist. That is, fasten at the belly button or above. This elongates your legs and shortens the torso, adding yet more to the illusion of height.

Pants legs should be just long enough to touch your shoes so that your socks do not show. Any longer and it will look like your dads trousers.

Purchase pants with a low-rise (a short distance between the crotch of your pants and the top of the waistband).

Any kind of puckering around the hips caused by full pockets, or tight and badly designed pants will make you look wider. Wear cuffless pants, because their sparseness and that little extra length make your legs seem longer, and thus the short men taller.

Belts are horizontal so make sure you conceal it in your clothes, and keep those belts thin and plain.


Wear shoes that will make you look taller. Especially those with thick soles to add the illusion of height.


In order to look taller, a hairstyle should be thin at the sides and higher up top, which can make you appear as much as an inch taller. Do not have any wide hairstyle for short men.

Other Websites This specialized fashion retailer offers high-end tailored garments for men who measure 5'8" and under. Allen-Edmonds offers a great selection of casual and dressy shoes in smaller sizes. Big Men claims to have one of the largest selections of clothing, apparel and shoes for short men. This online shirt retailer offers a wide selection of smaller sizes and will even shorten your sleeves for a nominal fee. This popular mail-order company offers plenty of smaller sizes and great tailoring options for shorter men. Lebow clothing tenders a large variety of suits specifically designed for boys and shorter men. Since 1972, Short Sizes Inc. has been providing quality casual and formal fashions for short men.

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