My 6′ 3″ friend used to delight in singing a certain song as he towered over me when I was invariably perched on a stool reaching up for some hard to reach item. Skee-Lo summed up my diminutive stature perfectly when he sang: “I wish I was a little bit taller/I wish I was a baller”.
However, for every Napoleon forced to accept the seemingly impossible mission of making himself look taller, there’s a Peter Crouch banging his head against a brick wall and a low ceiling.
We’re not promising miracles, but we can dull the headache a little. Here are a few tips and tricks that can certainly add a few inches or visually chop off a few.
Here’s the long and short of how to dress taller or smaller. I wish I were a little bit taller…
TIPS TO LOOK TALLER
Enhancing a Tom Cruise stature needn’t be a tall order. Really, what you are trying to do here is create one long, vertical, unbroken line and draw the eye upwards. This will create the illusion of height and give you the bonus of a couple of extra inches.
PRINT AND COLOUR
Go monochrome – try to keep colours the same from top to bottom, or at least tones of the same colour. Wearing different colours from top and bottom will break you in half and draw your eye to your waist as opposed to your head. Keeping darker colours on your lower half can also make your legs seem longer.
Keep any prints to a minimum. Big, bold prints will drown you and be overpowering on a smaller frame. It’s best to stick to vertical stripes and tiny prints, or small-scale checks. Vertical stripes are one of the oldest tricks in the book and for good reason: they’re literally lines that direct the eye up and down.
ITS ALL IN THE DETAIL
Choose garments with minimal details, thus avoiding distracting your long vertical line. A good example is jacket pockets. A slit pocket is minimal, almost invisible and a better option than patch pockets or flaps.
Tailor your trousers and avoid turn-ups where you can. These make legs appear shorter and draw the eyes south.
Small details like a narrow lapel on your jacket will keep you in proportion too. The same goes for shirt collars. If you are shorter, the chances are that you are slimmer too, so opting for slimmer collars, lapels and even ties will keep you in proportion and looking your sartorial finest.
Points of interest like accessories: hats, pocket squares, lapel pins, etc., keep this small, simple and not overkill. These will help keep the attention on your top half, drawing the eye upwards and keeping it there.
A visible belt will instantly saw you in half. If you insist on a belt, then keep the colour matching your outfit and leave the colourful ones for your longer, leaner friends.
There are plenty of brands manufacturing trousers with side adjusters now for the security you need if going without a belt, thus avoiding bringing you out in a cold sweat! Let’s not forget that a good old-fashioned pair of braces can solve this problem.
Befriend a tailor. Trousers legs, shirt sleeves and jacket sleeves that need altered are worth taking to a tailor. They can work their magic to ensure your super sartorial style. It’s well worth the investment.
Nothing looks better than a well-fitting suit, no matter what your stature. Keep trouser legs below the ankle and avoid turn-ups. They will just shorten your legs and draw the eye south.
A lot of men think that trousers puddling long over your shoes will make your legs appear longer. Sadly, it just looks like you’ve borrowed your dad’s trousers, so keep plenty of shoe on show and hang your trousers straight and narrow. Both tips will give you a boost.
Avoid longer fitting jackets as they will hide your legs, thus making you appear shorter. Too short though and you risk exposing your bum; that’s not always a good look either. Find the right spot. It’s a fine line!
The same goes for fit – too slim a fit will make you look like you’ve shrunk in the wash, so opt for a well-cut, slim fit. This goes for jackets, trousers and shirts.
TIPS TO LOOK SHORTER
It’s a little easier for you guys. Apply the same principles as above – but in reverse! As we are sending the eyes north to south for your shorter friends, our objective for you is east to west, side to side.
PRINT AND COLOUR
No need to go monochrome. To bring you closer to us and back to earth, you can wear your separates in different colours. You can mix and match colours and wear prints or stripes. Wear prints to a maximum; big and bold. Stripes can be horizonal, like a great Breton stripe, or larger-scale checks.
Where before, an unbroken vertical line was the lofty aim, now, it’s all about, well, breaking that vertical line. Patch or flap pockets, combat pockets pocket, or trouser turn-ups are all details that will break the eye’s gaze as it heads north.
The more you can fill in that vast expanse between top and toe, the better – and shorter – you’ll look.
Don’t go crazy and apply all at once for fear of taking on clown status.
ITS ALL IN THE DETAIL
Belts galore is the order for you tall guys.
The opposite is also true for lapels, collars and ties. Wherever you can add, which will give the illusion of width as opposed to length, will stand you in good stead.