Dressing the Tall Guy
It’s time to give tall men the spot light by taking a look at their world of fashion, and the challenges many of our vertically gifted brothers encounter everyday. Unfortunately, the clothing industry has not caught up to the needs of tall men, so men who are 6’3″ (6 feet-3 inches) and taller typically have to hunt a little longer and harder to find clothing and styles that are readily available to the rest of us.
The sad reality is, taller than average men struggle to dress well. But don’t despair – designers are getting the message, plus with a little know-how, tall guys can beat the system and look their best. Hopefully, this article will do just that by sharing pointers on how to outsmart Mother Nature by dressing stylishly no matter how tall you might be.
Tall guys really do have it rough when it comes to finding clothing that truly fits. Buying off the rack is difficult, to say the least, especially since so many tall men are thin, as well. Pants and sleeves are typically too short, while waistbands and shirts are frequently too wide. Often, Big and Tall Shops focus on just that and not so much the thin and tall; leaving tall, slender men empty handed. These ongoing dilemmas often force men into having clothes, particularly suits, custom-made or altered, which we all know is very expensive and not always in the budget. So, let’s take a look at a few tips on how to successfully shop today’s market, by choosing clothing that fits properly and makes you feel as good as you look.
However, before we get into the list of pointers, I’d like to say two important things that I hope tall men everywhere know and believe. Above all, appreciate your height. You’re fortunate to be tall for lots of reasons. Your presence alone commands the attention, respect, and admiration of many, so run with it and make the most of your valued esteem.
Hopefully, you’re a very confident man (which is always a guy’s most valuable asset), so wear it proud, and everything you wear will look great. In addition, if you’re both tall and fit, realize just how awesome you look in your clothes. Clothing looks best on tall men because of how it falls and drapes; enabling you to wear just about anything and still look amazing. These are two extraordinary assets to have, so like I said, wear it proud!
Dressing the Tall Guy Tips
The objective is to wear clothing that balances your top half with your bottom half. Often, it’s achieved by what I like to call “smoke and mirror” fashion – a technique that enhances a guy’s best qualities, while downplaying the rest. By the way, many of us dress by these rules for different reasons, so you’re not alone. For tall men looking to appear shorter or more balanced, clothing, particularly clothing that adds horizontal lines instead of vertical ones, that’s made of heavier fabrics and has certain patterns, will help you achieve this goal. You already make a powerful impression, so focus on clothing that balances your frame, instead of detracting from it.
Don’t settle for clothing that doesn’t fit. Clothing that’s either too large or small defeats the image you’re going for. Unless you know it will be altered, put it down, walk away, and don’t look back!
Let’s start at the top: hats are fine to wear. Sure, they add more height, but they also add a little extra something to an outfit. If you’re comfortable in it, do it!
Avoid cropped jackets because they make legs appear longer. Jackets that sit just below the buttock make legs look shorter, simply because there’s less of them showing.
Opt for jackets and sport coats with two buttons, since three can elongate the body.
3/4 length coats are a great choice, since they bring the leg line even lower than a jacket does. Coats that fall just below the knee are very flattering, also – particularly those with belts that break the vertical line of the coat.
Suits are typically man’s most expensive clothing, and since so much rides on looking sharp in a suit in both the professional and social arenas, invest in custom-tailored suits if you’re unable to find any off the rack that fit properly. It’s best to have a couple suits that look great than several that don’t. If you’re lucky enough to find a suit that “almost” fits, grab it and get it professionally altered.
Solid color suits, or those with a subtle pattern, like the glen plaid or window pane, are most flattering. Vertical pinstripes should be avoided because they emphasize height by drawing the eye upward.
Suit colors should be today’s current colors that everyone’s wearing: charcoal, black, navy, etc.
Tall and lean? Try double-breasted jackets, which add girth to the torso and help balance height. Opt for wider lapels, which add broadness to the chest and shoulders. Tall and not so lean? Then, single-breasted jackets with normal lapels are best.
Sport coats and jackets made of heavy weight, textured fabrics like herringbone tweed add girth to a slim man, which naturally detracts from his height.
Dress shirts must fit! If you’re slender, avoid boxy dress shirts, since their “roomy” cut offers too much fabric that will hang and overpower your torso. Tapered or fitted dress shirts have less fabric and will be more form fitting. If the typical fitted shirt is too loose, look for slim, super slim, or extra slim fit dress shirts that are available in certain brands.
Possibly the biggest problem with dress shirts is their length. Dress shirts need to be long enough to tuck in and remain in place. If not, keep walking.
Sleeves are an issue if they’re too short or baggy. Slim fit shirts should have narrower sleeves, so again, seek out the slimmer cuts. Finding appropriate sleeve lengths can be just as challenging, so keep searching and don’t settle. Sleeves whose cuffs creep up the wrist and forearm not only look bad, but are uncomfortable, too. If you’re unable to find dress shirts that fit properly, find yourself a good tailor to either custom-make or alter off the rack shirts.
Ties should be matched according to the size and spread of the collar, and the outfit’s overall style. Don’t make the mistake of always wearing wide neckties; however, thin neckties do add to the tall, lean look.
I always recommend flat-front pants and slacks regardless of a guy’s build; however, pleated pants do add size and girth. I’m leaving this one up to you – just make certain the additional fabric doesn’t make the pants look too big or baggy.
Cuffs add to the horizontal line or break, so cuffs, another per peeve of mine, work for the tall guy.
Opt for straight-leg pants and jeans, and avoid boot-cut and tapered styles.
Low-rise jeans give the illusion of shorter legs, while high-rise jeans add to their visual length and are best avoided. Mid-rise jeans are safe to wear for all tall men, regardless of weight and build.
Always wear a belt if shirts are tucked in, since belts make a visual horizontal break between the upper and lower sections of the body, which results in making the man appear shorter. Wider belts achieve this look more than skinny or narrow belts do.
Shoes, for obvious reasons, should be thin soled with low heels. Avoid pointy shoes and boots, since the point elongates the leg, where round or square-toe shoes add balance.
Layer clothing – it’s fashionable, adds bulk, and is an easy fix for the slim guy. Avoid layering, especially with heavy fabrics, if you’re not slim.
Sweaters, vests, and turtlenecks all add volume to lean torsos. Turtlenecks, by concealing the neck, make tall men appear shorter.
Because you’re tall, you can accommodate many patterns and colors shorter guys can’t. Patterns, when compared to solid clothing, break the visual line, thus decreasing height. Keep it tasteful and within the theme of the outfit, but play around with patterns and colors… even if they’re bold. Actually, larger prints are more advantageous for tall men than smaller prints.
Avoid wearing pants and shirts of the same color. Differing shades are fine, but tops and bottoms should contrast one another, in order to break up the visual line.
There’s no doubt about it – finding suitable clothing that fits and reflects the man you want to project is not easy when you’re tall. However, when you do, your majestic height and presence is tough to beat, so persevere and never settle for less than you deserve.
I’m going to do my research and write another article containing the names of designers and brands that cater to tall men. In the meantime, shop your local men stores and the internet. Fortunately, there are many affordable tall men fashions online should the men shops come up short… no pun intended! We’d love to hear from you with any tips and suggestions you have to share – thanks.
by Aaron Marino