Short men have it particularly bad. Women have plenty of petite options. But men under 5’8” have truly gotten the short end of the stick.

If you’re below average height, you probably have trouble finding clothes that fit. You’ve bought jeans that are too long, dress shirts that billow out at the waist and bunch up in the arms, and polo shirts that fit well in the chest but go several inches past your belt.

I feel your pain. At 5’6”, I’ve struggled my whole life to find clothes that actually fit. The problem is, clothing manufacturers make clothes for the average man, who happens to be 5’9” and slightly overweight. Even though some companies offer smaller sizes, they are usually out of proportion and hard to find.

Here is the good news! By following some basic guidelines, following our weekly guidelines here on BESPOKE MEN! and getting into custom clothing, you can dress sharp, regardless of your height. And when you do, your height won’t be the first thing people notice about you anymore. It will be your sense of style. And with that comes the job, the girl and the confidence that every man wants.

Let’s start with some ground rules.

Basic DOs and DON’Ts

The truth is, short men don’t need to dress taller (as if this is even possible). We need to dress to flatter our body types. Fit is more important than brand, price and color. And yes, there are certain things you can avoid in order to not look shorter.

What to Do!

DO go with small patterns. Whether it’s gingham, stripes, checks, or whatever, make sure it’s small.

  • DO wear clothes that fit close to the body. (Think slim, not skinny.)
  • DO pay attention to proportion. Accessories like ties, watches and belts should be narrow and small (unless you are on the heftier side, in which case a slim tie will only make you look wider). In general, keep things slim, understated and simple.
  • DO get your pants hemmed! This is very easy and cheap. Your dry cleaner or tailor can do it.

What Not To Do

  • DON’T wear broad, horizontal patterns.
  • DON’T wear shoes with thick soles to look taller. NEVER buy “risers” (shoes that are created for the very purpose of adding inches).
  • DON’T buy baggy clothes. They won’t make you look bigger. In fact, they make you look smaller and younger.
  • DON’T wear double-breasted jackets. Stick with single-breasted, one or two button jackets.
  • DON’T shy away from tailoring. Basic alterations can go a long way. If you want to know what’s possible in terms of alterations, start here.

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