When it comes to style, the only real rule is there are no rules. For shorter guys, style isn’t about “wear this” or “don’t wear that”; it’s about wearing your favorite trends in ways that best fit your body type and personality. With that said, here are a few of our favorite tips to help you get started making the most out of your height.
If you happen to have a shorter torso or shorter legs, the key to looking taller is to figure out which one you have and “re-proportion” your body by selecting the appropriate clothing. For example, if you have a longer torso and shorter legs, you want pants that have a slightly higher waist and longer rise; the higher waistline creates the illusion of longer legs. Conversely, if you have longer legs and a shorter torso, wearing medium- to low-rise pants will help lengthen your upper body. The one exception to re-proportioning is if you have a wider waist. In that case you’ll want your pants to hit no lower than your natural waistline or it will create an odd profile.
Length can be a tricky thing to shop for in a shirt; too short and you show off your belly when you lift your arms, but too long looks frumpy and can bunch up around the crotch when you tuck it in. Ideally a shirt should end within an inch of the widest part of your butt, which is about halfway down most guys’ jeans back pocket. We measured tons of guys to specifically design our shirts to hit right at that point, making our length just right.
In addition to proportion, fit is the most important element in looking good and feeling comfortable. You don’t want to go too loose or too tight; instead, look for clothes that offer a modern fit with about an extra half-inch of room. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s all most guys need to look trimmer and taller. All Jax Everett clothing uses a modern fit to eliminate bulk and flatter your body while fitting comfortably.
An easy way to tell if a shirt is the right fit is to check the pull when buttoned; if it pulls funny then consider going up to the next size, as your shirt is probably too tight. For pants, that extra half-inch is key. If you have really skinny legs, then skinny-fit jeans can be worn to eliminate bagginess and help you look taller. Otherwise, we usually recommend regular-fit jeans. One thing we’ve noticed is that some brands call themselves a slim fit but really aren’t all that tight, so it pays to try on a lot of different brands and styles to find the one that best fits you. Avoid the boot cut as the slight flare may start at the wrong part of your leg and make you look shorter and wider than you really are.
In addition to wearing regular fit, choose pants with a slight break at the bottom (reaching about halfway down the back of your shoe and slightly covering the top) for the greatest versatility in accommodating various shoe styles. Depending on the throat of a shoe, a pant with no break can end up looking like children’s high-waters, while a full break that reaches to the bottom of the back of the shoe can make your ankles look fatter and you shorter. Cuffs and pleats can make your pants look wider, so it’s wise to avoid them if possible. If you need a little more room in the thighs, pants with darts in the front can give you more room without the puffiness of pleats.
Shorts that go below the knee tend to make your legs look shorter, while shorts that end at least 1–2 inches above the knee show off more thigh, naturally making your legs look longer. If you’ve got the quads and the confidence, we recommend going 3–4 inches above the knee. We also prefer shorts that are more fitted, like a city short, which can make your legs look more defined and tall as opposed to the bagginess of cargo shorts.
Whether it’s a lightweight fabric or a heavier fabric, look for one that has a nice drape. This is the way the fabric lays on your body to make you look slimmer or bulkier. In fact, something like a chunky cable sweater that drapes correctly can make you look slimmer than a light sweater that has poor drape.
To create a streamlined look in our shirts we use tonal patterns or darker colors, using pops of light color as an accent. By creating a more monochromatic look in your outfit or using darker colors, you can get away with a busier fabric than if you dress in lighter colors. It’s also important to find patterns that are scaled appropriately to your build.
If you like wearing bracelets or watches, particularly with today’s trend of stacking several pieces, make sure the scale of each piece is thin enough so that your forearm isn’t visually overwhelmed. Keeping items in the same tonal range, with perhaps just a single pop of color, helps to get the look of stacking while keeping your arm looking long.
Bulky watches are a staple in most men’s wardrobes; thus, we designed the cuff of our shirt to accommodate one. For the shorter guy, we recommend wearing a watch that is thick but not wide for appropriate scale while still providing the heft you’re looking for. For example, many watches are unisex, so women’s sizes may fit the proportions of your wrist better than the equivalent men’s size.