A vertically striped cloth can be flattering, so long as you ensure the stripes are quite closely spaced (broadly
situated stripes, meanwhile, draw the eye outwards, emphasizing girth). “The nice thing about stripes is they give
an impression of height and therefore flatter shorter men,” according to Permanent Style’s Simon Crompton. Stripes
also help the portly fellow, but Crompton asserts that they’re of most benefit to those seeking a Brobdingnagian
boost. “The lengthening effect is far greater than the slimming one.”
Received wisdom is that a two- or one-button suit coat is best equipped to deliver a deep V-shaped expanse of chest,
painting the picture of a long, lean torso. (Insofar as knitwear goes, a v-neck sweater is an excellent choice for
much the same reason.) That isn’t to say double-breasted suits are out of the question. “I am not the tallest guy
and I ignore the usual advice telling me not to wear DBs,” says Kit Blake cofounder and creative director, Chris
Modoo. “One of the best-dressed men of all time, the Duke of Windsor, stood just 5’5” (1.7 metres), and he loved
double-breasted,” Modoo reminds us.
“Of course, correct fit is important for the shorter man, but that is true for men of any size,” Modoo advises — keep
things trim and avoid excessive expanses of cloth. Trousers should be relatively slim and tapered, with just a
modest break, as pools of cloth at the ankle will shorten the legline and evoke the image of a small boy swimming in
his big brother’s hand-me-down garments.
Trousers should be worn higher on the waist and belts are to be avoided where possible, as these simply serve to
slice your silhouette in half. Tricking the observer’s eye into perceiving your legs as flamingo-esque is the number
one secret to appearing taller. To achieve that goal, wear shoes as close in colour to the trouser as possible, and
ensure your jacket’s skirt is cut on the shorter side — just not so short that it enters ‘fashion’ territory.
Remember: A suit jacket, like a good lawyer, should always cover your ass.
Eschew the shame of booster shoes, but do go for a decent heel on your benchmades and perhaps consider a Nike Air Max
90 for the most casual occasions. Some suggest a high-crowned hat will help add inches, but there’s a good chance
you’ll just end up resembling pygmy gangster Clyde from Hanna-Barbera’s Ant Hill Mob. (Google it, my Millennial
All things considered, what’s going to give you the greatest boost is a healthy sense of self-assurance. “Dress well
and have confidence in your style,” counsels Modoo. “Remember that some of the most stylish gentlemen out there are
on the shorter side — Southern Italians are obvious candidates.” Their secret to overcoming the challenges of
vertical impairment? In the immortal words of Donnie Brasco and Co: “Eh, forget about it.”