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Secrets To Looking Taller

Want to know some secrets to looking taller? To start, we need to discuss some basic style principles.

We talk about fashion versus style a lot here at the showroom. While we aren’t against a fashionable flair every now and again, we strongly encourage our clients to focus on style. Fashion is fleeting and superficial – it’s what GQ and Esquire tell us to wear for any given season. Whether it works for our body types, coloring, or personal and professional needs isn’t a consideration. Style, on the other hand, seeks to celebrate the individual by accentuating his natural positives and mitigating his negatives. We achieve this by taking a client’s build, coloring, contrast, and tastes into consideration when we craft garments for him.

Height is a crucial component of your build, so it’s important that we play to it as best we can so we can craft the most impactful image possible for you.

How To Dress To Look Taller

man in hat and cardigan sweaterFor the purposes of this discussion, we’ll classify “short” men as men who are 5’5″ or under. Mike, our 5’3″ Operations Director, falls into this category.

Let’s be clear about something – there’s no magic trick that will make short men appear tall. There are, however, strategies shorter men can employ that will avoid accentuating their smaller stature. We outline some of those strategies below, but please know that these aren’t black-and-white, all-or-nothing approaches. You also need to consider your profession and personal taste – these are more guidelines than rules.

Opt For Suits Instead of Sport Jackets & Trousers

daniel craig next to aston martinOne key to minimizing shortness is to create unbroken vertical lines. They operative word here is unbroken, which is why we advise suits over sport coat and trouser combinations for short men. The matching material of a suit’s jacket and pants creates this unbroken color and/or pattern story, which benefits a short man. The odd jacket and trouser look could still look great on a short guy, but because it breaks him up visually, it won’t do anything to maximize whatever height he has.

Vertical Stripes Are Your Friends

man in custom brown stripe suitVertical lines draw the eye up and down. This tricks the viewer into perceiving height where there isn’t much of it to speak of otherwise. As such, striped clothing will help any short guy appear a bit taller and longer. As for the type of stripe, that’s up to your personal preference the occasion, and the weather. Pinstripes are dressy and formal, rope stripes are a little more aggressive and stylish, and chalk stripes are great for cold-weather suitings.

Short men (and broad men, for that matter) should avoid horizontal stripes, which will draw the eye from side to side. This does nothing to maximize height.

Try Braces In Place Of Belts

larry king in purple suspendersBraces or suspenders are great for short men. They function the same as vertical stripes, drawing the eye up and down and creating the illusion of height. Belts, while extremely popular for men of all sizes, slap a horizontal line right in the middle of you. Nothing breaks up height like a horizontal line – while we know we’re not going to get men to stop wearing belts any time soon, it’s worth suggesting braces as an alternative.

Trouser Tricks

custom pants with english side strapsWe have a couple of tricks for custom trousers that benefit short guys greatly:

  1. Make them with a longer rise. Rise is the distance from the fork in the crotch to the top of the waistband. Lots of men tend to wear their dress trousers on their hips, same as their jeans. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a longer rise allows the pants to sit higher up, at your natural waist. This creates a longer leg line, which in turn makes you appear taller. It also helps avoid visible shirt or tie peeking out between the top of the pants and below the jacket’s front buttons.
  2. Ditch the belt loops. We love them for their stylish, unique look anyway, but pants with no belt loops and English side straps are great for short men since they preclude the need for a belt and don’t require braces.


Curious how to accentuate the positives of your build? We’re here to help. Give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email info@henrydavidsen.com to start the conversation.

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