Tall Men Style Tips: The Do's and The Dont's

Tall Men Style Tips: The Do’s and The Dont’s

In this guide, we’re going to share style tips for tall men and the Do’s and Don’ts of dressing elegantly for men over 6′ or 183cm.

The Challenges of Being Tall

Taller guys, despite having the social cache of height, often get treated poorly. From compact cars to airlines with decreasing knee room, tall men often aren’t considered and shopping is no exception. Off-the-rack clothing is generally designed for men under six feet tall. For those over the six-foot mark, wrists begin to poke out from the shirt cuffs and ankles begin to show. Dress shirts easily come untucked, socks slide down, and shoes above a size 15 are hard to find. Being tall certainly has its advantages, but shopping for elegant, well-fitting clothing (especially if you are on a budget) is a challenge.

The point of dressing well as a tall man isn’t to hide or camouflage your height. Like any body type, the goal of dressing for a tall man is to look proportional and elegant, but you’ll have to work a little harder than an average-height guy to achieve this simply because mainstream clothes aren’t designed with you in mind. Clothes should be the proper length and fit for your proportions, including hems, shirt cuffs, shoulders, trouser rise, and jacket length among others. Patterns, textures, and colors should be used support your overall look in a way that doesn’t exaggerate or overemphasize height. The goal is simple: to look good!

Style DOs for Tall Men

Here are our style DOs for tall men.

Green jacket, camel doeskin vest, striped woll tie, small checked shirt, blue cornflower bz Fort Belvedere

Layers add interest and break up the vertical lines in an outfit; here, Sven Raphael Schneider wears a camel doeskin vest accented by Fort Belvedere gloves and a blue cornflower boutonniere

DO use layers to add depth and dimension

Adding layers will give you more dimension, which is ideal for slender to average builds. When the season allows, opt for odd vests and sweaters under jackets, and with suits add a matching waistcoat or choose a double breasted jacket instead. These style choices help to break up the outfit and add points of interest that do not emphasize height. Varying textures will help you look more natural, and it also gives you more room to play with your attire. By using different layers, you can actually maintain a smaller wardrobe that is far more versatile.

A good example of an outfit for a taller man that draws attention away from height

A good example of a balanced outfit for a taller man

DO embrace the odd combination

As a tall man, the odd combination (simply a jacket and pants not made of the same material) can be particularly useful for tall men because it allows you to shop for separate pieces and get more wear out of the suits you already have. Now your gray suit and navy suit have become four outfits instead of just two. Like a belt, wearing different colors and textures on the upper and lower body will break the body in half which makes you look less imposing by creating distinct lines.

Herbert Stricker in mid blue summer suit with alligator belt & horn sunglasses

Herbert Stricker in mid blue summer suit with an alligator belt & horn sunglasses

DO choose belts over braces

Suspenders work well on heavier set men, but for tall and slim men, belts are best. They help to create a clean line across the body that breaks up the appearance. Braces increase the impression of height because they run parallel to the body. Belts help add bulk to your build that draw attention to your midsection, so consider contrasting or bright colors, depending on the setting.

wingtip spectator derby shoes with Mid Brown Socks with Green and Cream Clocks by fort belvedere with brown trousers

Even if you have large feet, you CAN wear bold shoes; choose classic lasts and styles like these wingtip spectator shoes with brown socks by Fort Belvedere

DO embrace bolder shoes

Though they may be harder for you to find, bolder shoes that feature textures and color will help direct the eye down. Though conventional wisdom might suggest wearing only dark shoes to minimize larger feet, your feet are proportional to your body and the intent should be to complement your style, not to hide your feet. Every color and style of shoe is open to you, so if you are able to find them, don’t feel you can’t wear red loafers or blue suede boots, for example. The only risk you run is that really loud shoes will look clownish, so we suggest sticking with classic lasts in high-quality materials. Unless you’re a pro sports player, it’s best to stay away from garish or oversized trainers. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you’re wearing more traditional shoes like black captoe oxfords or brown derbies, you can add contrasting laces to help add a point of interest to your shoes.

Alterations are key

Alterations are key

DO get everything altered

Unless it’s a pair of shorts or a t-shirt, take every worthy article of clothing you buy to an alterations tailor. Whether it be a simple hem or cuff, bringing in a jacket so it doesn’t billow or perhaps something even more involved, you’ll want to begin working the costs of the tailor into any budget you allot for your clothing. The last thing you’ll want is to buy something and have it sit unworn in your closet because you spent all of your money on the outfit and can’t afford the alterations.

Bespoke Coats in Interesting Fabrics

Bespoke Coats in Interesting Fabrics

DO invest in Made-to-Measure and Bespoke clothing

This is probably the least surprising recommendation. Sometimes, the only way to get a decent fit is to find clothes that can be customized to your measurements. The good news is that made-to-measure is easier to find now than ever, and you don’t need to spend a fortune. The biggest benefit of buying MTM or bespoke is that you avoid having to pay the final costs of having the item altered by a tailor. When it arrives, it should come perfectly sized to your measurements so it’s ready to wear the moment you take it out of the package. High-impact and wardrobe basics that rely heavily on proper fit to look good should be considered for your bespoke or MTM budget, especially shirts, suits, jackets, and pants. MTM shirts, in particular, are widely available online; for more guidance on shirts, read our Shirt Style Guide or our Quality Shirt Guide.

Fort Belvedere Grenadine tie in Burgundy Red

Fort Belvedere ties come in a long length specifically for men that are 6’3″/190cm or taller, such as this Burgundy Red Grenadine tie

DO buy long-length ties

One of the biggest issues tall men run into is trying to find a necktie that allows you to tie any size knot that suits your taste while still getting a long enough lenght. Regular ties are sized for middle-height men, and that means tall men often have to resort to only wearing small tie knots or skewing the ratio of front blade to back blade in order to get the correct length. The fashion industry has led us to believe that ties only some in a single size, but that is simply not true. Fort Belvedere is one of the few companies that offers a long-length tie geared specifically for the needs of tall men. To find a tie for you, click here.

clock details Blue Socks with Red _ White Clocks in Cotton - Fort Belvedere_

Over-the-calf socks have the all-important job of making sure you don’t expose your legs; shown, classic blue socks with clocks from Fort Belvedere

DO buy over-the-calf socks

You’ve certainly heard us preach about over-the-calf socks before, but this is a particularly important tip for tall men who want to avoid the appearance that their pants are too short. Short socks, and their frustrating tendency to slip down, are even more likely to expose your leg because of your height. Since a proper pants hem/sock/shoe interaction is crucial for a proportional look, opt for over the calf socks when possible.

Style DONT’s for Tall Men

Chalk Stripe Suit Ralph Lauren

Bold vertical stripes like this Chalk Stripe Suit by Ralph Lauren will elongate the body

DON’T wear bold, vertical stripes

Bold stripes that go up and down will just make you look thinner and taller. If you like the look of stripes, opt for fine, narrowly spaced stripes on a suit or use them elsewhere in your outfit, such as a bold striped tie or a striped shirt.

Pedro Mendes with dark blue knit tie, white button down shirt and ivory linen suit with crown fold pocket square - note the unusual hat

Three-button suits emphasize and elongate the torso, so opt for two buttons instead

DON’T wear three-button single-breasted suits

Unless the jacket is intended to be worn as a three-roll-two jacket, don’t wear jackets and button all three buttons on a jacket. This overly covered look will again emphasize your height because of the vertical placement of the buttons. Opt for two-button jackets instead.

Preppy red shorts perfect for a casual day outdoors

For tall men, pair shorts with a long-sleeve shirt (and roll the sleeves to stay cool)

DON’T wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts together

If you’re tall and slim, showing both your bare arms and your legs may make you feel even lankier. To keep your look balanced, show one or the other, either by pairing a short-sleeved shirt with pants or a long-sleeved shirt with shorts. In the latter instance, you can roll your sleeves up a few steps to keep the overall casual look of the shorts.

Avoid looking tall and lanky

Low-rise pants and blocky, solid colors will only make you look more tall and lanky

DON’T wear low-rise pants

The rise of your pants and the waistband will act as the main horizontal counterpoint in an outfit, so it’s important that it falls in the right place. For tall men, an average pants rise can frustratingly fit more like a low rise, which has the effect of elongating the torso. Avoid low-rise pants and opt instead for mid- to high-rise cuts that transect the middle at a more proportional point.

An advert from Macys shows exactly what you need to avoid as a tall man

An advert from Macy’s shows exactly what you need to avoid as a tall man, large dark blocks of color

DON’T wear solid, dark suits or two solids together

Every man needs a suit, but for tall men, it’s best to wear suits that aren’t solid. By “solid”, we mean the typical suiting material found at department stores that have little to no texture or pattern in the weave. Using texture, color and pattern is going to be your best solution. The dyed patterns can be a little too bold for tall men, but a great weave in a birds eye or herringbone adds that depth and dimension that will make you stand out, in a good way. A glen check can look very distinguished and not overly flashy.

Sky Blue Linen Suit

This sky-blue linen suit features a nicely textured fabric, jacket proportions and immaculate tailoring of the hem and sleeve

DON’T wear anything if it’s too short

One of the biggest issues tall men have is finding items of clothing that fit and aren’t too short in the arms or the legs. However, even the best tailor can’t add fabric if there isn’t any left. When you are buying pants, consider buying unhemmed pants that are extra long so your tailor has something to work with. It’s easier to find this in the form of dress trousers, but often it’s tough to locate unhemmed casual slacks like chinos or denim jeans. You may find that you need to start purchasing more clothing online, or focus on ordering some of your clothing from bespoke tailors or MTM boutiques that can hem the trousers at the perfect length for you. When you do to the tailor, try to wear a pair of shoes that you will wear the trousers with. This way, when you try it on with the shoes, you’ll be able to see how they fall and look paired with the shoe.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has helped give you some ideas on how to get the best results when buying new clothes so you can look and feel confident. Are you a tall man? What tips do you have for dressing well?

Summary
Style Tips for Tall Men: The Dos and The Donts
Article Name
Style Tips for Tall Men: The Dos and The Donts
Description
Tips and tricks to dressing when you're a tall and slender man including how to buy clothes, why you need a good tailor and our top recommended tips.
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Publisher
Gentleman's Gazette
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7 replies
  1. Eric J. Goldberg says:

    Thanks for another thoughtful article GG. Question: What about tall, slim men and bow ties? I am 6’2″ and love bow ties, but for some reason I think that my proportions look odd when I wear one. Any thoughts or suggestions?Cheers, Eric

    Reply
    • Wolf says:

      Is it the bow tie in relation to your face or your body you feel uncertain about? If it is the expanse of shirt front opened up by wearing one, instead of a four in hand tie, trying coupling it with a waistcoat.

      Reply
  2. Thorkild Toennesen says:

    First of all, dont hide the fact that you are tall as you are envied by the little fellows and the opposite sex will always look for the tall guy.
    The advice in the article are quite sensible though I’m not quite sure about the double breasted jacket advice, as it can add bulk to your appearance.

    Reply
  3. Nicholas W. Podoll says:

    Definitely the best advice here, other than tailoring, is to go with odd combinations and add a vest or sweater. It is nice for me that I live in a northern climate where it is cooler than 60 degrees for 8 months out of the year and below freezing for 4 of those months, so layering is often quite comfortable. Layering can also hide any billowing and un-tucking that a tall man’s shirt will tend to do. I’m nearly 6’4″ and trim, but not overly skinny. I still weigh just shy of 200 lbs. However, this can still be a difficult size, especially on a tight budget, because you are too tall for anything regular fit, but swimming in the Big & Tall section. However, through careful searching, I have found a couple of options off the rack that fit fairly well. You need to find a brand, especially for jackets and shirts, that seems to fit well off the rack and then run with that. I’ve personally found two department store brands, either in modern or slim fit, that fit my build quite well: Savile Row and J.M. Haggar. Most others that are commonly found in U.S. department stores, such as Croft & Barrow, Stafford, and Chaps by Ralph Lauren, don’t fit well at all. If you happen to be of a similar build as me and are just starting to transition to a more professional wardrobe, I hope that this will help you narrow down your options and save you some time and money.

    Reply

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