Style tips from the experts on dressing well for shorter men

Posted On: Friday, July 20th, 2018 0 comments
daniel radcliffe

No matter your height, when it comes to personal style there’s always one rule which tends to hold true – the importance of dressing well for your body type. If you’re on the stouter side, it can be all too easy to sell yourself short (sorry) and get disillusioned about personal style, but the good news is that there are a couple of tricks you can use to make it easier for yourself! For inspiration, you need look no further than icons like Daniel Radcliffe, who is a master of tailoring his personal style to perfectly suit his height. Plus, as experts in shirting fabrics ourselves we’ve picked up a thing or two over the years here at Acorn – so here are our top tips!

Think about the colours

Choosing your fabric colours for your personal style has always been a skill in and of itself, but the rules can subtly vary for shorter men. On the whole, darker colours are a good place to start, as they often work together to lengthen and extend your physical silhouette. One way they can do this, for example, is by camouflaging the exact location of your belt, which otherwise can draw attention to your proportions by very clearly indicating where your upper body ends and your lower body begins. Darker clothing does a better job of concealing this divide, giving the illusion of a bit of extra height.

dark dressed man

Naturally, black or navy blue (like our Haworth navy fabric) are the time-honoured options, but brown, olive and charcoal are great alternatives too. Of course, you probably won’t want to go all monochrome, all the time. That’s perfectly understandable! To change things up a little, you can throw in a bit of colour occasionally. A particularly great idea is to wear darker colours on the bottom half of your body, and lighter colours on top (so for example, navy trousers with a lighter blue shirt). This draws the eyes upward, subtly diverting attention away from your height. However, you’ll want to steer clear of contrasts that are too stark. Light shades of grey, cream and white are excellent choices to soften your look.

And of course, the vertical stripes are a short man’s best friend. Striped shirting fabrics like our Oxford Ivy Navy Striped fabric or our Zephyr ZT Blue Striped fabric are great for guiding the gaze up the length of your upper body, giving the illusion of extra height.

Pay attention to the fit

As a shorter man, don’t forget that your primary sartorial goal is to streamline. To be honest, it’s a good goal for men of any height, but those of us on the shorter side benefit even more tangibly from lengthening our silhouette, which can give the visual illusion of extra height. So, you may be asking, how do I do that, then?

fitted suit

Well, first and foremost, it’s about taking extra care to make sure that your clothes fit you well. That means no baggy shirts or trousers! Too much extra material widens your silhouette, which in turn draws extra attention to your height (or lack thereof). Equally though, don’t go too far the other way by trying wearing anything that’s a size too small for you, as it’ll be obvious immediately.

Essentially, you don’t have to know your measurements down to the millimetre, but a wise man always recognises when a particular shirt simply doesn’t quite fit him, no matter how good he thinks he looks in it otherwise. On the whole, slimmer fits complement shorter body types better than other cuts. This applies to your more formal clothing too – if you can, it’s always worth getting your suit tailored!


Going back to colour again, accessories constitute a fantastic way to add a few extra pops of it here and there. The same rules about silhouette also apply to ties, by the way – you’ll want to keep them thin and narrow rather than short and wide. When the weather moves into being chillier (which looks like it might be quite a while yet!), a plain or printed scarf is another tried-and-tested option.

happy guy

As for other accessories, you might want to give prime consideration to those you can wear high-up on your body, such as hats, glasses, lapel pins, tie pins and pocket squares. As you’ve probably guessed by now, by drawing eyes to your upper body, you’re detracting attention from your height. Take it easy on the accessories, though. With a few exceptions, three is generally considered to be the maximum. Any more than that, and you’re moving into ‘mildly eccentric’ territory. That’s fine if it’s what you’re comfortable with, but it’s worth being aware!

Above all else – and we can’t stress this enough here at Acorn – wear what makes you feel comfortable. Finding your personal style is all about experimentation. There are very few actual golden rules, and you might find that you look even better when you’re breaking them! Whatever the case, you can find a huge variety of cotton shirting fabrics amongst our range here at Acorn fabrics. In the midst of this summer heatwave, we’re finding that our lighter, coloured fabrics like our Voile and Batiste are particularly popular. You can browse them right here on our website, or place your order by giving us a call on 01282 698 662.

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