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Casual Pants

Dressing the Tall Guy

It's time to give tall men the spot light by taking a look at their world of fashion, and the challenges many of our vertically gifted brothers encounter everyday. Unfortunately, the clothing industry has not caught up to the needs of tall men, so men who are 6'3" (6 feet-3 inches) and taller typically have to hunt a little longer and harder to find clothing and styles that are readily available to the rest of us.

The sad reality is, taller than average men struggle to dress well. But don't despair – designers are getting the message, plus with a little know-how, tall guys can beat the system and look their best. Hopefully, this article will do just that by sharing pointers on how to outsmart Mother Nature by dressing stylishly no matter how tall you might be.

Tall guys really do have it rough when it comes to finding clothing that truly fits. Buying off the rack is difficult, to say the least, especially since so many tall men are thin, as well. Pants and sleeves are typically too short, while waistbands and shirts are frequently too wide. Often, Big and Tall Shops focus on just that and not so much the thin and tall; leaving tall, slender men empty handed. These ongoing dilemmas often force men into having clothes, particularly suits, custom-made or altered, which we all know is very expensive and not always in the budget. So, let's take a look at a few tips on how to successfully shop today's market, by choosing clothing that fits properly and makes you feel as good as you look.

However, before we get into the list of pointers, I'd like to say two important things that I hope tall men everywhere know and believe. Above all, appreciate your height. You're fortunate to be tall for lots of reasons. Your presence alone commands the attention, respect, and admiration of many, so run with it and make the most of your valued esteem.

Hopefully, you're a very confident man (which is always a guy's most valuable asset), so wear it proud, and everything you wear will look great. In addition, if you're both tall and fit, realize just how awesome you look in your clothes. Clothing looks best on tall men because of how it falls and drapes; enabling you to wear just about anything and still look amazing. These are two extraordinary assets to have, so like I said, wear it proud!

Dressing the Tall Guy Tips

The objective is to wear clothing that balances your top half with your bottom half. Often, it's achieved by what I like to call "smoke and mirror" fashion – a technique that enhances a guy's best qualities, while downplaying the rest. By the way, many of us dress by these rules for different reasons, so you're not alone. For tall men looking to appear shorter or more balanced, clothing, particularly clothing that adds horizontal lines instead of vertical ones, that's made of heavier fabrics and has certain patterns, will help you achieve this goal. You already make a powerful impression, so focus on clothing that balances your frame, instead of detracting from it.

Don't settle for clothing that doesn't fit. Clothing that's either too large or small defeats the image you're going for. Unless you know it will be altered, put it down, walk away, and don't look back!

Let's start at the top: hats are fine to wear. Sure, they add more height, but they also add a little extra something to an outfit. If you're comfortable in it, do it!

Avoid cropped jackets because they make legs appear longer. Jackets that sit just below the buttock make legs look shorter, simply because there's less of them showing.

Opt for jackets and sport coats with two buttons, since three can elongate the body.

3/4 length coats are a great choice, since they bring the leg line even lower than a jacket does. Coats that fall just below the knee are very flattering, also – particularly those with belts that break the vertical line of the coat.

 Suits are typically man's most expensive clothing, and since so much rides on looking sharp in a suit in both the professional and social arenas, invest in custom-tailored suits if you're unable to find any off the rack that fit properly. It's best to have a couple suits that look great than several that don't. If you're lucky enough to find a suit that "almost" fits, grab it and get it professionally altered.

Solid color suits, or those with a subtle pattern, like the glen plaid or window pane, are most flattering. Vertical pinstripes should be avoided because they emphasize height by drawing the eye upward.

Suit colors should be today's current colors that everyone's wearing: charcoal, black, navy, etc.

Tall and lean? Try double-breasted jackets, which add girth to the torso and help balance height. Opt for wider lapels, which add broadness to the chest and shoulders. Tall and not so lean? Then, single-breasted jackets with normal lapels are best.

Sport coats and jackets made of heavy weight, textured fabrics like herringbone tweed add girth to a slim man, which naturally detracts from his height.

Dress shirts must fit! If you're slender, avoid boxy dress shirts, since their "roomy" cut offers too much fabric that will hang and overpower your torso. Tapered or fitted dress shirts have less fabric and will be more form fitting. If the typical fitted shirt is too loose, look for slim, super slim, or extra slim fit dress shirts that are available in certain brands.

Possibly the biggest problem with dress shirts is their length. Dress shirts need to be long enough to tuck in and remain in place. If not, keep walking.

Sleeves are an issue if they're too short or baggy. Slim fit shirts should have narrower sleeves, so again, seek out the slimmer cuts. Finding appropriate sleeve lengths can be just as challenging, so keep searching and don't settle. Sleeves whose cuffs creep up the wrist and forearm not only look bad, but are uncomfortable, too. If you're unable to find dress shirts that fit properly, find yourself a good tailor to either custom-make or alter off the rack shirts.

Ties should be matched according to the size and spread of the collar, and the outfit's overall style. Don't make the mistake of always wearing wide neckties; however, thin neckties do add to the tall, lean look.

I always recommend flat-front pants and slacks regardless of a guy's build; however, pleated pants do add size and girth. I'm leaving this one up to you – just make certain the additional fabric doesn't make the pants look too big or baggy.

Cuffs add to the horizontal line or break, so cuffs, another per peeve of mine, work for the tall guy.

Opt for straight-leg pants and jeans, and avoid boot-cut and tapered styles.

Low-rise jeans give the illusion of shorter legs, while high-rise jeans add to their visual length and are best avoided. Mid-rise jeans are safe to wear for all tall men, regardless of weight and build.

Always wear a belt if shirts are tucked in, since belts make a visual horizontal break between the upper and lower sections of the body, which results in making the man appear shorter. Wider belts achieve this look more than skinny or narrow belts do.

Shoes, for obvious reasons, should be thin soled with low heels. Avoid pointy shoes and boots, since the point elongates the leg, where round or square-toe shoes add balance.

Layer clothing – it's fashionable, adds bulk, and is an easy fix for the slim guy.  Avoid layering, especially with heavy fabrics, if you're not slim.

Sweaters, vests, and turtlenecks all add volume to lean torsos. Turtlenecks, by concealing the neck, make tall men appear shorter.

Because you're tall, you can accommodate many patterns and colors shorter guys can't. Patterns, when compared to solid clothing, break the visual line, thus decreasing height. Keep it tasteful and within the theme of the outfit, but play around with patterns and colors... even if they're bold. Actually, larger prints are more advantageous for tall men than smaller prints.

Avoid wearing pants and shirts of the same color. Differing shades are fine, but tops and bottoms should contrast one another, in order to break up the visual line.

There's no doubt about it – finding suitable clothing that fits and reflects the man you want to project is not easy when you're tall. However, when you do, your majestic height and presence is tough to beat, so persevere and never settle for less than you deserve.

I'm going to do my research and write another article containing the names of designers and brands that cater to tall men. In the meantime, shop your local men stores and the internet. Fortunately, there are many affordable tall men fashions online should the men shops come up short... no pun intended! We'd love to hear from you with any tips and suggestions you have to share – thanks.

by Aaron Marino

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
Corduroy Pant Shopping | Men's Cords -
December 28, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. is out shopping with this Weather Channel meteorologist Steve for some corduroy pants. Steve's size is 36 x 34 and is tough to find at times. After visiting Macy's and The GAP, they visit Belk and hit the jackpot. They get the jean cut rather than the trouser cut by Nautica. Aaron suggests to get the 32 and the 34 lengths in the same color so that he can have various lengtRead More»
Men's Pant Fit Options | Standard, Relaxed, Straight, Slimmer Tailored -
November 1, 2012
This video presents a crash course on pant fit. Aaron Marino of alpha m. states that four fits are essential to know, and skipping the first two is advised. Focus on the straight and slimmer tailored fits The standard fit has a standard / regular rise which doesn't elongate your legs. The regular rise is around 12 inches long. The pant leg is a little wider, creating a bit baggier of a pant. The Read More»
Pleated Pants Pet Peeve! -
October 18, 2012
If you've been following me for a while, no doubt you're aware of my position on pleated pants.  For those who don't know where I stand, please read on because pleated pants are my #1 pet peeve! Let me begin by saying I understand the confusion men have about this topic.  The clothing industry has dominated the stage with pleated pants for decades; designing the majority of suits with pleated paRead More»
How Men's Dress Pants Should Fit  -
October 16, 2012
Women seem to think men have it easy when it comes to finding pants that fit.  After all, we don't have to contend with all the curves women do, so on that point, I have to agree; we normally do have an easier time of buying pants.  Still, our slimmer hips and buttocks aren't a guarantee that every pair of pants is going to fit our manly bodies perfectly. I wish we could base our choices on sizeRead More»

Tour de Cords | Men's Corduroy Pants  -
October 9, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. is at the mall because 'tis the season for corduroy pants. Today's corduroys are not the same from when you were a kid. They come in various wales, and Alpha's looking for sexy and minimal. When shopping for pants, always try on the pants with the shoes that you are going to be wearing. Aaron displays different cuts and styles in various stores around the mall and ultimateRead More»
What to Match with Army Green Clothing  -
September 28, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. discuses the glorious color inspired by the military, and it's found it's way into main stream fashion. Sometimes army green is called khaki, olive, or simply green. It's earthy and rich as well as it matches with a lot of skin colors. Matching tops to this green is challenging. Other than black, color options are white, tan, camel, pink, and light or medium gray. These coRead More»
Pre-Shrunk Clothing? My Butt! -
September 24, 2012
Does your men's shirt say 'pre-shrunk" but it shrink in the dryer anyway? Aaron Marino of alpha m. has done it, and you've probably done it too. Don't trust anything that says 'pre-shrunk'. Take special care when drying clothes if they are the perfect size. Cotton shirts will shrink if put in the dryer when wet, and there is nothing you can do to un-shrink them. Pre-shrunk? Don't believe the hype!Read More»
Men's Pant Leg Length -
September 14, 2012
The biggest men's pant length issue is the pant being too long. The visual streamline is broken with the bunching of the pants at the ankle, which makes a man look shorter. Aaron Marino of alpha m. also discusses pants being too short and shows a prime example. You don't have to be a fashion or style expert to see that the pants are too short. He needs an in between size. So, purchase the in betweRead More»
Where to Shop for Dress Slacks | Express and Macy's  -
August 31, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. recommends places to shop for great fitting dress slacks for business casual environment. Express Producer Pants are decent for what they are-- in between pants. For more quality pants, check out Banana Republic for a great selection which last longer. Macy's has the widest selection of options for men's pants and slacks which are typically on sale (such as Kenneth Cole ReRead More»

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