This article includes some tips and tricks for tall men to accentuate their positives and mitigate their negatives in their clothing. We will keep the discussion to thinner tall men, as taller men who are heavier have different guidelines.
Not sure if you’d describe yourself as “tall and thin?” Please peruse our high-level guide which covers nine different body types, two body type “modifications (“athletic” and “irregular”), and the methodology with which we created them all. From there you’ll be able to determine your true body type and be quickly directed to its corresponding article.
If you’re here because the word “beanpole” has been used to describe you, read on for some useful tips on how to dress your best!
The “Tall & Thin” Male Body Type
- 5’11” or taller
- Slender build
- Flat stomach, thin limbs
Tall guys have it all, right? Studies show that they tend to get paid more than short men for the same work, and anecdotal evidence tells us that women often have a thing for tall guys. In fact, the average height of American presidents since 1900 has been just over 5’11”. Tall guys live the good life, right?
In a lot of ways yes, but when it comes to clothing, there are certain challenges that only tall men endure.
Mike once had a client who was 6’9″ (205.74 cm) tall and clocked in at barely 200 pounds. Total beanpole. One of his main concerns was that he always came off as freakishly tall. He spent his formative years hunched over in an effort to make himself seem shorter, the poor guy. There was even one time when we ran into each other waiting for the subway and a couple of teenagers remarked -audibly and accurately- that he was taller than the subway train itself.
It didn’t matter that this guy could dunk on basically whomever he wanted, he was self-conscious about his height. How could we make him look his best?
How Tall, Thin Men Should Dress
As a rule, you want to break up height wherever you can. Just as a short man will never actually look tall, a tall man will never actually look short. All you can do is appear to be not so tall. The way that you can do this is to break up your height.
Use as many horizontal elements as possible and avoiding as many vertical elements as possible.
Basically, dress the opposite of a short man.
- Typical jacket size: 38″-42″, often in “long” ready-to-wear lengths
Whenever possible, wear odd jackets and trousers instead of suits. This will break up the vertical line from shoe to chin. 6×2 double-breasted coats will serve you very well, as they add a horizontal element to your outfit. If you’re not a fan of DB’s, stick to two-button jackets with a somewhat lower button stance. This will draw the eye downward.
Although skinny lapels are in, they’ll make you look thinner, which will make you look taller. Opt for a more classic width in your lapel, which is generally about 3 1/8″. If you can find a jacket with a lower gorge, all the better to draw the eye downward.
Taller men can afford a bit of extra length in their jackets. To be clear, we are not talking about zoot suit-length coats here. Find the happy medium between the bottom of your rear end and the second knuckle of your thumb, the latter of which will probably hang down further due to your arm length.
Details like ticket pockets and sleeve cuffs will break your height up as well. Opt for these if your lifestyle and personal sartorial sense allow.
- Typical waist size: 32″-34″
- Typical inseam: 32″-36″
Wear cuffed trousers (see picture above). Cuffs add another horizontal element that interrupts your verticality. Even if you’re wearing flat-front trousers, cuffs will allow you to break the “plain fronts/plain bottoms” rule in a fun, fashionable way.
You can wear your trousers a bit below your natural waist. This will shorten your leg line a bit and make you appear not distractingly tall.
A wider necktie will reduce slimness and thus add width to your frame. We are not talking about 4″ bib ties from the 1970’s, but rather a tie that’s between 3″-3.5.”
Tall, slim men should wear big, bold patterns. Windowpanes, for example, are fantastic for tall guys because of the horizontal element that they add. Plaids and checks should be larger in scale so as to add bulk to your frame; tweeds and heavy wools will help in this regard too. The jacket pictured below hits the nail on the head:
It is unadvisable to wear pinstripes, but if you insist on doing so, make sure that they are spaced at least 3/4″ apart. The extra-wide stripes will help to offset the additional height their verticality will lend you.
Avoid small-scale patterns on outerwear like blazers and sport coats. These on top of a tall frame will have too much ground to cover, so to speak, and thus could be dizzying to the viewer.
Braces Versus Belts
- Typical belt size: 34″-36″
Here, we do the complete opposite of the short man. Because you want to break up your height, a belt is an invaluable tool. Braces are quite dandy, but having two more vertical lines when you’re already quite vertical yourself isn’t going to help you at all. Stick with a belt.
- Typical size: 10D-13D (9-12 in U.K. sizing)
Your best bet is to wear shoes with a rounded taper as opposed to a more drastic one. The former will not add any additional length to your presentation, while the latter while increase your lank. See the picture below: though both are nice, the left toe shape is what you want to avoid, whereas the right is what you want to wear.
Tall & Thin Build Celebrities
Closing Thoughts On Tall, Thin Men
If you’re a guy who’s super tall and slim, there’s a very good chance you will be best served by having clothes made specifically for you. While this is perhaps a bit more of a financial outlay at the beginning, acquiring clothes in such a method will result in you having a wardrobe that fits as best as possible, amplifying your good physical qualities while minimizing the less-than-ideal ones.
Remember that an important aspect of dressing well is a visual sleight of hand in which you accentuate your positive attributes while mitigating your negative ones. Follow the above guidelines, tall guys, and you’ll come off as a very dapper Jack as opposed to the beanstalk itself.
To get yourself even better-covered, we strongly encourage you to read our article on irregularities in the male body to fully flesh out your wardrobe. If you’re slim but muscular, our article on the athletic build will also prove helpful.