Tips for Short & Skinny Gentlemen – A guide to buying Dress Shirts

It could easily be discussed whether there actually should be a set of rules for shorter gentlemen to abide by, but when all things come to a conclusion, there probably at least should be some guidelines or pointers to follow or look up when donning a custom-tailored dress shirt. If you happen to be a gentleman south of 170 cm. in height, take this article as a check-list rather than a set of rules. Here are 6 tips for appearing taller specifically for short gentlemen who do not want their dress shirts to make them look any smaller.


Number 1: Shop for dress shirts that are made for your size

This point does not refer to the labels “XS”,“S”,”M”,“L”,”XL”,…”. Those sizes are just the same pieces of clothing made for bigger men, with all parts reduced or increased slightly in size. A smaller gentleman instead needs a dress shirt with somewhat different proportions, and not resized versions of the standard-issues of dress shirts. Instead of opting for standard sizes, look for brands and stores that market specifically towards the shorter type of gentlemen – or opt for a bespoke Tailor like us at Damanino.

Look for example at brands that are being produced in Japan, Italy or perhaps Spain – the manufacturers there are often assuming to have a shorter, more slender type of customer, and their “small” sizes are much more likely to be crafted with proportions of a shorter gentleman in mind.

Although this may sounds funny to you, but you may even at times have luck in the Youth/Boys section of some department stores out there, though the clothes in those sections, may not always be as sturdy or high-quality as those meant for adult gentlemen.


Number 2: Meet your needs by adjusting aggressively

As we already mentioned above, to be really sure that clothes fit you, we suggest you to have them custom-tailored, preferably here at Damanino. Contrary to what you may think, you can actually get a tailored dress shirt for the price of two mass-manufactured ones. And that is especially if your body happens to be outside of the average size of what is offered in the standard sizes in retail stores.
If you however do choose to buy an off-the-rack dress shirt, then at least have a Tailor adjust the sleeve length and the fit at the waist for you, so it fits to your exact body measurements.

There is practically nothing that makes a short gentleman look more awkward than one in shirt sleeves that hang down too far, or a dress shirt that billows and sags around the waist area. Besides, a quick adjustment doesn’t cost much, and keeps you from looking like you’re actually being swallowed by your dress shirt.


Number 3: Select the more narrow type of collar styles

A shorter gentleman in most cases does best with slim, streamlined details. The more broader type of spread collar with outward-pointing tips stops the viewer’s gaze at your neck area, and makes you look more stout than you actually are. The narrow type of collars, whose points aim downward help keep the eye traveling all the way up toward your face.

Remember, that narrower collars need a narrower type of knot when you wear a necktie. You will probably want to wear ties that are made of a thinner type of material, one that doesn’t bulk up when folded over itself, and to use a small knot type like the four-in-hand.


Number 4: Try wearing vertically oriented patterns

This advice should be able to help many short gentlemen with their wardrobe choices, but in particular, it’s easy to achieve when it comes to dress shirts.

Candy-stripe patterns (equal-sized stripes of white and a single color alternating with one another) are simple, dressy, acceptable at almost every level of formality and fantastic for guiding a viewer’s gaze up toward your face.

Try not to wear anything with lots of stripes in varying colours and sizes — these tend to get too distracting, keeping the eye stuck on your chest. Thin, simple stripes make you look elegant, streamlined, and taller than you actually are.


Number 5: Avoid unnecessary details on your dress shirt

Keep your dress shirt simple. Even a breast pocket isn’t actually necessary, but if you’re buying off-the-rack, you’re almost forced to these days. If you do wear a shirt with a  pocket, then try to only have one, and to avoid any hemming, decorative stitching, or monogramming on it. You should also avoid clipping a pen on the dress shirt – it just looks sloppy, and it’s a dead stop for the viewer’s gaze, robbing you of your height again.


Number 6: Remember, at all times – tuck in your dress shirt!

The final advice we want to give you in this guideline, check-list, or what you’d like to call this article, is that you always should remember to tuck in your dress shirt. Loose shirttails, even in socially-acceptable situations, shorten your legs dramatically. They will end up making you look particularly stumpy, if the tails are long on you (and they often are unless you’ve had the size tailored).

Even if the shirt doesn’t come down much lower than the waist you still have a billowing, loose line around your midsection that cuts your body in half.


We hope that these tips could help you, or at least guide you along the way towards a refined look when being on the shorter side of 170 cm. If you should need other advice, please feel free to contact us for a free style consultation.