The tall man is lucky in most things. He makes more money than shorter men, he’s happier, has higher levels of life satisfaction, and he’s handy whenever something’s on a high shelf. But it’s not all gravy. Travel can be torture, back pain is inevitable, and clothing choices shrink for every bit of fabric you add.
Ready-to-wear brands tend to tap out at six-foot-two. Above that, you’re in the Big & Tall world, which can mean billowing cuts and erratic hem-lengths. But all is not lost. This is how to make your extra inches add up.
5 Style Rules For Tall Guys
If you’re tall and slim, keeping things too simple only serves to make you look taller and slimmer. The best fix is to break things up, says Luke McDonald from men’s styling service Thread. “Avoid wearing one colour head-to-toe and use things like texture and pattern to break things up.”
You want to add bulk, but you don’t want to disappear into your clothes, so think in width. You’re all about the vertical axis, so look to clothes that create some sideways heft. Horizontal patterns will help – think Breton striped tops or colour-blocked tees – but so will chunky knits, puffer coats and structured tailoring.
Make Sure Things Fit
One thing guaranteed to make you look even taller is your ankles poking out the bottoms of your trousers, or sleeves that don’t reach your wrists. Finding clothes that are long enough but also slim enough can be tricky, so befriend a tailor who can take things in, if necessary.
Avoid Skinny Fits
As a tall man, you’ve got the freedom to experiment with more edgy silhouettes, so embrace it. “Try pleated trousers, but try tucking your shirt or knitwear in to accentuate the style,” says John Lewis menswear buyer Tom Saunders.
Think In Details
Bulk might be your best mate, but those big expanses of fabric need breaking up. To do that, go all-in on pockets, buttons, epaulettes, and even patches. They’ll move the eye around, rather than letting it focus on a big block of one colour.
Must-Have Menswear For Tall Men
In a bid to give your torso a bit more shape, embrace double-breasted cuts. “These add width to tall, lean frames,” says McDonald. It will create some contrast when you wear it with a suit, but even better is with mismatching trousers, to create more separation between your top and bottom halves.
It’s a style tip well-known to short men that cropped coats make you look tall, so you should avoid anything thigh- or waist-length. Instead, get one that falls at least below the knee, perhaps even to mid-calf. The belted waist is also handy as it will create a narrow-waist-broad-shoulders V-shape that will bulk up your upper body to de-beanpole your silhouette.
If you’re all legs, then wide-leg trousers add some width to all that up-and-down, which helps balance what’s above and below the waist. It’s okay to go for a pair that taper, although nothing skinny, and definitely nothing high-waisted, unless you’re after the flamingo look.
Any military- or adventure-inspired jacket that’s covered in pockets (see also: tactical vests, for the streetwear-minded giant) should rank high in the tall man’s wardrobe. They’ll break up your frame by drawing the eye across your body, rather than letting it focus on quite how vertically endowed you are.
You might think that slim-fit should be your go-to, but if you’ve got a long torso, they won’t always sit right. “Often, slim-fit is not just narrow in width, but also short in length, which doesn’t always work for taller guys,” says Saunders. Stick to a regular fit then have them taken in. Or try the military tuck.
Style Icons In High Places
For the last decade, the NBA has been the world’s most stylish sports league, which proves that looking good is more about taste than body shape. LeBron is as sharp in tailoring – slim but not skinny, often broken up with a vest or hoodie – as he is in oversized streetwear or hardware-covered leather jackets.
At six-four and gym-honed, Armie Hammer isn’t exactly struggling, but that broadness can be sartorially challenging. He turns it into yet another asset with contrast tailoring, which breaks up his height, and looser fits that mean he never looks like he might Hulk out of clothes.
The nemesis of normal-sized football defenders plays to his strengths off the pitch, too. Peter Crouch’s outerwear game tends towards pea coats and double-breasted overcoats, which create volume to balance those long legs. He’s also a fan of a roll neck, which broadens his shoulders and makes him less lanky. Take note.
The Best Menswear Brands For Tall Guys
Most brands won’t even do jeans in a 36-inch inseam. Levi’s does some of its styles up to 40 inches, and its OG – the Levi’s 501 – now runs up to 38 inches. Its classic tees and denim jackets also come cut for longer physiques, so you can get classic style with a classic fit.
Allen Edmonds isn’t just one of American style’s most storied brands, having made luxury shoes for almost a century. It’s also a friend to those with giant steps, offering footwear in hundreds of size and width combos, up to size 16, with no special order required.
Son Of A Tailor
Amsterdam’s Son of a Tailor takes a techy approach to menswear, with its made-to-order polos and T-shirts. Pop in your measurements (or let them predict your fit from your height, weight and shoe size) and it serves up a tee that fits perfectly, no matter how much distance there is between your neck and your navel.
T By Ted Baker
Designed in collaboration with Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, this collection takes everything Ted Baker does best – quirky prints, classic design – and tweaks the fits for men over six-three. As well as fitting well, it’s full of the kind of pattern and texture that breaks up tall frames.
Wardrobe start-up Spoke set out to fix the issues guys had with fit. The brand originally just sold chinos, but now also has shorts, polos and tees, which come in hundreds of different fit options. So now you don’t need to choose whether your trousers fit your waist or your legs.
Hugh And Crye
US-based brand Hugh And Crye designs its clothes around body types. Rather than just add a couple of inches all over when they size up from M to L, it produces a version to fit the tall and slim, or the short and heavy. Having started with dress shirts, it has expanded the approach to beautifully made blazers, tees and even popover shirts.