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Height of Style

By Anuradha Turner

Every body type has its own plus and minus. Instead of wincing at mere mention of the word ‘tall’, focus on accentuating your frame by dressing right. Here’s how.

One of the biggest fears for men, who’ve been less endowed in the height department, is that the wrong style may end up making them look shorter or stout. Hence, most short men dread to even experiment with new style in pants or cuts. Don’t fret! Here’s a look at styles that can make one look leaner and taller.

The Confidence Factor

“It was very common for friends to call me paavtya or chotu. I understand that most of them were just joking, but I started staying away from negativity. I realized that I had to stop thinking of my petite frame first and rather focus on highlighting my strengths, others would eventually stop”, says Kapil Rungta, 27, Entrepreneur. The key is to get over your low confidence and then see the change even in the attitude of those around you.

“Most short men around the globe are proving to be all mighty and fashionable. We have seen Bollywood superstars like Aamir and Salman, sports player like Sachin or musicians like A.R Rahman; they don’t let their petite frame affect their successful careers! The good part is you are not very bulky. It is easy to work on your silhouette and create a very dandy look", adds Designer Suditi Srivastava, Fashion Designer.


Most petite men find themselves in utter confusion in trial rooms. “Either the fabric is too thick for their frame or it sticks too much. The market is not very kind to men with petite and short frame. Most fabrics are heavy silk or shiny silk and any shiny material can be difficult to carry for men with a petite frame. You can always go for a mixture in fabrics like cotton silk kurta and a nice cotton dhoti”, says Mukul Srivastava, fashion consultant for men.

The Length and Breath

A classic churidar is the safest bet for short men. If you plan to wear jodhpuri, stick to cream or black tones; this will give the illusion of longer and fuller look. It is better to stick to one uniform colour rather than breaking into two tones, which might make you look stout. You must try and stick to creams and black tones for bottoms which will help your look leaner. Something as simple as the length of the kurta will save you from looking stout too. Most men opt for long kurta hoping that it will help them look longer but it is a classic mistake that most short men make. A really long kurta will only make you look smaller, a knee length or above knee length is the perfect choice in this case.

Shoe Bite

Short men do rely a lot on shoes to add that extra inch. However, finding shoes made specifically for their need can be tough. Prashant S Devan, founder of D'vano Footwear, says "Napoleon may have conquered Europe at 5 feet 5 inches, but let’s get real, this isn’t the 1800s and we’re not French emperors. For the ordinary man, a few bumps in inches can make a world of a difference to attitude and confidence. Thus, we make sure our collection has sufficient variety to choose from for different occasions.”

Mistakes To Avoid:

Wearing very high heel boots or round juttis

Wearing boot style, high heel shoes which actually fit lose or round juttis will leave all the attention on your feet. Stick to tan and nudes and pointed shoes to make your feet fit seamlessly with the whole look. The habit of trying to add inches with insole heels slowly becomes an obsession. Stick to an inch or two, anything more may look artificial.

Folding your sleeves to the extreme

While folding sleeves is a good option, most petite men go overboard with the folding sleeves. It is pretty psychologically when you try to look beefed up, but going overboard will only look untidy and gaudy. Folding sleeves with just one slim sleeve button might serve the purpose and in case you are petite in frame, it will give structure to your frame as well.

Folded Churidhar

Folded churidar is a complete no for short and petite men. Too many folds in the churidar reduce the length of the legs. One or two folds is more than enough, but any churidar with too many folds should definitely be avoided.

Loosely Fitted Clothes

In an attempt to beef up, short men do tend to go for oversized clothes. "Don’t let your clothes hang. Most men tend to go for clothes that are a few sizes bigger. Baggy or loose-fitting apparel can make you look shorter than your actual size. Go for well-fitted garments and jackets that are on the shorter side as they create the illusion of height," says Prashanth S Devan, Founder, D'Vano

Low V-Neck

V-neck is a tricky trend for short or petite frame. Anything that drags or pulls the frame downwards is not recommended. It is recommended that you stick to Chinese collars or necklines that cover the shoulder.

Slouching Posture or Growing Too Much Beard

Posture plays a very crucial part, particularly in case you are short. Drooping shoulders are an absolute no. A bit of physical training will help you beef up in the right places. However, you have to be careful to not to go overboard. Another feature that every petite man follows is growing a long beard. It is a sort of an affirmation of their manhood. Beard does help, but since you have a petite frame, it must not cover your face totally. A medium-growth beard, trimmed well will work just fine.

Styling Right

Monochromatic Colour Theme: A singular colour tone will add length to the body. So, you can try to be in the family colours like black suit pant with a charcoal grey shirt underneath or a beige kurta with a beige jodhpuri pant and a tussar gold waist coat. The idea is not to bring in too many colours.

Wear Structured Clothes: If you think wearing a size up will show some mass and make you look muscular, then you are absolutely wrong because it only makes you sloppy in those oversized clothes. A nicely structured outfit with good fitting and sharp cuts will add the required edge.

Layer With Care: Layering will help a shorter and leaner guy to add some mass with style. For example, adding a jacket to an outfit is a good idea as it bulks up the shoulder and creates an illusion of height. So, even with a regular kurta, try combining a nehru jacket or layer it up with a light weight jacket. Similarly, add an undershirt to a sherwani style jacket. However, remember not to layer longer pieces underneath shorter ones as this will only break your vertical silhouette.

Wear Vertically Oriented Patterns: Any pattern or stripes you choose should have a vertical orientation. The self texture of the kurta fabric or the fabric pattern you are choosing for your suit, should also flow lengthwise.

Add Details Up High: Any attention grabbing details should be structured above and around chest level and not below it as it will tend to visually distract and distribute the length of the body. So, remember to keep your pockets, broaches and handkerchiefs in the right place. Experiment with collar sizes and narrow lapels as when worn correctly they will not only draw attention upwards but simultaneously lengthen the neck and structure your frame.

Avoid Bold Prints: When it comes to larger prints or patterns, avoid any that are too bold. Large florals (rather than thin and long) or colour-blocked pieces will both widen and break up your vertical silhouette, which should be avoided when attempting to streamline.
Accessorize To Add Length: While one can gain physical length by adding heels to footwear, you can also simply opt for a pointed shaped shoe rather than the rounded ones to create an illusion of height. Hats, turbans and stoles can add instant inches but remember to go for the sleeker ones.

Elevate With Shoes: If you cannot wear juttis, the right shoes could actually help you elevate your appearance. "Buy shoes that come with strategically concealed elevator soles. The cushioned insoles will give you comfort as well as that much-needed addition of a few precious centimeters", suggests Devan.

Inputs Taken by Suditi Srivastava, fashion designer and consultant at the Pearl Academy.

Whether you are short and petite, bald or thin like a stick; what matters is that you surround yourself with positive people and be positive yourself .Remember, the right styling will only boost your confidence.

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