July 30th, 2008
Q: I have been dressing my 6′10" husband for 11 years and am at a loss as to what he can wear! Can you help me dress this tall man? I see NBA players wearing designer duds, but darned if I can find anything to fit my basketball player.
by John Liu
A: Fear not; tall men have plenty of wardrobe options. Like with the “plump” men question before, dressing a tall man is just a matter of proportion and emphasis. Oh, and NBA players may wear designer clothing, but that doesn’t mean they are dressed well. If you want to take your style cues from a pro, follow in the 6’4” Tom Brady’s footsteps.
Avoid suits with more than three buttons. I’ll go crazy if I see another 4 or 5 button suit on an athlete. The answer to the extra long torso is not more buttons; it’s a higher cut lapel. A two button suit on a tall man can look great if the lapel is cut higher to compensate. Also, don’t get a suit with a lot of padding in the shoulders. They aren’t shoulder pads, and you’re not an NFL linebacker. As for sleeves, keep the amount of cuff you show to a minimum, but still show a sliver.
Widen your thin torso with your shirts. Look for lighter colors. Dark colors narrow your silhouette; light colors widen it. Wear diagonal or horizontal stripes (but don’t go crazy), wear a pocket square with a jacket or blazer and wear your belt (not wearing a belt is stylish and a good tip for shorter men, but tall men need the width) regardless of the kind of pants you have on.
Make sure your pants are well fitted, not too skinny, not too loose. DO NOT wear baggy slacks—they’re unflatttering. And have a generous break on your pants, allowing the pants to hit your shoes. For more casual wear, these tips also apply. Like with the slacks, have a generous break on chinos and jeans. And don’t get skinny fit jeans; get a pair of straight leg jeans.
Look for normal or slightly slim ties, under 3.5” at the widest point. Don’t wear extra-slim ties; tall men usually have long, thin torsos and you want to widen your torso with a wider tie. Also, you may find that the short end of your tie doesn’t quite reach the loop (the part on the back of the tie that holds the short end in place). If that’s the case, simply ask your tailor to resew the loop higher. It’s fairly easy and should be cheap to do.
Can’t find the perfect fit? Get a tailor.
Find a great tailor and let him work. Fit may be a problem for tall guys. An extra-large shirt fits nicely in the torso, but it’s too wide in the shoulder. A large shirt fits better in the shoulder, but then you get screwed on the torso. The answer? Buy the shirt that fits in the shoulder (this is ALWAYS the correct way to find the right fit for a shirt) and have the tailor take in the sides.
Have a great tip about what to wear to flatter a tall physique? Share it with us in the comments!
Pictured: Tom Brady, courtesy of Tom Brady’s Official Website.