Mens Figure Flattery Guide: Tall

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. 

Tom Brady

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.

Entry Filed under: Features,Figure Flattery Guide,Men

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Steve  |  July 30th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Question for John.
    Any tips on finding a good tailor? I’ve only been to a tailor once, and they messed up the sleeves on my shirts, then refused to fix it because I had left the store before I had noticed. Since they I’ve been jaded and confused, but I really need to find a good tailor because due to my build. Should I be looking for someone who only tailors men’s clothing? What around dry cleaners that also do alterations? Are there any department stores that will good tailoring with outside items? Finally, do you know of any good tailor recommendations in the bay area? (preferrably the south bay).

    Thanks and keep up the good work John. I certainly find your contributions to this site extremely useful, as my fashion sense is nothing to brag about.

  • 2. Trisha  |  July 31st, 2008 at 12:18 am


    I have an excellent tailor in the South Bay: Irma Rosas. She’s at 1920 McLaughlin Ave in San Jose. (408) 292-6874.

    Great attention to detail, quick turnaround, and affordable prices. I don’t know what I’d do without her :)

    Hope that helps–

  • 3. John  |  July 31st, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Department stores may or may not do outside jobs, but if they do they will almost certainly be expensive and slow (because they have to do all their own customers first). It’s unpractical to rely on a department store tailor (although the benefit is that you probably will get a good one, if the store sells high quality clothes).

    You don’t need to necessarily find a tailor that only does men’s items and I have no qualms about tailors do that dry clean as well. In fact, it can be quite convenient, since you should always clean clothes before tailoring them the first time.

    Finding a tailor for alterations doesn’t require as much due diligence as does finding a tailor for bespoke clothing because most alterations are pretty standard. Shortening the sleeves is pretty standard; I can’t think of a tailor that wouldn’t shorten sleeves on a jacket or shirt. So, it all comes down to customer service then. I can tell you this though: if your tailor won’t fix a mistake he/she obviously made, it’s time to switch.

    Try Ms. Ross in San Jose. I’m sure she will be all you are looking for and more.

  • 4. Steve  |  July 31st, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you Trisha and John! That was officially the fastest reply I have ever received from a professional website. All of my questions answered, and super fast too!

    Thanks again! I can finally stop telling my friends “What?? The baggy look is still in…right?”

  • 5. Tone Abs  |  July 31st, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Isn’t there a store out there that specifically makes large clothes? I feel bad for yao ming that would be a challenge. I would just recommend going into a designer clothes store and see if they can get one made just for the size needed.

  • 6. Trisha  |  August 1st, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Glad to help, Steve!

    Tone Abs – It really depends on how tall you are. If you are Yao Ming, you’re going to have to get custom clothes. But if you’re “regular tall,” you’re going to have some more options.

    Anyone have any suggestions for brands/stores that cater to the tall man?

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