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Style Guides


04 Jul 2024

Before the Industrial Revolution, suits were a bespoke affair, crafted meticulously to fit each individual. It didn't matter if you were tall and lanky or short and stout; every suit was made-to-measure, ensuring a perfect fit. Fast forward to today, and the landscape has changed significantly. Most suits are mass-produced and designed for the average height range, roughly 5'9" to 5'11", making it challenging for shorter and taller men to find suits that fit well right off the rack.


In a world where off-the-rack dominates, achieving the right fit and proportion is crucial for looking sharp and feeling confident. A well-fitting suit can enhance your appearance, giving you a polished and professional look, while an ill-fitting one can have the opposite effect, making you look less put-together. This guide will walk you through the key aspects of how a suit should fit and provide styling tips specifically tailored for short and tall men, ensuring you always look your best.

How a Suit Should Fit

Every part of a suit needs to fit correctly to ensure a polished and professional look. Here’s a detailed guide from top to bottom.

The Shoulders

Importance of Proper Shoulder Fit The shoulders are the foundation of a well-fitting suit. If the shoulders don’t fit correctly, it can throw off the entire look and is difficult to tailor.

Common Issues and Solutions

For Short Men: Ensure the shoulder seam ends exactly where your shoulder ends. Avoid shoulder pads that are too thick as they can make you look top-heavy.

For Tall Men: The shoulder seam should also end where your shoulder ends. However, ensure the jacket's shoulders are broad enough to balance your height without looking oversized.

Fit Test: Lean against a wall. Both your shoulder and the jacket’s shoulder should touch the wall simultaneously. If the shoulder padding hits the wall first, the shoulders are too wide. If your shoulder hits first, the jacket is too small.

The Chest

How the Chest Should Fit A suit should never be tight or restrictive, but there shouldn't be excess fabric either. The chest should fit snugly without pulling the fabric.

Adjustments and Tailoring Tips

For Short Men: A snug fit in the chest helps to create a streamlined silhouette. Avoid too much extra fabric, which can make you appear smaller.

For Tall Men: Ensure there's enough room in the chest to prevent the jacket from looking strained. A slight adjustment by a tailor can help achieve a perfect fit.

The Sleeves

Ideal Sleeve Length The sleeves should end just above your wrist bone, allowing about a quarter-inch of your shirt cuff to show.

Tips for Shortening or Lengthening Sleeves

For Short Men: Sleeve length is crucial. Too long and it overwhelms your frame. Ensure sleeves are tailored to just the right length.

For Tall Men: Make sure sleeves are long enough to cover your wrists. If sleeves are too short, they can make your arms look disproportionately long.

The Torso

Proper Torso Fit for a Streamlined Look The jacket should fit close to your body without being tight, creating a clean, streamlined appearance.

Avoiding Boxy or Overly Tight Fits

For Short Men: A fitted jacket helps to elongate your torso. Avoid boxy cuts that can make you look shorter.

For Tall Men: Ensure the jacket skims your body without being overly tight. A slight taper can help enhance your natural shape.

The Waist

Importance of the Jacket Fitting at the Waist The jacket should nip in slightly at the waist to create a flattering shape.

Tailoring Tips for a Snug but Comfortable Fit

For Short Men: A tailored waist can help create the illusion of height. Ensure the jacket isn’t too tight to maintain comfort.

For Tall Men: The jacket should follow the natural line of your waist, providing a balanced silhouette without looking squeezed.

The Hips

How the Jacket Should Fall Over the Hips The jacket should fall smoothly over your hips without pulling or flaring.

Adjustments for a Balanced Silhouette

For Short Men: The jacket length should end just below your hip bone to avoid overwhelming your frame.

For Tall Men: Ensure the jacket covers the hips adequately without being too long, which can throw off proportions.

The Rise

Explanation of the Trouser Rise and Its Significance The rise is the distance from the crotch seam to the top of the waistband. It determines where your pants sit on your body.

Choosing the Right Rise for Different Body Types

For Short Men: Opt for a mid to high rise. This can help elongate the legs and make you appear taller.

For Tall Men: A mid-rise is often the best choice, offering balance without making the torso look too long or short.

The Legs

Proper Fit for the Legs The pants should fit comfortably around the thighs and taper slightly towards the ankles.

Tapering Tips and Avoiding Overly Tight or Loose Trousers

For Short Men: Slim or tapered trousers work best. Avoid overly wide or skinny fits which can distort proportions.

For Tall Men: A straight or slightly tapered leg offers a balanced look. Ensure the trousers aren’t too tight, as this can make your legs look disproportionately long.

The Leg Opening

Ideal Leg Opening Width The width of the leg opening should complement your shoe style and personal preference.

Adjustments Based on Shoe Style and Personal Preference

For Short Men: A narrower leg opening can help create a sleek line. Avoid overly wide openings which can make legs look shorter.

For Tall Men: A slightly wider leg opening can provide balance. Ensure the opening isn’t too wide, maintaining a modern and proportional look.

Pants Break

Explanation of Pants Break The break is where the bottom of the pants rests on your shoes, creating a crease or fold.

Recommendations for Different Looks and Occasions

For Short Men: A slight or no break can help elongate your legs. Too much break can make you look shorter.

For Tall Men: A full or half break is flattering and maintains balance. Avoid no break, as it can make your legs look too long.

By focusing on these details, both short and tall men can achieve a perfectly fitted suit that enhances their natural build and exudes confidence.

Common Problems and Solutions

Jacket is Too Long/Short

Identifying and Fixing Length Issues

For Short Men: A jacket that's too long can overwhelm your frame, making you appear even shorter. Look for jackets with a shorter length that ends just below the hip bone. If your jacket is too long, consider having it shortened by a tailor. Pay attention to the proportion of pockets and buttons; they should not be too low on the jacket.

For Tall Men: Conversely, a jacket that's too short can look disproportionate on a taller frame. Opt for jackets with a longer length that covers the hips adequately. If your jacket is too short, consider investing in brands that offer tall sizes or having a tailor extend the length.

Trousers are Too Long/Short

Adjusting Trouser Length for the Perfect Fit

For Short Men: Trousers that are too long can bunch up at the ankles, creating a messy and unpolished look. Opt for trousers with a shorter inseam that grazes the tops of your shoes. Alternatively, have the trousers hemmed to achieve the desired length. Be mindful of the break; shorter men may opt for a slight break or no break at all to elongate the legs.

For Tall Men: Trousers that are too short can make you look like you've outgrown your clothes. Look for trousers with a longer inseam that reach the tops of your shoes without exposing your socks when standing. If your trousers are too short, consider purchasing brands that offer tall sizes or having a tailor lengthen the hem. Aim for a slight break or half break to maintain a polished appearance.

Styling Tips for Short Men


Fit and Tailoring: Importance of Well-Fitted Clothing

- Emphasise the importance of tailoring to ensure clothing fits properly.

- Avoid excess fabric that can overwhelm a shorter frame.

- Opt for slim or tailored cuts that create a streamlined silhouette.

Vertical Lines and Patterns: Benefits and Examples

- Vertical lines and patterns create the illusion of height.

- Choose pinstripes, vertical stripes, or elongating patterns like herringbone.

- Avoid horizontal stripes, which can visually shorten the body.

Monochromatic Outfits: Creating a Streamlined Look

- Dressing in one colour from head to toe creates a seamless, elongated appearance.

- Experiment with different shades and textures within the same colour family.

- Avoid contrasting colours that break up the vertical line of the body.

Proper Jacket Length: Ensuring Jackets End Above the Hip

- Jackets should end just below the hip bone to avoid overwhelming the frame.

- Opt for shorter jacket lengths to create the illusion of longer legs.

- Avoid jackets that extend past the hip, as they can make the legs appear shorter.

Pants and Trousers: Choosing the Right Length and Fit

- Opt for trousers with a shorter inseam to avoid excess fabric bunching at the ankles.

- Tailor trousers to achieve the perfect length, ensuring they graze the tops of the shoes.

- Consider a slight break or no break to elongate the legs.

Footwear Choices: Subtle Height-Adding Shoes

- Choose footwear with subtle height-adding features like a slight heel or elevated insole.

- Opt for sleek and streamlined styles to maintain a cohesive look.

- Avoid overly chunky or bulky shoes, as they can appear disproportionate on a shorter frame.

Styling Tips for Tall Men



Fit and Tailoring: Necessity of Bespoke or Properly Tailored Clothing

- Invest in bespoke or properly tailored clothing to accommodate a taller frame.

- Ensure jackets and shirts have adequate length in the sleeves and torso.

- Avoid overly loose or baggy clothing, which can appear sloppy on a tall frame.

Balanced Proportions: Using Belts and Accessories to Break Up Height

- Use belts and accessories to break up the vertical line of the body.

- Experiment with layering to add visual interest and balance proportions.

- Avoid overly long belts or accessories that draw attention to height.

Patterns and Textures: Utilising Checks, Plaids, and Horizontal Patterns

- Experiment with patterns and textures to add depth and dimension to outfits.

- Opt for checks, plaids, and horizontal patterns to visually shorten the body.

- Avoid vertical stripes or patterns, which can elongate the body further.

Jacket and Coat Length: Choosing Jackets that Fit the Body Length Appropriately

-  Jackets and coats should be long enough to cover the torso without looking oversized.

- Opt for longer lengths to balance out a tall frame.

- Avoid jackets that are too short, as they can make the torso appear elongated.

Pants and Trousers: Finding the Perfect Length and Fit

- Opt for trousers with a longer inseam to accommodate a tall frame.

- Ensure trousers graze the tops of the shoes without exposing the ankles.

- Consider a slight break or half break to maintain a polished appearance.

Footwear Choices: Selecting Shoes that Balance Proportions

- Choose footwear with a lower profile to balance out a tall frame.

- Opt for sleek and streamlined styles to complement the overall look.

- Avoid overly chunky or bulky shoes, as they can appear disproportionate on a tall frame.

Dressing well is all about finding the right fit and style for your body type. For short men, focusing on well-fitted clothing, vertical lines, monochromatic outfits, and subtle height-adding shoes can create a streamlined and elongated appearance. Proper jacket length and tailored trousers are crucial to avoid overwhelming the frame.

For tall men, the key is to balance proportions with bespoke or properly tailored clothing. Using belts and accessories to break up height, experimenting with patterns and textures, and choosing appropriate jacket and coat lengths are essential. Ensuring trousers have the right length and fit and selecting shoes that balance proportions can help maintain a polished and cohesive look.

Remember, confidence is the most important accessory. Wearing what makes you feel great is the ultimate key to style. Embrace your unique body type and use these tips to enhance your natural features. Whether you're short or tall, the right fit and style can make all the difference.

Additional Resources

Links to Related Articles

Seasonal Styling Tips: How to Adapt Your Wardrobe for Every Season

Must-Have Wardrobe Pieces: Essential Items Every Man Should Own

Specific Fashion Tips: Detailed Guides on Patterns, Colours, and Accessories

Contact Information

For bespoke tailoring services or any other inquiries, please contact House of Cavani:



Phone: 0121 359 6500

Address: 19 Lichfield Road, Birmingham B6 5RW

Feel free to reach out to us for personalised style advice and to explore our collection of premium suits and menswear.

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