Dressing Well When You’re Tall

CM regular and well-dressed dude @Chocsosa is 6’8, which you may remember from his member focusWe asked him to share some of his tips for dressing well when you’re tall, and he obliged with both personal insights and some good rules to follow.

Starting out trying to build a functioning wardrobe of your dreams is not for the faint of heart. That is one of the first things I came to realize when I started this journey 15 years ago. Of course, things were very different for me then. Information was not as free flowing as it is now in relation to the nexus of style and quality.

I made a lot of mistakes early on trying to figure out what worked for me. To be honest, I’m glad I made those mistakes, because it was a journey I needed to take to figure out who I wanted to be. I know that it sounds very cliché but it’s interesting right now that I look and certain looks and think to myself: “You know, that looks good, but that’s not for me. It’s not something I would want to wear for myself.”

It takes time to get there. However, when you do get there, to me it’s sartorial nirvana. You are comfortable in whatever you are in because it works for who you are – and in the process, you save yourself money. For me, it was a relief to figure out what worked for me and dress down my height as much as possible. I know, tall people problems. However, this is something I struggled with for a very long time.


it’s hard for tall people. I would trade my height in right now for something shorter if I could, because it’s more of a deterrent than a help. Cars are never big enough, long flights are always a pain, stares can be annoying, and clothing can be a lesson in futility if you don’t know what you are doing.

First thing I suggest is really know your body in terms of measurements. My brother in law will run purchases by me from time to time. He does not know the intricacies of online shopping, so he will see a blazer in his supposed ‘size’ and he will purchase it. The said blazer arrives and it is either too tight or too big all over. He is learning that every label has their interpretation of varied sizes and the only way to navigate that craziness is to really know your measurements and check the listed measurements being sold online (whether on Ebay or an online site for a label). If a seller does not put measurements then I ain’t buying. That mantra has saved me money the last couple of years.

The Financial Investment 

Saving money is a wonderful thing, but understand that with height come certain financial realities. I love a deal when I get my hands on one, but I also understand that most of those deals are not for people of my size. It kills me to scour Ebay to see something in my size and then look at the measurements and see that the inseam is nowhere near what I need it to be to work.

Never compromise on this. I promise you that you will regret it. With that out of the way, you must understand (if you are really tall, like over 6’3), a lot of the time you are going to have to pay the price on a NWT item. I have a 38-inch inseam and I love me some cuffs on my pants. This means I must find a pair of pants with an inseam of 44 inches. Do you know how hard that is? I will rarely get that with a pre-owned item. That’s why I thank my lucky stars for Ebay. I may not buy a lot of pre-owned items, but I am able to get a high end RTW item at a huge discount versus going into a store and trying to purchase them. When I do find a pre-owned item that’s within the parameters of an acceptable fit, then I have my tailor work on it to make it work for me.

Tailors and Tailoring

Knowing what you want out of tailoring and having an awesome tailor is key. My size presents a whole host of issues when it comes to tailoring and tailors in general. I’m 6’8. I have broad shoulders and a somewhat barrel chest. I have a 9 inch drop and long limbs.

When I was searching for potential tailors it was tough, because I had tailors trying to force their view on how something should fit on me which would go against what I saw for myself. You have to stand your ground and tell them that they can either help you achieve what you are looking for (as long as it’s do-able and in somewhat good taste) or that you’ll keep looking. However, you also have to understand the boundaries of tailoring for your height. My tailor always says it’s better to take in than to let out. What this means is I have been able to re-cut a suit from a size or two up down to my size, but it’s virtually impossible to take a suit from a smaller size to make it a size bigger.


Silhouette has also played a huge role in what I look for in clothing. The silhouette that I go for differs between what kind of clothing I am looking at, but each article of clothing I pick has to look the way I want it to look for myself. Suits/sports coats are usually a mixture for me. For the most part I am partial to a structured look (strong shoulders, built up chest and nipped waist) but, when it comes to sports coats, that can differ. Soft or structured does not matter as long as it works for my body.

When I am looking at outerwear pieces, then that’s pretty simple. I like a higher armhole and a slim profile. The main problem I run into is sleeve length, and that’s where patience becomes a virtue in the search for something that fits. A short jacket does no favors for a tall guy, but a long jacket can make a fit look a little less contemporary. So I always try to find the middle ground when it comes to jacket length. I also favor a slightly lower button stance. I think with a somewhat longer jacket it can do wonders for a tall frame.

It really comes down to how you want to build your wardrobe. Your mental image of the tall person you’re trying to bring to life should encompass your personality, your emotions, and how you see yourself. You have to keep in mind, however, that it’s a journey, and you are going to make some costly mistakes along the way. If you are committed you will eventually get where you want to be with your wardrobe. That’s been true for me, and I am still learning something new all the time.

Here’s What Women Want You to Wear on Valentine’s Day

They say a well-tailored suit is to a woman what lingerie is to men.

I wholeheartedly agree with that, if by “well-tailored suit” we mean a lightweight, effortless, Neapolitan-style suit in an interesting color combination.

Perhaps it’s the Italian blood pumping in my veins, but I love a man that is confident enough to pull off a spezzato and walk into a room and throw his cashmere coat on top of something, suede loafers softly tapping on the ground (I’m still not over the crush on my ex-Latin professor. Don’t judge me).

However, a suit is not the only garment that can cause hormonal upheaval in women. Here’s a shortlist of my favorite menswear items:

  • A Turtleneck
    I believe that there is a science behind my love for turtlenecks. The fact that they protect one of the most delicate parts of the human body triggers in me the idea that the man wearing it is sensible and vulnerable – my favorite type of people. The fabric rolls gently on that spot between the jawline and the ear that is made to whisper secrets and give furtive, breathless kisses. Plus, the Italian word for “turtleneck” is dolcevita. Need I say more?


  • A Black Leather Jacket
    I like a man wearing a black motorcycle leather jacket for the exact opposite reason I like a man wearing a roll-neck sweater. It screams confidence, and it gives off an attitude women cannot resist. We all pretend not to be submitted to the charm of an asshole, but the reality is that, while in our minds we swear we would never fall for someone like this (“Who, him? That pretentious, self-centered, reckless egomaniac?”) he is already smoking his #cigaftersex.


  • Imperfection
    I know I’m walking on eggshells here, but I’d like to stress the point that perfection is not sexy, and neither is an obsession with clothes and how they fit. Please understand that no woman will ever be up at night thinking “Sacrè Bleu! That half-break on his suit pants was so neat!” or “Hell, that blazer had no pulling whatsoever,” nor will any woman ever cradle the fantasy of involving your tailor in a hot ménage à trois. If you really want your suit to look sexy, throw it against a wall right after buying it, and don’t show up without a glass of whiskey in one hand and a cubano in the other. Ties are hot only when they’re loosened up and don’t squeeze your neck to the point your eyes look like they’re about to pop out any minute, but just FYI, when it comes to going at it, they’re the male equivalent of a bra: we never know where to start taking off the damn thing.



5 Member Tips for Great Men’s Style

Styleforum’s members have built a reputation for offering fantastic, if highly opinionated, tips for great men’s style. They range from simple suggestions to take to your tailor, to complete philosophies encompassing life, the universe, and everything.

Are you looking for rules? Guidelines? Confirmation that your own way is the best way? Here, some of Styleforum’s best-regarded members give their take on how you can look great.

1. Dr. Nemo on the topic of learning how to dress:

“Fact is, we are all winging it. What matters is the fit with who you are. I’m a research engineer who is also a bassist in a jazz ensemble. No rules for that other than try what seems right and see how it feels. I’m fortunate to know Terell Stafford and Tim Warfield. Both have a great sense of style on and offstage. I just used Google Images and found a lot of shots of them in higher style and more casual clothes.”

2. @Ramuman, on the topic of what to buy:

“First, the fit of the clothes is the most important thing that people notice. When they compliment an outfit, the first thing they are likely to have notice is the fit (assuming you’re not wearing some ugly color or design). A properly tailored middle of the road shirt will look better than an off the shelf expensive shirt. Second, there are certain things worth spending more money on because they’ll stay with you. Shoes, I think fall into this category. Suits too, but it doesn’t seem you’re going that route. Third, get cloths that are still you. Just because you hear ten people here say that Levi’s Vintage Classic jeans are the best doesn’t mean they’re what you want. The same goes for looks as a whole. If you don’t feel like you can pull off a lavender shirt or a scarf, don’t go for it. A big part of this whole thing is the confidence you gain.”

3. @Berlin Report’s #1 Style Tip:

“Never try to find a substitute for something you think is financially out of your reach. You might end up buying several cheaper things in the hope of satisfying the need for that expensive one but you’ll probably end up spending the same amount and not [be] one bit happier. If I can’t buy it, I don’t have it. Less is more.”

4. @Veremund, on when to match your date’s outfit:

“Repeat after me: ‘I am not a handbag. I am not a woman’s fashion accessory. I will not coordinate my outfit with my dates attire. Ever.'”

5. @fuuma, on how to not look too put together:
“-I almost never press my jackets so they wrinkle at the elbows and often are somewhat rumpled all over. I also throw them pretty much anywhere at my place or wherever I am.

-I’m lazy so I often take months/years to do repairs most make within the week; from small rips to lost buttons.

-I don’t change to go out or do whatever so I sometimes get spills or worse on my clothes, I usually don’t get them cleaned very soon (see above).

-I scuff my shoes ‘cause they’re just shoes, I also don’t dress according to weather so often end up soaked or messy in a variety of ways.

-If I feel like wearing the same jacket three days in a row I do, remember; no pressing afterwards.

-I don’t polish my shoes often although I don’t dislike doing it. Mirror shines are for Nazis.

-I don’t have 65 jackets and 34 pair of pants, they wear in more quickly.

-Never clean up white shoes or sneakers, they look better dirty.

-I only shave once or twice a week.

-Longer hair, messier hair.

-I smoke and often spill ash on my clothes, I don’t clean up because I’m lazy and I’m going to dirty them again anyway.

-No colourful socks; you look like an anal-retentive child molester.

-Stop doing pocket square origami, just shove it in.

-A nice suit, dress shirt, shoes with a tie is being dressed appropriately, without the tie it’s luxury.

-I’ve been periodically thinking about replacing my wallet for years but always forget, it really does look trashed.

-I almost never button my shirt sleeves.

So basically be a disgusting slob and you should be ok.”

Wise words, don’t you think? If that doesn’t sate your appetite for style tips, check out Styleforum’s “What are you wearing today” threads. If you’re looking for tailored inspiration, try the Classic Menswear edition.

If you’re after the best of designer and street fashion, check out the Streetwear and Denim version of the discussion.

Below, check out some great examples from Styleforum members.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.