You Asked: How Should I Dress If I’m Short?
Our experts answer your most pressing style questions.
In our style advice column this week, we look at the right level of formality for a black tie wedding, offer some tips on how to pick out the best glasses, and offer some sartorial advice to the shorter man. As ever, if you have a burning style-related question, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the posts on our Instagram and Facebook feeds. Each week, we select the three that we think will be most illuminating for all…
**I have a friend’s wedding in October on a Mediterranean island in warm-ish weather, where the invite says black tie. Is it acceptable to wear a white dinner jacket? Will I get the evil eye for clashing with the bride’s dress?
Mr Marc Zeitouni, via email**
Personally I think a white dinner jacket sounds just the ticket for a Mediterranean wedding – certainly it would be a cooler option temperature-wise than a traditional black or even midnight blue jacket. Black absorbs sunlight, white reflects it.
It would have to be a hell of a jacket to outshine the bride’s dress, so I think so long as it’s not too jazzy, you’ll be fine on that score. The happy couple will just want their guests to make an effort but “black tie” dress code still allows for some individual interpretation. (Within reason. Don’t do as Mr Kanye West did at last year’s Met Gala and flout the formal dress code by turning up in ripped Fear of God jeans and a hand-embroidered Balmain jacket.) We have a range of good options from Tom Ford at the top end to the more comfortably priced Richard James and Favourbrook. Wear with black tuxedo trousers, a bib-front dress shirt and a black bowtie.
But really, the people you need to ask here are the bride and groom (or the wedding planner if they have one and that person’s information is included in the invitation). I can’t imagine they would say no, but weddings are often stressful things to plan and can turn otherwise level-headed friends into bridezilla and groomzilla. Ask them well in advance – they will have more important things to worry about closer to the day, and should you need to reconsider your outfit, you’ll need time to do so.
I’ve been told I need glasses. Any advice?
Mr Nick O'Keeffe via email
Yes, embrace it. I’ve worn glasses every day of my life for the past 25 years and wouldn’t be seen (or be able to see) without them. But since they are literally in your face, you need to make sure you get the right ones. Depending on how often you need or want to wear them, they may well become your signature. Some of the coolest icons of our time wear glasses: Sir Michael Caine, Messrs David Hockney and Bill Nighy.
If you have a round face, then angular frames like these from Tom Ford can give it some structure. Likewise round frames such as these from Cubitts can soften a square jaw. The right colour frames can help to complement your skin tone and hair colouring too. Tortoiseshell frames are often more flattering for those with pale skin as they refract light.
It’s a good idea to try on glasses and have your picture taken so you can see how you look and how well they fit. Your pupils should sit in the middle of the lenses. So you might want to order a few different pairs to try at your leisure at home, keep the ones that work and return the others.
I’m on the short side – 5ft 7in – what kind of clothes/cuts will suit me?
Mr Jack Major, via email
Fit is fundamental. If your trouser hems or jacket sleeves are too long, it makes you look short. Make sure everything is cut close with no baggy excess fabric – a loose fit emphasises a small frame. Trousers should be slim, shirts should be fitted. Keep everything in proportion with your physique: for tailoring, best stick to single-breasted suit and think narrow lapels, shallow collars and slim ties with small tie knots. For casual keep turn ups small and don’t wear too thick a belt. Wearing an outfit that is all pretty monochrome helps it to flow unbroken from top to bottom which visually elongates the body. For this reason, also wear socks the same colour as your trousers – it helps to visually lengthen the leg. Footwear is an easy place to add one or two inches, so go for a pair of boots with a built-up heel. Look for Japanese and Italian brands, as they tend to offer a greater range for men under 5ft 9in.