This episode discusses both the mechanics of dressing well while carrying a firearm, along with the reasons I personally choose to carry a weapon.
I understand that this is a controversial subject and one that can lead to a heated discussion in the comments. I don’t need to defend myself. I may engage in a few comments to clarify some confusion, but I have no interest in engaging in an online battle about gun control.
This episode was based on a revisitation of my September 2012 post Dressing the (Smaller)Man. Being as I’m six feet tall, I can only approach this topic from a hypothetical perspective. So I decided to bring on two of my good friends who are both style experts and on the shorter end of the spectrum.
Aaron Marino runs I Am Alpha M, a hugely popular men’s style site and YouTube channel. Aaron puts out daily videos that cover topics like dress, grooming, and fitness and has one of the largest, most abundant personalities of anyone I’ve ever met.
Brock McGoff runs The Modest Man, a menswear site dedicated entirely to helping men of shorter stature learn how to dress to their proportions and ensure that their style game is always on point. Brock puts his money where his mouth is and is one of the best dressed, most confident men I know.
This episode is a bit of a mixture. It was initiated by an article I wrote back in October 2012 titled “Dressing the Muscular Man.” In the original article I laid out some basic advice on how men who have spent some obvious time in the gym can dress better.
For the actual episode, I decided to bring in a few men who are much more muscular and much more used to this problem than I am. We had a great, round-table discussion about the benefits of dressing better, the common pitfalls of doing so, and some tips that will make it easier – all geared towards men with a larger, more muscular build.
While most people don’t want to hear about it, being above six feet tall does come with its own difficulties in the realm of dressing well. For many men, finding something that is correct in length means they have to shop at big and tall stores. The problem with most of these places is that they’re not big OR tall, but big AND tall. These men are all ready at a disadvantage when it comes to proper proportions, and draping them in excess cloth is only going to exacerbate the problem.
However, starting with a small disadvantage doesn’t mean the tall man is completely out of luck. By following a few guidelines, he’ll be able to dial in his style as well as anyone else. Here’s what he can do:
Embrace the fact that he’s taller and that finding correct clothing is going to be more difficult than it is for shorter men. For tall men this is especially true because their height (at least for most of them) stems from one particular area being larger than the rest of his body. Some may have longer legs while others may have a larger torso, but it’s very rare that tall men are proportionately bigger than the rest of us. The purpose is never to appear shorter, it’s to look more evenly proportioned.
Establish a good relationship with a tailor and/or custom clothier. In order to properly work out issues like sleeve length, jacket length, and other proportions, it’s imperative that he have someone on whom he can rely to create or alter clothing so it fits as it should.
Contrary to popular belief, taller men are not relegated to three-button jackets. The key is focusing on correct button stance. If he’s more legs than chest, the stance should be low enough that it brings down the visual center of gravity. Vice versa if he’s more torso than legs. This can be done with even a single-button jacket.
Avoid vertical stripes in too fine a gauge. Another common misconception is that a tall man should avoid stripes altogether. While they can over exaggerate his existing proportions, this can be balanced out by wearing a stripe that is thick enough as to appear normal in comparison to his body. Bengal stripes, butcher stripes, and awning stripes are all larger gauges that will flatter lankier men.
Wear a belt. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule when wearing a suit, but it certainly applies in more casual situations. The belt creates a visual point of separation, helping to temper the distance a viewer’s eye has to travel from the tall man’s head to his toes.
Wear boxes, checks, and plaid patterns. These add visual heft and can help balance out proportions.
Try a double-breasted jacket. These can help create more of the masculine V shape most men seek – especially when worn with a wider lapel.
Focus on proportions. A skinny tie will look very different on a man who is five feet tall than it will on a man of seven, even if their visual proportions are the same. Rather than paying too close attention to objective measurements, a focus on flattering proportions will create the necessary visual balance.
Add cuffs to pants. This is especially applicable to men who are more leg than torso. Adding the cuff on dress pants and rolling cuffs on jeans has a similar effect to wearing a belt, only down towards the ankles.
Focus on a moderate or slight break vs no break. Tall men are already running the risk of looking too big for their clothing. This effect is only made worse when their legs look like they’re six inches too long for their pants.
A great example of a man who embraces is proportions while still showing off his height is my friend Curtis. At well over six feet, he towers over almost anyone else in the room. However, his proportions are always spot on and without standing next to another person for reference, he doesn’t appear overly tall.
Another great resource for taller men is to pay attention to they style revival that’s currently going on in the NBA. I’ve personally done fittings for a few pro ball players and it’s amazing to see the difference than can be made with a proper focus on proportion control. A lot of these guys not only nail it in their press-conference suits, but in their casual and street wear as well.
A lot of my readers are younger men and today I want to specifically help you out. As I’m sure you’ve noticed around you, the majority of high-school and college-aged guys dress pretty poorly. The benefit to you is that it doesn’t mean you have to bring your A game everyday or invest a massive amount into a new wardrobe to be able to outdress your peers. It’s not too tough when most of them look like this.
As I addressed in my post on helping older men dress well, age plays a huge factor in what a man can and cannot wear. There are certain things (like a fedora) that really only look good on men when they’ve reached a certain age and others (like neon colors) that have an early expiration date. Younger men have a lot more leeway when it comes to eccentricity and peacocking but should still stick with the fundamentals of classic style. Here are some good guidelines:
Fit is still king. You can wear a graphic T-shirt and holey jeans as long as they fit right.
An older man’s High/Low should be as dressy as you get. Obviously there will be exceptions that call for more formal clothing (formal weddings, funerals, church, job interviews) but you don’t want to be the overdressed guy. If you’re younger than a junior in college dressing up too much comes across as either geeky or overly affected. When your peers are wearing sweats and T’s you can get away with slim jeans and a button up instead of wearing a suit to class.
Embrace trends cautiously (but still embrace them). This advice applies to all men but younger guys have more freedom for jumping on trends. Jewelry, loud colors, short jackets, and others are all much more acceptable if done in small doses. Only have on one or maybe two trendy items at a time. You should be able to show that you’re current instead of looking like a try-hard fashion model.
Shoes are key. Stick with low profile sneakers or desert boots. You don’t need to be rocking a pair of Aldens to contrast everyone else’s Seinfeld sneakers and flip flops.
Untuck your button-up shirts. But, make sure they’re casual button-ups and are supposed to be worn untucked. Tucking in your shirt is for older guys and more formal situations.
Know that style is more than just your clothes. Pay attention to things like backpacks, gym bags, and school supplies. None of them will make or break your style but they’re all things that can be used to top off your look.
Ditch the hoody. Instead you should be wearing a sweater (cardigan, V-neck, crew neck) or a blazer. You can go with a navy sportcoat year round or wear something seasonal like tweed in the cooler months and linen in the spring and summer.
Don’t make a big deal out of your clothing. It should be a natural expression of who you are. If you geek out on a date about how stoked you are to get your new APC jeans no one will want to hang out with you. That’s what the Internet is for.
Wear school gear in classic ways. Buying a scarf or a vintage-logo baseball hat to wear to the games is going to look a lot better than all the overly-branded stuff schools are selling now.
Get in shape. You will never have cheaper, easier access to gym equipment than you do in college.
Wear V-neck T’s or henleys instead of crewnecks. Showing a bit more of your neck and chest will help you look more masculine and confident. Just don’t get into man cleavage territory.
Trade out the baseball hat for a driving cap. You can still throw it on when you slept it but it looks much more intentional.
These rules are all pretty simple, but stick to them and you’ll be able to look your age, but like you’re ready to start taking over the world as well.
PS. Did you know I do private style consultations? I can help you dress better according to your budget and your needs.