Five Style Rules for Tall, Thin Guys
The Suffering Is Over: Five Style Rules For Tall, Thin Guys
Growing up, I was the tallest kid in every class, starting from kindergarten to 12th grade. Every summer, we could count on two things: the excruciating Phoenix heat, and that I would have a growth spurt and need to replace everything in my closet long before it was time for back-to-school-shopping. Eventually, I towered over everyone; including my parents, siblings, teachers, and every kid on my block. I shot up to the sky like a rocket, but I didn’t fill out and although I wasn’t a stocky kid that didn’t prevent endless trips to the “husky boy” department where all that mattered was that the shirts covered my stomach and the pants didn’t make Urkel proud.
Unlike some tall, thin guys, I was as athletic as I was tall. So, when the requisite question about basketball came around, I could proudly say yes, I played. For many years, it was my standout sport. My loose fitting basketball jersey became my trademark. I wore it not just because I loved the game, but because it was long enough to cover all of my thin frame and it didn’t matter if it wasn’t a tight fit. I had long, thin arms and a wing span that put smiles on the faces of all my coaches but were painful reminders that off the court, skinny, tall, guys had limited resources when it came to clothing choices.
I was 18 and a college freshman when I realized that I couldn’t live in a basketball jersey forever. There were simply too many social opportunities, photos, girls and other sports that required a new look. Before I could begin a new life as a fashionable tall guy, I had to figure out my clothing style and find clothes that fit my body type. It sounds a lot easier than it was. Let’s face it, tall men’s clothing shops at the mall are sometimes an extension of the nightmarish husky boy clothes of my childhood. Nothing super fashionable. Nothing especially youthful. Mainly “dad-type” work pants. Baggy suit coats. Tee shirts that were long enough to fit my frame, but floated around my torso. I remember my roommates feeling bad for my struggles and encouraging me to bulk up at the gym so that I would have at least a decent tee shirt to wear to parties.
Putting on muscle seemed like a daunting task and it could take months. I needed a wardrobe that fit and looked good now. I was frustrated but I was on a mission. I vowed that I was going to find fashionable clothes that made me feel good about myself. I kept an eye out for other tall, thin guys on campus and noted their style. Some were like me, drowning in baggy clothes. Some were pretty fashion forward and inspiring. I got brave enough to ask them where they got their clothes. Thankfully, the brotherhood was real. I not only learned where to shop, but I learned how to shop for my body type. Over the years, I’ve learned important style tips that I’m happy to share with you now because I understand your plight. Trust me, the suffering is over. You can find the right fit, the right style. Here is how to do it:
1. Stop Wearing Loose Clothes
It should be a no-brainer but sometimes I have to remind folks. No loose basketball jerseys unless you’re on the court. Don’t try to hide your frame by wearing baggy clothing. It won’t work. They will just make you look thinner or look like you borrowed someone else’s clothing. No baggy jeans, loose fitted tee shirts or bulky jackets. Baggy jeans will not flatter your frame, they will swallow you. Bulky jackets will make you look disproportionate. Your clothes should be tapered and fitted. Tall, thin guys need the extra length with the right width. Proportion is key.
2. Layer Not bulk
You want clean lines and symmetry. Start with a great tee shirt. Choose a shirt made from soft, breathable fabric like lycocell. Choose a well-fitted men’s shirt with chest pockets and shoulder pads to go over it. As the weather cools, you can add a vest or an open cardigan. In the cold months, don’t try to disguise your thinness with Michelin man bulky coats. You don’t want to give anyone a laugh when you take it off. Layer like above and top with a fitted jacket or coat.
3. Skinny Guy – Slim Fit
You may not think you want to jump on every fashion style but tall, thin guys look great in slim fitting clothes. Note, I said slim, not skinny. Too skinny of a pant, will give you the dreaded “bean pole.” Keep it slim cut. The more formal the occasion, the more fitted the look should be. You may want to take your button-down shirts to a tailor to make them fit even better. A good tailor can give you a bespoke look for a fraction of the cost. Your suit jacket shouldn’t be baggy or have too short sleeves. Make sure the shoulders have the correct fit. Don’t be afraid of a bit of pad in the shoulders. You want to look proportionate and strong.
4. The right Jeans are Magic
Once you’ve found your source for the perfect thin, guy’s tee shirt or dress shirt, you can trust the process and order online. The same can’t always be said for jeans. You will have to try them on if you want the perfect fit. You want to avoid jeans that are baggy or hang too low. Of course if you buy a pair online and they’re the perfect fit, buy multiples when you can. Nothing beats a great pair of jeans. Ever.
5. Trick the Eye, Tall, Skinny Guy
Look for shirts with horizontal stripes and plaids to enlarge the chest. Patterns create movement and make the space they fill seem larger. A light colored belt will help break up the slender frame. Don’t make your casual pants too long. If you’re wearing high boots like a Doc Martin, don’t cover the tops of the boots. Cuff the pants at the top of the boot to break up the horizontal lines. Add a bulky scarf in winter to broaden the shoulders.
After learning these tips and finding the perfect tall tee shirt, button-down and pants, experiment. Have fun with your height and body shape. You deserve it after years of struggle.
Put these style tips to work! Heights Apparel is the up and coming source for apparel designed for tall skinny guys!
Nichole, thanks for providing your suggestion to the comments!
My son has a 32” inch waist and requires 36” length in pants. A medium shirt is too short and a large looks just awful on him. The only store I have found to buy his clothes is American Eagle. The shirts are not that fashionable but the jeans are fantastic.
What jeans do you like best? I’m 6’4 170pounds. I can’t never find jeans that are long enough but small enough around the waist.
Good advice for younger tall, thin guys, but what about guys over 60
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