Tips for Shorter Guys feat. Adam Lampell

April 7th, 2011

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By popular request, allow me to introduce a new series to called “Dress Your Body Type” – where we will feature stylish friends of all shapes and sizes, along with the styling tips that help flatter their physiques.

For this first edition, meet Adam Lampell, a fellow Columbia athlete (cross country), SB reader and style enthusiast.

Adam has a fairly small frame standing at 5’7″ 140lbs, but because he understands the styling choices that flatter his body type, he carries himself much larger.

We followed Adam for a typical work week to point out what works well for short(er), small(er) framed gentlemen.


“I recently starting getting custom-made clothing – once I graduated college and starting making a little coin. Dan convinced me and helped me design some suits at MAB – and the results are fantastic. If I was to buy a decent off-the-rack suit, after the multitude of alterations that I need, the pricing works out to about the same anyway”¦but the finished products can’t compare.”

I. A one button jacket allows for a deeper button stance, which creates a longer “V” shape through the torso, this lengthening the physique.

II. A shorter jacket (hitting just at the bottom of the seat) lengthens the leg line visually, which creates the illusion of height.

III. A peak lapel (preferably thinner on a small frame) draws attention upward toward the chest and shoulders – visually lengthening Adam’s body.

IV. While the effect is minimal, slanted pockets do offer some additional “verticality” which is always good on shorter guys.

V. Show some shirt cuff! If you’re under 5’8″ get your jacket sleeves cut so that at least 1/2″ of cuff is showing. Here Adam is going with a more sartorial 1″ of cuff.

VI. A suiting fabric with a little texture, like a birdseye, helps add a little heft to a small frame, without looking sloppy.

  • Red and Blue Houndstooth Tie by Brooks Brothers
  • Burgundy Shoes by Scarpe di Bianco
  • Navy Birdseye Suit by Michael Andrews Bespoke
  • Blue Chambray Shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke
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  • Gazman

    Cuffing and rolling up pants – is that a good thing for a shorty? I read conflicting advice on this. What say you?

  • hamisi tsama


  • suraj

    Hi i am suraj from nepal kathamandu!i am not setisfied my highet!!my hight is only 5.2 so which dress suit my body!and one thing i am a b boy so what should i do!!plzz help me

  • James Owen

    Thank you for the posts, I was just in the process of considering starting a blog for shorter men myself. Tips and tricks, the reasons for a great and honet tailor, and stores (including children’s departments) which become the go to place.

    I myself am very petitie 5’2 and 115lbs, this is correct for my body type but impossible to dress and depressing in department stores when even an xs will require massive tailoring just for a tee-shirt. Recently I discovered Black Fleece, a boutique line from Brooks Brothers designed exclusively by Thom Browne. I in their clothing am a 00 which is the smallest size and requires a little work with their tailor to fit to their standard. However after a month of shopping with them I am hooked, I get the customer service you cant get in children’s department stores, and the style of the man I am and want to be.

    Recently, after leaving my tailor (and yes leaving wearing some of the items she had been working on) was asked by a SF Fashion photographer if she could take my photo. Never in my life did I think I would stand out enough to be recognized as slightly cutting edge. But without a mix of Black Fleece, and lower cost children’s clothing I was rather dapper. (Post below). Being short has some advantages, you can obtain many children’s lines for less to substitue for tailoring and more expensive pieces from stores like Black Fleece.

    I am also finding hats can make a huge difference, they not only add height but as hats are slowly becoming a past or eccentric afterthought they can bring attention to your other thoughtful pieces. I also find color is becoming a good friend, just a nice bright pocket square in a blazer makes all the difference to set you apart in a crowd.

    No more am I willing to be passed by for my heigh and you should not either. This is a great blog, and if I get around to it myself will plan to set something of slightly different orientation for men of shorter height to share brands, tailors, experiences, whatever, mainstream clothing passes us by so it is our time to show them we can be a power by our self.

    SF Weekly Post (Yes I am way over the top here)

    • Lawrence

      “Thank you for the posts, I was just in the process of considering starting a blog for shorter men myself. Tips and tricks, the reasons for a great and honet tailor, and stores (including children’s departments) which become the go to place.”

      Did you start a blog for shorter men? I am 5 foot 2 myself and would be very interested. There’s Short Shrifted, a great style blog for shorter men, but unfortunately it appears to be on hiatus. (And we could do with more resources for shorter men!)

    • Gazman

      You rock in that pic! I would never have guessed looking at it that you are 5’2″. Cool as!

  • Thawng Sian Siam

    Wow, really good site!

  • Jim

    Wow, awesome weblog format! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The whole look of your web site is magnificent, let alone the content!

  • Louie

    Just picked up a Zegna off the rack at Sacks that looks incredibly similar to the first pic. What amazed me was that it needed minimal tailoring and looks incredible on me. Would have never picked it up if it wasnt for my wife. Atta the sales person assisting us was very knowledgeable and informative! LL Atalntic beach Fl.

  • Rich

    Another solid article. Applying the tips from your blog have been quite helpful but I unlike the gentleman spotlighted in your article fall under the big and small category. I have been a weightlifter since an early age and as such have developed characteristic that make shopping difficult. I am 5’6 and weigh about 220lbs. I have an 18inch neck so shopping for dress shirts is a quite daunting. Pants usually have to be bought a 38 waist to accommodate my larger quads. I am in full agreement that alterations become your best friend. I have finally found the ideal length to get jeans hemmed (28 inseam) which gives a cleaner profile. I’d like to see you guys spotlight someone in the “stocky” category since I know a lot of guys will appreciate that. Keep up the great work.

  • Vidal

    I think I see a theme developing here! LOL!
    Thanks in advance for the insightful and inspiring post on dressing the taller gent that I trust is soon to come!

  • Dirk

    Will there be a post for taller, slim men? I am 1,86m and 84kg. Thanks

  • Vidal

    Hey Dan! As always the looks presented here were great. I, however, have the exact oposite circumstance to deal with. I stand 6’8″ and weigh in at around 335lbs. I like my ‘personal style’ and get a fair amount of compliments, but am always open to new suggestions. So, please help me and Gabe out and do a shoot like this for the big guys!
    Thanks in Advance,

  • Taz

    5’8″ guy here. a few days ago I’ve bumped into this article. Today I’ve just got myself the Tuesday suit. 100% identical: same fabric, color, herringbone, low two-button jacket, slim notch lapel, high gorge line, 4 button sleeve, slanted pockets, shorter pants etc. Bought the same type of shoes. Got a different shirt though, more blueish with a bit of texture. Suits me just perfectly! This weekend I will rock it at a fancy party.

    Thanks a lot for the tips! Now if only I can find a tie as awesome as yours…

    • Taz

      By the way, if it wasn’t obvious already, I’ve bookmarked your site.

  • Gabe

    Dan I’m 6’6 and need your help. Do one for tall dudes, I am lost trying to find the right size. You dressed you ballplayer buddies in college right?

  • Jimmy

    At what height is a man considered short (according to clothing sizes and such) At 5’9 should I follow these tips or am I considered an average guy
    Im asking out a fashion point of view, in terms of what clothing designers consider tall, short, average for men.
    Thanks! Love from Europe!

  • wow!

    Wow, he looks so much taller in the pictures, I guess fitted clothes really makes a lot of difference. I have always been insecure about my height and how I look in clothes(suits specially) But this gives me a whole new approach! GREAT STUFF!
    btw: Im 5’8″

    sorry for my poor english, its my third language.

  • DeAnthony

    i love this post! i am also 5’7 but my frame is thinner weighing only 130-135 pounds making it a little harder to find clothing to fit me slim as i like. I usually wear 14 and 1/2 ralph lauren custom fit shirts, j.crew xsmall and ben shermans small, those brands fit me well and far as pants i wair gaps tailor straight fit (very slim) size 29-30, j.crews bowery pants urban slim fit 30-30 and for something a little more casual i wear dockers from urban outfitters(very slim) or the D1 with the SF taper (check the website.

  • Shawn

    I can’t help but think Alex–the photographer–was trying to undermine this feature. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Casual Friday, Alex either took photographs at oddly-composed angles or chose backgrounds that absolutely dwarf the model. What’s the point of this post when the photographer is just going to stand tall and point his camera *down* at a shorter model?

    • SB

      Haha. I think Adam is taller than Alex. This is ridiculous.


  • Elissa

    Very helpful article. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun (already an existing article??), but I too would be interested in an article geared towards fashion for men of taller stature, too.
    It’s nice to see a gentlemen with style. At least where I live, currently, I rarely see a man dressed well. It’s mostly t-shirts and jeans, nothing to set each other apart. I can understand wanting to be comfortable, but it’s quite possible to accomplish this and still have style.

  • Mike E. Perez

    Admittedly, I didn’t even read the heading of the post when I clicked onto this page. The photo is what drew me in. It wasn’t until half way through (I was just looking at the pics) that I realized, hey, this guy is short! That’s when I realized the whole post was about guys like me. I’m just a bit shorter than this guy—it says I’m 5’5″ on my driver’s license, but I’m typically an inch taller—and I have pretty much the same build. These looks are pretty killer, and you offer great tips for those of us who have to work just a little bit harder to get respect in the corporate world, thanks to our stature.

  • Ashley

    There are some great looking outfits here on a great looking guy. Theres nothing hotter than a well dressed petite guy. Good things do come in small packages. Well Done!

  • Ian

    At 5’7 myself I am delighted to find this post. These are all great tips and I shall certainly apply them. Thanks much. Ian

  • Nigel

    The Thursday look is killer. All the other looks are rather bland.


    The length of the trousers and how it’s tapered on the 7th picture is PERFECT!! Looks amazing! Awesome work. Really enjoyed this post.

  • Jack

    Last 2 looks are awesome.

  • Anonymous

    I am almost the same height (172 cm) and 60 kg. I wish you gave us more information about casual dressing for small guys. I have never thought of dressing in beefy knits. In my opinion look “small body, bulky sweater” works more for skinny girls when they are in leggins and lon knit.You see legs and guess how would her breasts look like in something slim. I always wear my sweaters very slim, but in Poland it’s hard to find really good stores and dress on budget in the same time. One question: I am almost convinced that for business casual even shorter men should wear straight jeans, am I right?

  • isner

    I’d like to see an article with tips for guys with the opposite issue; taller guys. I am very tall and like pattern and color, but I am afraid that at my size, it can be too much. Every time I wear my corduroy suit, I feel that I look like a sofa.

    • Anonymous

      are you the tennis player John Isner?

  • G.O.S

    Horizontal stripes making you look wider is false.

    A researcher from York University in UK did a study and found that vertical stripes added weight and horizontal stripes make you look slimmer.

    But of course if you need to do research to tell the difference its obvious the effect is so minimal its not worth considering when styling.

  • Hockey Puck

    I am 2′ tall and 4′ wide. HELP!!!

  • Maurice

    The looks are excellent – great job. The photography succeeds in making a short person look even shorter.

  • ciara

    Knowing a lot of smaller people, this has been very helpful. What profession is Adam in? I’m not asking to be nosy, I just wanted to know what type of office he is dressing for. Does he have to be more conservative like Gabe, or is he in a more free environment like Clark?

    • SB

      Somewhere in the middle :) Thanks for reading

      • anon

        he works at MAB

  • alan m.

    Superb post. Great classic looks. Tuesday is a killer.
    You pull off the looks very smoothly.

    • SB

      Thx for reading alan

  • Matthew Mejias

    thank you thank you thank you!!! There aren’t enough people out there who are giving advice on how a smaller framed gentleman should dress according to fit…. I am about 5 10 but im very slender and I’ve already applied these rules in my wardrobe in the past, but I just wish this post would have come out like 4 yrs ago… anyway… thanks for representing for all my skinny ppl out there..jeje..keep it comin dude…

  • Francesco

    Great post! Loved all the colors and combinations. Really great tips also…keep up the great work.

  • RAI

    What recs you have for a guy who is about the same height but Is heavier?

    • SB

      Coming soon..stay tuned

      • RAI

        Looking forward to it.

  • Kyle C

    For Columbia people you guys sure do hang out on/near NYU’s campus a lot.

    There’s something really strange to me about that button down collar. Not sure what it is, maybe length/stance?

    Anyways thanks for the effort. Good looks.

    • SB

      Thx for reading

  • Ali

    Dan, great piece! This was one of my questions that I submitted last winter, I’m glad to see it up. I think the Mon-Thur looks are great, especially a big fan of Thursday. I’ll definitely check out the trousers by Brooks Brothers as I’ve been looking for slimmer pants that aren’t skin tight. I liked the shoes for Fri/Weekend, but I’d love to see some more casual examples for shirts rather than those sweaters. Also, any other brand recommendations (without going custom) for slimmer shirts and pants that aren’t skin tight and aren’t too baggy?
    Thanks again!

  • New Yawk

    The banker shirt on this guy screams overcompensating, not “powerful.” For shorter guys, it’s extra important to not come across as trying to hard, and while I really applaud many of the looks above (esp. M, T, Th), I would definitely avoid the banker shirt.

    • SB

      Let’s agree to disagree.

      Thanks for reading,

  • Gabe

    I am 6’6″ and very slim. Hope to see something more my speed coming soon. Great post anyway Dan, love the style.

    • SB

      Coming soon!

      • isner


    • JMRouse

      You and I must have close builds, although I wouldn’t define myself as “very thin.” Can’t wait to see some tips.

    • Anonymous

      As good as the styling and pictures are…writing is your best talent I think! Love your writing style!

  • Mondiggler

    I’m only 5′-9″…but the ladies love my inseam!!!!


    • SB

      haha. well said

  • SSS

    Question: what does “gorge line” mean?

    • SB

      The seam where the collar is sewn to the lapel.


  • James

    How tall is this guy? I mean I am 5’10 and I consider myself avarage at best.

    • rismomax

      according to the post, he is 5’7″

      • SB

        thanks for Reading

  • Gary-A

    toooootally diggin’ this post, SB! Taking lots of notes here while I’m digging up the funds (But the location moreso, pickin’s are slim here in Boston) to jump into custom clothing.

    Here’s crossing my fingers one of the spots in this series is going to be for athletic(er) built guys like myself (5’9″, 160lbs, all chest and legs).

    Stay crispy.

    • A Well dressed high schooler

      Agreed, as I am of similar build.

      • SB

        More body types coming soon.

  • John Brennan

    Great looks! Adam’s got some mad style too. Maybe a l’il manscaping on the chest hair would enhance the looks even further. He could go to a nude beach and people would think stole Dan’s removable fur collar.

    • shaqueeda

      dont be crackin jokes at my boo and his swag or his besties and there swag either

  • Myles

    Hey SB. Love the article on shorter guys (I am one as well being Asian). Anyways, wondering if there are any style advantages to being shorter? All I see is ways to make you look taller. Just wondering. Thanks man, love the blog.

    • Mike

      i think SB addresses that in the Kanye west part. Now about that pink linen jacket….

      I. You have the advantage! Don’t be afraid to wear a little color and/or pattern. Bolder pieces are more easily-acceptable in –smaller doses”. For example, it’s much easier for a guy like Kanye West (at 5’8) to pull-off a pink linen jacket than, say, Shaquille O’neal (at 7’2″).

  • Dragos

    Tall and slim – that’s my thing. But skinny legs have always been my problem when it came to clothes. What would you recommend ? Thanks.

    • Mike

      Skinny legs? Squats are your solution man! I’ve been hitting the gym steadily for the past year and my clothes have never fit better. I’m not nearly as stylish as the guys in these posts (or probably as the readers!) but man, I’ve never felt more confident in a black T and jeans ;)

  • Zach Raymond

    I was not aware everything added height

    • SB

      Glad you appreciate all the content and tips Zach


  • cam

    as always thanks for your continued time and effort. this is a great idea and i believe every one of your readers will benefit. i do have a question i hope you can address. in the past, you make it a strong point to mention the importance of dressing for the weather vs. the season. i fully agree as i tend to think the function of one’s attire should be first and foremost while looking stylish. i think you did a great job of that in you last video post with the cotton suit and sneakers. that being said, there are some examples in your blog that i can point to that don’t seem to follow this. suede loafers in the snow in this post, boat shoes in the winter in clark shaw’s post (unless you’re on your way to or on a boat, a dock or a beach they are plain wrong period…see townsend’s post for the correct execution) and the fur collar on a trench coat meant for rainy weather. I do enjoy reading your blog and i in no way mean to offend but it was just on my mind. i know you’ve said before that you have to keep the blog innovative and interesting so maybe i can chalk it up to that as well. all the best….

    • SB

      The friends featured on this site are not models. The style is their own.

      I address the fur + trench in the post. When raining, I always 1. wear a raincoat 2. carry an umbrella

      Thx for reading

  • DY

    Dig the looks… I’m right on par with Adam’s size and have often times found myself frustrated when shopping for proper clothing. It’s as thought everyone’s giving up on the small guys… I have a few vintage pieces that fit perfectly but the market now-a-days seems to have gotten LARGER.

  • Dennis

    Great feature…really suits his figure. But I got exactly the converse problem. Im more the big guy. Wide back & hip. Its really a problem for me to find clothing (normal price range) in – lets say – the kind of style you show on youre site.

    WOULD love to see a feature about style for big gentlemen!

    greetings from bavaria


    • SB

      Coming soon

  • Justin

    THANK YOU!! I’m 5’5″ with a 32″ chest and 28 waist which makes it pretty tough to find great looking clothes that fit but IT CAN BE DONE and having a good tailor always helps. no excuses for shorter guys to not put some effort into the way we dress. i’ve been reading this blog now for only a few months and it’s good to know i’m already doing pretty much everything right! awesome. when I wear vests with slim trousers, i’ve been told i look nearly 6ft from a distance. haha.

    • SB

      Hah. thanks for sharing Justin

  • Julie

    This guy should probably trim his chest hair a little. It’s encroaching on his neck.

    • DY


  • Robin

    All the suited pictures are on point and lots of great tips about “lengthening” patterns and necessary measurements.

    I really love the casual friday look. Though I thought cuffs actually make you look shorter?

    In any case, outstanding as always.

    • SB

      Thx Robin. A single jean cuff on a dark pant (with a low contrast on the reverse side of the fabric) is not very visible and doesn’t affect the silhouette much, in my opinion


  • Brad

    Nice examples for the shorter guy. At 5’6″ I appreciate it. It is rather unfortunate that very few retailers cater to guys that are shorter and not overweight, though a few mainstream retailers are beginning to this underserved niche. I can personally rock 28/28 wool pants from Banana Republic. Also got a decent peacoat recently from Sterlingwear; they have a variety of sizes for really small to really large guys, just be careful with sizing (do your research).

    • SB

      Thx Brad!

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic! I love it!

  • Akshay

    5’7 is small? Man, I’d kill to be 5’7. I’m like 5’4 and a half over here (and with an athletic build) and it’s always an issue finding something my size, because most designers and stores market to the huge XL size guys.

    Good tips overall, though. I like the custom suit advice – I’m thinking of buying from Indochino, and now I know what to tick off in terms of customizations.

    • SB

      I wouldn’t say it’s big. The same tips apply.

      Thanks for reading.


  • Mike

    Another inspiring piece. Love the Thursday look. Actually, all looks are great. My short friend will love this ;).

    • SB

      Thx Mike