The average American male stands a cool 5 feet 9 inches. But plenty of guys clock in under this height, and many of them complain about how difficult it is to find clothes that fit. Because brands don't adjust their designs for different proportions, anyone who deviates from the so-called "5-9 norm" may find shopping a challenge. That's why it's even more important for shorter men to know what looks best on them and to find clothes that fit their bodies. Here are helpful hints that may put an extra spring -- and maybe even a few extra inches -- in your short-statured step:
DO MEASURE YOUR PROPORTIONS.
If you have a long torso and short legs, go for pants that sit a little higher on your waist to elongate your legs. If your legs are longer and your torso shorter, look for pants with a lower rise.
DON'T OVERWHELM YOUR FRAME.
Wearing clothes that are too big or too long in an effort to make you seem larger just makes you look sloppy -- and shorter.
DO CONSIDER FIT FIRST.
Get the right fit in the shoulders, waist and rise, and your tailor can take care of the rest. Find a tailor and put him or her on your speed dial.
DON'T CUT YOURSELF UP.
Avoid accessories that cut across the body (belts, messenger bags) as well as horizontally striped shirts and ties. They disrupt the line of your silhouette and visually shorten you. If you're into stripes, go for pinstripes in suits and dress shirts. Be sure to skip the cuffs and front pleats on pants.
DO STAND UP STRAIGHT.
Mom was right. Posture matters.
DO TUCK IT IN.
A clean look is essential when you're shorter in stature because a streamlined outfit helps lengthen your appearance. The easiest way to do this? Tuck in your shirt. When wearing a suit, keep your jacket buttoned, except, of course, when you sit down.
DO GET EVERYTHING TAILORED.
Or even better, custom-made. While upgrading to custom shirts and suits will put the squeeze on your wallet at first, you'll likely fall in love with how well they fit and how long they last.
DO EMBRACE YOUR HEIGHT.
If you are short, you're short. No pinstripe suit or Chelsea boot is going to add more than a couple of inches -- visually or literally. Learn to love the height you are.