Tall & Lean in Style feat. Calvin Saunders
February 15th, 2013
In response to requests for more body-type-focused content, we linked up with Westley’s neighbor Calvin Saunders.
“I used to always see this tall slim guy in my building, looking fresh. Turns out he works in the buying office at Ralph Lauren and he’s been a fan of Articles of Style for years.” – Wes
Indeed, we get a ton of inquiries from guys looking for advice to flatter their specific body type(s). Not just short or heavy guys, either. You’d be surprised how many questions we get from tall and skinny guys too.
Here, Calvin, an NYC native who stands 6’2″ 150 lbs, gives us some insight into finding the right fit for the tall and lean.
1. Business Casual
Calvin, like many tall & slim “ectomorphs“, has a hard time shopping because everything is too big for him. Even “slim fit” pieces from brands with modern cuts. When he does find something that’s slim enough through the body, it’s usually too short.
“The first stop after I make a purchase is my tailor. Most pieces call for a straight-forward slim-down, but sometimes I have to be a little creative. For example, this nylon quilted jacket couldn’t be properly taken-in due to the fabric and construction, so I had my tailor attach belt loops to the back of the jacket. Now I use an old knit tie as a belt to cinch the back of the jacket. Not only does this slim down the jacket considerably, but I can adjust the tautness based on the bulkiness of the layers I have on underneath.”
A lot of tall slim men are self conscious about looking “too skinny” and wear oversized clothing to “add girth” as a result. Don’t do this. Baggy clothes do not make a skinny guy look bigger or more muscular. They make him look sloppy, less confident and, in fact, skinnier.
Embrace your lean frame and allow your tailor to help you show if off with comfort and confidence. “Adding girth” is much more effective and flattering in the way of tailored layers and textured fabrics.
“When shopping, look for the size that fits best in the shoulders and, most importantly, has the proper length. Then work with your tailor to slim down the sides, sleeves, legs, etc.
If it’s too short, you often can’t lengthen it…then you risk looking like you’re wearing your little brother’s clothes.
Personally, I own and wear a ton of plaids, checks, marled fabrics, etc. Combining textured pieces is a great way to add depth to a look, creating the illusion of a more three-dimensional frame. Horizontal stripes help too.”
- Navy quilted jacket by Ralph Lauren ·
- Khaki houndstooth check blazer by Rugby ·
- Navy flecked crewneck sweater by Wallace & Barnes ·
- Navy/Green/Tan plaid sportshirt by Club Monaco ·
- Brown gloves (in jacket pocket) by Ralph Lauren ·
- Bracelet by Miansai ·
- Slim olive cargos by Uniqlo ·
- Brown captoe boots by To Boot New York
2. All Business
“The easiest way to add heft to a suit is to add layers.
The cable-knit cardigan here adds a good degree of bulk to my upper-body, while being almost unnoticeable under the suit. The quilted vest is a great layering piece too, since it can be worn under or over the jacket.
When it comes to fabric, a flannel suiting adds more ‘weight’ and ‘depth’ than a typical worsted wool.”
“I can’t stress this enough: establish a good relationship with your tailor. In no time he/she will get to know your preferences and how a garment should fit on you.
Not to mention, if you go frequently enough, you might start to get ‘house specials’ from time to time :)”
“I like a small leg opening on my pants. I see a lot of tall, slim guys with baggy pants below the knees. This results in extra fabric that can look almost ‘bootcut’ even on a pair of ‘slim fit’ pants. I like mine gradually tapered with heavy cuff to add a horizontal line, visually shortening the proportion of the legs.
I spotted these Cole Haan tassel loafers at my local thrift shop, virtually unworn. On top of that, they were Made in the USA! Had to have ’em for only $50.”
- Black quilted Vest by Club Monaco ·
- Charcoal grey flecked cableknit cardigan by Club Monaco ·
- Black gingham shirt by Club Monaco ·
- Black club tie by J.Crew ·
- Black gloves Vintage ·
- Checked socks by Uniqlo ·
- Black tassel loafers vintage Cole Haan (Made in the U.S.A.)
- · Grey Flannel Suit by Club Monaco
3. Casual Weekend
Layers are your friend.
“I believe we have all seen (or worn) a shirt layered on top of another shirt before. It’s a nice look. But how about 3 shirts in one outfit?
Each of the shirts here serves a different layering purpose. They get gradually thicker as they get further from the body – from cotton undershirt, to flannel overshirt, to wool outerwear.”
“The first layer is an old Banana Republic shirt that I hadn’t worn in years. I had my tailor chop off the collar a couple summers ago and it quickly made it’s way back into my rotation. I use it primarily as a henley-like layering piece in colder months (like here) or as a laiback collarless shirt in the summer.
The shetland sweater serves as a bridge between the undershirt and first overshirt – a solid flannel number that works more like a cardigan here, with a couple buttons undone at the top and bottom.
Finally, the plaid workshirt is outerwear. With a knit cap and all these layers, it’s sufficient for a cold winter day.”
“Who says you can’t layer your bottoms as well?
A chunky wool sock can be styled over your pants for an added visual layer. The extra height, coupled with the 8″ bean boots, lessens the impact of lanky legs.
I really like the ‘stacked’ look with the panelized boots, too.”
- Cashmere ribbed hat by Club Monaco ·
- Red plaid flannel overshirt by Ralph Lauren ·
- Indigo flannel shirt by Club Monaco ·
- Forest green shetland crewneck sweater by Rugby ·
- White band collar shirt (altered) by Banana Republic ·
- Jeans by A.P.C. “New Cure” ·
- 8″ Classic duck boots by L.L. Bean ·
- Neutral wool socks by Woolrich ·
- Green/Olive bag by WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie
Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Calvin for participating.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.