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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
    • Grey Flannel Suit 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.)

    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,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • bhamilton

      this was shot in the bronx?

    • http://themodernprep.wordpress.com Marshall Mulherin

      That second look is everythingggggg
      That’s such a good idea to add a heavy cuff in addition to tapering. Will definitely be doing that from now on.
      I love this blog

    • Curvissa.co.uk

      For one thing thank you for publishing this.
      Secondly there is an issue with your stylesheet or possibly it’s just my netbook but it doesn’t display right.

    • Anonymous

      Another amazing post!!

    • http://undefined Chris

      Any plans for advice for the shorter fellas?

    • http://www.staykempt.com Robert

      Great post! I know make light-hearted comments sometimes in jest, this is a great article. I, having the same problem as Calvin (5’9/135), have difficulties finding a proper fit, usually always coming down to “length” of garments. I thank you, Dan, for turning me on to MAB, I have now become a regular client in their DC location, they have helped me alleviate my fit finding problems.

    • The Stylistocrat

      Kudos Sir! I will retweet! You have MY ULITMATE respect!
      Thank you!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thx player. Great name.

    • Anonymous

      This type of helpful article is why you guys are on top. Your website is my homepage

    • Anon

      I love the tip about adding a belt to the back of the jacket. Never thought of that. This guys layering is on point. Contrary to C, I think the suit and pants fit perfect. I’m a 6’1 167lb ecto-meso. Big shoulders and long arms, with a slender torso, big thighs and slim legs that make up 3/4 of my body (exaggerating)! Thanks to TSB, I have learned the importance of a tailor. I don’t spend much on clothes but I look like I do after I get the sides and sometimes sleeves taken in, taper the pant leg and get a clean low break hem.

    • http://www.thecufflink.com Jarrod King

      Good article here! More and more I’m learning that a relationship with your tailor is key to getting the best fit possible for people of all sizes.

    • Luigi Cuneo

      What about tall & fat guys ?

    • http://www.jonathansquare.com Jonathan

      Great post! My style is less conservative than Calvin’s, but I’m 6’4″ and have a similar body type, which can make shopping difficult. Sleeves are often too short. Shirts are often too boxy. Inseams are often not long enough. J.Crew, L.L. Bean, the Gap, and a number of other brands offer tall sizes. Brands like American Apparel, Primark, and Acne do not offer tall sizes, but I find them to be tall friendly.

      You can see more style solutions for the vertically privileged on my blog (jonathansquare.com)!

    • Rich

      Good to see us big lads getting a shout.
      im 6ft 5″, and get disappointed when that awesome shirt or pair of denim in the store doesnt have my size.
      On the up side, i can see the band at gigs, and reach the top shelf for my short Mrs!
      love from the UK

    • ernie

      for most guys, wearing pants that hug your legs in that slim fit way is typically the best way to go, however, for guys like me and calvin, who have less meat on the bone (i.e., we have chicken legs), it really does seem best to go with something more loose fitting like the suit pants in the second pic. the other pants make calvin’s look a bit too feminine and will likely attract snickering from both men and women.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        You can certainly switch up the fit from one pair of pants to another, no matter your size or shape.

        Nevertheless, it’s this “fear of snickering” that inspired me to start this site. Wear it with confidence!!

      • Khalid

        No snickering here! There are certain cuts that do look silly and feminine (on all sorts of frames) but Calvin looks great and perfectly masculine to my eyes.

    • HD

      Fantastic post – very helpful for all of us tall slimmer guys.

    • Felix

      6′, 135 pounds. Extreme ectomorph. Definitely, definitely have taken away from this article.

      Thanks for the relevant content – I’ve been waiting for this article for years now, after seeing short and lean, as well as larger builds have the focus in size-specific content.

      A+ to Calvin for repping the thin frame incredibly well, and a+ Dan for the good post!

    • Jim

      Thanks so much for this post, guys. I’m 6’2″, 169 lbs. and have had a devil of a time finding stuff that fits. I’m on the hunt for a good tailor and hoping to find one soon. I love the advice on the layering, by the way. That’s what I’ve always done and it works well.

    • james

      For all the ectomorph hard gainers posting below 2 words. Trenbolone acetate. Lol that will get you fitting into those large shirts.

    • Jon

      Longtime reader first-time poster.
      Great article, myself being tall and thin 6’/140. I loved this post because it gives practical information for building layers. The most difficult part of finding clothes for me is fitting shoulders. I’m 34/35, very few off the rack items are made for my specific frame. But your posts are just great for building ideas for fitting my body-type.
      Btw, I think it’s pretty neat that Calvin looks like Thierry Henry, for all the soccer fans out there. Can we do a side by side feature of the two?

      • Calvin

        Lol @ Thierry Henry. Of all the ‘look a likes’ I thought I would get I did not expect that one.

        But honestly, custom shirting is your best bet for if you can afford it.

        Or look for brands who have neck and sleeve sizing and then work with your tailor to take in the sides if needed.

    • Joe

      “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.”

      Brilliant! Would love to see a view from the back to see how this worked out.

      Another note, one of my favorite singers, Justin Townes Earle, has a similar build and is always dressed impeccably (see http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2012/03/exclusive-stream-justin-townes-earles-new-album-nothings-gonna-change-the-way-you-feel-about-me-now.html and http://www.gq.com/how-to/fashion/201002/25-most-stylish-men)

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        We definitely dropped the ball by not getting a shot of the back of the quilted jacket… That’s my bad.

        • Joe

          Oh I suppose I’ll get over it. Though maybe Calvin sees this and sends in a pic?

          Anyway, nice ideas and great post.

    • Mr E

      It is nice to see an ectomorph be featured here.

      I’m built the same way and recognise a lot of the Club Monaco pieces here. They really seem to pay attention to dressing our body shape.

      As an aside, that navy cashmere toque Mr Saunders is wearing (the Kensington) is the most perfect toque for not messing up your coiffe.

      I own it and do not suffer the dreaded “hat hair” after I remove it indoors.

    • http://www.thekacar.com Mustafa Kacar

      The lack of useful style articles out there for tall/skinny individuals makes this one pure gold. Forwarding to all my tall stylish buddies now. Thanks TSB team.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I’d say there’s a lot lacking in the way of practical style articles.

        Thx Mustafa.

        • C

          Unfortunately, this article doesn’t add much to any ‘practical’ style conversation. Nothing fits properly, which is the source for a majority of style affections. Those interested/investing in menswear, remember: stay away from tight. Wanting clothes to fit is proper, but having your tailor nip suit pants to that degree isn’t refined in any way.

          • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

            Thanks for sharing your opinion C. How would you define “tight”, and which of Calvin’s pieces do you consider “tight” in this article?

            • C

              Much of what’s shown, particularly suiting, is a drastic combination of too short jacket length and tapering to a degree in which isn’t flattering the individual. While it may be a presentation of someone’s personal style, it certainly isn’t a representation of practical style with any nuance. Take care.

              • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

                Hmmm. Let’s agree to disagree. Thx for reading and sharing.

                • C

                  I would just remember to place as much emphasis on the many faults of undersizing, as there are many, if your attempt is to inform. At any rate, just clothes. Have a good one.

    • Joe

      Guys, this is a great post. I’d appreciate something for the mesomorphic body type if you can. As an athletic guy I have some pretty large quads and could use some suggestions.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        In the works Joe.

    • https://www.facebook.com/hunter.brodt?ref=tn_tnmn Hunter

      Putting on a little bit of muscle is a great idea if you’re tall. I was always disappointed with the fit of my clothes when I was Calvin’s weight. I put on just twenty pounds of muscle and clothes fit ten times better and I have way more options.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Haha. That would have been a great post. Tips for tall skinny guys: put on 20 lbs of muscle. Thanks for reading.

        Seriously, though, for some people it’s not that easy. That’s why I wanted to use the word “ectomorph”.

        Anyway, thx for reading.

        • David

          C’mon Dan, it is easy! I put 25 pounds on my previously 6’1″, 125lb frame and all I had to do was get a kidney transplant and take a fist full of meds (including steroids)everyday.

          But in all seriousness, thanks for this post. I hope there will be more to come for us ectomorphs! I can use all the help I can get…

          • https://www.facebook.com/hunter.brodt?ref=tn_tnmn Hunter

            My point can be broken down into this…. me before… ectomorph and no clothes would really fit…. me after deciding to work out…. clothes tend to fit much better off the rack.

            Dan, havent you yourself talked about how working out makes clothes fit better on TSB? Correct me if Im wrong, but I’m 99% sure you have.

    • cam

      being 6’3 165 myself, this is the most personal post for me ever to be on this site. way to represent for the ectomorphs of the world calvin. i used to wear everything in large and even extra large size hip hop gear in high school and college and look back and laugh. i think the most important takeaway whether you’re an ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph is to embrace it an dress with confidence. thanks for this post dan

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Confidence is everything.

        In the world of style, “swagger” is much more important than “fashion”.

    • ian

      I have been waiting for this post for a long time, being 6 4′ and weighing 160 as well as having disproportionately long arms makes it hard for me to find anything at all. recently through some ebay hustling I scrapped together a significant amount of money to take all my clothes into the tailor or buy ones that fit. (ps michael bastian is your friend if you are tall and slim)

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Well played Ian.

    • John

      Awesome texture mixing on the first look. While I’m not that slim (I’m 6 ft and 155 pounds) I’m usually trying to do something similar.

      By the way, how do you feel about the fit of the suit jacket? It looks a bit tight over the cardigan. Some of my jackets look like that when worn over a thicker cardigan/denim jacket and I want to know if it’s “acceptable”!

      Also, the brown boots on look #1 are absolutely stunning.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Doesn’t look tight at all to me. A little pull at the button is expecting when layering under a suit.

        As long as you have a comfortable range of motion, you’re good to go.

    • http://undefined Mathieu Lavoie

      Nice post even for a short, could loose 15 lb, kind of guy like me.

      Very nice color palette and use of texture, but there is something I find frustrating with that kind of layering.

      Looks super sharp outside, but once inside, you end up removing 1 or 2 layers, your sunglasses, gloves, bag etc

      The indoor result can still look fine, but is less spectacular.

      I’m jalous of my wife who can look super stylish with a single layer

      Keep the good work guys!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Hmmm. I see what you’re saying, but I disagree.

        I think the simplest outfits can be the coolest – or at least the best for showing comfort and confidence.

        It’s the finer details that really matter – fit, quality, grooming, attention to details, etc.

        Anyway, thx for reading Mathieu.

        • itsjlev

          I totally understand what Mathieu is saying! This blog has inspired me to change my whole style and I am slowly building a nice collection of stuff to wear. Walking out of the house, I feel/look great- like any of these photos but by the time I get to my (warm a*#) office and take all the layers off I am wearing a shirt and tie with some chinos! lol

    • LouCaves

      I would’ve liked to see how the knit-tie looked as a belt on the quilt jacket.

      Love the way the shoes are laced (I do it myself) in Look #1 instead of the common crisscross lace jobs.

      Good stuff, TSB and Calvin.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Me too…

    • DK

      Thanks a ton for this guys a lot of the information in here was incredibly useful! I’m a similar build (6’5″ 165) and definitely try out these tips.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Glad you enjoyed the post brother.

    • Brian

      Awesome. And I think those shots were taken at my building.

      I’ll have to watch for this cat, maybe roll him for that fresh bag he’s got.


      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Hahaha. Don’t forget, he probably knows where you live too.

        Thx for reading.