Style Tips for Tall Guys feat. Max Craig
October 25th, 2012
Allow me to introduce Max Craig: fellow former Columbia University basketball player, French Canadian and also my good friend and roommate.
Max is 7′, 250 lbs. Yes, that’s seven feet tall. You can’t miss him. However, because he understands the styling choices and clothing proportions that flatter his body type, he keeps everything in proper scale which helps mask his height. Max’s outfits are usually so proportionate that he doesn’t look overly tall on his own – only in relation to other people and things around him.
Here Max and I put together some “Tips for Tall Guys”. Hope this helps!
- Avoid the pitfalls of Big & Tall shops. It’s not Big OR Tall, it’s Big AND Tall. You’re not “big” (wide/heavy/overweight), you’re just tall. Max suggests using these places only for the basics or in a pinch, and always bringing them to your seamstress.
- Get to know which brands offer Tall & Slim sizing. Max’s favorite is Faconnable. Other friends and former teammates have had success finding tall sizing online and in-store at Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren and the Gap.
- You may have to accept the casual shirt trade-off. When you’re this tall, the selection of off-the-rack shirts that fit properly is very limited. Therefore, in order to wear the shirts you want, you may have to live with them not being perfect. If you don’t plan on wearing a tie with it, don’t worry about the collar size (you’re going to wear the neck open). If you’re not going to wear a jacket over it, don’t worry about the sleeve length (you can just roll them). For quick kicking-around shirts buy the size that fits you best in the shoulders and length, then have the sides and sleeves taken-in. (If taking-in the sides isn’t slim enough through the midsection for you, you can also have back darts added to remove some of the extra billowy bulk.)
- Get to know a good alterations seamstress in a convenient location for you. Just about everything you pick up off-the-rack should be brought in for modifications. It’s important to build a relationship with this person in order for them to understand your preferences and to earn your trust. After a few appointments, you’ll be having all your shirts slimmed and all your pants taken-in at the waist and tapered down the leg.
- Shoes are often the toughest part, especially when you’re a size 16 like Max. Online is usually your best bet – try major shoe dealers like Eastbay and Zappos, and never forget about eBay. A good idea is to do a saved search on eBay for your size. For example, you can sign up to get an email every time a new pair of shoes with “x” description is listed in your size.
- The classics are that much more important. Finding and altering clothes that work properly is more of a time commitment, so think about longevity and try to invest in timeless pieces
- Storage also becomes more of an issue when your clothes are bigger and take more space. For example, four pairs of size 16 shoes takes up about as much floor space as our coffee table. This is another reason to create a versatile, well-curated, classic wardrobe.
- Your watch should be proportionate in size to your wrist. In Max’s case, this means 40+ mm.
- Go vintage! It’s no secret men used to wear their clothing, especially tailored clothing, bigger and longer. Max has been able to find some great vintage pieces that fit him well. Just make sure you know your chest size. Salespeople will consistently put Max in size 48 or 50, when in reality he’s a 44 extra long. The chest size number has nothing to do with height. And if the chest is too big you’ll be left with “wings” of extra fabric under the armholes after properly taking-in the sides.
- Don’t try to do it all on your own, it’s all about relationships. Get to know the owner of the vintage store(s) that have carried your size in the past. Chances are they can find some more stuff that suits you, and if they have you in mind they will remember to look for your size on their next buying trip.
- The gift and the curse of standing tall: everywhere Max goes people stare at him. And I mean stare at him. At that height, there’s no hiding. The upside: guys don’t f*ck with him and he has an instant ice-breaker with the ladies (who love him…he happens to be very charming and endearing as well). The downside: you have to stay prepared for people to notice you at all times. Max understands the importance of staying well groomed and presentable
- Try the Long size on first. Extra-Long, in my opinion, is for 6’6″ and above – although this should be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on your legs-to-torse ratio.
- If it’s within your budget, get to know a good custom clothier and trust them, it’s their job to make you look your best. Of course, we both highly recommend our friends at Michael Andrews Bespoke.
- Typically I would say the bottom of your tie should hit the middle of your waistband, but there are exceptions to every rule. Max and I agree that if you are above 6’8″ it’s not necessary for your tie to reach your pants – that’s too much tie and throws off its proportion. A well-balanced tie with a nice knot that hits an inch above the waistband, in our opinion, looks better than a tie that is knotted near its tip and stretches all the way down the torso. (Of course, if you don’t agree, you can find some extra-long ties…although the selection is sparse.)
- If you have a problem with the smaller end of the tie being too short to reach the loop on the backside, simply have your seamstress move that loop up higher on the back of the tie. It takes 2 minutes and will only cost you a couple dollars.
- A tall man should have a sturdy shoe with a rounded toe. Avoid pointy shoes, they make your feet look longer than they already are.
- Your pant hem should have a full break – the highwater trend will only make you look taller. Similarly, show only a minimal amount of shirt cuff below your jacket sleeve – shorter sleeves make arms look longer.
- Avoid pinstripes at all cost.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.