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!

18 copy

  •  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,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Alex Crawford

  • http://undefined Rich

    If Max has a gay identical twin brother living in London, please ask him to get in touch with me. Tall guys are hot :-)

  • J.J. Warwick

    There’s a lot of great advice in this article – I’m 7 foot myself so know how hard finding clothes can be. It’s why I created – somewhere for guys who are tall, not big and tall can find stuff that fits.

  • Doug

    Max is fortunate to have good proportions to be able to carry these looks off.

    Men must understand thier own physique in order to make their best clothing choices.

    I have a unique situation. I was born with a condition that cuased the growth of my legs to be severely stunted by over a foot. Doctors have told me that my “true height” is likely to be close to seven feet tall, like Max. With my abnormally short legs, I am actually under six feet. Trying to find clothes to fit a very long upper body with unusually short legs used to be quite a challenge for me. I am not the average guy with a long torso and short legs.

    Like Max, I have had my share of clothing salesmen who have wanted to put me into size 50 plus suits and sports coats. Many years ago, an astute clothing salesman (who was over 6’6″ himself) helped me to realize that I should always fit the upper part of my body, which is “normal” and then make allowances for my legs. A 44XL suit fits me best. Pants legs are nothing more than tubes of cloth that can be hemmed at any length. In my case, they are hemmed at what would otherwise be the knee of someone with proportionate legs.

    The difference between by very long upper body and my abnormally short legs is obvious to all who see me. There are no “tricks” that will mask that, and trying to do so always looks contrived and goofy — even some things that custom tailors have done. The bottom of the jacket always hangs too close to my knees to be considered “perfectly proportioned;” but my knees are less than a foot from my rear end. I can’t do anything about that! A coat that looks a bit too long is a small sacrifice to make in order to have a suit that fits perfectly otherwise.

  • Paul

    Great stuff…at 6’6″…I’m either at the tailor…or at the tailor…or at the tailor…or poor. Would love to see more tips for hoopsters…not defensive ends. Also would be great to get a dedicated thread to the pocket square…I never jacket without them!

  • Charles Claudio

    I really find your blog a lotta help. I’ve been trying to find an article that would give me an idea of how should short guys dress up. I have this strong passion for fashion and I can definitely sense that with you. I hope you could give me tips. Btw, the whole vintage thing is so awesome.

  • Vinnie P

    Clean and sleek

  • Al

    where would a 6’8 guy find a sports coat . i wear a 42 in the chest but my wingspan is 7’4 . so even the extra longs dont fit me . do i just need to go up a size or are there websites that have extra extra long sportcoats or something

    • SB

      With a wingspan like that you’re going to need custom. See our recent guide to Bespoke.


  • ed

    i don’t think we give enough justice to buying vintage clothing. the word ‘used’ gets a bad reputation, but the herringbone pictured above is the perfect example of why classic pieces often need to change hands once or twice.

  • sally bjornsen

    Try Longshot Apparel, We make shirts for tall, lean guys 6’0 to 6’10. It is our mission to take the “big” out of “big and tall” and deliver on great fitting shirts for tall guys.

  • Marc

    Great tips. While only a meager 6’5″, I have a much bigger body type than Max. I have all sorts if issues, primarily that I’m either really big for a regular person or really small for a big person.

    Great site,

  • sebastian

    any tips for just the big guys? just an idea im 6ft 240 more on the stocky built it would be great if you can give ideas to the guys that are in between regular and big and tall.

  • Stu

    Awesome article, covered a lot of the basics of dressing for tall guys but added a few new wrinkles too (like the three button jacket bs!) I’m 6’8″ and also played college basketball, so I’m a muscular 250. I also am a true 48xl due to my shoulders and am blessed/cursed with a 35/36 waist. Needless to say there aren’t too many 12 drop OTR suits, I employ some good tailors! Being a young guy without a ton of disposable income, it’s hard to get the kind of fit I’d like out of suits without spending a ton of money but the thrift store idea is interesting. I haven’t had much luck in thrift stores, is there a place that Max has found carries a lot of things his size?

  • Ambyr

    I love this post. Very insightful tips. I always like to get first hand tips on menswear styling, as I can’t relate personally. It helps when I’m styling other guys.


  • Anon

    Totally awesome post SB! I’m 6’3 with very tricky proportions, long arms, legs, short torso. Seeing a 7 foot guy pull off these looks and looking so balanced is such a motivator for finding clothes that fit me. He only looks huge next to other people as you say. Thank you.

  • ark

    when is it appropriate to use a pocket square vs a tiebar, and can i use both at the same time or is that a little too flashy?

  • kayvaan

    Oh, and also – Hugo Boss doesn’t have tall sizes per se but many of their garments are but pretty slim and long.

  • kayvaan

    Nice post. I definitely struggle with proportion. I’m 6’2″ – tall, but not exceptionally tall. HOWEVER, my proportions are tricky. I have really long arms (36.5″), a pretty big drop from my shoulders to my chest (45 to 42) AND I have a short torso / long legs.

    I can wear a slim large-tall except in the case where I want to wear a shirt NOT tucked in. In that case, I find that a large tall is way too long in the torso to look good tucked out. So for casual shirts that I want to wear not tucked in I usually have to go custom (although Ben Sherman does pretty well with long sleeves and a torso that’s not too long). There are tons of online custom shirt makers these days (e.g.

    You hit the big players with tall sizes: BR/GAP, J Crew, Polo – but also Nordstrom has some tall sizes.

  • Grey Poupon

    Hey SB!

    Perhaps an article on dressing for your body type: huge seats and thighs. (It’s incredibly frustrating.)


    SO COOOOL!!!!

  • Craig Webb

    Thank God somebody finally said it!

    “IX: Against –popular” opinion, you don’t need a 3 button jacket. In my opinion, nobody needs a three button jacket.”

    I couldn’t agree more!

    BTW, I’m 6’3″, so thanks for all the tips.
    Keep up the great work.


    great post! Now, can you do one for shorter guys?! :)

    • cam

      @THUMBS – check out the April 2011 Archives

  • JeffG


    I almost never comment and I’m only 6’1″ but this post was awesome. I have a buddy who is 6’5″ and I am putting him on this immediately.

    Dan, the torso photo of the second look proves how much you are helping this 7’er. You would NEVER suspect that photo was of someone of above average stature. Great job man.


  • TK

    Nice! Can’t wait for the Tips for the Big Guys….I’m an athletic 6’1 250 and I was able to use some of these tips! Keep doing big things DT! Did ya ever find someone for the big guy shoot? Thought I remember you saying you didn’t have a big guy for the shoot.Best of luck…

    • Alex

      Yup 6’0 210 here with long arms and muscular legs. would love some tips for us guys who can’t necesarrily wear extra slim pants.. Love the site dude keep it up!

      • Grey Poupon

        This. Exactly this. Sort of.

        I’m not particularly big but my thigh and butt are bigger than they should be at my waist size. (5’10”, 170 lbs., 30.5″ waist, but most pants in size 31 do not fit my legs and seat, even the regular straight fits; this is also why I have recently become obsessed with stretch jeans/pants.)

        I love the slimmer style but can’t sport it.

  • MaXLoVeR

    BoW ChiCa WoWw WoWwWw. Go Canada! Go Max!

  • iggy


    I am a frequent visitor to the site and never have I seen a better post. I’d recommend using Max in every post.

    Thanks and as always,


  • Marcel Vos

    I m six six (apparently) and i’m so glad i just fit in the biggest sizes of normal shops. Or at least in The Netherlands country with the talles people on earth (av. 6′)

  • Steven

    Thanks for the post Dan! Im right @ 6″8 255lbs…for me personally I wear Longs instead of Xtra Longs because as long as the jacket covers my ass Im good… and even though Im no wear near to over weight… more of like a Lebron build… a shorter jacket stretches my frame out and makes me look a lot slimmer… I posted a pic to your fb profile… I would love your input… Love what you are doing with the blog.. keep doing your thing!

  • Andrew

    Dan, those suede bucks are fantastic! Where are they from?



  • MH

    Great post! I can totally relate! I’m not standing 7’0 but even at 6’5 finding the right fit can be difficult. Great tips, they are certainly worth while.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the post.
    I completely agree about salespeople putting taller guys (I’m 6’5″) in 48s and 50s. This happens to me all the time when I’m a 44 long.
    Keep the great posts coming.

  • Brandon

    Great write up.

    I’m not nearly as tall as Max. I’m 6’2” but my porportions are larger than my height. I weigh about the same as him (but I’m not round pudgeball but I’m a stocky dude) with a big chest, (I’m a 48 no doubt, anything smaller just feels to tight in my chest) with about a 6’4” wingspan and a size 15 shoe. PLUS I live in Japan so finding clothes for me has always been a pain in the ass.

    But at least in my local area I’ve found a tailor who is in the process of taking in all the extra room in my dress shirts (from America) as well as taking out all that extra room that comes with a 48L jacket.

  • TO

    Thoroughly enjoyed this Dan! Proportions are an amazing thing- you and Max have this down to a science– he looks great! Wouldn’t wanna drive on him either haha

  • Roar Lion Roar

    Always enjoyed watching Max play…glad to see he can rock it off the court as well!

  • Vidal

    Thanks so much for this post Dan! I have been waiting (perhaps not so quietly or patiently!)for it ever since the one for the shorter gents came out. I’m not quite as tall as Max, at 6’8″, but have about 90lbs on him(340lbs). 54XL suits/sport coats are not easy to find, but seeing another guy with similar challenges in shopping to mine look this sharp gives me hope.
    Even for my height, I have extra long arms (40 sleeve length and a 7’2″ wingspan). I can’t help but wonder what sleeve length Max takes, and if he is able to find any OTR, or goes bespoke.

    Thanks again and keep them coming!

  • Anonymous

    Being 6’5 and 210lbs, I find point collars elongate my face and accentuate my height. Spread collars, in contrast, add width and depth.

    What’s your opinion on slim leg pants for tall and slim folks? I’ve heard boot-cut jeans are best, but they were so 2005.

  • FPMD

    Everything fits him quite well but I still feel as though his shirt in picture 1..can be tailored a bit more. Even at 7 looks baggy on him.

    Great writeup/advice given, as always!

    There’s also a great feature on D Wade in this month’s GQ, which I’m sure you’ve seen. He’s another good example of a well dressed taller (than most) men.

    • SB

      I think it is Max’s preference to wear the shirt with a little room.

      Casual shirts generally shouldn’t fit as snug through the body as formal ones. And of course, this is all based on personal preference.

      Wade is 6’4 on court/paper (pushing 6’3 flatfoot in person) and wears European designer clothing. Not quite the same ball game…no pun intended.

      Thx for reading,