ASK DAN: Booster Shoes, Male Salons, 4×1 Double-Breasted
October 20th, 2015
Q: I am not a tall man. 5’4″ to be exact. And for the most part it doesn’t bother me. I mean, I’ve been short my entire life. I’m kind of used to it by now, but it does make buying clothes off-the-rack a pain (5’4″ with a 16″ neck and a 32″ waist is not a common size). But I am also a realist. I know my short stature hurts me in my personal, dating, and professional life. Short men are seen as less attractive by women. Short men are paid less in most jobs, etc. Soooo, lately I’ve been debating investing in “elevator shoes”, but part of me can’t get over the feeling that wearing them is admitting that I am self-conscious about my height. I’ve spent 20 years acting like it doesn’t bother me, no reason to change that now, right? Or is it just a practical decision, no different than any other wardrobe choice designed to increase my attractiveness… Please advise.
A: As a dedicated student to the psychology of shopping and dressing, I love this question. Here’s my two cents, please keep in mind these are just my opinions. Being self-conscious doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Anytime you’re “admitting something to yourself”, it’s usually for the best in the long run. The first step to “increasing your attractiveness” is admitting to yourself that you have flaws. The sexiest women, for example, understand how to dress for their bodies – they accentuate their “assets” and intentionally cover up their less confident areas. There’s no shame about it. Humans have been beautifying ever since cavemen wore face paint and bone necklaces. I’ve actually seen some tastefully designed “booster shoes” (the insole is heightened, not the outer-sole, so it’s virtually impossible to tell) that add up to two inches in height. From my experience working with clients of bespoke menswear, a 2″ height increase for a shorter man can make a world of difference. The added increase to his personal confidence can be immeasurable over time. For that reason, I say go for it! If anybody asks if you got taller, just tell them: “nope, just got some new shoes”. You don’t have to mention any specifics – a little variation in height due to the heel of new footwear is perfectly natural :) This, in combination with some of our Tailoring Tips for Small Guys, can make a world of difference.
Barber Shop vs Salon
Q: I have long hair. I’d like to keep the length, but have it cut and styled a little differently. Should I go to a stylist or stick with the same barber who used to cut my hair when it was (very) short? What is the difference?
A: Great question. As much as I’m a ride-or-die barber shop guy, I’ve heard too many stories of guys with grown-out hair leaving their old barbershop feeling disappointed. The truth is, most barber shops are still traditional in the sense that they serve predominantly men, with predominantly short, by-the-book haircuts. You want a tight fade? Cool. You want a quick tape-up? No problem. You want to layer your golden locks like Brad Pitt in his heyday? No shot. Most barbers simply don’t work with long hair very frequently, and often don’t have the correct tools for the job, which are traditionally reserved to treat women’s layered hair (like shearing scissors, layer separators, blow dryers, etc). For those reasons I would stick to a hair salon. As long as you’re specific about what you want (bringing visuals aids is always a good idea), your hair stylist should be able to achieve the long-haired look you’re going for… Of course, I’ve never had really long hair, so perhaps some of our readers with personal experience on the subject can chime in using the comments section below…
Q: Im relatively new to dressing stylish and I love double-breasted jackets, so I purchased one. The problem is, I purchased a 4×1 and now that I’m looking back at all of your photos, almost everyone is wearing 4×2’s or 6×2’s… What are your opinions on the 4×1? Is it a dated look?
A: Is it a dated look? Yes. Can it still be cool? For sure. But it’s tricky because a 4×1 double-breasted garment is one of the most difficult to properly tailor. And if it doesn’t fit very well, it can quickly turn silly and costume-y. The 4×1 was invented for larger men to “get away with” the double-breasted look, as it was thought that the elongated roll-line of the lapel would add a lengthening/slimming effect to the garment. It can work, but the fit has to be spot-on (and the jacket has to be slightly longer than usual) in order to avoid the lapels “bowing” off of the chest/sternum. This old-school cut is usually reserved for bespoke suits that are properly corrected for a man’s posture and body position. This allows the lapels to lay flat and flatter the physique, rather than bow-out and highlight how ill-fitting the garment is. I would take your new purchase to a tailor that you trust and get his honest opinion of how it looks on you, and what you can do to improve it. Good luck brother.
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Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.