Style SOS: What does smart-casual actually mean?
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“I’m 5'7". What clothes fit my size?” – Steven, via email
There was a time when the only style icon shorter than 6ft that most people could name was Tom Cruise. But nowadays, we live in a world where Donald Glover, Bruno Mars and Kit Harrington all dominate the style pages of men’s magazines looking impeccably put-together.
Of course, you’re probably thinking: ‘That’s great for Jon Snow, Warden of the North and Earner of Big Bucks. But what about me?’ Well, first of all, we’d recommend chatting to your stylist. Yes, all of those celebrities mentioned get dressed with the help of a professional, but with Thread, so can you.
Among the pointers they might give you would be to keep your outfit in a single colour. That way, the eye travels straight up and down, which makes you look taller. Or they might recommend doing clever things with trousers, such as opting for a pair with no break (so that they just rest on the top of your shoes). Or trying a pair with a taper, which elongates your legs. Or avoiding wide-cuts, which shortens them.
If you're looking to literally add height, then avoid the temptation to step out in Cuban heels (it doesn't work for Tom Cruise and it won't for you). Instead, embrace the chunky trainer trend. Shoes like these by New Balance, or anything by Eytys, will literally bump you up a couple of inches without anyony noticing.
Of course, finding brands that cater to smaller sizes can be tricky. Again, your stylist will be able to point you to those that do, like Marks & Spencer or River Island, which both stock shorter trouser lengths. But if you do fall in love with a pair from a label that doesn't think outside of the 32" box, then for £5 your local tailor – or even your dry cleaner – will be able to take them up. In fact, your tailor can offer a host of wardrobe tweaks that will make you look and feel taller.
You'd be amazed at how much can be altered, so if you're struggling to find something that fits perfectly, learn which elements are vital and what can be tailored later. On a shirt, the collar is the most important part to get right as other things like length, sleeves and body can be altered. With trousers, you want to get the rise correct (that’s the bit between the crotch and the waist). For suits, you need a shoulder that sits perfectly on your own – everything else can be taken in or up. (Style-wise, opt for a thinner lapel and look for buttons and pockets that sit a bit higher – they'll lengthen your torso).
Now go get dressed.
Words: Theresa Harold
Illustration: Ryan Gillett