If you are a shorter gentleman, of 5’7” or below, it helps to know that there are some particular concerns related to height when you buy a custom suit. Let’s review advice that can help you when working with a tailor. First, though, let’s briefly look at why this is so important through research on height bias – which you can minimize by getting perfect-fitting clothing that makes you look taller.

Study shows the reality of height bias

It may sound bizarre to suggest that you could assign a value to every additional inch of a person’s height. However, that is exactly what can be done using the data from research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2004. The landmark study found that every inch over average height corresponded to an additional $789 of annual income.

Psychologist Timothy A. Judge, Ph.D. (University of Florida) and management scholar Daniel M. Cable (University of North Carolina) together identified this connection between salary and height. The researchers integrated the findings of four previous studies conducted in the United Kingdom and United States, all of which tracked participants over many years. The analysis tracked the personal characteristics, occupations, and income levels of 8500 people from adolescence into adulthood. The pair also drew ideas and information from 45 additional studies that assessed the link between height and employment.

The study determined that a person who is 6’0″ makes almost $166,000 more throughout thirty years of work as a person who is 5’5″ (controlling for weight, age, and gender).

There could be multiple reasons for this height bias. People may perceive taller people as having greater authority, leading eventually to more raises and promotions. Additionally, taller people could also have greater self-confidence, making them likelier to pursue career opportunities, the researchers noted.

Given this notion of height bias, what can you do? Here are three chief considerations for a shorter man when purchasing a custom suit.

Concern #1 – Length of the jacket

The most important consideration for a short man is the length of the jacket. For every one inch that his jacket is too long on him, he is going to lose a half-inch of perceived visual height. In other words, if that jacket is an inch too long, and he’s 5’7″, when somebody looks at him, he’s going to look like he’s 5′ 6 1/2″. On the other hand, a perfect-fitting jacket will add an inch to his visual height. So if a highly skilled tailor gets the jacket exactly where it’s supposed to be, someone 5’7” would look at least 5’8”.

The jacket on a shorter guy has to come down to where it just covers the bottom of the seat. Anything longer is going to make him look shorter. Anything shorter is going to make it look like he bought it at a boys’ store. So the length of the jacket, both in the back and in the front (because the front has to be exactly even with the back), is absolutely, absolutely critical.

Concern #2 – Button stance

A second element that’s very important is the button stance. Button stance is the position of the top button when a man closes the jacket. For a shorter gentleman, if it is too high and closer up to the neck, it is going to make him look even shorter. That button has to go as far down on the jacket as possible without it looking out of balance. It has to hit the fullest part of his stomach and end right there to give him the correct amount of opening. For a shorter man, the jacket has to have as much opening as possible. The more opening he has, the longer it will make his torso appear; and the longer his torso looks, the taller he will look. So, careful and conscientious measuring for a shorter gentleman is very important.

Concern #3 – Length of the sleeves

Your final key concern is sleeve length. On a taller guy, if the sleeves are a little long or a little short, it does not matter as much; but on a shorter guy, the sleeve length is critical. If the sleeve is too long on a shorter guy, it’s a lot more noticeable. Visually, it’s going to make him look shorter. If they’re too short, a short sleeve on a short man is going to look a lot sloppier than a short sleeve would on a man who’s 5’10” or 6’0”.

Choosing your tailor

Are you a shorter gentleman in need of a suit? As a general rule for anyone when buying a suit, the exactitude of the fit will depend on the skill of the tailor. Especially if you are 5’7” or below, expert measurement is critical. At Alan David Custom, our old-world bespoke tailors create what is very arguably the finest, hand-made, fully canvassed custom-made suits NYC has to offer. See our First-Time Buyer’s Discount.