Dress Tall Rule #3: Wear Dark Colors

You've probably heard that the color black is “slimming” and that people who want to look thinner should wear dark colors.

But did you know that darker clothing also makes you look taller?

It's true. Here's why:

Dark colors eliminate shadows

Minor imperfections like shadows and wrinkles are super noticeable in lighter colored materials. Darker fabrics, however, hide these small distractions by eliminating shadows.

Actually, that's not entirely true. The shadows are still there, but it's hard to see them because they blend in with the fabric.

Shadows are dark, so:

  • Shadows on white = visible
  • Shadows on dark = invisible

Let's look at a real life example:

Wear dark colors

Image credit: American Apparel

The net result of this is a clean, streamlined silhouette of your body. This is especially important for short men because the human eye will naturally catch any anomaly as it moves up and down your body. Eliminating these distractions has a heightening effect.

Of course, if you wear shiny dark materials, it will have the opposite effect (think about all of the wrinkles and imperfections a black garbage bag shows).

Dark colors eliminate contrast

Our eyes are really good at seeing shapes. In fact, babies can see and recognize shapes long before they can discern specific details (like eye color, for example).

Shapes are created by contrast. It's all about how you look against your background. While lighter colors reflect light and pop out from the background, dark colors absorb light and recede into the background.

This optical illusion illustrates this perfectly:

Black is slimming

Image source

Which arch do you think is thicker? It's a trick question – they're the same size!

You don't have to wear all black. You can wear navy blue, charcoal, brown, dark green, etc. Even better, you can mix and match two or three of these dark colors together in one outfit for a sophisticated look.

You can get all 11 “dress taller” rules (along with illustrations) in one place by downloading the free guide: 11 Crucial Style Tips for Short Men

What's your favorite dark color for clothing? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Kind of embarrassing, but I started wearing darker colors simply because they’re more difficult to stain, hahaha. Knowing this extra benefit of height is awesome!

  2. Simple and very effective tips. Great post!

  3. While I see merit on this and other ‘rules’ I don’t feel short men need to be slaves to them. Just keep them in mind but don’t let it limit your wardrobe. If you want to wear white – do it. If you want to wear patterns do that, too. Double-breasted jackets – go for it. Cuff your pants, why not? Seriously, the only rule that you need to stick to without fail is to ensure your clothes fit you well and are in proportion to your physique (fit and silhouette are separate things and you need to get both suited to your body). Get the fit right and you will look your best, whether it makes you taller or not is debatable and largely in the eye of the beholder but what it will do is make you more confident and that will go a long way towards doing away with any self-consciousness over your diminutive stature.

  4. Cyrus Pacis says:

    One question… would dark colors be acceptable during the hot summer months? if not, what would you suggest? i cant phatom wearing dark jeans with a black t-shirt during the day during the month of july

  5. Thank you for teling me that yes dark is good for shorter man but It doen’t mean I have to wear all black outfit. Shame on me I only stick with a black for these crazy life. Thank you.

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