Choosing the Best Autumn Colors and Patterns for Short Men, and How To Layer Everything Together
I love fall. It means rich autumn colors, thick and interesting textures, earthy tones and, best of all, layers. Finally, after a hot and humid summer, you can actually layer up without overheating.
The layering possibilities are perfect for shorter men. All those button up shirts that are too billowy? You can just throw on a v-neck sweater or cardigan and instantly hide any imperfections.
Plus it's boot season, and boots always have a nice thick heel. It's like wearing elevator shoes without actually wearing elevator shoes.
But it's not always easy to pick the right colors and patterns. Most guys will recognize “fall colors” when they see them. Like these:
Pleasant, eh? But how do you pick which colors are best for you? And how do you match different colors to create a unified outfit, especially one that flatters the shorter body type?
And how the heck do you layer up the right way??
Let's find out…
No matter what season it is, monochromatic an analogous color combinations are always the best choice for short men. This is because they eliminate stark contrasts between different parts of your body.
For example, if you wear black pants and a white shirt, you cut yourself in half visually. But if you stick with dark pieces up top, it's streamlined and cohesive:
Which hobbit looks best? I'd say Frodo and and Merry look taller than Pippin, even though he's standing on a step.
How can you apply this rule to autumn color palettes? You don't have to wear all red or all brown, but try to match colors that are similar. It's easy in fall because reds and yellows and oranges and browns are inherently similar, and they go together nicely.
For example, here are some great monochromatic fall styles from some of my favorite famous short men:
Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America
Daniel Radcliffe wears brown on brown – a chunky knit cardigan over a small patterned button up shirt. His friend also wears small scale plaid, which is a great patterns for smaller men.
At 5'7″, Kit Harington (a.k.a. Jon Snow) layers effortlessly in blues and browns and greys for a warm, casual look.
Speaking of casual, check out Dave Franco (also 5'7″):
What do all of these outfits have in common? They incorporate classic fall colors – brown, orange, tan, yellow, maroon – and they're analogous or monochromatic. In other words, you don't see any stark differences between top and bottom halves.
This is actually easier to do with fall colors because they're so rich, and they blend together nicely. Here's another example:
Elijah Wood wears a warm, deep red zip up sweater over a colorful button up shirt. Notice how the shirt also contains shades of red. Your eyes move around his figure easily because there are no jarring interruptions.
Go for medium/dark colors that share similar shades and tones. Wear rich colors, rather than colors that are faded or washed out (like pastels, which are more appropriate for spring and summer).
Color is one thing, but what about patterns? You're looking for the best patterns for autumn clothing, but you also want patterns that flatter smaller men. As always, keep the scale of the pattern nice and small – micro checks, mini gingham, small plaid, thin stripes.
Of course, solids are always a safe bet too. These fabrics from Modern Tailor are all great choices:
All of these patterns are small in scale. The checks are less than one inch wide, for example. This helps shorter men look taller by keeping things in proportion. Normal or large patterns will make you look smaller.
Of course, if you're carrying around a few extra pounds, don't be afraid to experiment with larger scale patterns. They won't have the same “dwarfing” effect as they do on smaller men.
When you think about summer clothing, you think about linens, cottons and other lightweight, breathable materials. Fall fabrics, on the other hand, are heavier, more substantial. They're meant to keep you warm and protect you against the elements.
Try to incorporate different weights and textures into one outfit, like this:
I'm talking about corduroy, denim, flannel, wool and leather. Break out the old leather jackets and boots. Put on some thick, warm socks and corduroy pants. Layer it all together for a comfy, rugged look.
Lots of guys struggle with layering, but it's easy if you follow two simple rules:
- Wear patterns on the inside and solids on the outside
- Keep inner layers thin and light, outer layers thick and heavy
This photo of Kit Harington illustrates both rules perfectly:
Notice how the innermost layer has the most complex pattern and the thinnest fabric. The middle layer is a little thicker. Its pattern is less busy and larger in scale. The outermost layer is a solid block of thick, durable material.
Gentlemen, this is textbook layering. If you look again at the photos above, you'll notice these rules being put into practice.
Side note: Everyone always says short people shouldn't wear horizontal stripes, but Kit looks pretty darn good, don't you think?
If you're just getting into layering and want to play it safe, stick with one pattern per outfit. For example, a plaid shirt under a solid sweater and a solid jacket.
Once you're comfortable with that, you can start to mix and match patterns and layers.
So… You Ready for Fall?
I've always loved fall. The crisp air, the colors, the apple cider. But when I starting dressing well, I realized that fall is also the most stylish season. It's the perfect time to take risks and try new things.
Not a cardigan kind of guy? Try one on. You might like it.
Closet full of blue and white shirts? Get some color in your life! Go buy a yellow plaid shirt or dark orange sweater. You might be surprised at all of the different colors that you can pull off.
Treat all of this advice about colors, patterns and layers as a guideline, but don't be afraid to break the rules and get out of your comfort zone.
Above all, have fun and enjoy the season!
What's your favorite fall color? Let me know in the comments section.
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