Height matters for men when finding the perfect fit

With the average Australian man standing 175.6cm tall – or five foot seven on the old scale - the majority of men would appreciate a few extra centimetres of height.

A female preference for genuine six-footers may have something to do with it. Maybe it's the knowledge that height, not talent or hard work, is the key ingredient for a healthy bank balance.

Being a little further from the ground certainly has its advantages. But what's the upshot for taller men of a sartorial bent? Is above-average height an impediment to looking suitably sharp?

"The biggest difficulty is often the arm length of jackets," says Melbourne-based men's stylist Sally MacKinnon. "However, I find that height of 6'2" to 6'4" is generally fairly well catered for across the board."

Altered states

And don't we shorter men know it. At 5'10" I'm well accustomed to the routine of taking a new pair of trousers directly to my local alterations lady where I emerge from behind the velvet curtain pulling enough spare material to sew a tablecloth.

We recognised that there's actually not a great deal in any territories that cater for tall and slim [men].

Craig Smith, Ted Baker

If falling short of the vertical 'sweet spot' presents its difficulties, so does shooting right past it. Just ask Australian basketballer A.J. Ogilvy, who stands 211cm (6'11") tall.

The Illawarra Hawks centre hasn't been able to buy basketball boots in Australia that fit him since he started high school, but nowadays it is jeans that present the major problem. "They have short inseams, so that is one thing I find really difficult. But I've found one company that makes them in a 38-inch leg."

You would think the rise of online shopping would have saved Ogilvy from the prospect of forever getting around in a basketball tracksuit. Surprisingly, it's usually bricks and mortar shopping that does the trick.

"In terms of casual wear I don't buy a lot of clothes online, I buy them in-store," he says.

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Made-to-measure

MacKinnon, herself six foot tall, says that while there are plenty of good options for those who stand head and shoulders above, the small size of the Australian market does mean sizing is more limited.

"We just don't have the range of sizing that you get in bigger countries," she says. "In America you go into Bloomingdales and say I need that pair of women's jeans, but I'm a 36-inch leg, and yet there they are."

MacKinnon lists Hugo Boss, Rhodes and Beckett, Country Road, Saba, Marcs, and Ralph Lauren as brands that cater well to taller men. She also notes that made-to-measure tailoring has been a boon for longer-limbed gents.

"Made-to-measure tailors are becoming much more affordable," says MacKinnon. "Having a suit made to measure is not out of a lot of people's budgets these days. A couple of the guys I know aren't just doing suits and shirts, they're doing made-to-measure chinos and denim as well."

Ted talks

UK-based label Ted Baker is also making sure taller chaps can finally throw-out 'ankle-swinger' trousers and ill-fitting shirts and replace them with genuinely stylish, design-focused product.

Ted Baker global brand director Craig Smith says the label lengthened its range after expanding into countries such as South Africa and the Netherlands where the population is, on average, taller and slimmer.

We started to get a lot of commentary coming in from our male customers saying 'I'd love to wear Ted Baker but it's not quite long enough for me'," Smith says.

"We started to look more seriously at it and we started look at the marketplace and we recognised that there's actually not a great deal in any territories that cater for tall and slim."

Ted Baker has since partnered with former British Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, who stands 6'6", to develop its T for Tall collection.

"The range has been developed for those taller guys, from 6'3" up to 6'8", who want to look fantastic," Smith says.

Have you had difficulties finding clothes to fit your shape? Let us know how you resolve the issue in the comment section. 

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