Can Short Men Wear Long Coats?

Can Short Men Wear Long Coats?

Surviving Winter. Braving a rainstorm. Being Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. All of these situations require a long coat. But that's easier said than done when you're on the shorter side. We've all been there. Often I look at a coat and think: 'it might be beautiful, but can I wear it without looking like a boy in his dad's clothes?'

short man long coat

As a shorter man, most style problems can be solved. You can get shorter t-shirts. You can buy trainers with a bit of lift. You can tailor trousers. But the long coat is possibly the hardest to solve. Here's our quick guide.

Why do long coats look bad on short men?

It's all about proportion. An overcoat is supposed to finish just above the knee, however most clothes are designed for men around 5'10 to 6 foot in height.

If you're 5'4 to 5'9  - like most of our customers - you might find the coat around your calves. You'll also usually have sleeves overhanging your wrists. This is where you can start to look swamped.

Can a long coat be tailored shorter?

Yes, but it's not simple or cheap.

Unlike trousers, which just require hemming and (usually) tapering at the knee, a coat is a more complicated garment. A coat has a lining, padding, multiple seams - these will often need to be disassembled and resewn.

Plus, there's another issue with proportion. If you shorten the length, but leave the pockets in their original place, it could end up looking odd. 

Which types of coat look better on short men?

Up until now, we've talked about long coats in general. I.e. a coat that you might wear over a jacket or suit, usually collared. But there are many types, in different materials, from the overcoat, to the mac, to the trench coat.

I'm not going to list them all here, as Hockerty have done a much better job on their website.

One great option for the shorter man is the pea coat. Pea coats are a woollen, double-breasted coat based on naval uniforms. Crucially, they're also cut a bit shorter than the standard overcoat. That gives you more leeway in terms of proportion. Have a look at the distance above the knee.

pea coat vs overcoat

Two more tips: Size down, and shop around

Tip #1. Coats are designed to be worn over bulky winter clothing. That means there's a bit of space in the chest. You can often get away with going a size down with outerwear. I usually wear a medium t-shirt, but I'll generally go for small in jackets and coats.

Tip #2. Sizes vary dramatically by brand. Some go for the baggy look, some are tighter. And then you have vanity sizing, where sizes have grown over time as the availability of chocolate, lager, and posh crisps has increased. It is an effort to shop around, but you might strike it lucky - one brand in particular that always gets good recommendations from shorter men is Uniqlo.

Does anywhere sell coats just for shorter men?

Yes! But not us (yet).

The king of formal wear for shorter men is Peter Manning NYC. They have 4 types of topcoat and 7 types of raincoat at time of writing.

They get great reviews and are doing a really good job of providing options for shorter men (I'm not being paid to say that). They are based in the US, though. So although shipping is free, there are no free returns.


Hope that was useful,

Jack, Founder of Ruler of London

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