5 Easy Denim Styling Options for Short Guys
A good pair of jeans can be the most versatile part of your wardrobe. Wear them dressed up, casually, and for any occasion in between.
But, you can’t wear jeans at all if you don’t have a pair that fits correctly! Sadly, most of the time we short guys end up defaulting to ill-fitting denim simply because we couldn't find a pair that fits without heavy alterations. Can’t have that useful versatility if your jeans don’t fit.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to style jeans for short men and go through some of our favorite denim looks featuring the Bruce and Xavier jeans. Most importantly, we’ll tell you how to get the right fit.
How Jeans Should Fit on Short Guys
First, let’s break down the fit of your jeans into a few key terms. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that these kinds of fit focal points are universal, but it’s harder to find them in the right measurements for short men.
Jeans are now the most popular type of pants for the average guy today
The Inseam of your Jeans
This is undoubtedly the most crucial measurement to get right when speaking of getting the right fit. It’s also the measurement that is most often incorrect on shorter men.
Most stores don’t typically carry inseam lengths shorter than 30”. So if you’re shorter than average height in the US (which is roughly 5’10”), that means they’ll be way too long for you. There are two solutions: You’ll either have to cuff the hem or get them tailored.
Going to the tailor is both time consuming and very expensive. This inconvenience was probably the primary motivation for creating Under 510! Cuffing jeans is actually a pretty good solution if you have jeans that are too long.
Cuffs can be functional, stylish, and are a free alternative to alterations. However, cuffs can often look clunky especially if the jeans are way too long. Plus, every guy should have jeans in the perfect inseam length, which is much cleaner and better suited for dressing up. So let’s talk about how to find the right inseam length for your jeans.
Because every guy is built differently, there is no foolproof way to figure out your proper inseam length. Additionally, even if you were to measure out your preferred inseam length, it's best to see them for yourself. We offer free returns and exchanges on all US orders, and free shipping on US orders of $150 or more, so it's free and easy to try multiple sizes. Generally though, guys that are 5’5” and below should go for a 25” inseam and those who are 5’5” or above should opt for the 28” inseam. If you fall in between, it’s best to try out a few inseam lengths, see how you look in each, and return the ones you don’t want free of charge.
We also have a full guide on inseams as well as our inseam tutorial video that you can check out for further info. Under 5’10 offers inseams that go all the way down to 25” so there’s a good chance you’ll find the length that’s perfect for you!
From a style perspective, everyone likes their jeans to lay differently. Some guys might be the same height, yet one of them may like their pants to fall really short (above the ankle) and the other may like a bit of a break at the top of the shoe. Therefore, when choosing inseams, think about how you like your jeans to lay. Also think about which shoes you are wearing with the jeans. Guys wearing sneakers would want a longer inseam than those who are wearing boots, since the height of a boot will cause bunching.
Getting the right inseam for short guys is almost always impossible - Under 510 is your solution!
The Crotch of your Jeans
The next point of focus is the fit of the crotch. If the crotch is either too tight or too loose you may be in some serious trouble. Too much room and you end up looking like you’re wearing a diaper. There’s a balloon effect that is unflattering to everyone’s shape and may offend those around you. Cue the famous “tent scene” from the first ever episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Too little room and it looks like you borrowed jeans from your sister, or worse, you’re a little too excited (if you catch my drift).
Even if you like a slim/skinny fit, your goal is to Goldilocks this one and find the fit that is just right, leaving you room to breathe without being too baggy. Unlike choosing an inseam size, there aren’t multiple options available when it comes to getting the right fit in the crotch area of your jeans.
Additionally, they can’t really be altered if the crotch is too tight or too loose. So just pay attention to whichever jeans you are wearing and steer clear of jeans that don’t accommodate your body correctly. Jeans from Under 510 are specially made to fit shorter guys, so you shouldn’t have any issues when buying jeans from our store.
Don't end up like Larry - make sure the crotch of your jeans doesn't look like someone pitched a tent down there
The Butt of your Jeans
As someone who used to work in an office surrounded by female coworkers, I can confidently say that others will notice how your jeans make your butt look - for worse or for better.
The key to the right fit is similar to one above: you don’t want too much or too little room.
If you are wearing jeans that make your butt look saggy, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. A saggy rear is generally not an attractive look for a guy (I have my sources).
Even if you’re a comfort first kind of guy and don’t like tight clothes, try to find a pair of jeans that hugs your butt just a bit more than you’re used to. It’s better to err on the side of tight than on the side of loose here. Give yourself some shape and support!
The good news is that a lot of jeans today, including all jeans from Under 510, feature stretch content (like spandex or elastane) which is extremely helpful. The stretch fabric will allow you to get jeans that hug your butt, yet aren’t tight and uncomfortable. Again, our jeans are all designed to fit you correctly in all of the right places so be confident when giving our jeans a try. Trust me, you’re much more likely to get compliments when your rear is looking firm!
Jeans should gently hug your glutes - avoid saggy-butt-jeans at all cost
The Taper of your Jeans
The taper of the jeans refers to the narrowing of the leg from the knee to the ankle opening. While the correct taper is a personal style choice and one that often varies with trends (Gen Z might be trying to convince you that skinny jeans are dead), we believe it is the most important fit factor when talking about jeans. It’s the one that will improve your confidence the most when you get it right.
For short men, the taper of your jeans is the secret to looking your best. This is because a skinnier fit gives you a leaner, and taller appearance. Think about how a square looks next to a vertical rectangle of equal height. The rectangle looks taller, even though it isn’t. In much the same way, baggier clothes will make you look wider and stumpier. But clothes that give you a narrower silhouette will make you look taller.
These jeans look great on Frankie because they have a taper that makes him look taller and leaner. Can you guess his height from this photo?
Additionally, the ideal masculine shape is a triangle because men stereotypically have broad shoulders, a lean torso, and toned legs.That sort of upside-down triangle shape creates a taller appearance. Even if you don’t have the ideal masculine build, don’t worry, very few of us actually do. But it is a good visual to have in mind to help you understand how things should fit.
However, if you go too skinny, you’re in danger of what I call the Sausage-Casing Effect. In other words, your legs look like they’re going to bust out of the jeans at any minute. Some guys like their jeans to be super duper skinny on the legs, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Cue Kramer trying to get his jeans off.
Taper and Skinny nomenclature are also not universal between brands. You’ll need to try out different pairs to figure out the difference between slim, skinny, tapered skinny, and super skinny to find your fit.
If your jeans are extremely difficult to get on and take off, they're probably too tight!
The Bruce Jeans vs. The Xavier Jeans
Before we get to styling your jeans we figured we’d offer up our two favorite pairs of jeans for short guys, if we do say so ourselves.
The Bruce Jeans
The Bruce Jeans were designed to be your daily wearers. They’ve got a great combo of sleek and rugged, which gives you the versatility we want out of our jeans. The fabric has a classic denim feel and is available in three classic colors; black, dark blue, and gray.
The other signature style element of the Bruce jeans is the color-matched stitching. Whereas most jeans have a gold contrasting stitch on the seams, the Bruce features stitching in the same color as the fabric. This makes for a dressier overall appearance, and while they still look great worn casually, they look even better in a more refined outfit. Try them with a white oxford button down shirt and a pair of clean white sneakers.
As we mentioned above, these have the imperative slim fit and tapered leg which allows for the elongation of the legs and tightening of the butt. So overall, they’re going to be the easiest to style and come in 25”-28” inseams.
Our Bruce Jeans come in 3 classic colors and are super versatile thanks to the minimalist design.
The Xavier Jeans
The Xavier Jeans bring a slightly different fabric, and look to our jeans collection. They’re definitely more casual looking than the Bruce jeans because of the washing, finishing, and stitching. Generally, the lighter the wash of a jean, the more casual it is. They also have some of that more traditional gold stitching that makes for a more vintage vibe.
Their most noticeable difference is the availability of the medium and light washes. These are both variations of the same denim fabric but can be styled differently. Medium wash adds more depth when compared to raw and dark washes. They’re vibrant and youthful but also still dark enough to dress up with some more refined shirts/shoes/accessories. Light wash on the other hand is the most casual color and is excellent for dressing down with boots and a flannel. But the light wash is also suited best for wear in the summer and warmer months and are perfect with a white tee shirt and clean sneakers.
The Xavier Jeans are a skinnier fit than the Bruce jeans so they’re better for guys who have thinner legs and those guys who like a very fitted look. However, the ample stretch fabric used for the Xavier jeans gives you the range of motion you need to stay comfortable.
Our Xavier jeans come in classic shades of indigo and have a beautiful hue to them
5 Outfit Ideas Featuring Jeans for Short Men
All right! Now that we’ve got the basics down, we can jump into styling your jeans. These denim outfit ideas are curated to look good on short guys and carry them through any season of the year.
1. Dark Denim and White Button Down Shirt
It’s simple, we know. Simple doesn’t mean bad - it means good! Very good! This is a classic outfit that will never fail no matter the occasion.
This is great for date night, casual nights, or even more dressed up with a jacket. You can also switch in boots, dress shoes, and sneakers to make this what you need.
We recommend the Bruce Jeans in dark blue for this look.
A white button down shirt with a pair of dark blue jeans is a timeless outfit that always looks great
2. Light Denim and Flannels
This is another classic retro combination. The light denim gives a nod to 80s and 90's grunge, but the updated fit modernizes the look. Flannels always give off a very masculine and rugged appearance plus they come in all kind of patterns, from solids to ginghams, to plaid checks.
As a side note, there’s a debate on whether large patterns make you look shorter. Personally, I don't think it’s an issue. But choosing a flannel that is not super chunky, has small checks, and is in the same color palette as your denim can help prevent your from appearing shorter. It avoids a visual break between your top and bottom halves.
For this look, we recommend the light wash Xavier Jeans.
A rugged flannel with a pair of light wash jeans is as compatible as PB&J - quite!
3. Denim and Gray Crewneck
This is another look you can’t go wrong with. It’s a perfect casual and cozy outfit every time.
The best part is that the color of the denim doesn’t even matter. That’s because the gray crewneck goes with basically any color of jeans other than gray. You can go black, dark wash, medium wash, light wash, or really any color in between. It gives you options and is a big time-saver for those guys who don’t want to have to think too much about what they wear when they want to look stylish.
The key is to make sure those jeans fit right. Having a skinny or slim taper with the crewneck will help create a triangular shape that elongates your body. Also, feel free to try the sweatshirt in a size larger than you normally wear. The oversized look is comfortable, easy to layer, and translates to a more laid back vibe.
Gray looks great with dark wash jeans. I prefer a lighter gray color (compared to a charcoal) because it has excellent contrast
4. Denim and Light Layers
When we say light layers, we mean 1-2 more than just a t-shirt and jeans. Try adding a lightweight jacket like a bomber, overshirt, puffer vest, field jacket, or windbreaker. The reason we love light jackets so much is that not only do they come in lots of styles and colors allowing you to showcase your style skills, but they usually come in shorter lengths! That makes them a strategic option for shorter guys like us who struggle finding clothes that fit us off the rack.
Again, light jackets are extremely versatile and can go with any style or color of jeans you choose to pair with them (I recommend army green for all light jackets). Or, consider making the top layer and the jeans match in color for a sleek monochrome look. If you go for a black pair of jeans like the Bruces, you could try black overshirt to help create the visual continuity to make you look taller.
Lightweight jackets, like this denim trucker, always look great on shorter guys because they are designed to have a short length
5. Denim and Polo
This is another one of our favorite ways to style denim and one that is often overlooked.
Polos are great base layers that have some added polish thanks to the collar. They go best untucked for an easy business casual outfit. But you can also dress them up by tucking in and throwing on some white sneakers or loafers. You can also layer them with the light jackets mentioned above.
Polo shirts also come in lots of different color options. You can pair a white polo shirts with dark blue Bruce Jeans to dress them up. Or you can wear a dark colored polo, like navy or black, with the light wash Xavier jeans for something more casual.
Polo shirts will elevate your jeans and can easily be worn to the office or to a night out
The key to the perfect jeans styles for fall and winter for short men is fit and knowing what to do with those jeans once you have the right fit. This article should leave you with a new perspective on both!