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Mastering the short trousers trend

Short trousers, that not only expose the ankle but also a big part of the shin have become a favourite with those Maltese men, who want to look on trend. Although we’re definitely a fan of the look, admittedly, it’s a hard one to pull off, especially if you’re short, stocky, or both.  Yet, you needn’t roll down the turn-ups just yet. Here’s how to wear short trousers regardless of your height or size.

The secret to mastering a look is to first understand its impact on your silhouette. Does it affect how tall or short you look? Does it emphasise certain parts or features of your body? Our legs appear longer or shorter, depending on the length and width of the trousers worn. This in turn affects how tall or short we look, as well as how slim or wide.

A shorter trouser leg will inevitably make one’s legs appear shorter, which on a taller man can help to minimise the difference in size between the upper and lower body halves, effectively rendering the silhouette more balanced.

However, shorter men cannot afford to have their legs appear shorter, which is why the short trousers look often ends up looking far from flattering. Here, the aim should be to counter the effect of visually shorter legs and consequently, appearing shorter. Limiting your choice of short trousers to those that reach not higher than just above the ankle is a good starting point.

Second, you want to avoid tops and bottoms in contrasting colours as these will visually divide your silhouette into two small halves, when what you need is one long silhouette. For this, nothing beats monochrome outfits but similar colours can also work well while also rendering an outfit more interesting.

Your choice of shoes can also affect how short or tall your legs appear. For best results, opt for shoes in a neutral tone – nothing too bulky nor too fancy. Ultimately, you want to keep the focus on your upper body, namely your face.

Another undesired consequence of shorter trousers is that they emphasise width, making legs appear wider. This is actually a good thing for men with skinny or slender legs but not so flattering on those with muscular or chunky legs. A skinny fit is a ‘no-go’ here but neither is a loose fit. The best option are slim fit trousers which leave enough room not to be too revealing of size and shape but not wide enough to further cut off from the needed visual height.

Final note

Trends can help a man keep his look fresh and stylish but need to be adapted to one’s physique rather than simply copied. With short trousers, the trick is to minimise the reduction in visual height and avoid one’s legs from appearing too stocky.


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The rolled up trousers guide for short men

Trouser cut

Rolled up trousers work best on slimmer cuts, such as bootleg or slim fit but not skinny cuts, which would give a very feminine look. The trouser cut should follow the natural width of the legs, visually creating the illusion of one continuous line all along the length of the leg including the covered and exposed parts. On a wider cut, the rolled up end will result in too strong a contrast between the width of the trousers and that of the exposed leg thus, drawing the eye only towards the (shortened) length of the trousers. Low waisted cuts will also visually shorten the legs as they give the illusion that the legs start from the trousers’ waistline.


Pin rolls shouldn’t look too chunky, which is usually the result of too many folded layers or very thick fabric. Whilst turn-ups can give an extra dose of style to an outfit, being located too far down, they should never be the centre-piece. People should be focusing on your face, not your legs/feet. Therefore, trousers should never be too long as this will inevitably lead to more layers to fold.

Trouser length 

How long you wear your trousers will also have a visual effect on your height. Rolled up trousersusually reach just above the ankle or slightly lower. However, men’s trouser lengths are getting shorter meaning your trousers can even be worn up to mid to lower shin, especially if complemented with a pair of boots in the same colour as the trousers and socks, allowing for the legs to look longer.

 Colour combinations

 In fact, for short men to carry off pin rolls, the focus shouldn’t be limited to the trousers themselves but also to how the other pieces affect one’s silhouette. Monochrome is considered perfect for looking taller as it avoids that break-up of the silhouette into a top and bottom half. Therefore, it should make turn-ups safer.

However, monochrome can be a bit boring, not to say restrictive, especially given the limited range of colours that most men would feel comfortable wearing from head to toe. Hence, it’s OK to opt for varying yet, similar colours – a tonal look. You still don’t want too much of a strong contrast and always keep lighter tones on top as the other way round makes the top appear heavier. 

I would also suggest to keep the belt minimal in a way that it blends in with the trousers’ colour, making it hardly noticeable. This prevents it from creating too strong a horizontal line that breaks the silhouette. 

Top layers 

In addition to combining colours wisely, how your top layers fit, as well as their length also affects how short/tall you appear. Stick to shirts, tops, and/or jackets in your size which in combination with the trousers’ cut will keep your silhouette balanced (size-wise), as opposed to top-heavy. Just as you can make your legs appear longer by avoiding low-waist cuts, by keeping your tops to just below the waist, you keep more of your lower half exposed.

Rolled-up trousers and shoes combinations

Rolled-up trousers must be worn with the right shoes and my idea of the right shoes are those which keep your feet looking narrow but not necessarily longer. You want shoes that keep your feet looking proportional to the rest of your body whilst visually elongating the legs. Bulky shoes do the exact opposite. Moccasins, loafers, sandals with vertical straps, chukka and Chelsea boots, as well as Converse all look great with pin rolls even on short guys. Just as you’d avoid too much contrast between your trousers and tops, combine colours that give your lower half a flowing look. This can be achieved by opting for similar trouser and shoe colours, or which at least blend effortlessly with one another.

Final word 

I know how fashion trends seem to be set with only tall men in mind and how disappointing it can be when the end-result is not what you hoped for. With these tips, I’m hoping you’ll be able to keep looking great and confident when wearing turn-ups. Just remember that the trick is to compensate by keeping the eye drawn vertically, thus creating the illusion of height.

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Style tips for short men

Height gives a man more presence, making it particularly desirable amongst men. Unfortunately, not all of us were lucky enough to reach six feet but whilst growing taller is beyond our control, looking taller is.

When choosing your look, the crucial thing to aim for is to avoid one which emphasises your lack of height. Think of your silhouette as a small block, that when divided into several blocks, these will end up looking tiny. Thus, it is ideally kept as a single block with its focus being the top. Here are some easy ways how you can achieve this.


Mixing colours is what makes putting together an outfit fun – for those of us who enjoy it. However, multiple block colours also break up the silhouette, emphasising your short legs thus, making monochrome the best option.

Of course, such a look does get monotonous after a while, especially since there are very few colours men can pull off when wearing a single colour. Add texture to your look by opting for pieces in the same colour but in varying shades or fabrics, with preferably bottoms in darker shades. If wearing multiple layers, outer pieces in a darker colour will create a slimming effect and consequently, make you look taller. Just remember to avoid a strong contrast between colours on your upper and lower halves (including your belt’s colour), as this is what makes will make you look shorter.

Fit and length 

Key to adding visual height is to make the silhouette appear slimmer hence, emphasising its verticality. Avoiding baggy fitting clothes will help you achieve just that. 

As for the length of your jackets or shirts that are worn untucked, in order to conceal as little as possible of those short legs, keep the length to just below the waist. Remember, tall people have long legs, which is why you need to keep as much of yours exposed.

A common challenge I come across is that of finding clothes in the right fit for big men who are also short. In order to fit their width, these tend to go for large sizes that often end up fitting way too long for their height, either resulting in a suit jacket that reaches mid-thigh or too much fabric gathering at the end of the sleeve. Truth be told, it is difficult for all to find ready-made clothes that fit perfectly but it is especially difficult for big and short men. Crucial here is to opt for brands which mainly cater for slightly shorter men, such as Italian and French brands. Their clothes might still be long but short enough to be shortened further without completely ruining their proportions. As for suits, I recommend going for the short range and to avoid anything that generally contains exposed pockets, e.g. combat shorts/trousers.


I’m sure you’re aware of the slimming effect of vertical and diagonal patterns, so I recommend you take advantage of these and include a striped shirt or knitwear in your outfits. Since your aim is to keep people focusing on your highest part – your face – my recommendation would be to keep patterns located as much as possible on your upper body, unless these are very subtle as to be barely noticeable. 

Collar type 

Think of collars as a face-frame, one which complements your facial zone. Since for a taller silhouette, length is crucial, short men should ideally opt for V-necks which create the illusion of a longer neck. As for shirt collars, these should be medium to small but definitely not the high Italian collars that practically hide your neck completely.


The shape and bulk of the shoe will directly affect how long/short your leg appears. For visually longer legs, opt for minimal bulk and cap-toe styles. These strike the right balance between feet that appear slightly longer without looking too heavy for your height. To further enhance the linear effect sought, opt for shoes and socks in the same or very close colour to that of your trousers, which should have a quarter break at most.

Final word

The world of fashion seems to cater for men with the same type of physique – tall and lean. Trends are thought of with the same type of man in mind, which is why they often look rather unflattering on short men. This doesn’t mean that being short automatically excludes one from the possibility of looking trendy but it does necessitate some reflection and adaptation to one’s height. Being aware of those common mistakes that result in a look that underlines one’s shortness will enable you to include trends and styles in your look without making your lack of height the focal point.

Are there any other tips you would recommend?