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Adding height with mainstream style

So, last time I looked at guys who tend towards current fashion styles or even high fashion and want to add a lot of height. This time I’m looking at the challenges and solutions for guys who either want to be, or HAVE to be, a bit more ‘mainstream’...

Ultimately it is in many ways much simpler when you stick right down the middle – no sudden changes in the style of the pants to challenge your footwear, nothing to dramatically alter the line and look. But I use the word ‘ultimately’ with care, because the subtleties of mainstream looks for men are well understood by others and you have to avoid style pitfalls.

To give you an example of one of these – no-one would think twice if a guy wore a pair of the 4” Ischias to a business meeting (in other words, no-one would notice your shoes or specifically look at them as a fashion item - exactly what most men in that situation want to avoid!). However if you wore the heavier-soled 5” or 6” boot with a suit, OK it would be fine and unremarkable in some circumstances and with some modern styles of suit or pants…but it would be a ‘statement’ item in many situations, specially the more formal, and would draw attention.

How formal do you have to be

At the core of this is the definition of what is formal or acceptable wear in your own business and day-to-day life – and this varies a lot from country to country and from profession to profession. As a rule of thumb, the USA is a lot more formal and restrictive than, say, the UK as I know from my dealings in both countries. ‘Casual’ is a lot more rule bound in the USA, even in major cities. So this aspect is the first you yourself have to come to terms with.

You can tackle this both ways or either way: you can fit the style you need to follow into your plan to add height. Or you can start with the type of footwear you want and the amount you want to add and work backwards, through the clothes that will suit. Or, as I say, mix it up. Some style commentators say that workwear right now is a mess (or ‘a work in progress’) because the variations in what is acceptable are so great and so fluid that they are causing confusion. That helps in a way, as it opens up possibilities.

It is about deciding what type of clothes you can wear (or want to wear) day-to-day, and the degree to which these allow you to add height (and how much). A big example of this is jeans. In many workplaces and day-to-day, guys wear jeans and these are really totally perfect for adding the very max height. Assuming you are going entirely mainstream, the current trend is slim-ish, tailored but not tight. The jeans trim through the hips and thighs, and skim your knees and calves without strangling them. Well these are just perfect (made for!) the biggest elevators, so it’s really down to just how much you wanna add. With these you Can get away even with the 6” elevators. But you may want to stick to the flatter sole of the 4”, or go for less.

When Mark Zuckerberg gives his keynote presentations in a t-shirt and jeans, what does that mean for the rest of us? As part of your plan when buying elevators, think carefully about your options and stick to things that you know will be acceptable at a superficial glance under your work pants or suit.

People do not notice

Firstly, though, do not be unduly bothered at what you might think are big variations in height as a result of wearing different elevators with different pairs of pants. The suit trousers in which you feel you can only get away with 2.5” elevators and the casual day when you can wear 4” boots under your jeans, amazingly, are just not obvious to others in the way they are to you. So wear them with confidence. The people who say “you can tell” are always the people who have never added height!

Mainstream style of course DOES change over time and is impacted by all the more extreme trends, whether through colour or cut or fit. But the important point is that the things in mainstream fashion that impact most on adding height are barely altered over 30 years. In fact for mainstream style, higher and quality elevators have become easier to wear with the relaxation of the very tight and strict dresscodes that were rigid until 50 years ago (the exact type of shoe a lawyer or accountant could wear with the exact type and cut and colour of suit, for example).

Today, variety might not be actively encouraged, and ‘office casual’ is still an awkward concept that doesn’t quite fit…unless it is casual every day of course. But gentle diversity is totally accepted in most professions – all within a wider band of what was allowed in the immediate past. And that permits you more scope for adding height year in year out than those who are into serious fashion and trends.

Basic single colours

There is a pretty general rule though with mainstream and it is that those who practice it are, by design or default, those who absolutely MUST have clothes that blend and do not look ‘remarkable’; so here my own suggestion is for elevators that do not stand out, and that are always in the basic single colours. No adornments, nothing. Even with blue jeans they need to look just like a normal pair of black boots or your average sneakers, which of course always have a bit more detail than the standard dress shoe.

Always look at what the models in promotional material (online/in magazines)are wearing on their feet with the clothes you plan to buy – or with items that are similar. I do this (I buy most of my clothes in the UK) and check the sites to see what the models have on their feet with the stuff I want. That gives you some idea of what looks right, even if you already think you know. And you then of course can choose elevators to fit the style.

For work and suits, identify what is acceptable in terms of style and keep to the lowish end of height addition at first and get used to wearing them (up to about max 3”). You can go further and higher later, and no-one will think you have added height just because you gain an inch. It is the old story – people do not notice such things. Adding height for office life needs to be finessed but it is probably the easiest option of all and many of those who have come to me for advice have in the end comfortably managed to add 4” (or in casual offices even more) and have been doing it for a long time with no detection issues.

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