There’s this guy who has started working at our firm. He is taller and I want to get in now and add height convincingly so I can at least not be towered by him. What do you suggest?”
This is an e-mail I had from one guy last week. Outside of the “will my girlfriend notice?” type of question, this is a variation of an issue that I have heard so often now that I think it’s worth devoting a specific piece to: getting taller at work.
This situation doesn’t only affects guys who are 170 cm tall and want to get there with the 180s. It cuts right across all guys because of the macho nature of size and height, and the perception that taller people are somehow advantaged.
Work dress codes are different
The issues around adding height in this situation, though, are quite different to those involved in wanting to add height socially in a club or out at night in the bar. Work is of course massively varied, with ever changing and evolving dress codes. Some types of business are very demanding with the dress code, even casual being defined right down to the colours and widths of trousers and styles of shoes. Suits, ties, jackets, colours and styles that have remained pretty much the same over the past 20 years or more.
The first important point is that there is probably almost no room at all for big boot styles – but YES to the flatter kind of boot styles that double up as shoes that are often worn by younger guys with suits and formal work trousers in an office situation. This is good news: they can add more height and they really are NOT just for the young – they can be worn by all.
Firstly there is a limit in most offices on the added height you will ever achieve simply by virtue of the fact that thicker-soled boots are a big no no. I stress that this does not apply to all offices – again I talk about your average office of professionals outside of the creative.
Boots with a sole not too thick
Boots like the Milano, Gallipoli, Roma, Prague or (my fave and the ones I wear all the time) Ischia which can come in up to 10 cm. They have a flat sole for almost all workplaces (that is a real key) and they fit the most recent ideal of the kind of boot that is worn with the suit. A lot of young guys began wearing boots with suits because they give a better line than many shoes, the suit hangs clean over them in a line where with shoes that’s more difficult to finesse
All shoes add about 3 cm, then bear that in mind when you buy. In an office environment, choose either an 8 cm classic shoe and a 10 cm boot.
And with the two pairs of removable lifts that come with the boots (one slightly higher than the other), you can go slightly up and down in height according to what you want – you will quickly find that you can go a bit higher after wearing them for a while.
It is about confidence – I can tell you several times that no one will notice but you really have to learn for yourself. I have said it here before about people’s lack of ability to spot changes or things about appearance.
After work with colleagues
But there are important caveats for work, based on the variations of your own experience. No workplace is just ‘go to work, sit at desk, make the calls and leave’. Interaction, banter, movement, socializing – all sorts of stuff mean that there are major differences. For example, if you play a sport with your colleagues after work, then it will be more difficult to carry off a 10 cm elevator shoe, specially if you are shorter.
It might look odd for a guy who is 165 cm to add 10 cm day-to-day. Sure, you can do it for special occasions and when you want to appear specially tall, but not day to day. The best bets at that height are the 5 and 7 cm boots to start, and then if you think you have no issues or problems, then go for the 10 cm boots.
Gradual change work every time, specially with adding height. And walking taller at work feels very cool.