T-Shirt Roundup: The Best Tees for Short Men

Any guy over 20 years old has probably tried on a ton of different t-shirts. As a 5'6″ man, I've only found a handful that really fit me and that I feel comfortable wearing.

The main problem is length. Most “small” t-shirts are still too long for our torsos, so they hang down past the belt line. You've probably mastered all of the little tricks – tucking the front of your shirt in behind your belt, keeping your hands in your pockets to hold the sides of your shirt up – you know what I'm talking about.

The good news is, there are three brands who make t-shirts that looks great on men of modest height, and they're all relatively inexpensive.

American Apparel

Oddly enough, I've found that the American Apparel small and medium sizes both fit me pretty well. The are slightly different, though, and my favorite t-shirt is actually an AA medium that I accidentally shrunk in the dryer. Check it out:

American Apparel Medium T-Shirt Shrunk

American Apparel Medium (Shrunk)

The small size also fits well, assuming you don't shrink it in the wash, but it's more snug than the medium (good motivation to stay in shape…).

American Apparel Small T-Shirt

American Apparel Small T-Shirt

You can get these in the store (I'm sure there's an American Apparel around you..just look for giant posters of mostly nude models and neon colors) or online. Also, you can order graphic AA tees like the ones I'm wearing in the pics from Threadless.com.

Utility (from Target)

The only clothes I buy at Target are undershirts, socks and boxers. I'm not “above” shopping there. I've just never found the normal fit problems we deal with at any store are exacerbated at mass market stores like Target, Walmart, etc.

My little sister, however, got me this Target t-shirt a couple of years ago, and it's been one of my favorite tees every since. As you can see, it doesn't fit quite as well as the American Apparel shirts, but it is slightly more comfortable:

Utility Medium T-Shirt

Utility Medium T-Shirt

Shortees

As you may know, The Modest Man and Shortees are buds. We both want to help short men find better fitting clothes. Seth from Shortees was nice enough to send me a free shirt when I first started this blog (you can check out my review right here) and he's even been known to give away free shirts to my readers. Here's a photo of me wearing a plain black Shortees t-shirt so you can get an idea of how they fit:

Shortees Medium T-Shirt

Shortees Medium T-Shirt

As I mentioned in my Shortees review, my only problem with the t-shirt is that it's too wide at the opening, which causes it too flare out around the waist. Because of this, it looks great from the front but kind of odd from the side. Still, though, Shortees t-shirts are great for short men.

I hope this article helps you find the perfect t-shirt. It's such a basic staple of any man's wardrobe, and I think we can all appreciate a comfortable t-shirt that fits perfectly.

If you thought this was helpful, please let me know! I love getting emails from you guys. Also, if you know of some other brands that are great for short men, share the knowledge by leaving a comment below.

Comments

  1. Stick with AA small t-shirt. It conforms to your body better than medium. Also, I saw your Indochino blazer and IMO you can probably still suppress the body and slim down the sleeves a bit. I’m just like you, smaller by 2 inches, trying to get my clothes to fit me better.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I agree…that small AA is a great fit. They make XS and XXS too. About the blazer, I’m getting the sleeves shortened a little and will probably adjust my size (Indochino saves this in your account settings) to bring in the bicep and wrist a tiny bit.

      Overall though, it’s a great fit and value for under $200.

      -B

  2. I’m so stoked that I found your blog…. One of my coworkers has been threatening to take me shopping for a good pair of jeans, after seeing that my 501s were getting a little worn. I just started looking at the different brands and actually found that STF 501s are a good fit for the shorter man. I’m 5’3 and have worn 501s forever, good to know that I was in the know, without knowing…..

    Back to the t-shirts, I’ve got a pretty big chest, so most of the shirts I buy are the athletic cut. I have found that Target v-neck athletic cuts t-shirts fit me very well and they don’t cost a fortune. You do have to look close when you buy them, to make sure the side seams are straight.

    Thanks for all the great information. Will be adding you to my favorites!

    Kevin

    • Kevin,

      Thanks so much for the comment! What was your experience like with the STFs? I’ve been thinking about buying a pair, although I have to say that the shrinking process is a little daunting for a lot of people (Andrew over at Primer Mag did a great post about this recently).

      I’ll check out those Target v-necks when I get a chance. You might like the Shortees shirts, as they are made for a more athletic shape, but they do cost $20 each.

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site!

      -B

    • Your recommended T shirts look “schleppy”
      to me. The sleeves are much too long. 2xist original T’s were great, but now their new stock is too long and baggy. Many short men are muscular and need a medium or larger T or Polo, but the length needs to be just below the waist and the sleeve length needs to be close to 3 or 4 inches above the elbow.

      • I think the American Apparel small fits really well. Sleeves are the perfect length for me, but everyone has their own preferences.

        The best t-shirt I’ve found to date is from Threadmason:

        http://threadmason.com/pages/size

        They’re expensive, but the fit is perfect.

        I get my other t-shirts at bargain places like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. They usually have some random brands that fit well.

  3. I’m about 5’6″ 170-175 lbs and t shirts from jcrew, Size medium or Polo, size small, fit just about perfectly. I have a couple American apparel t shirts that I bought in Paris out of sheer need but they are skin tight on me. I actually buy most of my shirts and sweaters from jcrew and they all fit pretty well, yet I haven’t seen you mention jcrew at all.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your comment. I think the reason the J. Crew stuff fits well on you, while the American Apparel stuff fits better on me, is because you have about 40 pounds on me. In my experience, J. Crew shirts are too long and/or baggy (in general). I do, however, like some of their shorts, as they tend to carry shorter inseams. I recommend a couple of pairs in my eBook.

      I also included J. Crew on my list of the best clothing stores for short men.

      -Brock

  4. Try being 5’7 and 215 lbs. I need an XL to fit my chest/stomach, and they’re usually WAY too long. Granted, I’ve lost about 40 lbs, and was wearing a 2X. That journey continues, but I’ll check out some of the recommendations to find better fitting tees.

  5. I’m constantly looking for better fitting tshirts. Glad I found this blog. I’m 5’6 and 145lbs with broad shoulders. My favorite shirts are medium International Concepts. I can’t find them local but I order them from ebay and usually run about 10 bucks. Nice V necks and and split v necks. Very soft and comfy and several styles.

  6. I am 5’7″ and 135lbs and found this thread very informative. I find uniqlo t’s to fit well. I’ll give aa a try again. I have a bunch of old ones but found the mediums too long.

  7. Hey, all of those t-shirts look a little too long to me. Sloppy.

    Try Armani Exchange’s plain t-shirts (avoid the scumbag fashion). They actually are thin, light, and short. The only t-shirts I’ve found that fit me. The rest of their clothing is trashy, but the plain t-shirts are worth the relatively low-price.

  8. Try Kenneth Cole (outlet is much cheaper), Macy’s INC.

  9. thanks for the info. but how come you did not list abercrombie muscle fit? i buy the very much plain t shirts and they fit me better than anything else. length is just 24.5″ .

  10. KATHERINE LUNA says:

    Shopping for my boyfriend, he is about 5’7″, 230 to 250, about 48″ across chest and a bit of a gut now and then. He also has big muscles in upper arm where t shirts fit too snug. And most times too long. Help! I’ve been buying him Kohl’s t-shirts, but always too tight at upper arm.
    Loving girlfriend.?

  11. Soooo. I’m 5’6″. 170 lb. I usually wear a large but they fit like a dress. Any ideas or should I just pay 10$ and get them shortened. Right now I try to hook a side on my cell phone which I carry on my belt. It looks like I’m just a sloppy guy but its strategic.
    Thanks
    Nice site

  12. I’m 5’8 and very muscular (48″ chest and 18″ arms). If you’re built like me, clothingshoponline (I think that’s the name) has really good sleeveless T-shirts.

  13. My 16yo son appreciated the info on this site! He is not short (5’11”!) but has a short torso. Based on your recommendation, he ordered some Shortees shirts in their longer length (26.5) and we returned them to get the 25″. I thought it was weird that he was ordering shirts for shorter people, but his dad is 5’10”, has a long torso, and has to buy tall sizes! Anyway, thanks for the info.

  14. Brock I’ve been looking around for a great fitting blue or grey t-shirt. I’ve been watching the Bourne Ultimatum, so I’ve gotten some incentive to go back to some basics lately. I love the Peter Manning jeans that I’ve gotten, and so far I haven’t found an exceptional review of real working style t-shirts anywhere. Have any solid suggestions? I’m looking for crew-necks.

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