The vast majority of clothing retailers completely ignore men under 5’8″.
I know this headline is a little ridiculous, but I wanted to get your attention. I apologize in advance for this rant…
Men who don’t have average builds need to work a lot harder to dress well. Short men, in particular, have a hard time finding clothes that fit properly off the rack. That’s why I started this blog – to help men who are below average height dress better by getting into clothes that fit well.
Now, I try to maintain a positive attitude. Sure, us smaller gents have to put in more effort when it comes to clothing. We often spend more money on alterations or custom clothing than our taller counterparts. But, in general, I try not to get frustrated or dwell on these unfortunate facts of life.
See also: How to Find Affordable Clothes That Actually Fit
Sometimes, though, I can’t ignore the fact men under 5’8″ are blatantly underserved by the retail clothing industry. It’s both mind-boggling and infuriating when you really think about it.
I went to the mall the other day. Didn’t really need anything particular, just felt like trying on some new clothes. I left three hours later, angry and very disappointed in major retailers (even some of my favorite stores). Nothing fit. Most places didn’t even stock small sizes – some didn’t even have mediums left on the racks – and the small sizes that were available were too big.
For example, this “extra small” J. Crew slim fit washed shirt is at least three inches too long when it’s worn untucked (as it’s meant to be worn). It didn’t look good tucked, either.
Hmm…let’s try another store. How about one of my favorites (for pants, that is), Banana Republic?
Well, it’s better than J. Crew, but still not good. While the polo almost fits, it’s still a bit too long. The button up and sweater are too big all around:
They do make extra small sizes, but many are sold exclusively online, so I could only try on smalls.
What about the department stores? Well, it took awhile to even find a small shirt at Lord & Taylor:
Ok, found some small shirts from Calvin Klein, Ben Sherman and Ralph Lauren. Fingers crossed:
What’s funny about this Ben Sherman polo shirt is that it fits very snug in the arms and chest.
I’m no fitness model, but I’m relatively built for my size, and this shirt is tight on me, but WAY too long. So who would this shirt fit? A very thin 5’10” man.
Why is Ben Sherman making shirts for such a specific body type but ignoring the millions of men below average height? Ralph Lauren is no better:
Oh, what the hell, let’s go to Target:
Most of these shirts would fit perfectly if I were two or three inches taller, and there are plenty of guys who are shorter than me. I mean, this is crazy. “Small” and “medium” clothes don’t fit small and medium men. You know who they do fit? 6 foot 2 models:
Is it unreasonable to think that a size medium should fit the average adult male, who is roughly 5’9″ and 180 lbs., rather than a 6’2″ guy with a model’s build? Wouldn’t it make more sense for a someone who is five inches above average height to wear a large or even an extra-large?
If medium-sized clothes fit 6’2″ males, and small clothes fit average males, then what about small males? The bottom line is:
If you’re below average height, you will be hard-pressed to find anything that fits properly off the rack in the vast majority of American clothing stores.
It boggles my mind that millions of men (in the U.S. alone) remain completely underserved by major clothing suppliers. Even my favorite stores, like Banana Republic, are ignoring us:
Just look at their departments: men, large men, women, large women, small women. What’s missing? Just one group:
What’s worse is the fact that many companies are claiming to make clothes for short men and even advertising this:
These companies are lying to us. Go ahead: search Google for “clothes for short men” and click on these ads. I guarantee you will be disappointed.
But, if you search for “clothes for tall men”, you get a ton of great choices:
There are Big & Tall stores or departments everywhere!
Pretty ridiculous, huh?
Phew…okay… Rant = over.
Let’s talk about solutions. We have to get clothes somewhere, and I’ve found these four tips very helpful:
1. Only go to the stores that cater to smaller men
It will almost never be the case that one store is good for everything you need, and it will often be the case that a store isn’t worth your time. Stay away from stores that don’t carry extra small sizes.
Stay away from department stores, in general (we don’t have time to sift through racks of XL shirts). Try new stores, and remember when they carry something that works for you.
2. Shop online
As you can see from the photos above, malls and department stores are terrible places to find clothes for small men. Only a handful of stores regularly stock small and extra small sizes, but you can usually find these sizes online. In fact, many stores (like Banana Republic) sell XS items exclusively online. These usually sell out first, so stay on top of it and be patient.
3. Go custom or made-to-measure
If you budget allows, find a suit maker and get a few bespoke shirts. Or, go the online made-to-measure route. It’s full of a whole different set of hurdles, but with patience the results can be great.
4. Adopt a tailor
This is crucial. Use Yelp.com or ask around, and find a local tailor who understands the look you’re going for. Make sure they have a great reputation. Make sure they listen to you. If you like more of a traditional look, find a more traditional tailor. If you prefer a modern cut, go with someone who gets that (when in doubt, find an Italian). Take garments back for multiple alterations until you love the way they fit.
Finally, don’t ever settle, and don’t get discouraged. Hit me up if you want feedback on an outfit or have questions. Leave comments on articles that you read so other guys can share their advice. Upgrading your style is a never-ending process, so try your best to have fun with it!
Speak up! If you feel my pain, leave a comment below, and share this post on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
Totally can empathize with you here. I’ve felt this pain the worst being below below average and standing at 5″0! i kinda get frustrated at 5″4 plus guys complaining, but what ever.
i found it very difficult to shop in the mid 2000’s. as time went on…like 2010, styles started getting more fitted so my pain was relieved a little, Some stores even started to carry XX & XXXS.
Basically i’ve delt my whole life with buying kids large, XXS slim fit mens, or sometimes even woman’s jeans that have a unisex shape.
90% of the time i need to shorten sleeves and pants.
The worst part is that im built especially on my chest. (34-36″) and kids jackets dont cut it lol
Wassup, my name is Dooby and I totally agree with you and am humiliated to go buy clothing at regular times.
I am 5’4″ and I go when the stores first open and gotta dive bomb the boys department, most embarrassing. This is so wrong on so many levels. The thing is a few decades ago they had clothing in the MENs department for short dudes, like the 80s. Man I’m 61 years old and gotta do this.
You know we are the only group of society that can’t speak up. See we’re supposed to be men yet we are mocked so bad if say anything about anything regarding our stature. Gay people say stuff about their gayness and other minorities say things about their respective minorities. But not short Men.
I have short buddies shorter than me and they are in total agreement. We really don’t know what to do, it’s really rough man. Any clues? ’cause there be a shitload of us out here that if some company got wind of this dilemma could literally make a killin’ off of us by NOT embarrassing us and exploiting the short man factor without humiliating but respecting us. We deserve the respect. Sorry for venting but man I LOVED your article, it hit a nerve. I would love to be able to shop to look nice for the Ladies without the embarrassment. Thanks and have an awesome day, Dooby
For clothes I can recommend Mustang for jeans, they have smaller sizes online and any Korean/Japanese online store. I spent a while living in Asia and I finally fit the clothing. At 5’5 with pretty broad shoulders it is still hard, but at least possible to find clothing in those shops, unlike in the Netherlands where everybody seems to be a giant. H&M also makes XS clothing that may fit on occassion.
Yu Duan says
uniqlo is good. usually for Asia size ill go for size Large. sometime oversized medium would be nice too. I think chest sizing is generally more important than the length measurement. japanese streetwear is cool tho. if you feel like the style will go with your appeal. still trying to find a good pant that fits well. I start wearing old navy stead of Levi, I found them to be more spacious in the thigh whereas Levi’s would be too tight. I agreed with the previous comment, pants are the real struggle, hardly anything will look good, not to say attire or formal suit. Has anyone have some pants/trouser recommendations?
if you wanted try out some other brand, check out urban research, uniqlo, beams plus
FINALLY someone who gets it! I am in my 50’s, 5’5″, and in great shape. I have what my wife calls a “runner/f1 driver/rock star” body. Ie, svelte and lean. I can rarely EVER find clothes that fit. It seems the even the “XS” sizes in most places are most definitely NOT “XS” unless you are 5’7″ or so, have a horrible diet, and haven’t been in gym since the Reagan administration. My wife found your blog and it has been a revelation. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your tip on buying boys department pants resulted in me finally having a great pair of jeans that fit! Keep up the great work, there are a lot of us out there!
typo: “svelt” …apologies…
Some of us short men go to the gym and mess up on our diets and get injuries at 50 and still put the weight back on so cool it with the stupid fat guy comments!
Rant/Great article. I hate seeing guys wear the wrong size on purpose, knowing how hard it is for me to find clothes that fit correctly. Although my problem tends to be that small shirts are to short for me (I’m 5’ 8”), so the fit is just snug enough, but doesn’t cover my belly when I sit or move.
One thing I’d like to correct you on; button up shirts, unless they have an even bottom, are not meant to be worn untucked. The shirt in your first pic, as well as a couple others, is definitely not meant to be worn untucked.
Ronald Quinn says
Brock, I appreciate you calling this out. But I’d say you issue is not limited to guys who are short. I’m thin, 6′ 3” and on the other extreme. It is also difficult finding clothing for tall people as well. Not to compare but a least you can tailor large sizes down – can’t do that the other way. Puma athletic gear is the worst I’ve seen (there is no Tall pants, really).
Bottom line, clothing industry does not cater to normal people who come in a variety of short, tall and other sizes. There’s an opportunity to disrupt here and I feel like someone will the industry will respond to our “normal” needs better.
Yu Duan says
Honestly, I felt like the material matters too. I usually wear Abercrombie &Fitch’s soft AF T-shirt since they are pretty light compare to other shirts, it won’t feel as baggy. I also recommend oversized shirt if you have a broader shoulder and get a size down so that length is shortened. For Japanese brands, Beams’ sizing is really good. For sportswear I like under armor they had better sizing than Nike and Adidas, I can wear size m pretty much everything, but for the other two brand size m would be too long. The part about the model being taller than average I read somewhere that explained well that have to do with product appeal in which that the clothes will look better in terms of marketing.
God I thought I was the only person in the world with this issue!
Almost all my adult life if sadly had to by what fits (read: looks least appealing with heavy compromises nonetheless) rather than what I actually like. I’m 5’5 with short legs and finding jeans or bottoms in the UK has been nigh on impossible.
For that reason I’ve never in my life developed my own ‘style’ rather, I have a wardrobe of utterly uninspiring items..
I’m 5’6 and stocky/chubby… maybe someone will be able to relate and my post will help.
My arms are thick/muscular, but as I’m 5’6 my shoulders are relatively small and look disproportionately small in clothes cut too wide at the shoulders. Basically, short sleeve dress shirts/button up shirts are just impossible to find.
My legs are fairly short, and a 30L jean will look even a little bunched but about right.
My experience finding anything short sleeved has been an absolute nightmare for all of my adult life. Every polo or short sleeved shirt has sleeves that go to or beyond the elbow looking stupid, and/or shoulders that are way off. The front (and especially back length) on the shirts looks like I’m wearing my big brother’s clothes.
The ONLY brand of short sleeve T-shirts I can find that fits somewhat well is Abercrombie&Fitch (in Small)… unfortunately they’re really not designed for adults, and look like teen/early 20s clothes and fairly poor durability and priced too high. Unfortunately, it’s all I found that fits.
Jeans/Chinos… Wrangler is all I can find that has a reasonable to great fit.
Hoodies and Sweatshirts… Fruit of the Loom and Dickies can sometimes work.
Wool type sweaters… I’ve had some luck with an expensive but good quality brand, Finisterre.
My choices are insanely limited. I found that H&M, Zara and the European international brands are cut for extremely slim (sometimes slim and very tall) people and don’t work on a short’n’stocky guy who works out all his life.
Will look into Japanese brands next.
I think this is a ridiculous rant. I would love to pay a premium to find something that was too long. Then I could take it to a tailor and have it adjusted perfectly. I’m not super tall but I have yet to find anything In all of the Outdoor or Surfing brands that I wouldn’t feel a little self conscious trying to wear in public. I found one North Face rain jacket that I think they made a mistake on that actually fit, but other than that, Nothing. I cant wear any of my favorite brands that have anything for me even board shorts, in the longest length possible are too short. You cant go to a tailor and have this stuff lengthened so I’d say short people have the advantage there. So all the brands I would like to wear; North Face (except for the one lucky mistake),Patagonia, Hurley, Volcom, O’Neil, Rip Curl, Marmut, will never get anything but a t-shirt sale out of me. Maybe they could even consider selling un-hemmed clothing on line for short and tall people alike?
Raymond Ruiz jr says
Finally someone that understands my dilemma. When I go and look at small shirts if there is a size small it’s still too big. Sometimes I’m forced to go to the boys Department but then the shirts will be too short. It’s frustrating when there is a piece of clothing that I really really like and fall in love with and they have all the sizes except small. So thank you very much bro for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I hope that the department stores or we’ll never can actually make a store especially for us that get size small and extra small. What’s frustrating to is when you order online it depends on the style of the clothes. What is medium on one brand baby small in another so that adds to the confusion. And now because of the coronavirus it’s hard to go to a fitting room and try things on. And if you order online like I have it would two pieces of clothing that I either had to take back will give away because I owed a small and it was still too big
You understand my frustration. My waist size is 25 inches and almost all brands start with 28. I stumbled across a Dutch brand recently they are good with small sizes for denim. Their inseam length offering starts with 26 inches for men! The brand is G-Star Raw, it’s been out there for over 30 years but not widely known. Check them out!
John Diederichs says
5ft4 260lbs . Odd body shape , all back little leg . Shirts arent hard to find , but pants … I have to get everything tailored . 26 inch legs are impossible to shop for with a 44 inch waist .
Nyall Collinson says
I am a 5ft 2 male in the United Kingdom where you would normally expect clothes to be smaller.
In my teens up to early 20s I used to only shop at topman because that was the only place that actually did cater for men of my build and size, then up to my mid 20s topman changed everything and it has ruined me, i feel so degraded having to either make do with youth clothing or just buy that bit too big whatever and have it altered.
I used to be able to select a xxs shirt and it would sit right everywhere, size 28 short trousers used to fit snug and proudly show my features,
Now….. a xxs shirt, the shoulders too wide, length too long (both shirt and sleeves)
I even found an old shirt to compare just to make sure I wasnt going insane.
28s short trousers now, they dont even fit my waist anymore i have get 26 waist now and no I havent lost weight, they have altered the sizes.
So now its almost impossible to find anything.
I just have to tailor all my clothes.
In the UK we have a store called Jacomo for obese men, its about time for smallamo!!!!!
Kenneth R Wagner says
Great article. I’ve been frustrated for about 50 years now. I’m a gym rat who likes to wear cool gym wear. The thing that drives me the most crazy, are the gym pants with zippers on on the bottom of each leg. WTF? They make SURE you can’t have them altered by a tailor so they could fit. And, some of the coolest pants have these asinine zippers. Absolute stupidity, beyond belief. Someone could make a lot of money opening up a chain of stores for small men.
It’s not that the fashion industry hates short men, it’s that the fashion industry is racist — and, more specifically, it’s Nordic race supremacist, as evidenced by the fact that so many fashion designers are either ethnically Germanic or Northern Italian, which is very genetically German.
And so what this means is that the fashion industry prefers to make clothes only for the “ideal” human build, which these Germanists consider to be Aryan: extremely tall and lanky of built, with a very narrow cross-section, consisting of a very small and slight torso, extremely long limbs and a thin, very long neck. This is the physical profile that none other than Adolf Hitler praised in his Nuremberg and Hitler Youth rallies.
In other words, our modern world is very covertly Nazi, in clothing at the very least, and it shows.
Not exactly. I’m german, most of the german guys i know, including myself, are 5’6″ and below, myself being only 5’1″, my father bein 5’4″. It’s horrible even for us. It really is just made for models. I’m in my twenties and have to wear clothes tailored for little boys because nothing else fits and my budget doesn’t allow getting clothes tailored to myself. We germans hate it too. I had to pick up sewing to fit clothes to my body, it sucks, but at least i got a useful skill out of it.
Dapper Detective says
You’ve pretty much nailed it on the head, Brock!
I’d like to add another aspect of this frustration: dress shoes. At 5’ 1”, I wear Size 5.5, which is usually “off the chart” for most dress shoe manufacturers, who usually make shoes as small as Size 7 or 8. Although I HAD decent luck with Allen Edmonds, which on occasion would have smaller lasts in my size, I had to pay a $75 up charge for the custom order. Go figure. I have to pay $75 more for a shoe requiring less material/resources. Lately though, Allen Edmonds has not stocked lasts in my size, so I feel fortunate enough to have as many Allen Edmond shoes as I do.
Alden’s makes custom sizes, and I don’t recall being upcharged a premium when I ordered a pair of snuff suede chukka boots from them though.
Dress socks are another irritation. Even the smaller socks fit a little big, with the heel cup hovering over my Achilles’ tendon. Nordstrom is the only company that I’m aware of that produces dress socks for those with small feet, but their offerings are somewhat plain as they only come in solid, basic colors, like black, navy, charcoal, brown, and taupe.
Micheal James Charbonneau says
We are catered to tall/fat males. You’ll rarely everever an xs but you will always be able to find an XXL. I’m 5’3″ fully grown and finding clothes is a nightmare that friends and family never fully grasp until they go shopping with me. It’s not about finding the right store it’s about the right store not existing except in the XL kids section because similarly to adults, we are catering to fat children before we even consider a child who isn’t as tall as his peers.
I have no idea why business makers haven’t capitalized on this market when they have so eagerly made it okay to require three X’s before your L. What’s more is that the places whom do sell Xs are selling extra slim not extra smalls which is why they will still be too long. I can never wear a button up untucked.
Side point. Why am I paying the same price as someone who buys an xxxl shirt when I’m buying an xs which is significantly less material. Clothing is the only industry where this is just accepted and never questioned.
Michael B says
Paul Fredrick (www.PaulFredrick.com) is the only place I can buy shirts. They carry 15×31 which I never ever seen in any store. OTOH, their pants waist start bigger than my size so I only buy shirts there.
Dave H. says
I feel your pain. I’m 5’5 about 140 lbs 30 inch waist with 28.5 inseam. I have to do all sorts of work to make things fit. For pants, I have my own tailor to hem them but lately, Uniqlo has been my best friend. They make great slim fit khakis and they shorten for free! If you don’t know about Uniqlo, they are a Japanese retailer. I think they’re very similar to Gap but much better fitting. I’m with you on Zara, I wear them religiously – most of my coats are from them. Their pants, however, are way too skinny and some of their line is way out there. J Crew slim fit – as you said, too long. Ralph Lauren Polo – even their custom fit polos – they fit great on top but way too long. What I did was have my tailor shorten the back hem so it wasn’t too long but as you can surmise, all this extra work costs money. Try the boys polo – I wear a L and it fits me fine. Original Penguin is good for me. Their Heritage Fit polos are perfect – fitted on top and just hits me on the waist. Their long sleeve shirts are also good on top for me and not too voluminous on the sides. As well, I actually buy a lot of my clothes from the boys line. So, I buy Lacoste boys XL, Adidas boys XL tops, L for sweat pants, Nike boys XL for tops, L for sweat pants. Since you like Zara, I’d also recommend their higher end line, Massimo Dutti but they only have a few stores stateside but they do have an online presence. That being said, I don’t do too much clothes shopping in the U.S. -I’ve been going to Korea for years and they have fantastic clothing! If you have the funds – go there. They’re wayyyy ahead of the fashion scene and I’ve pretty much purged most of my U.S label clothing save for Penguin. You’ll find wonderfully tailored shirts, pants in different weights, knit ties galore, nice coats, accessories etc PLUS while you wait tailoring. In Asia, you can get clothes tailored while you wait and for not a lot of money. Here, a simple, stupid hem costs 15 bucks (this is why Uniqlo has been my friend lately). There, I can get pants hemmed for like 5 bucks on the high end and 1-2 on the low end and done in an hour or 2! I can’t even find while you wait service at any price here.
I’m 5’3, about 110 lbs. And I’m skinny. I haven’t been able to find a pair of jeans that fit since 1998.
Oh and I also have small feet, so finding shoes that fit is impossible.
The world sucks
Try Nudie Jean’s. They’re the only Jean company that I buy from. I’m 5’4 114 lbs. Expensive but they’ll last u forever. Plus they’re hip and cool with different fits and washes. If they’re too long get them hemmed at a good place.
Great article! 6′ 130lb, and it is ridiculously hard to find stores to buy clothes that fit. H&M, ASOS and Express for XS shirts, sweaters, and jackets, and also H&M for 28W 34L jeans. It would be nice to shop at any store of my choosing, like normal people do.
So pleased to have read this. Thanks so much for the tips great rant.
David Todd...now retired Professional Photographer. says
Very interesting posts & articles, thanks.
I’m a 68 year old 5ft 4″, average build for height, currently 34″ waist. For four years in the 1960’s I sold menswear for a chain of shops called Lord John based in Carnaby St. London. At the time I was probably the same height as now! but could buy trousers off the peg with only slight shortening of the leg. Trousers came in waist sizes from 28″-30″-32″-34″-36″ ALL with three leg lengths 29″-31″-33″. So for a while I was a 28w 29 leg…..fast forward to the 1980’s and trousers were made with the same waists 28″-36″ but with only one length of 33″, (easier for the manufacturer) ok, these could be shortened but found that the leg width was all the same! pretty bad look…fast forward today 2018, nothings changed . As a smaller person I feel their is a huge, huge market ( 20% of the world’s male population is no small matter) excuse the pun…..for a manufacturer to make clothes with these sizes in mind, say 5ft 3″ to 5ft 8″ even if they cost 10% more they would sell, because us folk try that much harder to find clothes that fit & will spend.. Admin, can these blogs be bundled together to show a manufacturer of these shared views.
There is an online retailer (I now live in Australia) called Charles Tyrwhitt Reg.office Jermyn Street London, which used to sell only shirts but have since gone online selling a whole range of garments and produce an excellent postal & online catalogue, (website: CTSHIRTS.COM) although they don’t as yet make clothes for the smaller man, if we bombard them with our feedback maybe they are the type of company to listen, so with this, go to their website and everyone send them an email. Here’s wishing us good luck! David Todd.Perth Western Australia.
Get out of here. I’m 6’5” 230 and it’s even more impossible!!!!!! Ugh!
HA! and tall men as well. I’m 6’3″ 283 lbs, tall and definitely not the fittest, but not super wide. It’s so hard to find a shirt that fits me perfectly. They always get untucked when I don’t want them to and when I wear them untucked, I always end up showing part of my belly when I make the wrong move. LOL. Let me tell you, that’s super frustrating.
Local department stores don’t help either. XL is usually too short and too tight, XXL is definitely too wide and still to short. 2XLT is still too wide, XLT is long enough but it’s still too tight. Where do I go from there?
I got tired of going to the mall because I always end up empty handed. I decided to go Custom. Let me tell you it’s probably the best thing you can do. I live in South Florida and my local tailor is http://www.etailors.com/ are super awesome and I was super happy with the result. Just can’t believe it took me this long and wasted so much money on clothes that didn’t even fit me in the first place or after the first wash.
Kevin Parker says
I am 5’4” guy from India and my quest for good fitting cloths landed me here. I shop mostly online and usually I shop international brands and I have no idea why a blazer size that is listed as size 36 has
a chest size of 41″. Why blazers aren’t like shirts? Size 38=38″ chest? This is very confusing.
Why size 38 is 41.25? And this same model wear size medium shirt, that is, 38 which is 38″? Meaning there’s a difference of 3.5″ and I am sure this much difference is enough to ruin the look!
Fernando Leon says
I’m 5’3 135 pounds, in good shape muscular I have broad shoulders. if I buy xsmall the tshirts and shirts are just to tight. If I go to small or medium they are just way too long. Specially this year I wasn’t even able to find t-shirts in brands that used to fit well. Like american eagle classic fit…. for pants I can find something that will fit in gap online there you can select your W and L so I usually get a 30 W and a 28 L and that fits well. For dress shirts I use propercloth.com they are a bit pricey but the shirts fit like a glove. Lately I was so frustrated I decided to learn how to use a sawing machine, not that complicated…. we use tools all the time. Now I can mend my own pants and t-shirts if needed it takes about 30 minutes per piece of clothing but is well worth it.
Looks like you already reviewed one of these, but looks like it has failed since then.
Maybe it failed because there was no business model. How do you make money off of people sharing information? Making money of clothes might be a lot more viable.
Seems to be a bunch of startups focused on custom sizes. Has anyone tried one of these?
How would you like a service that arranges for clothing to be created for each specific body type?
There have to be thousands of men worldwide that have your exact same measurements. A service could be created that regularly determine how many “yous” like a variety of different items and how much you’re willing to pay.
Then buyers could approach a manufacturer and find out how much they would are willing to create this item in your size and how many they have to produce and at what price. The service would then offer the garment to you at that price plus a nominal service fee. Shipping could be done through Amazon and we could also buy extra to meet additional demand, at a higher price point to cover the risk that these don’t get sold.
The real goal of this system is to get manufacturers to do this kind of thing on their own. And, ultimately, to spur the development of on-demand clothing manufacturing so you can get ANYTHING made to your specifications.
All you guys think you have it tough , try having 17 inch arms . Baseball shirts are the only thing to wear to cover up lack of forearms . Size small but try to find them anymore is rare . Coats just imagine
Bill Carlson says
For dress shirts I find slim fit of these shirts to fit well off the rack:
– Calvin Klein – Medium*
– Kenneth Cole Reaction -15** neck 32/33 sleeve***
– Perry Ellis Portfolio – 15 1/2 neck** 32/33 sleeve***
– London Fog – Medium
I approach 5’8″, on the low side. I weight 160-165 depending on the amount of gym time, heavier if I am getting a lot. Broad shoulders for my height and a 30-31″ waist.
* I found a few Calvin Klein shirts sized “M”, with no neck or sleeve length noted. They were those lucky finds while digging through the racks at TJ Maxx and Burlington. They fit great. I can’t seem to find them sized by S/M/L/XL anywhere else now. All are sized by neck and sleeve sizes. But I’m going to try a M- 15 or 16 neck with 32/33 sleeves and see if they are the same.
** Small guys don’t always have small necks. If you’re a small guy with a big neck, and you wear ties regularly, you are double, maybe triple screwed since the assumption is that if you’re small you have a small neck. I have a 16″ neck, sometimes a bit smaller, again depending on gym time. I don’t wear ties to work so buying smaller neck shirts isn’t an issue for me. I have a couple that were tailored for the rare tie wearing day. So, as long as you wear a 15 or 15.5″ neck, these shirts may work with a tie.
*** Sleeve length was always an issue for me before slim fit shirts became common. The high arm holes seem to allow that length to work now. So if you’ve never been able to fit in a 32/33 sleeve and haven’t tried slim fit, and can fit into slim fit, this may be a sleeve length solution – get higher cut arm shirts.
My husband is 5′ 9″ and 140 pounds. Literally nothing fits him, everything is too big. Your idea of “average” size is too small. The clothing industry assumes that average is 6′ and at least 160 pounds. So frustrating.
I’m not saying don’t feel your pain. But on other side. My son is 15 (he’s a hardcore swimmer). He is 6’3″ and 137#. Because of swimming his shoulders are extremely wide but his waist is only 25″. Ya, he looks like a cartoon ..lol. Stylish , heck I can’t even find anyone who sells 36 inseam with 26 waist. One place does 28×36 for a “special” order. $274 worth of specialness!!! Plus he still had to wear a belt pulled to last notch. I can sew but not to add 5 inches of fabric we don’t even try and get him long sleeved shirts (he looks like Tom Hanks in Big before changing into his dads clothes). They literally button pretty much under his elbow. I’m not sure why are men are one size , but I guess so. I’m tall and a size 6 and I never have issues. .
Uniqlo and muji are good, and they have quite good quality. But they don’t offer enough choices for jackets.
david dorenfeld says
YES. The struggle. when I find something that fits it’s always a miracle xD
For those who don’t know, if you have a J. Crew credit card, they do alterations for free. This is great for pants and jeans. I don’t recall if I have used it for shirts, but it may be doable for the sleeves on button-downs. Uniqlo, while not the highest quality, also does free alterations on pants.
I’m 5’4″ 135 lbs, 29 waist, all of american eagle shirts fit me, as well as Hollister, they stock small and extra small shirt sizes in store. As for jeans, or pants, I usually wear levis-bootcut, because they fit me better than american eagle jeans. The downside of it all is that there are no jeans made 29×29, all companies either make 29×39, or 29×28, 30 length is a bit to long, and 28’s are to short. I usually stick to 29×30, but I also wear work boots mostly, so they look right. But if I want to wear sneakers, they look to long. As for shorts I also go with American eagle, they fit me perfectly.
I’m only 5″ and I’m 16. So I’m coming close to the age where I can’t grow anymore…. does anyone know any good clothing stores where they will have clothes that look nice and fit me? Btw I live in Canada
Shop kids. For suits you can just buy kids or mens that fit your shoulder and goto a good tailor and get fitted, suits are usually altered after purchase anyway. You can always get small cotton shirts and throw them in the hot washer and dryer and shrink them. Dress shoes are the problem. Not much selection from the kids section and not much for under size 7 mens.
Mark Taylor says
5’2″ here… maybe 5’3″ with my hair spiked. Athletic build, more muscle and less fat than average. It is so, so difficult to find clothes that fit right. Trying to shop in the men’s dept, I look like a boy wearing his dad’s clothes… not cool! It’s a bit embarrassing, but I have found that for shirts if I swallow my pride and move over into the boys section, a boys large (14-16) or XL (16-18) depending on the brand, fits pretty darn good. Some are a bit tight across the shoulders, but I like my shirts snug. Pants are still a struggle though. I wear a 27 inch waist and 29 inch inseam. Sometimes Old Navy or American Eagle will carry them that size, but in a dept store, forget it.
Fernando Leon says
Hi, I’m 5’4 about 135 pounds. I can’t even find t-shirts anymore brands like express and american eagle (legend style) are now 3 or 4 inches longer. As for dress shirts propercloth.com does a great job. It gets a bit expensive but I rather pay a bit more for a product that will fit perfectly that for one that I always feel dissatisfied about. As for pants gap works for me. Just online of course but you can find pants that are W 30 L 28. So if any of you know where to get some decent t shirts, please let me know….
Mr. Vato says
i’m 5’9″ 175 pounds with a longer torso so I just make the cut into fitting most clothes. I used to wear banana republic but have found it too baggy at times. .I have found in general you need to go with the more expensive brands to have a good fit- such as john varvatos, burberry, rag and bone, james pearse, hugo boss, ted baker, diesel, etro, vince, paul smith. sometimes I’d say about 25% of the time I need to get them to tailor these clothes for me to get it perfect
Usually nordstroms will carry all these brands.
Luis Cuervo says
Thanks for this article my man. I personally haven’t been through this ordeal since I have an average height (5’11”) but my brother is shorter than me and has been suffering from this stupidity of retailers that seem to be incapable of offering an option for shorter men. We have had to recur sometimes to buying children’s clothing and, when you get past the supposed “humiliation” of doing this, it actually works sometimes, especially with retailers that tend to be more fashion forward (Zara or Massimo Dutti spring to mind). I understand why this can be difficult to swallow but we’ve gotten great results. Altering all your clothes with a tailor is, frankly, the best option always. But, sometimes, you either can’t or won’t afford this expenses and would prefer having the option of carelessly grabbing something off-the-rack. This is why yous blog post is such a great gift.
I will try checking these brands you recommend with my brother. Really a godsend for this Christmas what with all the gifts and goodwill 🙂
Thanks and have a great one. Cheers from Mexico!
Michael Vinh Xuan Thanh says
This website is like a godsend. Thank you!
Try being 5’7 and 210lbs at 6% bodyfat and actually caring about how u dress! I likk wearing some baggy/loose fit stuff in the gym and just messing around but not for going out. Luckily I work in the fitness industry so can wear fleece and hoodies and sweats and jerseys most the time lol. But only thing that makes it harder to find clothes to fit for someone under 5’8 who is of a smaller build, is someone of the same height and bigger in the chest shoulders arms back and legs. I have to wear xl or xxl and xl isn’t bad but may be too snug. Xxl is gonna usually be too long in the sleeves and the waist. And pants lolololol! Yea right! Even worse!
Not a lot of choices for us short guys. I’m 5’4 and 150lbs. XS tops from gap, BR, and AnF fits well in me though. Compared to taller guys, there’s not a lot of choices for us. Hey, where I live there’s just many migrants (like me) from Asia who are also short as I am. Some even shorter. So I think the clothing industry will make more clothing for shorter men.
Steve Struthers says
The fashion industry tailors their clothing to fit models, not real people. This way they can punish people for not fitting into the mould they want them to fit into. Not everyone can lose weight. Not everyone fits into the 99th percentile (average sizes). The good news is that automation is soon going to sweep the fashion police and associated arseholes out of business.
In the future, you’ll go to a shop that will literally scan your entire body and generate measurements. You’ll upload the resulting file to a website that will let you pick out shirts and pants, etc. and have them tailored to your exact dimensions – and they will fit properly. You’ll be able to find attractive designs that look good on you, too and you won’t have to settle for wonky colours or designs because, well, that’s all the fashion industry is prepared to offer people they don’t like.
Fashionistas who think people who are fat, etc. don’t deserve to live and therefore don’t deserve to be affordably and properly clothed really piss me off.
You say under 5″8 but I dunno man – actually I think my neck/ head are disproportionately longer/larger on my slight build so if height went by shoulder height then I may fall under. Great research though just goes to show
to be honest I think even under 5″10 is considered short now and with each new generation’s seemingly increasing height ever more a focal point of a males stature we have more and more kids looking down on us; quite literally whilst women look beyond us so life is frankly a game I gave up on – as it is is with the clothing I’m tired of being reduced to t-shirts with no long sleeves to worry about and Levi’s jeans particular just because they state 29wx30l. Even then they’re hard to find. I can only begin to imagine what you even shorter guys must be going through but I feel all your pain…. we are being overlooked. To say the least.
I’m 5′ 6″ and 130. What amuses/frustrates me is that the clothing industry assumes that short men must also be heavy. I need 32×28 pants but 28L is non-existent. I can settle for 32×29 but the only pants I can find in the store in that length have a waist of at least 40. What the hell?
Terrence John Wood says
Wow, so good to have somewhere to let off the years of anger that have been pent up inside meGood to know that I am not (an odd person) size wise.
I am 5’2″ tall, chest 34″, waist 28″to 30″ & inside leg 28″
I challenge anyone to find a place that sells anything already made, to fit me.
Yet if you actually analise these measurements, you notice that they fit my body, proportionately well.
So I am so glad that you are all here & that domone came up with this brilliant forum/ help page for the size challenged among us!..
Thank you for giving me some great advise to follow in my quest to be a well fitted person.
Mosca Muerta says
I don’t even bother with the big retailers. Nothing fits. Kohls seems to cater to hogs. Oddly enough, the discount Mexican clothing retailer Milano, which is notorious for supposedly low quality apparel, has the best fits for shorter men. Italian cut dress shirts are a bargain at about $5-10 US. No alterations needed and they are durable. The reputation of poor quality is just not true. Far better than anything I’ve come across in the US. I guess this has to do with the fact that Mexican men tend to be smaller than American men??
Alistair Book says
I just discovered this blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Not only are men’s clothes made for 5’8″+, they have been getting wider over the years. So even if a store lists XS and S in their sizing chart, they don’t actually sell them!
The problems with shopping in the boys’ department are: poor quality; ‘square pants’ i.e. 27×27, 28×28; and everything is designed to appeal to a 10-year-old. On the plus side, underwear and socks are cheaper.
I like Express 1MX extra slim fit dress shirts (although I* do have to shorten the sleeves) and just bought a half-zip sweater from them (again, have to fold up the sleeves).
While the selection is limited, I have gotten a decent, reasonably priced, 34S wool suit at https://www.mensusa.com/
*and I do mean “I”. Knowing how to sew has saved me a fortune in tailoring costs. Thank you, Grandma.
Joe Rogers says
I am 5’3″ tall with tooo big a waiste, I.E.44 inches. inseam is 26 inches. I have to make do with pants that are 28″ inseam and mostly wear polo-shirts with short sleeves. Hard to find any place to do alterations. Why are people saying someone 5’7 or 5’8 are short, They are tall to me. Why no short and fat shops.
excellent. however 5.4 living in Perth Western Australia I am screwed, cant find shoes ( 5 1/2 ) and cant find a tailor to make a decent suit . geoff
David Griffiths says
I read your blog with semi amusement as it is not only you men of smaller stature that have problems.
I am 6′ 5″, size 19″ collar and 48″ chest, 42″ – 44″ waist and 34″ – 35″ inside leg. i can occasionally find shirts that have long enough sleeves and body length (but not always) but most shirts are too short or sleeves don’t fit. As for suits and trousers off the peg – forget it. even online they are hard to find.
shops, including those especially for outsize men, have the belief that “high” means tall and thin, and “mighty” means short and fat; you just can’t possibly be tall and fat.
Gentlemen, you have my sympathy.
Yes. I am a fit, muscular, 5’4″ male. I can’t find a dress shirt (one to wear with a tie) anywhere. Now part of my problem is I have an unusual wingspan for my height (72″). Its about impossible to find a dress shirt that fits arm length and doesn’t look like I’m wearing a button-up pillow case. The times I have found one I have to cuff the sleeves which doesn’t allow me to dress formally as the shirt is intended. But overall dress pants, slacks, and dress shirts are not made for short thin individuals. Very frustrating.
Not just men under 5’8″. I’m 5 foot 8, and I find it near impossible to find jeans that arent too long, or any trousers for that matter. I like wearing tracksuit bottoms but these too even in size small are always way too long. It drives me mad!! Brands like adidas do trouser sizes small, medium, large etc, but this sizing refers to the waist size only, I’ve compared the lengths of small and medium and its the same, and way too long for me. To fit adidas/nike sports trousers you need to be 5 foot 10 or taller. ARRRRRGH
Thanks for this ‘rant’. My son is mid-20’s and 5’3″. He’s consistently gotten nice casual shirts at American Eagle in XS. The brand used to have a store near us but it’s closed but you can still buy online. He also buys jeans and shorts in size 28 from them. Wish they carried a dressier line, too.
Imagine this, mid 40’s, 5′-0″ tall, 16″ neck , 40″ chest, and a 29 inch waist. Now try to find a suit , sport coat and a dress shirt to fit that frame. When I was in my 20’s a fitted shirt was a fitted shirt not a huge sail that almost reaches you knees, nor the other other extreme where you can’t even button the shirt.
One solution I found that works for me is to be content with the few items of clothing I have.
It might be an advantage otherwise I might have a closet jam packed with clothing. Less clothes some alterations and more often than not get complimented for dressing nice.
I actually find it more difficult to find a decent pair of shoes.
Brock — thank you for this rant!! At a grand 5’2″ with a 30-32 inch waist depending on the company, this is the MOST relatable post I have ever come across. Worse, I’m actually in Japan and because the suits here for men my height are also for men who’d blow away in a strong breeze (and I am a cyclist and rower) I am having a hell of a time finding anything that fits. Gonna have to try buying something for someone taller and getting it tailored so I don’t end up with a weird hourglass shape…So even clothes that are supposed to fix the height issues come with other problems…
Steven Wills says
One thing not mentioned (or maybe not in detail) is how you can find that shirt that fits but something silly is ruining it. I’ll find a polo that fits but for some reason the sleeves are super short to the point it might as well not have sleeves. A big usse for me is tucking shrits in. I’m 5’4 with a 30 waist. There is ALWAYS bunched up fabric around my waist. It’s ridiculous. I’ve always wondered why women have clothes for all heights but men don’t. Jeans are realatively easy. I get Levi 505s and can get them hemmed. It is just ridiculous because 30 is the smallest lenght a lot of brands make and it is the smallest stores carry. A 30 is the shortest length they make is adult jeans but it is typically 5 inches too long.
Bill Doyle says
A big part of the problem is a bunch of metrosexual fashionista’s who have convinced everyone that an untucked shirt should look virtually the same as a tailored shirt that is tucked in and are obsessed with borderline high water pants.
I am 5″10″ and like my untucked shirts to look really casual (which means about 1 1/2″ longer than the fashion mavens tell me my shirts should look like) and I like jeans that stack, which means a 35″ inseam is just right for me. The consensus among people who advise other people on what to wear seems to be that everyone should look like a 23 year old vegan who lives at Starbucks with their laptop.
I say to hell with them.
It might be cheaper for y’all to move to Texas than go through the hassle of shopping for things that look ridiculous on you or paying a fortune for a tailor. Whenever my girlfriend or I see the “images” of what an untucked shirt is supposed to look like we always pick the “wrong” one as looking by far the best.
If you do want a more tailored look in an untucked shirt and you are not 6’2″ I highly recommend UNTUCKit. Definitely size up, but you will get your shirt that is exactly the right length if you don’t like wearing shirts that come down to the bottom of your pockets and your zipper which is the way people wear their casual clothes down in these parts.
Considering that the vast majority of men (at least in America) wear clothes that are way too big, I’m totally okay with the swing toward slim fit clothing. Sure, maybe it went a little too far, but that’s how trends work.
And it’s cyclical, so even now we’re seeing more relaxed fits make a comeback, which is great for guys who value comfort above all else.
As far as stacking and shirt length, stacking never looks good on short men, period. And shirts that go past mid-fly make short men look shorter. These principles aren’t subjective, and they apply to men of average height too (although you may not car as much).
I started sticking to European companies, particularly when it comes to shirts. It’s unfortunate but American made tshirts are usually pieces of shit, manufactured in some Burmese sweat shop at five cents a pop, and they stick to some arbitrary default size, that might only fit Gumbee properly. It sucks because the shirts I like the most are always the ones that fit the worst. I stick to H&M, Asos, and Top Shop for most of my clothing.
Darryl Willis says
I have found http://www.untuckit.com to be useful. At least the shirts are shorter and designed to worn untucked. Which means they fit us shorties a little better in length. They are a bit expensive. But I have been enjoying my blue button down oxford. It upsets me that Target seems to have discontinued their Mossimo “athletic cut” shirts which (polos and t-shirts) which fit me rather well.
Darryl Willis says
Try http://www.untuckit.com for shirts that are short torso (made to be worn untucked). A bit expensive, but I have been enjoying my button down blue oxford.
You’ve summed up my frustrations perfectly. Thanks for the site
I’m an FTM guy pre-transition. I’m 5’3″ – speaking generously. Though I do still have the potential for growth, I don’t yet know if I even want to start testosterone – meaning that I will likely remain at this height for the rest of my life.
Long story short – this article has given me a lot of ideas on new places to look, as I’ve already tried all the Aeropostals, JCPennys, and Targets I could find.
I stumbled on this article while searching for good athletic clothing (like under armor) and casual clothing (like, say a henley) for my height, 5’-5”. Any recommendations for a store/site for casual or athletic clothing will be appreciated. However, if you are looking for good quality dress shirts and jackets at very reasonable prices, Hugh&Crye is hands down THE place. H&C has fantastic sizing options for different heights and body types. Check out their website, you won’t be disappointed. I do not work for them, but enjoy wearing a dress shirt that actually fits the way it supposed to fit.
Thanks for the recommendation. I actually haven’t had luck with H+C. Their smallest shirt/jacket fits me like a J. Crew XS (or 34s). It’s slim enough, but still too long in the torso and sleeves.
Plus the small things – collar point, pocket placement, etc. – are still proportionately too big.
Are there any good stores that aren’t really expensive? I’m a 5″0 adult male and not able to grow anymore which frustrates me to no end because even if I do end up finding a shirt that is xtra small (and a small looks like a medium or large on me) I tend to not like the shirts at all and sometimes I can’t find the correct pant length for me either I wish stores would consider smaller males more often.
Did you find any stores that fit you because I’m 5″0 and I’m only 16… I’m near the age where I don’t grow and always struggle where to buy any clothes!!!
Not to barge in, but as a 6’2″ man that is quite a bit on the skinny range, often times mediums are simply too short for me, and medium talls are too long.
Rest easy knowing that outside of the magical range of 5’9 – 5’11 it’s hard to find perfectly fitting stuff off the rack.
Buying online and returning is your best bet. Often times I’ll order multiple sizes return any that don’t fit, or all of them if none do.
Good luck! I know how frustrating it is to find clothing that does not fit!
Groucho Marks says
I was just online trying to find someone to alter my suit that was bought off the rack. I am 5’5″ and have been ill dressed all my life. I am muscular so smalls fit snugly but everything is too long. Peter Manning is too expensive so I get things altered and it always shows. You can’t just chop suit jackets, sweaters and button ups. It is not a laughing matter when a sales snob points you to the boys section. Glad I live in Florida where hardly any clothing is needed but us shorter men still must attend formal functions occasionally.
Hi, I just want to add my voice to this. I completely agree that it’s very difficult to find clothes to fit if you’re under 5ft 8 and slim. What’s more annoying than not finding anything ‘off the peg’ at all, is the fact that companies such as Gap are making their xs clothing bigger than they used to. So there are even fewer places to buy clothes from.
I’ve had to get my shirts and suits made for me now (very pleased with them and better than anything off the peg, but very expensive).
Have you got any suggestions for outdoor clothing brands that fit slim, shorter guys? North Face xs is massive and Berghaus have made their XS bigger. Thanks.
I remember when I got out of college my dad (who is 6’3″) wanted to buy me a suit (I’m 5’8″). So we went to the local mall and into a somewhat fancy retailer whose name I don’t remember. We were looking for a suit with 38 Short jacket.
We looked all over the store. They had Regular and Long jackets but no Shorts. So we asked the sales guy and he said, in a very snooty voice, “We don’t carry Shorts.”
5.7″ 1/2 + stocky build = ?
T shirts medium that dont fit around the waist but squeeze your arms (and sweat up your armpits in summer). Large trousers that barely accomodate your legs, but dont fit around the hip.
Coats and jackets? Dont get me started on sleeve length to shoulder width ratios.
Result: nothing ever fits quite nice, and you either look like you re dressed one size under or that you stole your older brother’s clothes.
*sigh* at least finding shoes is no problem…
TS MBSC says
I am not too early to post a comment right? I mean this was blogged 2 years ago and with fresh comments is seems not much has been done to help the less than average hight guy. I am about as frustrated as y’all, and yes I’m southern, so y’all!
I’m gonna plug Jos. A Bank. Really, you’ll have to be patient because the clothing can be tailored, and suit/dress pants are meant to be tailored. Oh, I’m 5’5″ and 170, dropping weight a little, but built short and sporty. The plug is due to my working at a Jos A Bank. I know for a fact that this store stocks from 14″ neck 32 ” sleeve slim fit shirts, and up to big and tall sizes. Suits start at size 36 slim fit coat and on up. So for fitting options there are some. We short folks still need to be fitted/measured and custom tailored, but at least there are options. And with sales like buy 1 get 2 free, you can have 3 custom suits for under 1000 dollars any day of the week, including tailor fees. Pair a nice lite grey or strong navy suit with a slim fit shirt and a smooth pair of leather shoes like wingtips, or split toe oxford to get long straight lines and you’ll look taller instantly.
Not the most cost effective option, but dressing in this manner will create a slimmer longer look to boost confidence and make you seem a little taller.
If your near Myrtle Beach, sc I can help out at my store, but if not just drop in your local Jos A Bank and see the options, try on the options and look at a long slim fit to feel a bit better fit. As for the s,m,l,xl,xxl,xxxl sizes, s = 14 1/2 neck 34 sleeve, m = 15 1/2 neck 35 sleeve, and so on, so we sort of have to avoid s,m,l shirts and go with fitted slim shirts. I hope this helps some guys, I know I help folks dress daily and it helps when you see it. Also, a colorful skinny tie and some fun socks peeking out from your loafers or oxford make a bright pop from a distance apart, this makes the outfit look longer and more form fitting.
Hope y’all try Jos A Bank and get fotted, you’ll like it.
TS MBSC says
Fitted, not fotted. Stupid phone keyboard! Haha
Raleigh Johnson says
It is quite rare to see men especially young men today who are well dressed. Perhaps their fathers either failed to teach them or set the example of proper attire themselves. Many wear pants that are not fitted, too long and bunched up like an accordion. Now in my late 60’s, I grew up in an era when men and boys wore custom tailored clothes even in high school and some in Jr. High and this was among lower income boys. Tailor shops were replete in a section of the city of New Orleans called Rampart Street. Unlike today, a pair of custom tailored slacks in the 50’s-60’s cost around $15-$18, which today would cost $150-$250, not particularly cost effective for the average contemporary man’s budget. One way to have the best of both worlds if you possess a height/size challenge is to take classes (if offered at a local community college) in Men’s Custom Tailoring and make your own, such as I did. I’ve made my own slacks since the 70’s or selectively purchased high quality slacks from thrift stores and altering to fit.
Young men today should comb through vintage men’s clothing magazines to identify proper style and fit of clothing rather than be subject to the whims of lackluster agenda driven fashion designers who’s creativity or lack thereof is like unto the style of “The Little Rascals”.
At 5’6″ I have been enduring this issue for years, but because I’m also naturally stocky and a big lifter, you can add that issue to the problem of shopping for clothes (you can forget shopping for kids clothes with my build). GAP seem to have some good fitting polos, in size small (especially the “lived in” range, and LL Bean sometimes too).
Shorts are one of the most difficult thing to find to get the right above the knee length (IMO 7″ inseam) and also the right size to accommodate my thighs. I’ve found that athletic jersey type shorts work best (in size small) for me, but even they are a compromise and obviously no good for anything other than lounging around, casual wear or the gym. Wanted some Chino shorts – LL Bean looked promising, but too tight on the thigh (for me). Trying Abercrombie with some of their shorts, but it’s annoying that there isn’t a store that lets you choose clothes by height and body type (Peter Manning is great, but stock is limited).
Jeans… ugh… don’t even get me started!
Thanks for this. I already do most of what you say by shopping online, I worked out that much myself; but what pisses me right off the most, is the fact that brands like Billionaire Boys Club will go down to a size small (36-38) and I’m (32-34) but on the Billionaire GIRLS club link, they sell XS sizes?? Like wtf? Do some brands not even consider or even realise that there are men who can also be a femenin build? Its constantly either a S or M and it’s pissing me off. There’s this superdry 199 leather jacket I bought which is a S and goes down to my crotchh understandably cos I’m XS it’s like I’m being forced to work my build get taller and wider on my own just to fit into some fucking clothes?????
Not-so-big Al says
Just saw this and have to comment. I’m 5’10 and 162, trim/athletic build. I would, and used to, just consider myself average height, since 1) I’m pretty sure it’s true in the US statistically and 2) that was just my everyday experience. Clothes shopping, especially in the last 5 years, has on its own convinced me that I’m a short or abnormal male.
The one overall point I would add is that it isn’t just 5’8 and shorter guys as you say. It’s guys who are 5’9 and 5’10, which is really getting right into the meat of the bell curve. Honestly, given the proportions I’ve been seeing at popular retailers recently, I think you would have to push that even higher– maybe as high as 6′ in some places. There is just no other conclusion you can draw: Average-built guys shy of 6′ or 6’1 are considered small. That’s absurd.
Let me sketch it out further. Size small fits a guy in the 5’9-5’11 range, provided that he is very slim in the chest. Size medium fits a guy 6′-6’2, who is slim or of average build. However, there is, potentially, a secondary group who gets served: husky or heavy-set guys. I would agree that smalls tend to be just slim all around, but many mediums have enough room to accommodate a little bit of bulk or very broad shoulders, and in that case, the sleeves fall pretty well. Now, some of this will depend on whether it’s a classic or slim fit, whether it’s going for European tailoring, etc., but in general, it holds true. The fashion industry really likes you if you’re average height and really skinny. They also like you if you’re taller than average, since most guys in the over-six-foot range have their choice between large and medium based on body type. However, under six feet, with an average/athletic/toned body, which you’d think is the most likely case, it’s almost impossible to find anything with sleeves that are anywhere near the right position. All the common retailers, anything in the $$-$$$ budget, department stores, outdoor wear– size medium sleeves are not tailored to size medium bodies. They are for size 6’2 bodies, or, if you get lucky, a body somewhere along the lines of 5’10 190-200, broad-shouldered and slightly bulky that can fill out the orangutan sleeves.
My doctor tells me to stay fit and stay healthy. Macy’s tells me to gain 30 pounds.
I know that the sub-5’8 crowd really suffers the most here, but just checking in from the REAL average crew: sleeve lengths on size mediums make zero sense. 90% or more are totally out of line, falling somewhere along my knuckles. I really think that the problem has gotten worse in the past 5-10 years, since I don’t remember this when I was a teen — it would be interesting to hear from behind the scenes in the industry — but either way, I think most guys have just thrown in the towel and adjusted. I don’t know how to spend $200 on something that is blatantly terribly tailored to me, and so I just don’t buy new clothes much anymore. Final point: it’s awesome that there are dressy options for custom wear. But anything casual or outdoorsy and you’re screwed. You just can’t buy clothes outside the major production lines, and they have all hopped on the same bandwagon.
Hi great article! Definitely feel your pain when it comes to shopping sometimes. I’m 5’5″ and weigh 112lbs so finding clothes that work for me took a very long time. Im mostly a T-Shirt and Jeans kinda guy so it hasn’t been too much of a struggle for me.
I usually shop online at these three places: NudieJeans.com, Asos.com, and Scotchandsoda.com.
Nudie Jeans has some nice basics tees that fit well (extra small) on me and their jeans are from size 24 (I believe) and higher. On Asos its a bit trickier. The XXS is usually the size thay fits me for sweaters, jackets, tees, and pants. Btw i always buy slim pants no matter what because I’m slender. Last but not least Scotch and Soda tees run smaller than the average brand. Their Small fits like an XS and the tees are super high quality. They will run you about $50 for a tee though. I justify the cost with the quality and the fit.
If you want to shop at J. Crew the only place worth buying is in their Slim Shop. Everything else marked XS outside of this shop are too big for a guy my height/weight or shorter.
Ive been to Zara, Banana Republic, H&M, and all those name brands you can think of and they do not have anything for small men like us. Unless you go to a place like Tillies but their stuff is usually for the younger crowd. So theres really no point in even shopping at those places because it’s a waste of time.
I can also recommend boys size Adidas and Nike for track pants as those fit nicely and snug if you like slim fitting joggers. The Adidas ones are usually the same design.
Good luck to everyone here!
Thanks for the detailed shopping tips! I do like some ASOS XS and XXS sizes, although they tend to get slimmer but not shorter.
Will check out boys’ joggers at Nike and Adidas.
Thank you for this blog. I’m a 5-5, 147-lb 45 year old professional and I don’t want to hit the boys section and look like my 10 year old son. Banana Republic and J Crew have usually been OK for sweaters but recently their S is too baggy and too long. I did get some decent fitting shirts from Uniqlo the other night and they look good but I’m unsure about quality so far. I’ve had some luck finding khakis at Gap with a 29 or 30 waist and 29 inseam but it’s rare. I hate going online because I like to try things on first.
Well, not gonna lie here : I am a weak 5’9″, very skinny with bad proportions (short torso; long legs) but it’s not bad for me. I wouldn’t blame my height for the fact, that my tops are too long, but my proportions and my weight itself. If I had a little bit more fat on my body, just like most other men (know these very skinny 6’2″ guys? Ever seen these guys with too short tops? I haven’t. Mostly, these guys wear baggy tops – just because they have no choice. I doubt they all love that look), I wouldn’t have these problems. I am from Germany and never been to America, but consider that German people are A LOT taller than Americans. For me, I would say, here, the realistic average height for men is about 1.85m and for women 1.73m. A lot of people are even taller than that – so it shouldn’t make much difference.
TL;DR : I’m not tall either and haven’t really had clothing problems because of my height. Well, I had, but that’s because I am a major perfectionist, lol.
Someone else has notice, I’m 5′ 6″ and my biggest problem is shirts. Non of the damn things fit, all of them are far too long. I have also found your tight fitting problem, I am quite slim, but even I struggle to fit into some of the ridiculous sizes that come off the shelf. They are made for children not adults.
My dress shirts are always altered. I would buy off the rack. How the fuck is it slim fit if I still have to bring it in to make it slimmer? American designers are using tall chubby men for their slim fits. I have found that using English labels such as Superdry and Steel&Jelly is the way to go. I have been buying off the rack their medium and I don’t need to have the sleeves thinner or chest smaller. I used to like English Laundry but Chris Wicks have been feeding his models an American diet and it’s no better than Ralph, Tommy, Kenneth, ect.
BTW 156lbs, 5’7″ and medium build. My favorite pants are Levis 511 slim straight trousers. They fit well and doesn’t make you look like a dwarf as other labels. The Kenneth Cole slim fit trousers still looks like you have wide, short legs for being marketed as slim fits. The Vineyard Vines label also fits well.
Thanks for the tips!
Yep. Lately I’ve been buying XL Shawn White shirts from the boys section of Target. I just got back from a trip to REI, and have eliminated any shirt made by any brand they carry. Which is incredibly frustrating, as I need lightweight hiking clothes.
Shirts, sweaters, and jackets all seem to be the toughest to locate for me. especially when you don’t want to spend $60 on a shirt.
5’4 and 140lbs here in the land down unda and stores here are like hell on earth for us short guys. I live in Adelaide which doesn’t say much about shopping and there’s no point going out to shop for clothes as I always go home empty handed since there is nothing that will fit me. Kmart’s XS is my only solace but very limited choices. Shopping overseas, the shipping is just too expensive, more expensive than the items. It is depressing when I really really really want to dress nicely(reasonable price in mind) so I would feel good about myself, instead I have to settle wearing clothes that is essentially not my size and along with my confidence going south.
Oh, the worst part is when stores are going massive clearance sales and you can only wish your lucky stars that you can even at least buy a pair of socks that goddamn fits. Nowadays everything cost too much and being a short guy cost even more money in order to look presentable. #injustice
Suggestions on where to buy/what clothing brand here in Australia to look for is HIGHLY appreciated.
https://www.themodestman.com/clothing-industry-hates-short-men/#comment-146759 There’s already been advice. I’d add that though it’s all online, ASOS can be quite good, and if you order $40 or over of stuff shipping is free.
Have you tried ordering from them? and what size do you recommend I should go for? Should I go for the S or XS from this brand considering my height and built (140lbs/63kgs)? It’s a bit weird coz with cotton on it’s hit and miss with their S and XS, sometimes XS could be too small and S is just a wee bit bigger but good enough. I hate my life lol
I have, but I’m not really your size so can’t say with any confidence. I think the short sizes in pants should be good for you, shirts and jackets all I can say is that I tend to get the smallest possible size but at 5’0″, they’re too long for me. Sizing also depends on whether you’re getting their in-house ASOS brand, or something from a different brand still listed on the site. You could either gamble it now, or wait until one of their unconditional free shipping promotions and buy a cheap shirt to see the fit.
Hi Brock, Just found your rant… I’m 5’3″ & so much ring true with me, I would also like to know if nobody else has to issue with trousers being to baggy at the crotch ? I assume that this is due to the fact that the distance between the waist & the crotch is standard for all waist sizes & leg lengths. Also if the trousers have a tapered leg once it has been taken up the bottom’s are to wide ! (straight fit & jeans are fine)
I guess the worlds Hobbits will have to wait a bit longer for fashion industry to realize that there are still a lot of people that don’t fit there ideal template.
Jimmy Smity says
I’m 5’7″ and the smalls don’t fit me. It’s pretty absurd. I didn’t know so many others felt the same way.
Carlos Alva says
Have anybody tried the XS in Banana republic tailored slim fit. It is their slimmest fit up to date. I am 5’2 and usually it fits me fine on the shoulders but the length kills me. Any ideas ??
Darryl Willis says
At this point, I’ve tried untuckit.com and just got a shirt in. I ordered a small slim fit–while it is not as short as I would like, the tail is shorter than average (it is made to wear untucked on normal guys–so it is not super long). It looks ok.
Problem is they are very expensive–$70-$100 per shirt.
Darryl Willis says
Oh and I’m 5’4″…
Your typical asian says
Been living in Australia for 2 years now and nothing is more frustrating than shopping around and see all these clearance sale but is just pointless since nothing over there would fit me. Im around 5’4 and 140lbs and it’s really difficult to dress nice when there’s not a lot of option to look around. I’ve a friend in the US that is about the same body type as me he normally buys his stuff at H&M, problem is H&M is only in Melbourne and they dont do online store here.
Anyone from the land down under that could point me to the right direction on what brand clothes that best suits me (pun intended), I will highly appreciate it
There’s a H&M in Brisbane now, I think a few more are opening. I’m shorter and smaller than you and I’ve found that boys clothing can fit rather well, I would recommend going into David Jones or Myer and seeing if anything in a size 16 fits. It’s not ideal but it’s better than nothing, plus kids clothes can be cheaper. Just make sure that the quality is reasonable, I’ve found that Industrie is quite good, but unfortunately here all kids’ suits seem to be made from polyester. You can also try ebay if you know your size. Even if you don’t you can message sellers and ask for measurements to compare against items you own that fit.
Oh, just remembered a couple of brick and mortar store that might have your size. y.d. goes down to a XXXS and sells suits and dress shirts. JayJays is a sort of teen-orientated store but you can just avoid the trendier items, they sell jeans down to 26 waist and shirts down to XXS or XXXS.
I completely disagree with you that short women are catered to. I have the same struggles you do trying to find pants that fit as a 5’1 woman. I’m a healthy weight (average, not overweight and not “thin”) with a large chest and it’s almost impossible to find anything that fits me in the torso. Anything that fits my chest will be way too big everywhere else, and anything that fits my waist is way too tight for my shoulders (I’m also broad shouldered) and chest.
As far as pants are concerned, I have to settle for something that fits in the waist, buy skinny jeans, and roll the cuff. But pants off the rack are a good two inches too long.
Unlike men’s clothing, women’s pants only come in one length so whatever the manufacturer decided was legit is what you’re stuck with.
There are some pants that will fit me, I sometimes have to go into petiets but this often involves buying 3-4 sizes bigger (women’s clothing also doesn’t have any kind of standardized sizing, petite sizes are for people who are both short and very thin) and these are often only sold online as well.
I don’t want to come in here and be all “Okay your problems.. BUT LISTEN TO MY PROBLEMS.” I just think we need more short people solidarity, lol.
Antony James says
I’ve found shirts are very long here even if you go for size “S” or “XS”.The worst place to buy pants are from old navy.I bought a 30″ pant which is 34″ when I measured it.Maybe it makes fat people think they are fit. A&F, and H&M are the only ones that run true to size.But A&F is for young adults, and H&M is inferior quality.
Mateus Beraldi says
Hi Brock! You can try to buy Polos from U.S. Polo Assn. It fits much better than another factories (i’ve 1,63m).
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I am a tall (6′ even) woman and even though clothing designers create their clothing to display on tall women, I can never find a shirt that even begins to be long enough for me, even in the X-large sizes, when would be totally too wide anyway. I grew up wearing mens pants and jeans because women’s dress pants and jeans will not fit me.
I’m in the same boat, except that I’m tall and thin with long arms. Like you, shirt lengths are often too long, but finding shirts with sleeves that are long enough is an even more daunting task. Personally, I think the polo shirts fit you great, and while you may struggle to find sleeves that are short enough, I think that’s far better then struggling to find sleeves that are long enough, because you at least have the option to alter or roll up sleeves that are too long.
Finding pants that fit well is probably even harder, although inseam lengths do seem more true to size nowadays, then 5 or so years ago. For a short span of years, I struggled to find pants sold anywhere that fell below my ankles, but it wasn’t because so much because my legs are so long, but rather because inseam lengths were never the length stated on the label. My inseam length isn’t even considered a tall size, but I couldn’t find pants that fit in tall or regular.
So you may now be wondering why I couldn’t find pants in tall sizes. Well, that’s because tall sizing isn’t really for tall men, but rather for big men. If you need pants with a long inseam, then you’d better have a big waist, as well.
Ironically, I shop at many of the same stores as you do, although I’m probably much older. My main reason for shopping at those stores is because they offer clothing that fits me. I’m thankful for all the stores offering slim fits and clothes that fit me, because I’ve had to settle for baggy fits that were too short for most of my life. But if you really want to blame someone, you should probably blame all the men who prefer to wear clothing that’s too big for them, because that’s who I think most general retailers are targeting.
As I noted, I think those polo shirts fit you great. Tennis tails are meant to hang lower on your posterior, so you should stay away from tennis tails if you don’t like that. Not all polo shirts are made to fit the same, but my guess is that the polo shirts you tried on here were made to fit as they do on you. Similarly, you’re not a slim guy, so don’t expect slim fit shirts to fit you well. You should be able to find shirts that fit as you like them to fit without resorting to slim fits. Even though I’m very slim, I often size down and wear relaxed fit shirts, because the slim fit versions are made to fit someone bigger or are too long.
I’ve often thought the same thing about men’s sizing and how women seem to have many more options. However, keep in mind that women’s clothing is typically more fitted, so they need more options. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more options for men, but just pointing out that there is a reason why you’ll find more for women.
I’ll close by begging you to stop complaining about sleeve lengths being too short, because men with long arms like myself have zero options when sleeves are too long; at least when it comes to buying off the racks. You don’t know how jealous I am of men who are able to roll up their sleeves and still have them cover their wrists. Neither of us would have a problem buying a MTM shirt that fit great, but I promise you that OTR shirts with sleeves too long are better then OTR shirts with sleeves that are too short.
Btw, you should be stocking up this year, because almost every top I’ve purchased recently has had shorter sleeves. Even in brands I shop regularly, such as J.Crew, I’ve had to send everything back because the sleeves were too short. Seems like that’s been a trend for this year.
When it comes to Uniqlo, the sleeves on some tops are great, while others are extremely short, in my experience. I’ll also note that I’ve also had problems in the shoulders and chest with Uniqlo tops, even though I rarely experience that problem with other brands.
Speaking of which, I wonder how much your taste falls in line with younger clothing lines that are made to fit shorter (read too short), such as Hollister. Even though I have the same problem with shirt lengths that you do, I still find Hollister shirts to fit too short, but they’re made to fit too short. I actually don’t like anything about Hollister, but if you’re looking for really short shirts, then maybe you’re looking at the wrong brands? Penguin tops also seem to run short, so that’s another option.
Being 5’9″, I guess makes me short-average, but I’m on the slim side, so shopping at Buckle works for me. You might want to try them.
As a 5 ft tall man, yes that’s right, 5′ 0″, this could not be truer. It its hard for short men to find proper fitting clothing, it is impossible to find any at my size. So my solution in progress is to learn to tailor my own clothing. Tough circumstances require tough solutions.
Thanks for writing about this. I have the hardest time with clothes. I end up going forever without buying anything because it’s so disappointing – always. I’m 5’4″‘ 125 lbs. Athletic, so I have a great shape, but nevertheless cannot find clothes. I recently hit a Buffalo Exchange while I was in Las Vegas. Found a pair of Diesel “Zathan” Jeans in 28/30. I bought them for $28 which is a bargain from their $190 price tag as listed on Amazon. Great jeans. Great denim. And Diesel seems to know how to design for men to look really good. And 30 length is usually a bit too long for me, but for some reason it seems okay in these jeans. I recommend them. However, even the 28s are a little too big in the waist for me. Luckily, Deisel makes them in 27. Unluckily, who really wants to drop $200 for a pair of jeans. I guess I’ll break down and get some eventually because I really need them. At least I actually found a style of jean that I like and know what size to actually get them in. Big step in my ongoing jean dilemma. As for shirts, I think I’m to start exploring what size my body correlates to in Asian sizing. And go that route – online. Maybe I’ll figure out my Asian size in jeans too. Again, thanks for writing this. I feel you guys and I’m right here with you all in this.
I’m 6’5″ 230lbs and have the same problem if not worse. Clothes for the average build do not fit lengthwise, but sleeve length (short sleeve of course) ideal being that the length allows a little bicep to show. On the other hand, there are tall mens clothing stores, but patterns and styles are very limited and often designers assume that tall guys have a need for pockets, pockets, and more pockets. Long sleeves in tall stores are too often not long enough, short sleeve items’ sleeves fall below the elbow, shirt lengths are too long (about mid thigh) even for tall guys, and shirts are excessively loose. Pants! If you need a 36×36 in pants it’s assumed that you have a 56 inch waist. Overall tall clothes are made for 8′ 500 lb men. You may need to try custom fit. There’s a place online that offers three dress shirts for $99 dollars. Not bad compared to the cost of off the rack clothes that do not fit.
Buy online from or go to Japan or South Korea. All men’s clothing they sell there are for short thin guys. You will be in heaven.
I’m 5ft 5in and regularly find I am a Japanese size medium. 80% of my jackets/tops are from Japan. UNIQLO in many countries is not bad; their Western XS is a good fit for me. Their Japanese S is perfect (but of course you have to go to Asia for that.)
Of western brands, Steven Alan, J. Crew, Jack Spade & American Apparel all have passable ‘real’ smalls.
I’m 5’6″ with a medium build and I’ve never really encountered this. I buy clothing from practically whatever store and only occasionally have the smalls been too long. Even jeans are fairly easy to find. I can usually walk into any store that sells 30″ length and they’ll fit fine.
I HATE trying to find clothes that fit. I’m around 4′ 10″ , and any pants or jeans I buy are either too short and too tight, or too long. They always need to be hemmed.
And trying to find something to wear for running during the winter here in California? Ha, yeah right. I spent more than an hour in Sports Authority trying to find a hoodie, but all were too long. Hell, I didn’t even SEE a kid’s section in the store.
At least I got some okay running shoes (they do feel nice..can’t wait to actually trying running in them), but stores hardly ever have ones in my size….and the kids shoes are uuuuu-gly! (Or at least stupid looking) Lol
Being a short guy sucks . Why did I have to be short AND born with Cystic Fibrosis (which sucks about as much as being short)?
Tom strome says
If you think being short omits you from the mass clothing industry, try being tall. Once the waist hits 42
the mass market assumes you are rotund and immediately shortens the legs to 30 from what I need which is 34.
Lazy is the collective mantra and they don’t want to exceed the 90th percentile. Heaven forbid becoming concientious !
Wow! I just stumbled on this and found your website and it’s great! I’m 5’4″ and shopping is incredibly frustrating. I rarely attempt to dress well because nothing fits! When I was younger I easily got away with clothing from athletic stores (sweats, hoodies, basic t-shirts) but now I’m a young professional and looking that way is next to impossible! I love the suggestions that you have and can’t wait to try them out. I’ve had some luck at H&M and Express which I see you mentioned on your site but it seems like express has turned their back on us short men! I use to get by with 30X30 that were just a little bit to long but they changed their sizing recently on jeans and are just like everyone else now. Their way too long!!
angela carter says
im from liverpool in uk iv been trying to buy my hubby a nice named pair of fleece jogging bottoms hes 34 inch waist and 29 inch leg omg its impossible the only ones i can see are crappy unisex wich i know he wont like HELP!!!
Wow – Nice to find this place out. I am 5’5 – 200lbs – Perfect weight for my size and build is 180lbs. My neck is 18 1/2 but sleeve length is 32/33. Every shirt I find I can fit 2 or 3 of me in them but the neck is very
comfortable. My pants: I am a 36/37 waist – 29 length. I obviously am short and broad. I am so tired of retailers not having anything for me.
syed kabir says
Hi brock. This is syed. I’m only 5feet 3 inches. Too short. I really wants to wear chinos. Please tell me can i wear chinos? And which type of jeans i can wear. Please let me know if possible thanks.
Bill Ballard says
I’m with Rey on this – I’m 5’4″, a former competing bodybuilder and at my good weight, I was right in there at 155lbs. (I’m older and flabbier now, but taking care of it…) Point is, I haven’t worn a medium shirt since I was in the 9th grade. My shirts have almost always been L or XL. Pants were and still are generally my biggest challenge, but finding a suit which can be successfully tailored to fit is another big challenge. My clothes have always been altered or tailored. It’s never been a choice. I’m hoping to find some resources and guidance from other short guys.
Thank you for this article. At 5’5″ I’d say your “rant” it is spot on. I wear mostly jeans and t-shirts and it is still impossible to find clothes that fit. When is the last time you’ve seen jeans with a 28″ inseam in the stores? Medium t-shirts fit me comfortably but un-tucked it looks like I’m wearing a dress. Most long sleeve t-shirts have sleeves that are about 6″ too long for me. Any suggestions on wear to find casual jeans and t-shirts. Again, thank you for this blog.
Alex Jansen says
As others have said, it is at least nice to not be alone in the struggle. For the past few years it has finally donned on me that I really am in a horrid size range for fashion (5’6″, 130). Like others, I went through the phase of trying kids clothing and just living with the bagginess and long length of smalls and even many extra smalls. In the past year or so I’ve begun to find more success with certain extra smalls from American Eagle, 21men and Gap. By no means the best quality but at least they offer many staples along with the more youth oriented/gross-trendy stuff. I’ve finally gotten my first order from H&M and am quite happy with the sizes and especially the length on a flannel shirt I got. I think I’m going to try order a few more casual button-ups from there since I’m graduating from college in a week and will hopefully ending working somewhere where they will be needed! (Would also love to hear if I probably need stick with slim fit shirts or if the regular fit wouldn’t be too horrible)
What’s worse is being short and having a bodybuilder type physique. I’m 5’5 and 155-160, smalls fit too tight, and mediums can still be too tight and be too long as well. You were spot on with the stores. Express is pretty good with their sizing, I found that I can fit into medium shirts pretty well with minor tailoring, and depending on pants and jeans, they’re pretty good with their length. For Zara and H&M, my bodytype forces me to size up to a large. Which isn’t too much of a problem, as their lengths are pretty manageable. I absolutely agree with the advice on tailoring. When in doubt, size up and take it to a professional tailor. It costs a little extra in the end, but if they know what they’re doing you’ll look and feel great.
Good read! At 5’2″ and 130lbs, clothes just aren’t made to fit me. Being overseas i left the fitting room long ago. My only option is to stick to the stores i know and pray that things fit when i find something elsewhere. I find American Eagle to be the best store for me in terms of length, fit, and price. Their XS can be a little long, but after a wash they fit much better. i’m not as lucky with their button ups ( i assume they come pre shrunk). Hey, but their jeans fit great!
my question: can i expect to be just as satisfied with j.crew? any advice is greatly appreciated!
This literally sums up my life! Im a 5’3″ senior going into college and looking for clothes as I try to “dress up” my waredrobe is one of the most miserable and embarrassing things I have to do. Some days I feel like I’d be better off shopping at Babies R Us, thanks for the great website!
The struggle is real, brother! You’re very welcome.
Dude thanks! Every clothes i put on was always 2-3 inch to long I even got depressed over it. I will definitely check out the stores you recommended. This article is over a year old, would they still fit for some one 5 ft 5 ? And are there any other stores that you would recommend? Thanks again for this article, it cheered me up!
As a 5’1″ tall 17-year-old guy all I got to say is that X-small clothes perfectly fit you guys over 5’4″… I have some X-small tops and they barely fit me. Now, the realest issue for all of us is how all the retail shops don’t even sell XS sizes, like what?? I went to the mall last time and went into every store possible, even into Zumiez (supposing it was more a youngsters store type). I checked the Small sizes jackets and they fit me like a monster! I asked this 4’10” clerk lady to hook me some Xsmall jackets and she said “nope sorry we dont manage xsmall”, so I got pretty disappointed and just left the store. Wow it is so surprising that even stores that are dedicated to youth culture don’t even have XSMALL sizss! Now the only clothes that barely fit me well are Xsmall jackets and shirts, especially the shirts. While small clothing may fit me only if I was bulked up (thing that I am surely not).
5’0″, pretty much given up trying to find clothing that fits in the adult or even older youth section. I fit into a kids size 12 almost perfectly most of the time. If you’re not a lot wider I would recommend looking at the basics in the kids section, it fits far better than even the XXS men’s size which still assumes you’re 5’6″. Sucks, but the only alternative is made to measure which is a lot more expensive. J.Crew has some nice stuff, but their jacket’s shoulders are a bit narrow. I found Hickey Freeman’s to fit better and look nicer. If you live in America you can actually go in and try their stuff on, which is a lot better than here in Australia where I have to order it online and basically just hope it fits.
I feel your pain. But XS definitely does not fit all men over 5’4″. I’m about 5’6″ and most XS are still too long for me.
I thought I was alone in my woes of finding stuff that fits. Reading about your troubles and reading through a lot of the comments has made me appreciate that I have it better than others. I’m 5’9″ and 140 lbs. and have such trouble finding good, fashionable clothing that fits. Usually if I stick to the slim section and brands, I’m okay. Heaven forbid I try to shop at LL Bean or Orvis. Thankfully, menswear these days are swinging more toward the slim silhouette.
I bought $250-worth of sweaters from Tommy Hilfiger only to discover that their smallest size in sweaters, S, is too big. Had to go out of my way to get XS in Banana Republic polos. Their are a few brands I can depend on, like J Crew and Uniqlo, but it always seems to be a case of sacrificing money for quality or vice versa. One brand that has surprised me though, which seems to strike a perfect balance between the 2 is Frank and Oak. I’m pretty sure they make XS and 28 waist.
Though I may have it better in the clothing department, shoes and accessories are increasingly difficult as I have a size 7 foot, thin wrists, and small head. Most good shoe brands cut off at size 8, and most men’s watches, bracelets, sunglasses, and hats look almost comical when I wear them.
Totally hear you about accessories. I’m in the same boat.
Hilfiger small sweaters look like sleeping bags on me. It’s ridiculous.
Great website you have here, I just discovered it while randomly surfing the web lol
The struggle is real also on the other side of the Atlantic pond, I live in France fortunately in Paris where I have more choices (compared to other smaller French cities)
I am 5″1 so even more challenging. For sports outfits and shoes, it’s easy, I go to the teenagers section. What’s more difficult like you point out is the adult clothing with somewhat good quality and good classic look. An advantage here in Europe is the people tend to have fitted clothes.
For business clothing like suits, I can find fitted suits without problem 34 or 36 but I always have to alter the length of the arms and trousers. For business shirts, I just buy them custom made from internet like tailorstore. For casual clothes, I get them from Zara or Monoprix a French supermarket (equivalent of Target in the US) that sell affordable stylish, good quality clothes (best quality/price ratio for their made in Italy cashmere sweaters $130). What’s troublesome is is the overall length and the arms length for jackets and coats. I spent quite a lot of money altering clothes. My new “hobby” is sewing, I just bought myself last week a sewing machine. Will learn how to alter easier stuff fist and hopefully will make myself one day my own shirt, trousers and jacket from scratch.
I just found this Blog and I am going to start following you, you´ve already been bookmarked. I am about 5´2 and I can never find anything that fits me. I don’t own a single pair of pants that’s not altered and shirts are no different. I just recently started to dress better and its really tough (especially if you’re on a budget).
Glad to have you on board!
Glad to have you on board!
Wanted to add a bit of tall problem perspective here : I am a tall man (6ft7) but that doesn’t mean I can wear big and tall cloths. I don’t have a very wide build so I usually end up buying L and XL, which fit in the shoulders but then is short in the arms or body. Trousers are a problem too, most places don’t even go over 34 length! Many shoes stop at size 11 or they 12/13 is out of stock because there was only 1 pair available in the first place. Like you small men I am often forced to buy in expensive stores or at least pay extra for alterations. It’s the opposite problem of the one you raise in your blog but it still comes down to the same principle, the fashion industry goes buy the law of averages!!
Thanks for some good info! Lands’ End amazingly enough recently started carrying just 3 slim fit mens’ pants (dress twills, corduroys and dry clean wool blend). I bought the first two kinds and they fit great plus they hem them to my inseam free Legs are pretty damn slim, so not for those with bigger width legs, but perfect for me.
And ebay’s good for vintage 1960s sport coats with skinny lapels, but you need to measure a jacket you already have that fits for shoulder width and length Don’t go for a full 60s suit though, unless you want to wear your pants pulled up way high like the style was then.
. Stores never have zipper jackets with sleeves short enough to fit me well so I was happy to snag a vintage Brooks Bros. suede jacket there with perfect sleeve length
Try on topman.com !, the best XS sizes! (and there exist XXS too!)
I actually haven’t had success with Topman. Their shirts and jackets were too long for me. How tall are you? Maybe I need to give them another chance…
Very true! hard to find clothing for myself that gives a perfect fit being 5’6 that isn’t big in length
Matthew K says
Fortunately it´s not a huge problem in Europe. 🙂
I´m 5’7″ (173 cm), which is considered average or medium here.
Joe S. says
I am 5′ 7″ tall. I find nice fitting clothes at J.C.Penney’s.
When I go to Macy’s I like Cubavera shirts, I have to purchase the Small, not medium size shirts. Forget about Express, the quality of their goods is an “F.”
I have found casual shirts at Walmart “OP” ocean pacific brand fit, and I have found the finest fitting and wear jeans for me to be $20.00 wranglers.
I don’t like wearing the Ralph Lauren POLO, I don’t like the rear tail, it gives me and lets me look short, I can’t wear their mediums, they make me look shorter and their smalls are too small around my arms.
With pants, I have found all the majors to fit well, when I can find my waist size of 31″. I have thought about opening a store for men 5’8″ and under in Center City Philadelphia, Anyone interested in becoming an investor.
I can help you in opening a clothing store
I am an short asian, i totally support what your opinion!!! i have been tortured by this for ages. thanks for your suggestion and help!!! i thought only me who fell this way and got disappointed, but now i feel better~ great blog! 😉
This is a real problem, and it is getting worse. This is also an entrepreneur’s dream, but nobody has stepped up to the plate. There are big and tall men’s stores everywhere, but you never see short and fit stores. I was trying to buy some t-shirts and button down shirts today. I am 5’10″/5’11” and 160 lbs. All of the shirts from two different stores fits me in the chest, went way past my zipper (sometimes even to my shorts line), and were incredibly baggy in the stomach. It does not pay to be fit. When it comes to clothing, it is much better to be large or fat. The only shirts that have fit me nice have come from stores overseas.
The big and tall stores are for “big AND tall.” The short and fit, or short but still big are S— outta luck. Try finding an affordable suit with a jacket that fits if you are 5’8″ but need a 50″ jacket with 38/28 pants.
Nice article that touches on the whole problem of the clothing industry. I am not a short ass, but I am muscular, particularly in my legs and butt which gives me the problem of finding it enormously hard to find anything that fits properly. The slim pants won’t go on my legs, and the “loose” fits are too baggy around my lower legs or waist. Shirts are better, but often too tight around my shoulders and arms. It is just so crazy that retailers can’t provide more specific choices for different body shapes: Ie why have say 10 options for the skinny tall (average) build and no options for anything else (eg short or solid body shapes); as per the usual retail store? Do skinny/average framed people need 10 times more clothes? (or are there 10 times as many of these people around; possibly but I doubt it just looking around at all the badly dressed people in the mall who probably can’t also buy clothes that fit). Anyway not sure how the economics are meant to work for the fashion industry – but the reality is that I do love to buy nice clothes that look good on me and when I spend all day in a mall and find I can’t find a pair of trousers that fit – let alone having choices between different styles, surely that is a lost business opportunity for my spending money. There must be so much more that can be done – after all women seem to have way more options in the retail shops based on floor space devoted to them, so it seems there is room in the industry for clever ways to help men be able to dress better! Come on retailers – here is a great business opportunity it seems!
Philip Price says
I’ve been reading your through some articles on your site and stumbled upon this one. This article hit home for me in so many many ways. I’ve always been frustrated and most of the time depressed after trying to shop for myself for clothes and walking out with either subpar clothing, or nothing at all. Just within the past month, I’ve been wanting to step up my style; of course, me being 5’4″, at a weight of 180 lbs, presents quite a challenge. Here I thought M and L sizes were the rule of thumb and that’s what I was stuck with. There’s quite a bit I need to learn, I see. Hell, I’ve never even been to a tailor! Anyways, thank you so much for this article, other articles, and everything you do, Brock.
Glad you found the blog! It’s never to late, so good for you for deciding to start dressing better. The single most important thing you can do right now is find a good tailor. Go through your closet and put everything into three piles:
1. Stuff you like and wear regularly
2. Stuff that could be altered for a better fit
3. Stuff you haven’t worn in over a year
Take everything in pile #2 to a neighborhood tailor to see what can be done. Give away or sell everything in pile #3.
Don’t buy anything new until you know what you’re looking for. Hit me up if you want to chat about this.
Lee douglas says
Great blog! Always enjoy reading your stuff and just stumbled on this. I also really wish I were as tall as the average adult man. Thanks and I look forward to reading your future blog on those pesky urinals being too high!
Nice rant. Finding clothes that fit a short man is really quite difficult, especially if you are shorter than usual. I am under 5 feet tall in socks and you can imagine how difficult it is to buy clothes at any regular store. In TO, we do have a specialty store that caters to the short man 5’8 and under but to find clothes for someone who is 5 feet is even more difficult than normal. Lucky custom made shirts can be bought online (or you can go to there store and get measured) and it only costs around 60-75 dollars. Custom made suits run from 600 and up but it is custom made so they are expensive. If you have the cash, then custom made shirts and pants are probably the easiest way to get a wardrobe that fits properly and looks stylish.
Mike Newman says
I’m in the process of having my first suit custom made for me. I’m currently 4’11”. The shorter I get the harder it is to get the right fit. I finally gave in have begun getting my clothes custom made.
Hey Brock, your post is just what I was looking for! I’ve tried J. Crew and have had terrible results. I just started shopping at Topman because they have XS & XXS sizes. Do you recommend them?
Thanks for reading.
I haven’t bought anything from Topman yet. I think it’s pretty similar to H&M, in that they carry small sizes and tend to make more fitted clothing. But the quality is also pretty low. Might be good for seasonal items (like a pair of chinos that you wear the crap out of for a few months, then put in the junk pile), but I wouldn’t buy a suit there.
If you try them out, please let me know how it goes.
I’m a 5’7 male. I’ve got a slim build and proportionately average arms and legs or my height. Large is my given size in t-shirts, shirts and short seleves. In pants, 36×30 works well for me. But I cannot find an off-the-rack suit that works for me. My tops aren’t perfectly proportioned but then again there aren’t too many good fitting options for short guys – at least under recently.
So you wear a 36 waist and large shirts? Sounds a little bit off to me… hit me up via email and we can talk more.
Volvatic pHERMOGLAG says
Thanks for the excellent article. Very useful.
The one thing stopping me from having my tailor create m-t-m shirts for me is finding the correct fabric(s). I still have no idea what I’m doing in that regard; any tips or links would be appreciated.
As far as what to look for in a high quality dress shirt, this article from Gentleman’s Gazette is pretty thorough:
All you need to know about shirt fabrics:
Hope that helps!
Walked through Nordstrom and apparently they carried Topman. I tried on this a skinny pea coat size XS and I couldn’t button it LOL. I tried on size S and it fitted comfortably to me, except the sleeves were too long.
Topman doesn’t have good reviews on their quality, but I might shop there for waistcoats. I couldn’t find my size anywhere else (except H&M, but they only have gray and black waistcoats).
If you find one that fits in the shoulders and body and really like the style I think you should consider having it altered by a tailor. I, before moving, had a wonderful semi-retired tailor whose number I kept in my cell phone for just such occasions. There was a top coat in Banana Republic that I loved but like you, it was too long in the arms which means it was too long in the body as well. I stepped outside, called him with the details, describing the material, buttons, how much excess and the type of liner. He assured me that he could alter the coat and gave me an estimate on it’s cost. It worked great and because of that I tend to include alteration costs in my purchasing decisions now.
No, I didn’t like that pea coat; I’ve seen better one somewhere else on the web.
Speaking of alteration, just found out from my tailor that he can’t alter a basic merino wool sweater. He said the machine cost $100,000. 🙁
There’s a good post on altering knits on Style Forum – http://www.styleforum.net/t/25833/altering-sweaters
It’s doable but not everywhere. Apparently dress-makers can usually do it. My tailor in DC has the right gear for sweaters.
Thanks, I’ll call a few dressmakers, though probably only colder places keep that kind of gear around. I live in Orange County, Calif.
How short are we talking about. I’m 5’1” and fully grown. I can’t find anything that fits… T.T
In the broadest sense, I define short as 5’8″ and below (which is below average in America). But plenty of Modes Man readers are 5’1″, 5’2″, etc. I’m just under 5’6″ and about 130 lbs.
I’m 5’0″, I feel your pain. Children’s clothes are one of the few options off the rack that actually fit, but the options tend to be very childish and not good quality.
I’m in the same boat as Ennis and Scoot. I’m 5’1″ at 135 lbs at 48. All my life so far, I have looked all over for a store that would possibly cater to the smaller man. I normally buy my casual clothes at Old Navy (t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters), jeans and dress pants I get altered, which cost me even more money. Work shirts(mostly Ralph Lauren) I buy on Ebay. I’m glad I found this blog so I now have additional choices in stores to choose from. I am going to check out Uniulo for a blazer because I looked EVERYWHERE! My dress clothes are non existent and sneakers/shoes are the same, unless you want Spider-man on them.
Keep up the good work Brock and chin up everyone!
Aiko Hualda says
5 2″ 125 ish built…
i wanna be fashionable but it is hard to find the right size for us short guys…
here are some of my go to brands
amani exchange xs is fantastic
also try size two for lacoste
john varvatos xs
well anything 14-16 but most of the it time looks bad
fred perry xs… slim fit
also asian brands in amazon are charm… get a prime and some trial and error for the sizes because some of them can get really small
I’m 5’3, 105 lbs, 30″ chest. I frequently find NOTHING in menswear. I tend to shop in kids’ depts because they fit me better than adult XS options. This works for basic shirts, pants, etc., but coats & jackets are near-impossible. Most every jacket is a 3-button polyester blend (never flattering on short guys), and the only kids coats I can find are parkas or fleece hoodies. I occasionally stumble across something well-fitting while thrifting, but I frequently have to compromise.
Anyone have any places or sites to suggest?
For blazers, etc., you could try Uniqlo. I’ve heard their jackets are better for smaller guys, although I don’t own any. My go-to jacket is from Indochino. For casual jackets, Express and Zara are my favorites (especially Zara).
Jill Pearson says
My husband is about 5 10 and he shops kohls medium fits perfect. He does have a muscular build though that does helps. Love kohls and always big selection.
Paul C. says
I am about the same size, and I too spend a lot of time searching the racks at thrift stores, or awkwardly searching in various boys departments (generally with no luck expect with button ups). Blazers and jackets have always been the hardest. I’ve gotten lucky at Urban Outfitters with a blazer once. It fit well all around, expect for the sleeves, which I had shortened. Another blazer/jacket that I love came from Arcteryx Veilance. Rather pricey, and still had to shorten the sleeves, but for whatever reason their stuff is very slim fitting and works well for small guys (i.e,. 5’3” / 5’4”).
Probably the best article you have wrote on the topic that concerns the men under 5’8″. This needs to be published to a local newspaper. Thanks for speaking up for us! Bravo!!!
Thanks, Cyrus. Glad you like it. Spread the word!
Interesting blog. I may be looking it again, but do you limit it to the smaller guys, or just the shorter guys. Some of us are short but built like tanks [‘m 5’8″ and 225 #s – and it ain’t all pudge( well some of it is : ( . ]
This site is mostly focused on height, rather than build. After all, shorter guys come in all shapes and sizes. But some of my advice (especially when it comes to clothes I’m wearing) will work better for men who are small in general.
That said, I try to keep the “tanks” and the heftier guys in mind by offering some alternatives.
Jamie Biddix says
I did not realize all this was a problem until I lost 30 pounds. Now I wear pretty much the smallest clothes you can find. At 5’7″ it is difficult to find anything. Shoes for me are just as bad. I do not have wide feet or narrow feet but my feet are very thin and most shoes wallow around on my size 9 foot and require an insole or spacer for the vertical depth.
Damn straight, man. The last two times I went to the mall, I couldn’t find anything. Pants either fit around the waist and were too long, or had the right length but fit too tight around the waist. I’m 5’8 and almost all the shirts I tried on were too long. Brock- I’m pretty set on summer clothes but I only have a couple long sleeves and couldn’t use a general “fall guide” now that it’s getting colder. Hoping to see something like this soon if it’s not out there already. Great article, thanks.
Could*** use a general fall guide
I’ll get on that, especially since lots of people have been asking about sweaters (v-necks and cardigans) and boots, both essentials for fall.
Came across your site from realmenrealstyle – what an excellent article that sums up the woes of the short(er) man! I think for guys below 5’8″ (I’m 5’7″), you do get somewhat better luck from Asian brands like Uniqlo since the average height of men over here is around 5’8″ anyway. But even then, it’s not a sure thing. One other label I’ve discovered that fits me well (for tops only, I’ve not tried their pants and shorts) is H.E. by Mango. It’s my new favourite. 🙂
RMRS is a great site. Antonio has been very generous in sharing his knowledge with me, not only about style but also about blogging. He’s the man!
I’ll check out H.E. by Mango. Thanks for the tip.
Great post, exactly my experience at 5’6″. Length is a big problem even when the rest fits. Gap S comes to mind. Are there that many >5’8″ smalls and xsmalls??? Where are all these weak tall people?
Try Uniqlo for great polos in S and XS. Benetton and Urban Outfitters can be good too. Have to be careful not to dress like you’re 20 at these spots though.
Thanks for the recommendations. That’s a problem worth talking about – the stores that regularly carry S and XS sizes (and that tend to have slimmer fits) are catering to a younger crowd. So it’s usually cheaper (which is great because it’s affordable, but it falls apart, like H&M), and it’s got details that aren’t appropriate for adults – graphics, distressed looks, etc.
I don’t have much experience with Benetton, but I’ll definitely check ’em out.
Perhaps we should start a database of companies and the sizes in inches? That first purchase from a company you’ve never dealt with is always difficult. What is their small, x-small, medium, etc. Is it worth purchasing only to find out it’s not going to look good even after some altering? If we had a reader created list that could be cool. I could take a polo from Uniqlo for instance and get all the pertinent measurements, upload it and there you go.
That’s a really good idea. I think a Google doc would work well for this….something where we could all contribute. Give me a few days to mull it over and set something up. I’ll keep you updated.
I recently window-shopped at bonobos.com and I used the instant-chat thing to inquire the leg opening; the rep gave me the measurement immediately.
This is definitely a good idea to compile more detailed measurements per store. I’m looking to buy my first sweater/cardigan, so hurry up and make it happen! 🙂
Will do! Btw, I’m doing a sweater giveaway wit Peter Manning NYC in November, so make sure to check back in then.
Also, did you buy anything from Bonobos? I haven’t had luck with them so far (found the slim pants to be too baggy), so I’d love to hear about your experience.
I’ve been fitted at Bonobos in NYC and was disappointed. The suits are nice, but their slim pants are anything but. I got the impression Bonobos is more for the clueless pleated panted banker’s weekend than the young set that already has an idea. That’s why you can’t try anything on without a ‘guide.’
Yeah, I felt the same way about the pants. The so-called “slim” are pretty baggy. My ideal amount of slim and taper is in the Express Rocco pants and the Banana Republic Aiden slim-fit chino. Have you tried either of these?
Almost forgot… if you don’t want to wait for Peter Manning sweaters, try Express merino Small and Extra Small. They are always on sale, usually a buy-one-get-one 50% off deal. Very nice fit, high quality sweaters.
For a similar fit but more affordable option, go with H&M (noticeably cheaper, though).
No, I haven’t shopped bonobos yet.
Thanks for recommendation for Express; I’ll try it. I went to H&M, but, yeah the quality looks low.
Have you tried sweaters from jcrew factory? They seems to be highly recommended everywhere I read. But I tried their sport coat once and it was too long.
I just ordered a couple of items from JC Factory (no v-neck sweaters, although they are available in XS). I don’t like J. Crew, for the most part, because they don’t cater very well to shorter men, but right now everything at Factory is 50% off, so this is a great time to try out their XS stuff. I’ll let you know how it works out.
Thanks for the Rocco and Aiden tips, I’ll take a look at those. I’ve been on a quest for a slimmer chino. Gap Slim Tailored would be perfect if it was 1/4″ to 1/2″ smaller at the leg. Peter Manning is a good slim but the waist is off–too big in size 30 (fits like 31) but the rest of the leg is perfect. I’d definitely contribute to a Google Spreadsheet of preferred retailers!
That is an absolutely awesome idea! Please let me know if you end up creating this database. Would you like my direct contact information?
Brock – I love love love reading your blog. Everything you post hits home. I’ve have some of the same exact challenges when I shop and it can get really frustrating when I want a particular piece of clothing and they don’t have my size!
Your photos are the best too. It helps to know that I’m not the only one cursing the retailers while I’m in those dressing rooms. It’s SO hard to find the perfect fitting shirts that aren’t too long. I know they’re out there. I see other guys wearing shirts that just end perfectly past the waistline. Maybe it’s because they’re taller. 🙁
Keep your articles coming…. I look forward to them and they keep me inspired to up my style and know how to do it. 🙂
Thanks for the feedback! I will try to do more “what I wore” type posts in the future. Shirts that are too long (in the sleeves and torso) are the number one complaint I’ve heard from readers. Those taller guys you see with shirts that end perfectly at the waistline are wearing small and medium sizes (like the model in the ASOS shirt above). That’s the problem.
I will certainly keep the articles coming.
I just noticed that my XS shoe trees might be too big for my size-6 dress shoes that I suspected they stretch my dress shoes. Yeah, it’s a pain.
The only time I go to brick-and-mortar stores is when I need to return items. (And, oh, to buy pocket squares.)
Joshua – totally agreed. At least you can return most items to their physical store instead of shipping them back.
Pocket squares…they might be the only item that is truly “one size fits all”.
…Except when I do a tv fold or something similar, I have to do more folds than I like because I believe my front pocket is narrower (custom made sport coat).
Completely agree with you. 100% I hate it. One company I’ve had good luck with is Uniqlo. Their polos fit great. The dress shirts and trousers fit with some minor alterations.
Where do you get decent socks? One size fits all is a scam.
Uniqlo seems to be a good choice for smaller guys…thanks for the tip. Socks, now that’s a dilemma. I don’t get the one-size thing. It’s crazy! I’ve had luck with Happy Socks and Original Penguin, but they’re still too big. I try to shrink them with their first wash, which usually helps.
In general, It seems that Asian brands (such as Uniqlo) have smaller “averages” for their patterns compared to European and American brands. European ones tend to have the slimness down, but then I feel like they are basing their patterns off of long legged viking.
Agreed, although it seems that brands like Uniqlo inevitably adapt their North American lines to our sizes (i.e. overweight and average height).
Sameer Vasta says
Amen, and three cheers for this. Luckily, I have an excellent tailor that helps me with fit, but finding polos (which I generally can’t tailor) or casual, throw-on items is almost impossible.
I hear ya, brother. Most guys can make MTM dress shirts work, plus button ups and trousers can almost always be altered. But tees, shorts, polos… these are tough to find.
Why can’t tees and polos be altered? I assume the key alteration is length, so why can’t a tailor chop off inches and re-hem? Am I missing something? BTW, fantastic article. As a short-ass, I share your pain. Here in Aus, we have a brand called Country Road and I swear their shirts are modeled on orangutans.
They can be altered. Usually it’s a question of cost-benefit. A suit, for example, is expensive and needs to look perfect. A t-shirt might cost more to alter than it would to buy.
But if you just need length adjusted, talk to your tailor (or buy a sewing machine!).
Your orangutan comment reminds of trying on this GAP shirt the other day. I don’t know what has arms that long, but it’s certainly not human.
This rant essentially sums up how I’ve felt about clothes shopping for stylish male clothing for the longest. And thanks for the links and the advice. Thankfully, I live in a pretty good area with bespoke shoppes who can at least give me a push in the right direction. I still try stores like Ross and Burlington from time to time because there’s a marginal chance for success.
Yeah, I try stores like that every now and then too. It’s hard not to be hopeful that you’ll find that hidden gem somewhere in the racks, but it barely ever happens.
If you can afford bespoke, that’s definitely the way to go!
Teddy AGP says
I am 5’9 with broad shoulder. Most shirt are too long for me as I have to use L or XL.
Recently I have known several Japanese raw denim. They also make shirt and their length is just perfect. The cons are that they are pricey and more on the casual side. But quality build is overdesigned and color last long. Some of my fav brands: the flat head, studio d artisan.
I’ve found Japanese outlets or stores with Japanese lines very good. I suppose it’s because their population in general seem more on the small-frame side, so they have to give thought to staying in business! But generally it stands to reason that if manufacturers/outlets cater for average size (which is a movable target anyway) up, they are missing a trick since men on the below-average part of the curve must be as numerous as the above-average. So they are losing a lot of business from people who live in the real world, not the catwalks.
Robert Lee says
Uniqlo only fits short guys who are EXTREMELY THIN AS WELL. Not every guy who is under 5 feet 8 has a 28 inch waist. We have 34 36 38 40 inch waists too, and we don’t want to wear skin tight clothing. It’s uncomfortable and impossible to sit down in.
I find Untuckit to be excellent. The shirts are created to be worn untucked so they are shorter torso size.
Untuckit shirts are nice but I’m 5′ 8″ and they still fall near the bottom of my fly.
Chris W says
I’m 6’2 and my shirts look longer on me than then yours do on you. It’s not about being short
Darryl Willis says
For me a 5’4″ guy it is particularly difficult to find sweaters (pull overs, cardigans, v-necks) that aren’t too long. “Small sizes” don’t fit in length. Target slim fits are the best I can do, but even so they are still too long. What’s a guy to do?
Yeah… knits are tough. You can get them tailored, but not all tailors can do it, and it’s usually expensive. Peter Manning sweaters fit great in terms of length. You can also cuff the sleeves or roll/pull them up.
As far as hem length goes, certain brands work better (H&M, Express).
Paul C. says
I am the same size, and have recently found J-Crew XS sweaters to work well. This is surprising to me given that J-Crew XS clothes are usually much too big.
I’m 5’4 ft 132lb, need some hoodie from h&m and aeropostale. What size fits for me? S or XS? Need your help guys. Thanks from indonesia.
The good thing is these retailers and manufactures are losing $billions every year due to their arrogance rather than their ignorance of the smaller man,they (eg Livis) are catering for tall overweight 24ounce stake eaters while their jeans which they call “denim” are made from cheap and nasty elastain in sweat shop countries, their shareholders do not give a flying fcuk as they purchase designer clothes at thousands of dollars per item.