Ugh..this is so annoying. Do you feel my pain? Allow me to rant…
A while back I expressed my frustration with the clothing industry in this post:
Why Does the Clothing Industry Hate Short Men?
To date, it’s still one of the most popular blog posts on this site. I think that’s because every short man has felt underserved and ignored by major retailers at some point in his life.
Most of us still feel that way, and rightfully so!
Much of my life is dedicated to finding the best clothing for men of modest height. I try out new brands all the time. I research and write about style every single day.
But I still get frustrated when I find a new shirt that I like, but then see this:
Um…what? I must have misread that. There’s no way your 6’2″ model is wearing a medium, right? Of course not. It must be some sort of mistake.
Let’s try a different shirt, different model:
Hmm…that’s weird. Then again, ASOS isn’t exactly a high end brand. Let’s try some designer clothing. It’s supposed to fit better, right?
Looks like a $295 shirt from Rag & Bone won’t fit any better than a $39 shirt from ASOS. Here’s what I don’t get:
A 6’2″ man is at least four inches above average height. So why are all these 6’2″ models wearing medium-sized shirts?
And it gets worse.
This 6’3″ BOSS model is built like a freaking pine tree. His body type is so far from the middle of the bell curve, it’s not even on the chart.
This man in anything but average. He’s nowhere near a representative sample of the human male form.
By anyone’s definition of the word, he is not a medium sized man. He is a large man, maybe even extra large.
Yet he looks pretty damn great in this “medium” shirt made by Hugo Boss.
I don’t use profanity here but WHAT THE F?!
Speaking of wtf, why do XS sweatpants from H&M have 31″ inseams?
And why is L.L. Bean making shirts for giants?
Maybe they took a page from GAP’s playbook?
That’s right: this 6’4″ customer bought a medium because the large was “too big and too long”.
If the large is too big for a 6’4″ guy, how is there any hope for a 5’6″ guy like me?
Not to mention the fact that GAP doesn’t even make short sizes – just tall sizes that are too long for their 6’4″ customers.
Gentlemen, what the hell is going on here?
We – short men – are being overlooked by the clothing industry.
See Also: 67 Popular Fashion Quotes You’ll Love (or Hate)
It doesn’t make financial sense to make clothes that actually fit specific body types, so they mass manufacturer ill-fitting crap that’s good enough for most men.
And shorter gents have it worst. While many major clothiers go out of their way to cater to extra tall or large men, almost no one considers men who are shorter or smaller than average.
Shame on this industry for catering to the masses and ignoring us (especially you, L.L. Bean…I don’t even want your duck boots – we’re done).
But there is hope! Speciality brands that focus on men of modest height have been emerging slowly over the past few years.
I’d like to take a moment to applaud companies like Peter Manning for their work. I hope these brands and the people behind them find all of the success they deserve.
In the meantime, support the brands I mentioned above, and if you need to vent, please do so in the comments section below.
Eugene Hurley says
Glad you are writing about sizing and fit. The problem, however, is not overall height, but “torso height” aka “torso length,” the distance from the armpit to the hip, or according to some sources, from the shoulder to the hip. This has nothing to do with the overall height of a person. A tall person may have a short upper torso, and vice versa. Men’s clothing is designed for the longer torso heights (@18-23″). That is the problem. Apparently, manufacturers deem it economically unsound to make different lines to accommodate different torso heights. Sizing – S, M, L, XL – has nothing to do with torso height, just girth. This same issue occurs in casual pants, such as jeans and chinos. There the garment segment in question is the “rise.” That’s the distance between the waist and the crotch. Manufacturers over the past 20 years have increased the rise by several inches (while also lowering the back pocket position by the same amount) resulting in poor fits for anyone who doesn’t have a big butt and large thighs. Measurements of waist and inseam which are typically supplied by pants manufacturers are of little help in determining whether a pair of pants will really fit in the absence of a “rise” measurement. And garments with incorrect torso heights and rises cannot be tailored because the extra measure of fabric is in the middle, not the ends. Some companies have tried to address the torso height and rise issues – eg, Banana Republic did for awhile. But they gave up. The only men’s clothes where torso height and rise issues are addressed are business suits and blazers, ands some dress pants. There , men with short torso heights can purchase “short” sizes. Considering that millions of men face this problem it is surprising that no company has attempted to make clothing specifically designed to to fit men who have short torsos and need short pants rises. My bet is that it could make a lot of money if marketed correctly.
Alexander Braswell says
I think your mistaken about the fashion industry hating short men. They make clothers for average men. 5’9 165 lbs. Im 6,0 and even large size tshirts are too short. When i raise my arms my stomach is exposed. Do you know any longer shirts? That arnt bigger in the arms and chest
Nicholas Albert says
I am 6′ 2″ as well with about the same chest size as a lot of these models (some less). I am torn between an L and a XL. It’s completely ridiculous that these guys are wearing a medium. Mediums would ride up my back and be very short on my arms. This fake modeling needs to stop!! Some of these dudes look HUGE! how are they always wearing mediums??
Size wise they’re talking about your chest measurements etc, not height. ASOS do have a section for taller people, to specifically accommodate for those who need longer shirts, they also sell brands like TOPMAN that have a range of inseam jeans. One of my guy friends is 5’10 but has super short legs, weird proportions and he loves them.
I’m a 5’9 woman, so an average height male in most nations and in the (approximately) top 5% of height for women globally. I wear a men’s XXS-XXXS if I want a longline hoodie or jumper that fits, maybe with a little room. I don’t think that makes the average man very tiny; or me for that matter. I wear XS for women’s clothing.
Could not agree more. Man, it really steams my turnips. I’m 5’7″ and ~150# with an athletic build. I am old enough that I have long since gotten over insecurity about my height, but I have not and don’t think I will ever get over how stupid I find the sizing and model examples for most menswear. I was just looking at a shirt from Alex Mill, and the model they have wearing the damn thing is 6’4″ and wearing a size medium! I usually wear a S or M, depending on chest sizes, and in this case, their size chart puts me into the size M category. But seeing how the sleeves on the size M are the perfect length for someone fully 9 inches (NINE!! THREE QUARTERS OF A FOOT!!!) taller than me, it’s clear the piece would never EVER look good on me! I could order a small and hope their chest measurements are conservative, and I’m lucky to have a fairly slim, tapered torso south of my armpits so it might work, but are the sleeves one size smaller going to be any better? I highly doubt they’ll be 9 (again, NINE) inches worth of height better. I do not understand it. One of my favorite clothing companies these days is Finisterre, the model you see most commonly for their menswear is 5’10, and they have a 6′ guy and 5’8 guy sprinkled throughout. This seems like a universally better play. Even on a 5’10 guy I can get a good idea of what somethin would look like on me, a 6′-6’2 guy could glean the same info as I could from that. That covers what, like 75% of the height bell curve? Just seems like a no-brainer from purely a business and sales perspective.
Good Article. I agree and whats more annyoying as a short guy with some weight (with an unusually large neck), Cant find a shirt with a large neck that fits slim anywhere so I gotta lose some weight ha – Plus I hate when you look online and it says SALE!.. go the the link.. size XS only..
I thought my wife had it bad. She has to wear childrens sizes because she’s so petite..
Cay James says
As a woman, I am hoping that this chart on height distribution is NOT accurate because if so, it’s…..sad and we all need to move to Norway.
What are you, 12? Norway can have you ✌🏼
As a 6’3” guy, the models wearing size M frustrates me too, but for a different reason: almost all large shirts I buy are too short, especially after a wash. And medium would fit like a belly shirt on me. Maybe these models have exceptionally long legs and short torsos? I’m not convinced the sizes in these ads are accurate, or that the clothing hasn’t been tailored.
US clothing is made for medium height people and sizes scales horizontally more than vertically.
I think weight is the most important factor in clothing sizes. People just carry their weight differently and have different frames. Most of these clothing brands are trendy and cater to a young audience with a “slim” fit. I’m male, 6’4” 180-190 lbs. I usually wear a small, sometimes a medium. Other times a medium from one of these brands is actually way too big for me. I have long limbs, wide shoulders, and a small waist. Without slim-fit clothing options, I’d be swimming in all of my clothes. On the other hand, I know shorter guys who wear larger sizes than me so I don’t think height is the main factor. I personally struggle with pants since they’re always too short and I need a longer inseam. Lastly, if you’re shopping online, I always suggest taking your measurements at home and checking them against the item’s sizing chart. Even then the way it looks (quality, a different type of fit, etc..) might not be what you were expecting.
Sorry I think you’re plain wrong and your ancedote kind of proves it. HEIGHT is by far the most important factor. The clothing industry caters more to width and weight and assumes that the wearer is already tall. You would think that a size SMALL would be equally small lengthwise as body width/diameter, but look at any rack of mainstream brands of jackets or sweaters at the mall and we can see that the hem length from the neck does not vary that much from small to large, which is highly discouraging for guys 5’7″ and below who should really be the ones wearing size SMALL in terms of length. I’ve also seen far more options for wider pants of a certain length than shorter.
It’s fine to disagree, but I don’t see how my anecdote proves your point when I mentioned that I have short friends who wear the same size (They’re nearly a foot shorter and I’ve even traded and given them tops before) or even larger sizes than me and their clothes fit them appropriately. The ones who wear my size have a similar slim frame, and the ones who wear larger sizes are bulkier. From what I see, our torso lengths just don’t vary as much as our limbs which is why it’s possible for us to wear the same size in tops despite being vastly different heights, so it still seems to me that weight and frame matter more when it comes to the size you wear. Sorry, but a bulky person of any height won’t be fitting into a small (for example). Pants are a different story.
Totally agree, the average weight has ballooned in the past 30 odd years from averages of 60 to 90 kg men to 80 to 120+ kg. Heights however have not changed much at all. The clothes that fitted me (5’10) in my youth were size M & now I have to get size XS to fit the same body! Lets be honest about what is happening, the clothing stores are just mass producing the average (heavy) sized clothes to cater for the obesity epidemic we see. Look at film footage from 50 years ago – not an overweight person in sight.
I feel you man, I’m 21 and 5’8″, I used to be slim with a small waist, I could fit into a small top until about 19 years old and then my dads genes kicked in and my frame became wider and its been so hard to navigate clothing. I’m always in between sizes I used to be in between small and medium and now I’m in between medium and large, the medium waist is too tight around my hips and butt so now I have to wear large even though its slightly loose and the length is too long so I have to get my clothes taken in. And then with tops everything is always ‘slim fit’ or ‘muscle fit’ and nothing sits right on me so I wear baggy tops in L or XL to hide my shape.
I honestly dont belive you are 6’4 if you are rocking small or medium.
I am 6’4 (played professional sports so ive been measured many times barefoot)
and I currently wear an XL at 225, but 5 years ago when I was 200lbs I was wearing a L or XL in basically every brand. Even in highschool when I was 6’2, 180lbs I would wear a size large and it was pretty snug.
Unless you have zero muscle mass and tiny tiny shoulder bones and all your heights in your legs, theres no way you are 6’4 and wearing s/m
Yes brud. I’m 6’4″, 180 lbs, and slim. It’s not that surprising. Most of the guys modeling clothes are ~6’2″-6’4″ and wearing a small or a medium. If you shop online, they sometimes tell you under the picture what the model’s measurements are and what size they’re wearing. I’m not sure why this is unbelievable to you when the tall men in this article have the same exact sizing.
Like these guys, I’m just tall and slim and most of my height does come from my legs. I actually said that back in November in my reply below to Mike. I need at least a 34 inseam in pants. He said he’s similar height and they’re too long for him, but he needs larger tops. There’s also someone right above you who said that he’s 5’10″ and needs an XS. Weight and frame make the difference.
Lastly, what you’re saying supports what I said. Weight and frame matter the most with sizing. I wear a small/medium. You currently weigh 45 lbs more than me at the same height so of course you wear a larger size (XL). When you were 20 lbs more than me, you wore a large/XL – about a size larger than me.
6’2″, 180 lbs in high school is shorter than 6’4″ so you needing a large at that weight makes sense because the weight was on a smaller frame. (As an athlete you know this?) You’re a prime example: You grew to 6’4″, 200 lbs and still were able to wear a large despite it being snug when you were shorter. The weight was distributed over your larger frame.
You also said you were an athlete so I assume you had more of a bulky build. I’m not bulky at all and most of these models that share my height and sizing aren’t either.
Mike T says
I don’t have the issue with clothes that shorter people have but can relate to the models displaying clothes. They all appear to be over 6ft and take medium. ALL of them! I am around 6ft 2in (down from 6ft 3.5in due to age) and a tad over 100kg (220-230lbs) and I have trouble with shirts, jackets and trousers. Firstly, I usually buy XXL shirts to get decent sleeve length. If I can get them, XL Tall is a better fit. I’ve always thought my issues with sizing came in part from broad shoulders- so much so that shrinking XXL shirts end up too short in the sleeve. Jackets are sized differently but I still have issues, largely because sizing varies so much between manufacturers. In Superdry my size is XXXL when in others it’s usually XL. Then there’s the ‘slim fit” nonsense which basically means “we’re taking an inch or two off so you have to squeeze into our product”. Trousers are another area of silliness: I’ve come across one jeans manufacturer/retailer who rabbitted on about vanity sizing, yet my 38″ waist is a size 31 in their range. I am astounded by ridiculously generous inseams- you can buy Wrangler jeans up to 38″, where the models have the jeans all scrunched up around their boots. My own Wranglers are 31 or 32″, any more than 33″ and they’re either scrunched, or I have to fold the cuff, or the jeans/pants end up ragged under my heels. I’ve come across relatively few people taller than me and wonder who on the planet needs a 34″ or larger inseam? Those medium-wearing clothes giraffes one sees on manufacturer’s websites?
Perhaps you have a long torso and short legs? Some of us are short waisted with long legs. Many female models are as well. I’m tall, but often, when I sit down next to people shorter than me by 7-8 inches, we can see eye to eye.
I’m 5’10 and female with a true 35” inseam, and I have friends taller than I am, who would need longer pants. Long Tall Sally offers inseams for women up to 38”. Some of the men in my family 6’ and above wear a 34” inseam.
I’m a human being, not a giraffe.
Mike T says
I can wear 34″ trousers, it’s just that I prefer shorter. My legs are pretty long, at least judging by the comments of others, including the monikker ‘giraffe’, although with advancing age ‘hippopotamus’ is probably more apt. I certainly don’t have a long torso and short legs making up my over 6ft. My comment was really about inconsistent sizing rather than inseams- although, if you look at models many have the jeans they’re displaying scrunched up (Wrangler especially) or the cuffs folded or even rolled. A great many jeans websites mention hemming, as if that’s a common request.
My two sisters are 5’10”, I’ll have to ask them what their inseams are.
I guess I’m the elusive giraffe. Lol. I’m 6’4″, 180-190 lbs, male and definitely can not do a 32″ inseam. Those look like capri pants on me. I’ve got really long legs (to the point where other tall people comment on how long they are) and need at least a 34″ and usually have to buy them online. I do, however, wear a small in slim-fit shirts, jackets, and coats with room to spare. Sometimes I need a medium but that’s rare. I’d look like a kid playing in dad’s closet with anything larger.
Andy A says
Not much has changed here now in 2021.
Speaking as a guy on the taller end of things, around 6’2″ (a hair under, but very close to being spot on the 6’2″ mark – most people do not fall exactly on a given number), I do not see how any guy my size could POSSIBLY fit into a medium. To clarify, 6’2″ is not just a little bit taller than average. The AVERAGE in the western world is not 5’10” as some seem to think – it’s 5’9″ according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and closer to 5’8″ globally, which means someone like myself is closer to 5 inches, nearly HALF A FOOT, taller than the average American or British man. I am able to see over the head of my 5’10” friend, if I stand face to face with him. Let’s put it that way.
I’m also not obese at all – I weigh around 200 lbs, though this is mainly just my natural build – I work out a few times a week, casually, have some decent muscle, no belly or anything, and I’m of northern European descent, so we do have a more robust bone and muscle structure than some other demographics – those viking genetics at work. Not fat, though, not overweight, just reasonably fit. The LIGHTEST I could be is about 180 lbs – below that, I’m basically skeletal – the last time I weighed that little, people kept telling me I looked emaciated and needed to eat more. My ribs were showing. Literally, my RIBS were showing when I was just slightly under 180 (178 or so) and my hip bones were protruding. 195 to 200 feels like an all-around healthier weight for me.
So, GIVEN that, what’s my size? Well, my chest is probably somewhere in the 45″ to 46″ range right now. I tend to buy Large sized T-shirts, and my wife complains ALL THE TIME about how tight they are on me. They’re basically skin tight in a lot of cases, especially around the shoulders and arms. My waist size? I can get away with a 32 on the low end but this is really tight – I have fairly wide hip bones for a man so I go with 34, sometimes even 36 or 37 waist depending on the fit of the pants, with a length of 34 to 36, again, depending on the cut, specifically because my wider hip bone structure makes the pants bow inward toward the knees if I don’t get a wider waist – my waist would otherwise be probably a 34.
My wife came home today with a few shirts and pants she bought for me at the store, and had me try them on. One, a hoodie, I started to try on and IMMEDIATELY realized something was off – I couldn’t even get my HEAD through the hole for the head. I had to FORCE it through and it was snug around the neck. I finally managed to get it on and she laughed, because I looked ridiculous – the hoodie, which is built to be baggier than your typical t-shirt, was bulging at every seam and I looked like I’d been stuffed into something meant for a child – I could scarcely move my arms, the sleeves were much too short, and it just felt silly and there’s no way I could have comfortably worn that. My wife had to help me out of it, it was on so tight. Then SHE tried it on – she’s 5’4.5″ – and it was actually a little bit snug even on her!
She’d accidentally purchased a medium. And I asked, because I know a large is usually snug but not SUPER tight in most cases to the point where you can’t even move without ripping it – she was surprised to find that she had and I was right on my hunch! I knew from a lifetime of experience that a medium NEVER fits, larges work though are a bit form fitting, and XL is suitable if I don’t mind a somewhat looser fit. Again, I must stress that I’m not by any stretch of the imagination overweight. Just a big guy.
So here’s what I find: a lot of these modeling agencies, for one thing, only ASK their models what their height is. The thing about that is…men lie about their height, ESPECIALLY when they know it’ll be posted in association with an image of them in an ad. They simply lie. A lot. Hollywood is REPLETE with examples of liars: Justin Timberlake has for years claimed to be 6’1″, yet in photos with 5’10” Andrew Garfield, standing on even ground, he is almost exactly the same height – and this is observable in photos with other people of known heights who are shorter than that. Arnold Schwarzenegger claims 6’2″ but is actually, if you look at photos of him next to his 5’11” daughter, pretty much dead even in height with her – that’s a HUGE difference of 3 inches. It’s assumed he lost some height in his old age but THREE INCHES?!? Brad Pitt claims to be 6’1″ and, again, clusters much closer to a 5’11” or even 5’10” height and appears to wear massive lifts all the time. Tom Cruise is LEGENDARY for his massive lifts, which are occasionally giving him an additional 4 inches – boosting his likely 5’8″ height to the point where he looks to be close to 6 foot. George Clooney claims to be 6’0″, yet consistently can be seen to be much shorter than that next to others who are also listed at 6’0″.
The point here is…if a man can get away with it, he will almost invariably include shoes in the statement of his height, which may add anywhere from 1 to 4 inches depending on how giant the lifts they walk around in are. There are specialty shoes sold specifically for this purpose and they sell well- meaning a lot of shorter guys buy them to look taller. When you go to get your driver’s license in the U.S., they don’t actually measure you – they ASK you your height and you can PICK what height you want to be.
So, with how much men lie about height – men much more often than women – how tall ARE the models, really? Well, in general, MOST men seem to add about an inch, because you can get away with an inch here or there and most people won’t question it – it’s hard to tell the difference by eyeballing between someone who is 5’11” and 6’0″ if one had beefier shoes than the taller guy -some will exaggerate by two inches and a smaller percentage by even three inches, though usually these guys are called out on it because when you’re talking a three inch discrepancy, that’s getting to be REALLY obvious – e.g. if a 5’9″ man claims 6’0″, people are going to notice that he’s not that tall, shoes or not.
So somewhere in the 1 to 3 inch range. Some of these “6’2″” models are probably more like 6’0″ if you take their shoes off and honestly measure them on a level surface. After all, don’t you find it suspicious that SO MANY of them happen to be exactly 6’2″? Not 6’1″, not 6’1.5″, not 6’1.75″, EXACTLY 6’2″. That just doesn’t happen in nature. Most men who say they are 6 foot are more like 5’11.25″ or something like that – three quarters of an inch away from the six foot mark. Some are even closer to 5’10”.
Why is this? INSECURITY and the male image. For some reason, it’s become almost an embarrassing thing to admit that you’re not in the six foot club, even though MOST MEN ON THE PLANET ARE NOT OVER SIX FEET TALL! The average global height is 5’8″, the average in the west about 5’9″, and in asia it’s more like 5’6″. But because media and constant lies from insecure men give the false impression that more guys are 6’+ than actually are, average-sized men in the 5’8″ to 5’9″ range BELIEVE that and feel like they’re somehow less of a man if they don’t measure up to that mythical 6 foot mark, even though on the metric scale that’s not the round number it is in the imperial scale: it’s 183 centimeters or 1.83 meters, not even a round number.
And the 6’2″ marker is similar in that some men feel almost like 6’0″ is tall, but at only 3″ taller than the 5’9″ average, it’s not “tall enough” to stand out. So they go to the NEXT round number, which is 6’2″, because when you see that number it looks like a good, solid, respectable, strong height for a man to be. But upwards of 90% of men on earth ARE NOT 6’2″. They’re under. So you have plenty of 6’0.25″ and 6’0.75″ and 6’1″ guys who claim to be 6’2″ simply because it sounds taller and more manly than 6’1″ which only seems “moderately tall”. Myself, I know from repeated measurements in bare feet that I am usually coming in around 6’1.85″ tall – so actually JUST a hair under that magical 6’2″ – and I do usually just go with 6’2″ because it IS so close you would never know the difference by eyeballing it – far less than an inch. BUT it’s still not that EXACT mark and even I, if I’m being TOTALLY honest, round to that 6’2″ number. Not that I’d have a problem with “only” being 6’1″ but I’m legitimately closer to 6’2″ than 6’1″, in bare feet, and with the fact that your height varies by a cm or two depending on if you just woke up or are late in the day (spinal compression during the day, the fluids leave the discs due to gravity and you lose a tiny bit of height – test it yourself) …..it’s going to overlap that number at some points. But I’d NEVER claim to be 6’3″ or 6’4″ or anything like that because, hey, that’s called lying, not rounding.
ANYWAY. We can presume that these models were not rigorously medically measured for these shoots. I sincerely doubt they’re all 6’2″ on the dot. Most are probably far closer to 5’11” or 6’0″ than they are to 6’2″ (remember…more than 90% of men are less than 6’2″, and more than 99% are under 6’4″), are exaggerating and including shoes in the mix, and going for that 6’2″ number because it looks really stately. But measure them, shoes off, and the story changes. They’re much smaller, I’d bet. And yes, an inch or two in height does make a difference – I cannot fit into the same coat my (just under) 6’0″ brother can.
That, and the modeling industry has a bad habit of hiring skeletons in skin suits to do their modeling. I couldn’t fit into a medium and make it look anything less than painfully skin tight if my life depended on it. I’ve been to many clothing stores, tried on many brands, many, many times, and I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt: you put me, even at my thinnest ever, in a medium, and I’ll rip that thing apart when I start moving around. Because I’m not a genetic freak with 10 inch biceps and a 36″ chest at this height.
Peter Smalls says
First time seeing this, so maybe no one will see this. Anyway, when I was in my 20s, I was 6’2″, 160 lbs. 15-1/2″ neck, 39″ chest, 30″ waist. Totally MEDIUM, but the ONLY shirts that fit me correctly were Med. TALL, so I had to buy my clothes from places that sold Tall sizes: Sears; J C Penney; Lands’ End; Eddie Bauer; etc. Nor could I buy pants that did not have a specific inseam, because Small or Medium were too short, unless they also had them in Tall.
Now I wear Large (Chest 43, waist 34) and sometimes need Tall, sometimes not. Some better clothing makers make Lg. with the sleeves long enough (35 sleeve). The shirts from cheap/discount retailers almost never have long enough sleeves.
As to the original post, while it seemed to focus on the writer’s (Brock?) impression that a guy 6’2″ could not possibly be a Medium, he seemed to forget that sizes have as much or more to do with girth than height. That’s why size charts for tops always go by neck, chest and waist size, rather than height. The clothing makers then try to gear the length to the average height of guys that size. So an average Medium shirt might have a sleeve length of 32-33. So in that respect, I agree that there is no way the models who are 6’2″ and 160 lbs. are wearing a Medium off the rack and have the sleeves go all the way over their wrists. They may be a Medium in chest size, but there is no way the sleeves are going to be long enough for their arms.
Mate, I’m a 5 foot tall girl. Sure, I’m on the shorter side for American women (about 5’2″), but for my race I’m bang-on average. I’m certainly not outside of standard deviation.
I can’t find any adult clothes that fit me. I still buy clothes from the children’s section. I have very little choice in this regard as most of these clothes have some kind of children’s cartoon character on them.
I tried to order a shirt online recently. The size S was for a woman 5’8″ tall. That’s bullshit! The *smallest* size they have is 5 or 6 inches taller than the average American woman! How the hell are they supposed to make a profit like that?
The shirt arrived and of course I was absolutely swimming in it. Could almost have worn it as a dress.
It’s fucking nonsensical. All the other South Asian women I know seem to get their clothes from relatives, from someplace in Asia, or they make or tailor them themselves. But the rest of my family is far taller than me, I don’t have many connections in Asia, and I’m absolutely shit at sewing. It’s driving me up the bloody wall.
Clothing sizes are not based on height but height will impact fit. Clothing sizes are mostly designed for your chest.
Large clothes are not designed for tall people. They are designed for overweight people.
Clothes are intended to be worn by a wide range of sizes. This way manufacturers can make less variety.
The solution is to always try on small and medium ( I don’t do tall since I am not overweight but I am tall). Also some stores make their clothes longer or shorter or slimmer or wider. Find out about various stores and you will eventually figure out where to get shirts that fit you.
Amazon is a good choice, imo. You can get prime and do their wardrobe feature where you don’t get charged unless you decide it fits. Order multiple brands, multiple sizes. Try it and take it back to Kohl’s if it doesn’t fit.
I’m 5’4″ and 120-130 lbs. I’m beginning to think that the only good solution will be to make my own clothing. I’ve already gotten pretty good at alterations…
I just wanted to point out that as a 6’2 lean male (similar dimensions to the pictures), I definitely don’t fall into the ‘ton of options’ category in reality.
I am just as boggled as you are when i see ‘6’2 model wears size medium’, because medium isn’t long enough in the hem or arm. I guarantee when any of those models raises their arms or bends over, their cuffs will be half way up their arm / the hem will be half way up their back.
For me, this sucks, because Medium often fits in the chest but is too short, so my only option is to go for a baggy large that’s long enough for me. It makes it incredibly hard to find something that doesn’t look too big or too small.
Peter Smalls says
One option that always worked for me was to buy clothes in Medium Tall size from stores that carried Tall lines (Sears, J C Penney, Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, and there are others.) I never had an issue with sleeves being long enough if I bought TALL size).
Luke Saville says
This may have been mentioned before, but the issue is perhaps that these clothes are aimed at a young consumer base. The models used are all young, and the clothes are designed to look best on tall, young frames. This means they do not ake into account fat distribution or shorter men nearly as much as they should. As a six foot slim guy I luckily benefit from this, but truly do sympathise because any shorter and I would be at a loss.
Different brands are marketed at different body types. You have trouble finding stuff that fits, I’m 5’10” and was super skinny up until recently (and my older bro was a few inches taller and skinny) and let me tell you that it was very very difficult to find shirts that fit us until the brands you probably hate started hitting American malls (H&M for example). T-Shirts that fit us width wise were never long enough. If we raised our arms half our belly would show. And dress shirts were an absolute no go (and still mostly are in places like Dillards etc, it’s only places like the ones you noted above that fit). for the body to fit, the neck would never button or the sleeves would be too short. As someone else noted above, most a very large percentage of Americans are bulked up or overweight. But back to the point. Take Banana Republic for example. BR = skinniest, Gap = “more relaxed” and Old Navy = baggy. Note the prices are inversely related to the size of the clothes – the going assumption I guess is that rich people eat slimmer or got rich off their slim appearance or something. So I for one was thankful when places like H&M and Express started popping up so I’m not stuck at only B&R to find anything that doesn’t fit like a parachute.
Both of my sons are both athletic and very skinny. My older son is 20 years old and wears mens medium he is 5’7″ and clothes fit him somewhat well. He does need to gain a little more muscle (like someone said in comments) and he would probably have a perfect fit. However, my younger son is 18 years old he is 6’1″ and everything is short on him. He actually looks ridiculous because he needs a medium around the chest/waist and XL for length. When I buy him extra large he is swimming in it because he isn’t an extra large. Maybe I need to look at Lands end or Americantall.com that was mentioned in the comment above. They do have websites now like Moderntailored.com shirts start at $20 and go up and Tailorstore.com shirts seem to be at $59-$80. I’m finding that there are a few more size options and more places that have custom fitting for reasonable prices. I will have to look and see if I can get some deals. Good luck and healthy happy shopping to you.
Tall people are also overlooked. It’s just business. I’m 6’8″ and XL polo shirts may fit my shoulders but they are too short to tuck in and the sleeve sits much higher on my bicep due to relative arm length. There’s a new website americantall.com and it is awesome for me!
Respectfully, I think you are mistaken. This is based on my own experiences as a 6′ 175# (tall and average to slim body type) male.
First, it would make no sense at all for clothing manufacturers to cater their clothes to an exceptional part of the population (taller men). I can’t see why any company would do this in our capitalistic society.
As a tall and average/slim male, I feel like NOTHING fits me right. Pretty much every shirt I try on is too short, ending at or just above my belt loops. I would comfortably fit into a size Medium if clothes were at all tailored for tall people. Most of the time I have to size up into a Large to avoid looking like I’m wearing a crop top. However, size Large fits me like a muumuu, much too wide. I’ve struggled my entire life with the fact that clothes are overwhelmingly tailored for shorter, rounder people.
However, I do agree that the “This model is 6’1 and wearing a size M” is bullish**. I have never seen a retail clothing photo caption that listed anything besides a size M. I honestly think the captions are probably made up (predetermined by marketing people) and not at all factual about the model’s height and shirt size.
Have you tried the women’s clothing section? It might fit your needs.
Also it’s funny how L.L. Bean is #1 for 10-2019 right below your article.
Michael Wald says
Seems like we need a bigger voice. Blogs and scattered print advertising aren’t cutting it, if we want them to stop ignoring us, we need to speak so loudly that they flat out can’t ignore us anymore. That’s what the big & tall men and plus sized women did –and now you can’t go two feet without tripping over a specialty store for them.
Unfortunately, Peter Manning is not a solution. $88 shirts and $98 jeans are just not acceptable prices when “average” sizes are widely available for less than $30.
This article, while heartfelt, is muddling height and girth. Large and tall, like small (width) and petite (height) are not interchangeable although one can be both or neither. The male models are very tall but disproportionately slender- medium shoulder, chest, weight and hip circumference but long torso and inseam. The very broad shouldered, whether by the bone structure of an ox, muscular or obesity, would require large or larger size no matter the height. Same goes for female models who are 6’+ but extra small in width. ‘Ready to wear’ clothing is manufactured with long sleeves and legs because the consumer can remove but not add length to the items. Gentlemen I urge you to buy the size that fits your shoulders and hips. Then have the details tailored. Sharp and refind trumps tall and sloppy any day!
Michael Wald says
Doesn’t work if you need to buy the smallest size (S) to fit your shoulders, but it’s too tight everywhere else…
I’m so sorry to hear about this issue but I can totally relate as a petite woman who always feels frustrated by this kind of descriptions, particularly on sport clothes websites. I’m 5’1” and usually wear an S size (I’m 7 1/2 st but not exactly what you call “flat” around the chest and buttocks) and these descriptions can get so surreal, specially on Adidas and Reebok sites where the “models” are usually 5’11” or even up to 6’1” and always wear size S!!
It does harm someone’s self-esteem a little because what size exactly are we, shorties, supposed to wear then, according to their system? A toddler’s !? Plus, I’ve made the terrible mistake of shopping for XS clothes from those websites on the grounds of those silly standards and then it turned out that the sleeves and legs were still ridiculously long while stupidly tight (!) and believe me, I’m the kind of person who gets away with wearing children’s clothes all the time. so those “descriptions” only add to the whole ludicrousness of the situation!
Most of those tall female models are the same size around as slender, petite women, or even smaller. What size should a 5’10”’ woman with a 32” chest, 23” waist, and 34” hips wear, if not a small?
Add in a fuller bust, long inseam and arms, and broad shoulders, and finding clothes that fit well becomes very difficult. Particularly blouses that will fit the waist and chest.
I think that people are conflating height and weight. You can be tall and slim, or short and heavy. Retailers should offer different hem, shirt, dress and sleeve lengths in all of the sizes, to accommodate people of different heights.
The fit of the shirt COMPLETELY depends on the build of a person’s upper body, especially from working out/gym. Honestly man, these models don’t workout, have narrow shoulders, and have relatively small chest sizes for their height.
I’m 5’8, 160 lbs with an athletic build and I always fill out the Medium shirts well… as I add on more muscle mass I’ll eventually have to move up to Large (around the 180lb range).
I’m not trying to be arrogant but if you start hitting the gym and bulk up, you’ll won’t ever have to worry about shirt sizes being too big.
I agree that, for the most part, a muscular physique will fill out clothes in a flattering way, but if you’re 5’6” adding 15 lbs of muscle will barely impact shirt length. Sleeve length will be virtually the same.
I hear this advice all the time, but I think people vastly overestimate the effect bulking up can have on clothing fit (length, in particular).
I’m 5’7 178lb. I’m lean and muscular..the way the body is even if you get big it wont lift your shirt like you think @picklerick. Your chest will get big and lift the front but the back (even if jacked) will still be draping over your ass. I have to buy all Large and get my tailor to hem the length and sleeves accordingly. This is especially tough with button ups to wear un-tucked. This makes clothes a very expensive venture since adjusting a button up adds another $40-$50 to the shirt. Its ridiculous… The US population is so fat its crazy to have stick figure models wear a medium. At 150 I was still broader than these 6’2 models
Well, I am 6.2 and 185 – 200lbs (depending on season – I bulk up and slim down as I do a lot of sports). I can tell you that these models truly do wear sizes M, typically. I wear an L, very seldom M and very seldom XL. I used to look at it askance myself, but then I did my own comparison (sizes, appearance) and find the info provided as credible. What could be the expalantion? First, Americans truly are bulkier (don’t want to say fatter, but… alas) than Europeans, and those shots are often of European men. Also, Americans (mostly rural) still prefer loose clothes, and they do not even realize how big it is. They would see, if they saw themselves with other people’s eyes. (Nothing wrong with comfort, btw., I myself hate tight clothes). As to why the industry chooses these models, a fair question. But seriously guys: Are we now gonna act like girls and demand that the industry shows us men who look like an average Joe from the local pub?
I’m 6’2 220lns. I wear medium fitted shirts ?
Are you asking?
I’m 6’2″(188cm) and my chest is 37-39 inches(96-100cm), however my shoulders are 19 inches(49 cm).
It makes an awkward situation where Medium size clothes fit me perfectly but the shoulders, meaning I have to go Large as Medium makes my shoulders too stressed. When I do wear Large, which go nice on my shoulders, however it makes my waist part look funny, as if I’m larger than I actually am, and in addition the shirts often go way under my waist line and overlay my pants too much.
Recently I bought a puffer jacket, after I’ve seen two models wearing it, while is states one is 188cm and wear M and the other one is 186cm and wear L. As I knew there’s no way a Medium would fit me, I’ve chosen the Large, but then again around the waist it was really wide, but I knew if I would have taken the Medium it would put pressure on my shoulders. So yeah, not ideal body shape I guess, or maybe the fashion stores should start deviding the shirt sizes into two parameters, waist size and shoulders size?
I’m 6ft 4 and ‘normal’ build (17st), it’s impossible to find stuff long or broad enough that isn’t designed for fat blokes.
At least shorties can buy kids clothes…
A bit of a Valkyrie says
My theory is that clothing retailers don’t make clothes that fit well on real people so that you keep buying more clothes in the hope that THIS ITEM might be the one that fits and doesn’t make you feel like you are unfit to go out in public (ok, being overly dramatic here, but you get what I mean)… My boyfriend is 6’3″ with a 33″ waist and 36″ chest, which would be easy to dress in theory (here’s the freak that fits all these shirts that you show) – except that his shoulders are 23″ from side to side. Pretty much every t-shirt and shirt either looks like he is wearing a tent or like it has shrunk in the wash. What one commenter above said is true – the guys in the photos tend to have pins and stitches put in for the photo to make it fit well. I’m going to teach myself to tailor shirts because I happen to have a similar problem, larger chest, shoulders and hips, small waist. That way we can both look half decent without spending hundreds on shirts/blouses…
The fashion industry definitely seems to believe that the world is made up of petite women and tall, stocky men. Oh how very 1950ies! As a 5’10” woman, I can tell you that it is pretty ironic to know that all fashion models are my height (but close to half my weight, too many pies, not enough running, mea culpa), yet all the clothes in the shops seem tailored for a 5’5″ woman. There are slowly more and more tall options, but just like with the shorter sizes for men, it’s the exception, not the rule and the stuff always sells out in a flash. When you look at how quickly certain sizes sell out, surely fashion houses should twig that it may be worth stocking more of the product? Here’s to everyone finding clothes that make them feel good, whether tall or short or skinny or fat. If they can be produced fairly and sustainably, that would be fantastic as well.
Weirdly shaped guy? says
This article puts into writing what many men that shop online are feeling. For me, i’m 6″ and 85Kg. It’s frustrating that they do not include the weight of the model in the info.
Because I know for certain that when 6″3 Hugo Boss is wearing a size M that It will be as tight as a sock on me. I used to work out a lot, but I’m hardly what you would consider ‘bulky’ or even as muscular as these models appear to be.
Even when I try to compensate with a large in place of a medium, the shirt’s are still often too short?! How does that even work when a guy 2 or 3 inches taller is apparently wearing a medium? there is some dark magic at play with the cameras I believe.
I’m 5″11 and I pretty much always wear small. I cannot imagine who would fit in large, XL or even XXL.
You have it all wrong, it’s the tall people they hate. Have you tried ordering the medium? The ones the models are wearing have been altered so that they are longer just to fit the model. There are no shirts out there for tall thin guys, like the pine tree built guy mentioned above. I am only 5’11” maybe a little long torsoed but still I cant find a shirt long enough to reach my belt unless it’s either large tall which flaps like a cape in the breeze behind me or a xxxl which is like wearing a 5 person tent. Their false advertising is obviously affecting both ends of the spectrum but atleast to get a shirt that is too long you could have it hemmed, they can’t add any more shirt to it when you belly button to your butt crack is all visible. Having a large tall or a xxxl hemmed up the sides leaves the neck hole and the sleeves hideously oversized.
The tall sizes aren’t any better, they get taller and wider. yeah those models may be wearing a medium but i guarantee they are clipped in the back then…and I still doubt they are a medium. I have dated a number of men who are over 6 feet tall who cant find shirts because they get their size and its a crop top or buy a size or two up which is longer but then is the same width as height so the bigger they get, they assume you are 300lbs at 6 foot 2. Also not made for many men…
and honestly if you are 5.6 . those are basically kids/teener sizes, i mean no disprect I but work in the fashion industry, and we aim at the averages of the country based general sizes. so yea, sometimes youre an american S( americans are fat averaged(sorry)) while youre a italian L (italians are smaller averaged) this is the way we look at things, and so do I. I really do realise your frustation, but its all about the money. dont make a big deal out of it. go xxs even xxxs are out there, otherwhise go kids man. no way around. good luck
you re moaning. if you are talking bout high end brands the picture you took as example is obviously a oversized model. and the other pictures are like none tailored shirts. these clothes only look like proper fitted on tall guys lol. theyre pictures not reality, they probaly would look weird walking down the street.all part of marketing. I mean im 6.1 and I wear S/M like adidas kinda fits if im looking for a tight fit cause im kinda ripped. but if i wear like a gucci shirt trust me im a L at least. and with that said, most high end brands go as far down like XXS. you need to be quick for these sizes. but high end brands dont hate short guys ( most italians are small as fuck,consider this lol). fast fashion brands are shit anyway. cmon, dont waste your time on fast fashion morals lol.
I’m a chick, not a dude… but I’m 5’10 (which is supposedly tall for a female) and I’m a small (sometimes extra small depending on the brand). I’m not stick thin either but I have a 27 inch waist. Size 6 (American sizing). A medium is too loose around my stomach. But people assume I should wear a larger size because of my height. I’ve literally gone into clothing stores and had the sales person hand me a medium or large without asking what size I wanted. It also doesn’t help that I have a sizable chest (E cup). Well no… it does. Damn it I love my boobs.
Peter B. says
I used to have some luck buying online mainly from Korean and other Asian brands that cater to shorter men specifically, but now that I’m older and have put on some weight that’s no longer an option because their sizes are tiny and usually “fitted” to boot. It’s not easy out there for us short folks lol.
Rhian Tennant says
I’m in a different kind of dilemma with my husband. He is 6″, wears a 29-30″ waist and a 34″ inseam. Yes, he is very slim. There is nowhere to get pants!!! I have to order, return, order, return until we find good ones, because they are just not in the stores. It’s a nightmare.
Dude I’m 6.2 and I wear S of everything
My father is 6.8 and he’s wearing a f*ing Medium
There in lies the problem!
Devon Scott-Tunkin says
I think the sizing is mostly based on chest size and not height. I am 6’4″, 190lbs, 38-40in chest and 33in pants waist. I wear a Medium Tall in any brand that has one. The sleeves are usually 1/2 an inch too short still with the shirt length a little long, but a Large Tall is just way too baggy and long, even slims (although the shoulders on a large probably fit slightly better, in general a Medium Tall fits better overall). I think brands think it’s easier to tailor something shorter than to tailor something longer so they often err on the long side for one size fits all (although never long enough for me to even get away with an untall Large). I do feel for you guys, brands only started making more Medium Tall options and only in select styles online only in the last 5 years. I think Gap was the only one 10 years ago. I hope we see some Short options in the future!
I’m 5’11” with like a 40-42 chest and somewhat broad shoulders, and when I try on shirts in stores I’m either a M or L, and I work out and don’t plan to stop, so I lean towards L becuase I think I’ll gradually get bigger. I don’t have the problem some of you shorter guys do, and I feel for you, I used to work in retail and fitting guys with that build for shoes and shirts and pant length isn’t easy. My problem is that I want to take advantage of good deals online like guiltgroup and hautelook, and I see that the model is 6’2″ wearing a medium and I lose all confidence in knowledge of my size. Wtf… I’m going to give a few larges a go and see what happens.
As someone that’s been in the menswear industry for 10 years as a designer, I’ll shine some light on this…
Fit models – both male and female, are aliens.
Speaking strictly for men, one might assume that these models can’t be that tall and wear that small of a size based on real world knowledge of tall guys. Their shoulders and hips should grow in proportion to their height.
Of course, going back to my comment about them being aliens, this isn’t the case. There have been many times where we’ve had to turn away great models because their shoulders were too wide or had too wide of hips.
The male models we’ve worked with tend to be tall, muscular and lean but not wide.
The generic reason for using tall fit models (which clothes sizes are based off of) is that you “cast a wider net” in terms of customers. A shorter guy can get a shirt tailored down to fit him, but a brand that uses a shorter guy for a fit model doesn’t have this luxury. You can’t “tailor a size up” using fabric that isn’t there.
Even more frustrating, there’s no real standard for fit model measurements. That’s why some brands you might be a size 32 in pants, others you might be a size 30. It’s all a matter of designer preference.
Niels Hanson (@TheCh0sen22) says
Another thing that isn’t being mentioned here; While I do believe the information being provided (model height, size they are wearing) is often correct and that these models are certainly not the norm, the clothing they are wearing often appears too small in the pictures.
Many times I see in the model pictures the shirt they are wearing is long sleeved and they have the sleeves rolled up. I firmly believe this is because if they rolled them down they would be ridiculously short. Also I’ve seen many pictures of these website models in outerwear and L/S shirts with cuffs that end a good 1-2 inches short of the wrist, and it simply does not look good.
The stores tend not to size up to a Large as then the clothing would appear baggy on the super-slim and narrow model they are using. Sometimes people complain that fashion can only look good on models. I argue the opposite appears to be occurring in this case, that this off the rack fashion hardly ever looks good on the model.
I can get on board with a good ‘tailored’ look, and even super slim jeans (on the right body type). But what I can’t agree with is wearing clothing that is clearly a size or two ‘too small’.
Yes. And appear super-baggy on real people as well.
I always thought that the small/med/large was supposed to be related to torso-size, not height. I thought that most clothing manufacturers based their “regular” length sizing off of the northern hemisphere’s average male heoght of 5’10” -6’0″
My sons are 6’0/athletic-slim and 6’4″/slim. The 6-footer wears a medium, because the neck of a large is loose, the shoulders sag, and the armpits flap. The son who is 6’4″ wears an MT or MXT He would look like a scarecrow if he were to wear an L or XL to accommodate his height. Even in a medium, I try to find the “slim fit” lines, where they are available.
Just as they make “tall” (and XT) sizes for people who are taller than average don’t, don’t they make “short” sizes for people who are shorter than the average?
I buy tall sizes for my tall kid. Seems like a short person could always buy the short sizes.
They don’t make them.
I’m 6’2″, and my roommate is 6’5″. We both wear size medium (including ll bean)…in fact, he wears some small shirts too I think. I think shirt sizes more reflect BMI rather than height. Although it definitely perplexes me why all these models are 6’2″ in the first place…
It basically comes down to this – If you aren’t the standard size, you have to try it on.
I agree – it’s stupid. But it equally applies to those of us that are not “modest,” just undertall. It’s just as much a nightmare trying to find things that fit properly for someone 5’8″ with a 48″ chest and a 10″ drop.
So im 5’1 and live in the UK and I find it so difficult to find clothes that actually fit. Theres quite a few brands in the states that do clothing for shorter guys but in the UK its impossible to find.
Brock, I’m very much in agreement with you here. While I think the answer to bad products is voting with your feet, it’s not quite that simple for shorter men due to the limited options we have. It gets frustrating spending hours and hours, traveling to different stores or even physical locations just to get a simple shirt! Often we end up with clothes that “kind of fit”, and we have to spend more money at a tailor to get them just right.
Ironically, I’ve found that my best option for a quality looking fit is going to Marshall’s or the thrift store. There’s often dozens of brands you can pull off the rack and try on. If you like the shape of the fit but the sizing is too big or small, you can go up or down a size. Even though it’s the best option I’ve found, it’s never quite exactly right. Sometimes a trip to the tailor will fix minor issues with fit or sizing. Still, I don’t always have a whole day just to get a decent shirt, and I’d much prefer to buy a quality brand where I KNOW it’s going to fit. That’s why I’m excited about your announcement. Keep me updated!
I’m in agreement and empathise with your sense of frustration. It’s getting harder and harder to find clothes OTR that fit, especially now that I understand what fit is. For years and years I was wearing clothes that must have been too big for me and I wasn’t even aware of it. There is some good news. In the past couple of years Uniqlo has opened in my neck of the woods and I find many of their items fit me well, although the sleeves on their blazers are usually far too long. I take a XS in Uniqlo clothes and have pants shortened (a service which they offer for free!) The other good news is the trend towards shorter jackets; if it wasn’t for that I’d find buying sport jackets that fit length-wise to be an impossibility. Next month I am travelling to Hong Kong and I hope to find clothes that fit the shorter man.
Excellent presentation and analysis, consistent with all of your wonderful posts.
As a 40-year-old man, 5’4 and 135 pounds, lean and muscular build, I used to dread going shopping for clothing and now thanks to some online options along with a successful livelihood that allows me to buy made-to-measure and bespoke clothing, I very rarely even go into a clothing store or buy from a mainstream clothing company.
A couple of thoughts… first, despite the use of oddly sized models, I do believe, based on conversations with friends, that if you are a man in that 5’7′ to 5’10” range than you find plenty of stuff off the rack that fits you. If you are that size, then chances are the 30″ inseam and the 32-33″ sleeve length fit you. No doubt about it, frankly. If you are taller, say up into that 6’2″ range then you’re probably fine, too. It’s the extremes that find no options. If you are “big and tall” then you have stores, but I don’t believe there are any “short and small” stores.
My sense of it is this… First of all, America is a country filled with lots of big and increasingly fat people. As I said, I’m 5’4″ and very rarely do I encounter a man who is shorter than me (aside from in my very large extended Italian-American family which has many men in my range or in my neighborhood, which is Italian American as well; and when I’m in Italy, I have no problem finding off the rack clothing that fits me, so I’m certain this is an American issue). This is a country that barring an interest in some quarters (such as this one) in well fitting clothing, has no sense of sizing and fit. People are content to walk around in ill-fitting clothing because they don’t know any better or because they deem such clothing to be comfortable.
Fortunately, blogs such as yours are turning the tide. I have purchased some clothing from Peter Manning and been very happy with the fit, though some of the styles are a little too “New England” for me. Since $$ are the bottom line, I’m confident that if we give our business to the few stores that actually think about our needs, then hopefully, if the numbers are there, we will see an increase in options all around.
It’s seem to me if you want a shirt that fits comfortable around the neck (I’m 5’3″,.155 lbs., with a 17″ neck), especially if you want to wear a tie, and if you have a 32″ sleeve like I do, you may have to order a custom shirt from somewhere like Paul Fredrick. In addition, if you live in a small town, good luck in obtaining anything in your size.
Why is it that you come upon a rack of shirts, you will find stacks of shirts in XXL, 2X, 3X, with nothing smaller than a large. And if you noticed, no one is even these buying shirts. I have been to a certain store with a Big Red Bull eye 2-3 times a months and I will find those same shirts still on the rack. You would think they would get the hint by now!
Raymond, I too, have had to resort in buying shoes in the women’s department that look halfway masculine. One good shoe company that comes to mind is Clarks that carries masculine looking shoes. There is also a Shoe company in my area, and in most area of the country called SAS. They carry a good list of men’s shoes, and I have found in the women’s section, shoes that look masculine as well.
Haha, great text, i totally agree with you! 🙂
For me best brand with smaller clothes is Gas Jeans, its very popular in Europe.
This is actially easy to explain: because the labeled size of clothing is based on chest girth rather than height. A sensible sizing system would vary both by width and length, like some suit manufacturers have. But this means creating more SKUs and making fewer items of each variation, which increases costs.
By launching a brand dedicated to shorter men, you are effectively creating those missing SKUs.
I am glad I found this site. I’m preaching to the choir, but yes, I’m also incredibly frustrated by the lack of decent looking smart casual and dress clothing for smaller men, and the radically varying sizing between companies/brands.
I’ll add another point to the mix, if you have less than a size 8 foot, good luck finding a store to find nicer smart casual shoes. Any recommendations there? I’ve tried all that I can, and while Clark’s tend to fit me the best, they’re starting to make a lot fewer shoes in under 7’s.
Oh, and outdoor recreation gear (go try on an XS Patagonia Snowboard Jacket for an example and watch as it could fit another person inside of it with you)? Nope.
It’s the same crap we’ve been getting our whole lives for being short just magnified more so. I worked in retail for about 7 years, and from what I could tell, brick-and-mortar retailer buyers are petrified of over-inventory. That just leads them to decide not to carry anything except the “core” median sizes. However, it’s a catch-22, because short men tend to shop less at brick-and-mortar because they never have our sizes, so it looks like we buy less.
That’s fine, those of us with the means need to pay a little extra and support the newer manufacturers that cater to us and prove that we’re a worthwhile market.
I’m glad to have found this site, and it’s helpful to know that I’m really not alone in these feelings of frustration that I’ve had for a while now.
Didn’t I hear that Mango shirts fit well?
Hit and miss in my experience. I have a sweater from them that fits great (xs), but a Henley in the same size is too big all around.
The Kentucky Gent says
I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. 6’4″ and thinner. I tend to wear mediums because larges are too big in the shoulders and make me look 10 pounds heavier, but mediums are almost always too short.
Josh | The Kentucky Gent
Sounds like Mediums would fit you really well if you were a couple if inches shorter.
Do the “tall” sizes (like a Medium/Tall from J. Crew) work out better for you?
I am the tall wife of a short guy. We live in Italy, the home of the small frame women and men. Try to buy a medium here for me and the item will never pass your elbows or reach your waist, if you are a tall.. born in Maine, female. Born in Maine tells you that I understand LL Bean. The men in that state are sizeable. They have tall frames, long waist, long legs and arms. My poor husband swims in those clothes. I have purchased 5″ inseam shorts from LL Bean and they are just right for him. I think you have to observe where the clothes are made and find the ones that best fit your frame. If ordering from the Internet, the customer comments are most helpful. I love to read that the sleeves are too short when ordering a shirt for my husband and that the sleeves are too long when ordering for myself.
Agreed that the comments are super helpful, and you should pay attention to where your clothes are from.
But I’ll stand by my point: a 6’2″, 175 lbs man should not fit in a Small sized shirt. That’s ridiculous (even in Maine).
..especially in Maine!
Hey, Please make your clothes line available in India. We do not get anything of worth for short men here. Even the international brands are all dump of tall Americans and Australians,
Yup, we’ll be able to ship to India!
Perseus Wong says
Can you tell us anything more about the label you’re planning to debut? What kind of shirts are they? Sounds fascinating.
The first release is a casual button up shirt – meant to be worn untucked (not a dress shirt). It will be available in three different fabrics and colors.
The design is on trend but not trendy – think J. Crew or Club Monaco. They will be made from high quality fabrics in the USA.
It’s a limited run, available by pre-order. So – very soon now – I’ll write a post to debut the shirts, show pictures, give sizing info, etc.
And anyone can order one (or three!), then we’ll produce and deliver as long as a minimum quantity is hit.
Best way to stay updated on this is to jump on my email list:
Khoi N. (@lifeaskhoi) says
Great post btw…I love the charts!
Khoi N. (@lifeaskhoi) says
Thanks for pointing this out Brock. There needs to be more coverage on this clear prejudice in the clothing industry. They clearly know that they’re isolating a huge portion of the market, but they don’t seem to care. Makes me sick really. It’s a good thing companies such as the ones you mentioned and yourself are emerging to fight the good fight. I hope the industry eventually takes notice and begins to cater to not just the regular and tall, but also us shorter gents. It’s only right!
I think that after the big companies see these niche companies becoming successful, they’ll take notice and start to copy. It’s only a matter of time.
Who knows, maybe they’ll even try to buy the Peter Mannings of the world, rather than try to recreate a small men’s brand for themselves (which, as we all know, is tricky).
Raymond Michael Corral says
I’m 5’1″ with a120 lb. athletic build. For now, I’m buying off-season clothes at sixty + sometimes 70% off and having them altered. Most often the alterations cost more than some of the clothes i buy, which isn’t such a bad thing. My intention is to find a few nice pieces and hiring a seamstress or tailor make similar styles for me. I don’t care about labels. I care about classic & casual styling, quality, and fit. I struggle more with shoes. My shoe size can be anywhere for size 5 to 6. which is NOT a men’s shoe size here in the US. I can get European shoes, size 35-36 for about $300 for dress shoes. I have several pairs of women’s oxfords that I have dyed for a more classic, masculine look. My anger has driven me to to become successful enough to start my own line regardless of how small the “jockey “market is. I’m a Master Life Coach and Hypnotherapist and work with both men and women struggling with there image as it relates to their size anywhere on the spectrum. Believe it or not, there are many people who struggle because they are “just average”. I remember a time in my life when being “average and ordinary” would have been an upgrade. I was 4’7″ 67 lbs when I started high school and 4’10” 84 lbs. when I graduated.
I’m available for anyone who may need some coaching along these lines.
Eric Huang says
Hey Brock! Thanks for the shoutout!
We’re very excited to be joining this small group of menswear companies focused on actually providing clothes for us guys 5’8″ and below!
Looking forward to trying on the shirts!
Please tell me that your line will be availabe internationally!
It will! Working to make shipping reasonable, but it will definitely be available.
Awesome news! I get so frustrated when i read about amazing clothes lines only to find out that they dont ship internationally. You should make a post about companies that ship internationally, as im sure that you have lots of international readers!
I can’t say I’m angry about this (at age 76 & 5’4″, I’ve been living with this height problem for a long time) but I’ve never understood why manufacturers ignore us short guys. On the sale racks, I see plenty of L, XL, & XXL, no S, & few M. Shouldn’t this clue them that maybe they’re making too many of the big sizes? Also, we may make up a minor segment of the population but there’s still a lot of us; too many for a business to ignore.
I see the same thing! Never understood that either. If there’s an excess of L, XL and XXL, why make the same quantity year after year?
6’5″ here and nothing in stores fits either. Large is too short and baggy, medium is even shorter. Don’t get me started on finding long enough pants without a huge waist. Models shirts are custom tailored for models and don’t represent the real product
Simon Miles says
Things are just as bad here in the UK and designer clothing is the worst of the bunch. I don’t see how any typical 6ft 3 male could possibly have a 38ins chest – I’m 5ft 6 and generally considered slim, and I have a 38ins chest. What really annoys me is small size clothes that are actually too tight for me in the chest but still much too long in the body and sleeves. As you say, who exactly are these clothes supposed to fit? Bravo Peter Manning et al – and thanks for promoting these brands. I only wish there were similar options over here, as shipping, VAT and import fees from the US into the EU nearly doubles the price (but at least the clothes will actually fit).
Hopefully there will be more UK options soon. I did hear from these guys recently – https://www.purple-hat.co.uk/ – but haven’t tried them out yet (I think they were going to send a shirt…I’ll keep you updated if it arrives).
Simon Miles says
Thanks for the tip, I’ll check it out!
A bit late to the party here but I’ve found that, depending on the brand and fit, clothing sizes for men seem to vary drastically BUT in the west there is a trend toward building around the “average” *American* man.
Well, where you run into a problem there is this: the average American man is 5’9″ or so, and is SUPPOSED to weigh in, if he is at a healthy body mass for his height, at ABOUT 165-170 lbs soaking wet. Except…the average 5’9″ American man is anything BUT healthy – instead, the average American man, at 5’9″ or so, weighs about 30 lbs more than he should at that height.
To give you an idea, I’m somewhere around 6’1″ to 6’2″ (depends on when in the day you measure), and I typically weigh between 182 and 200 lbs, depending on how much muscle I’ve put on or lost. Lately I’ve put on some decent chest and arm muscle and don’t have much in the way of excess body fat by any means, and I weigh probably about 190 lbs. Some “large” shirts are pretty tight on me while others – like the boxy, cheap one I ordered online that I’m wearing now – are about the right length but the arm holes – even with 16″ biceps – are a bit BAGGY and it’s a bit loose around the belly area too, which gives it a sloppy look. Meanwhile, the “large” I got in China is skin tight, as are quite a lot of other Large shirts I have. Some are just sized as if they’re for a much fatter man than I am.
Meanwhile, most XL shirts fit me ok – looser than the large without looking like a circus tent. I probably have a 42 or 43″ chest, last I checked years ago anyway. I bought an Indiana Jones jacket from wested leather about 10 years ago (they made the jackets for the Indiana Jones films) and had them make mine using Harrison Ford’s original measurements since I figured we are about the same size and build if you look at him in Temple of Doom. Ford is about 6’1″ or so, and in those days probably weighed about 190 so it IS a pretty good fit.
The problem is, so many other manufacturers are making shirts for fat American guys who weigh 30 or 40 lbs more than they’re really supposed to. SO, you run into shirts that are supposed to be a large or a medium that somehow seem to better fit men who are considerably larger (aside from the fat) than the men that SHOULD be fitting into those shirts.
If you go to Asian countries or eastern Europe the sizes make more sense – they fit more like they’re for a man who isn’t 30 lbs overweight. But American shirts….they’re made for fat people. That’s all there is to it. Modest-height and fat – that’s the American model.
So, it should come as little surprise that these models in the photograph are fitting into a shirt made to fit a much fatter guy (the shirt is also made a little over-long to accommodate the extra belly on a lot of men these days). Judging by their build, they are MUCH skinnier in the arms and shoulders and chest than I am – I’d say 40″ chest at MOST with 13″ biceps. These are really twig-like guys, even if they’re 6’2″ in height -the same shirt would look skin-tight on me, but then, I probably outweigh these guys by 20 or 30 lbs despite being the same height. They have bird bone structures.
So I wouldn’t look too much into it. Fat shirts for fat guys worn by really small-boned tall guys.
Interesting to hear this side, I’m your height but a lot lighter, around 70 kg and lanky. My problem is that i have to pick between:
– Correct sleeve length but baggy chest (Large)
– Correct chest size but short sleeves (Medium)
It sorta seems to me that unless you’re the ideal athlete build, there’s no happy medium regardless of height. I’m just as boggled as the author by people our height wearing medium. It’s almost always the correct width but a horribly short length.
Im 6ft4 and i have a 38ins chest tho. I look alot like these models shown on here. The problem i encounter however is in the sleeves. Theyre always too short. So i stick to short sleeves. Less awkward
Allan Platt (@AllanPlatt) says
Nice post, very funny! (and sadly true).
Thanks! Yeah…funny, sad and true.
Yeah its quite a pain. With button downs, I’ve just had better luck with foreign brands and even then I had to do some searching. They were still expensive though 🙁
Any brands in particular that work well for you?
Well Zara actually has their models wear a large, so I ordered a jacket in size small and that was pretty much perfect fit. I’m 5’6″ and about 130lbs slightly athletic build.
For button downs I once bought a shirt at a Chinese mall from GXG. the fit for that was again pretty much perfect, but it cost $90. I would probably look into other clothes that they sell if I could actually find their official site.
Actually I have a Zara jacket that fits well too, although the sleeves are about 2 inches long. Good call!
I wonder if the companies that ignore short men are worse than the ones that falsely advertise clothing for short men. I mentioned Hugh and Crye to you before Brock, Their short sizes are regular size. They claim their short size fits men 5’7″ down to 4;11″. I am 5’6″ and the shirt was too long with a chest pocket that was too low. A 4’11” guy would be swimming in that and have the chest pocket at the level of his navel.
I am surprised about the Gap. Usually Gap t shirts have an acceptable length for me. Not ideal, but decent.
I’ve seen so many major brands advertising proper fit for shorter men, and it’s complete BS. Just Google anything related to clothing for short men, and you’ll see all of the ads come up.
Total false advertising that probably violates some sort of terms and service. It really should be illegal.
I like that graph he has too, in all red the shorter sizes are labeled “very few options” then it goes over to the 6’3 – 6’5 area which don’t even get a bar there are so few options and it says in yellow “some options” like it has more than the short guys. I’m almost 6’7 and don’t even fit on that chart.
You’ve misread the chart. The bars don’t represent options. It’s a height distribution chart (same as the one above).