I visited Jimmy Au's Sherman Oaks, CA retail location and got to know the men behind the most established clothier for shorter men in the U.S.
When driving down Ventura Boulevard, it's hard to miss the bold storefront of Jimmy Au's For Men 5'8″ and Under.
They didn't launch on Kickstarter, they don't have an online shop, and they're not huge on Instagram, bruh.
But they've been consistently outfitting shorter men with specially made casual and formal clothing since 1961, when founder Jimmy Au started selling clothes out of the trunk of his car in Hawaii.
Ten years later, after making a name for himself as a custom tailor for Hollywood's elite, he opened his first retail shop in Beverly Hills.
At first, Jimmy carried both short and regular sizes, but he eventually decided to focus solely on the shorter man – a bold move at the time.
Jimmy has styled many famous short celebrities, including a handful of men who don't have many other options.
Jimmy's son, Alan, whom I've known through this blog for several years now, helped his father with marketing throughout the years and eventually became co-owner of the company.
Note: Alan is an active member of the Modest Men private Facebook group. Make sure to join so you can get his expert feedback on your outfits!
Fast forward to today, and Jimmy Au's has a large facility in Sherman Oaks, CA that serves as a retail showroom, warehouse and tailoring shop (with full-time, in-house tailors for quick turnaround on alterations).
This shop is truly one of a kind. Everything inside is designed for men 5'8″ and under – and I'm not just talking about the clothes.
Everything is scaled down, from the height of the racks to the custom built mannequins and furniture. It's a very inviting, comfortable place to hang out and try on some clothes.
While I was there, a handful of customers wandered in, and I noticed that Jimmy made a point to greet each one. Even when no one was there, he never stopped moving.
He walked the floors, folded jeans and straightened up t-shirt displays.
Speaking of the displays, it was pretty cool to see rack after rack of XS sizes.
Everything Jimmy Au's carries, from t-shirts to suits, is made specifically for shorter men.
They make their own patterns and place custom orders from various manufacturers around the world.
Much of their clothing falls under their in-house, namesake brand (i.e., it says “Jimmy Au's” on the label).
They gave me a t-shirt and pair of shorts, both of which look and feel fantastic (also seen in my casual summer lookbook video).
They also carry many other brands, especially for casual clothing like chinos, jeans, polos, outerwear and sweaters.
Alan explained that they work closely with mills and factories around the world to create smaller production runs in specialty sizes.
This place could absolutely serve as a one stop shop for a shorter man who wants to overhaul his entire wardrobe.
Granted, it's not cheap. Jimmy Au's carries high end stuff, so you can expect to pay top dollar for their products.
It's also not available online, at least not right now. So if you want to try something on, you'll have to stop by the Sherman Oaks retail location.
If you live or travel anywhere near LA, I highly recommend stopping by the shop and trying on some clothes.
At the very least, you can meet a man who understands clothing for short men – perhaps better than anyone else in the world.
For example, I told Alan and Jimmy that my casual Gant Rugger blazer fit pretty well, and Jimmy wanted to try it on.
He explained how the pattern was created (from a larger size) and pointed out a few shortcomings (pun intended).
I could tell that these guys really knew what they were doing. It's all about proportion, and sometimes shorter/slimmer isn't necessarily a good thing.
Along with the t-shirt and casual shorts, the Au's also gave me a button up shirt (seen here), a pair of jeans and a sport coat, which will definitely show up on the blog and YouTube channel in the future.
I'd like to thank Jimmy and Alan for telling their story and showing me around their shop.
These days, us men of modest height have more and more options for apparel, which is awesome. Thanks to Jimmy for paving the way for so long!
Have you tried Jimmy Au's clothing? Let me know in the comments!