(Want to see photos of how I used to dress? Read on…)
You’re here because you want to dress well. But why? For the sake of dressing well? No. You want respect – from your boss, your coworkers, and everyone else.
You want that promotion. You want your dream relationship. You want confidence and everything that comes with it. And you know that looking good can help give you the confidence you need.
Because, like it or not, you know that appearances matter. If you didn’t believe this, you wouldn’t be here right now reading this post.
But it’s hard to dress well. It takes effort, especially for men who are below average height. Clothes aren’t made for short men. They don’t fit. If you don’t believe me, just read this post:
Clothing Industry Hates Short Men
And this sucks, because fit is the most important aspect of style. Don’t just take my word for it. This is one thing all style experts agree on:
“The biggest style blunder that most men make is not wearing clothing that fits correctly.”
~Barron Cuadro, EffortlessGent.com
“The most important aspect of clothing is certainly how it fits the body.”
“Fit is the most important aspect of style. Us ladies aren’t looking at the tag in the back of your clothes, and you shouldn’t care about that either.”
~Megan Collins, StyleGirlfriend.com
If you’re like most men, you’ve probably been wearing clothes your entire life that are too large for you.”
“Without proper fit, your clothing is going to look ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive material, the right color or season appropriate; if it fits like crap it looks like crap.”
~Tanner Guzy, Masculine-Style.com
“Ill-fitting or baggy clothing will make you look younger, skinnier, and sloppier – while proper-fitting clothing allow you to look leaner, more mature and yes, even a little tougher.”
~Dan Trepanier, TSBMen.com
You get the point. Fit trumps all. When it comes to dressing well, nothing matters more than fit.
So let me ask you: are you happy with the way you look? Be honest. Do you look in the mirror every morning before you head out into the world and think, “Hell yeah, I nailed it.”
Or do you think, “This looks okay…could be worse.” Or maybe even, “This is as good as it gets for me.”
Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to (and really shouldn’t) settle for ill-fitting clothes. It’s not going to cut it. Not if you want to put your best foot forward everyday. Not if you want to be taken seriously and ensure that your appearance isn’t holding you back in life.
After all, you can’t control your genetics, but can control how you present yourself.
If you say you want more confidence, you want to look good everyday, whether you’re in a suit or at the beach, you have to commit to wearing clothes that fit.
Accept the fact that it will cost extra money and take extra time, and try to understand that it’s so worth it.
Just look at the difference it made for me:
Sure, the new me dresses better than the old me, but look at my face. Who looks more secure, more confident, happier? It’s no contest. And the new me gets compliments regularly:
“You’re always dressed so well…”
“Can you help me find a suit?”
It feels great to know that, even though I may not be the most handsome, most in shape or most intelligent guy in the room, I’m one of the best-dressed.
Don’t you want that feeling? Of course you do! We all do.
So, if you’re ready to commit to only wearing clothes that fit, here’s how to start:
Step 1: Take all of your clothes, and sort them into two piles:
- Clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year
- Clothes that you actually wear
Step 2: Give away everything in pile #1.
No questions asked. Just do it. I promise you will feel better. Plus shopping and getting dressed in the morning will be way easier. Trust me on this one.
Step 3: Take the second pile (the clothes you actually wear) and sort it into two smaller piles:
- Clothes that fit properly
- Clothes that don’t fit
Tip: You should try everything on in front of a full-length mirror. Have your computer nearby, with Primer’s Principles of Fit series open for reference.
Step 4: Put the clothes from pile #1 back in your closet, and take everything from pile #2 to the tailor.
If you don’t have a tailor, you can go to your local dry cleaner for the simple stuff – hemming pants and taking in shirts.
Chances are you’ll also need some advanced alterations, so go to Yelp.com and look for a good tailor in your neighborhood. Schedule an appointment for a Saturday morning or afternoon.
Give yourself at least an hour. You’ll be in and out of the dressing room a lot, especially if this is your first trip to the tailor.
To prepare for your appointment, check out these Alterations 101 infographics:
- Alterations 101: Button Up Shirts
- Alterations 101: Pants & Trousers
- Alterations 101: Jackets & Blazers
This way you’ll know what can be altered and how much it should cost.
Tip: If you’re trying out a new tailor, don’t take all of your clothes the first time. Test them out with some simple alterations, like getting a shirt taken in. Thanks to Ed in the Comments section for sharing this tip!
Where to go from here
I hope you’ve already taken action or committed to taking action after you finish reading this. If so, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re already on your way to upgraded style and more confidence.
On a practical level, this cleansing of your wardrobe accomplishes two things:
First, it takes the guesswork out of getting dressed. Mornings are hard enough without having to stare down a closet full of clothes that you don’t even like. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that everything in your closet fits well and looks good on you?
Second, you’ve identified the gaps in your wardrobe. It should be very obvious now that you’re missing some key items – a blazer or pair of jeans or button up shirt. You know exactly what you need, which makes shopping much less stressful.
Don’t try to build your wardrobe back up overnight. Dressing well is a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy the process, and celebrate mini victories (like getting your freshly altered clothes back from the tailor).
As always, feel free to ask me questions. The quickest ways to get in touch are through Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks for reading. Go take action!
Do your clothes fit? Do you get your clothes tailored? Leave a comment below!
Absolutely love this article!
I am 5″6″ and have an apple shaped body and there should be stores that specialize in clothes that are not available in average stores.
Hey Brock, my name is Martin and I am from Düsseldorf, Germany. I accidentally ran into your YouTube Channel the other day and I really wish I had something like this while I was in my 20s (I am 46 now and I’ve come a long way since). Just recently, I went through some old photographs and they were almost like a copy-paste of yours: baggy, oversized and lacking self-confidence. BTW I am 5´5 (currently 140 lbs, target weight 130) and guess what: my tailors loves me.
Here in good old Europe, the situation is not fundamentally different. We have many well-known US brands like Levis, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Mustang, Dockers, Abercrombie/Hollister (although they’re typically 2-3 times the US pricing). We also have European brands like Tom Tailor, Scotch & Soda, Tiger of Sweden…) but most of them don’t offer XS and most Medium sizes are a perfect fit to athletic 6´2 guys. Italian brands like Diesel are a bit better but still not perfect.
Please keep going, your job is real valuable and way better than standard fashion magazines who hate short men as much as the fashion makers do. I might sound like “you’re coming 25 years too late for me” but hell, no, learning is a lifelong affair and it is not related to age. So I guess I´ll have to sign up for your newsletter.
Michael Snow says
Your rough guide to prices is way out for some
In the UK, it’s ~£10 per sleeve for shortening & taking in., £15-20 for taking in a shirt, £20-30 for shortening and/or taking in trouser legs, £100+ for altering ANYTHING on a jacket or coat …
So it cost almost three times the price of a good shirt to tailor it
This is why almost no one does in the UK
I literally do not know one single person who takes clothes to a tailor
I know two seamstresses, both in the City, and they have 3-5 male clients PER YEAR
That’s in a city of 4m men
I’m not too familiar with UK prices, but I know lots of guys there who go to the tailor regularly. What’s the alternative?
honestly I don’t even know why you put a picture of you in a hoodie for the “old me”. you know hoodies are supposed to be baggy to trap more heat in and keep you warm. like it or not a fitted hoodie is your worst option for a hoodie. also in you’re artical it states quite a bit that fit is everything and it’s not. fit does look better most of the time, but baggy clothes can look good if done right. i wear shirts where the sleeves are so long they go to my elbows and the torso go’s to my mid thigh but i also where fitted clothes so I know how they both feel. if you’re wearing a suit, try and get it as fit as you can, but if you’re wearing normal pants and shirts, why should it matter. you’re not going to be a doctor because of fitted clothes. you’re not gonna be the CEO of some multi million dollar company. it all depends on you, how you do you’re job, and how you treat people. now i get it if you’re going to a job interview or work(not construction or other manual labour) but other than that fit isn’t everything. in the end wear what you want to wear and what is acceptable for the occasion(so work and holidays). other than that, have a nice day.
here is an example of how big my clothes get
the guy in the video is me. I don’t know if the link will come up, so if it dosn’t just copy and paste it in the URL. peace.
I’m from Delhi, India. Thanks for all the useful information. I ‘m 5″ 6 and slim. Custom made or tailor charge very cheap and good in this part of world. But If I but a piece of cloth for Shirt then I get it good fit from the nearby tailor but shirts color can’t be mde like a readymade branded shirts. This is my concern.
Also can you guide me what fir or rise Jeans should I buy. I love denim. I have just bought 2 Levis 511 jeans. Can you please reply on [email protected]
Thanx brock for this very enlightning site about dressing
This is really helping me a lot
Appreciate your work
Nice pics – what a difference. I’m new to the site, but I’ve already learned a lot. As a 5’5″ man, I’ve had a horrible time finding clothes that fit, except for Levi’s jeans and Rockport/Brooks shoes. Shirts are the biggest challenge. I used to be that person in your before pics, but I’m getting better.
Thanks for the advice and inspiration!
You’re very welcome! Glad to have you here.
B W says
I didn’t have to wear hand me downs. My problem was worse, I think. My mother bought mine and my brothers clothes in the same size. He is two years younger and always wore husky sizes. It was ridiculous. In comparison I’m now 5’6″ and weigh 135 pounds. My baby brother is 6’2″ and weighs app 260. I was happy when I became old enough to pick out my own things! I don’t dress horribly now, and I’m not ridiculous looking when I dress. I just need a few tips on what looks best on my body type and tailoring so this blog is great for me.
Wow what a huge difference between you and your bro! I have brothers who are taller and a little bigger all around, but nothing close to 6′ haha… glad to hear you’re dressing better these days!
Godking Moneybags says
Was googling “what to look for in a tailor”. Clicked first link, led me here. Read article. BOOKMARKED.
Excellent stuff bro. Your philosophy on dressing well is on point. Great use of the picture example, and I liked that you linked to the guides you mentioned in the article. I look forward to looking through this site further, seems like a goldmine to me so far. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, brother! Glad to have you on board.
How tall are you ? (Real measure not Internet 😉
5’5″ (and a half). I usually round up to 5’6″.
Wow you look great in after pics bro. Would u mind showing a exact pic of how a full sleeves shirt should be tailored or fit perfectly.Especially sleeve length and cuff width,etc…Thanks and keep up the good work. You are a saviour for shorter men like me:)
Avigyan Chatterjee says
Wow what a guide! Thanks a ton for helping short guys. 😀 It is really difficult to find appropriate clothing for short people like me but the idea of alteration is great, thanks to your guide. Keep it up. 🙂
What is your biggest struggle? Finding clothes that fit your chest/hips/waste, or finding clothes that have proper sleeve/shoulder/Collar?
This site is great, been looking for something like this for a long time. Keep up the good work bro.
Will do… thanks!
Probably one of my favorite post you wrote. I always keep referring to it when I have a bunch of clothes that don’t fit in the closet/drawer and don’t know what to do with it. By the way, besides the current pics of you, I would be satisfied looking the way you look at your old pics. I’m telling ya, the ladies look at the face first before checking the complete package. LOL. Just saying 🙂
Looking great! Alternations will always help those baggy clothing a few minor touches can really change a persons look dramatically.
Wow, a real change… You are my new role model on Fashion n Style
Speaking of clothes that fit, I saw threadmason mentioned in the comments section of one of your blog posts. I tried them out and they not only fit great, but are of great quality.
True. I mentioned them in the t-shirt post, and there’s a full review coming up very soon.
Brilliant post Brock! There are way too many men who commit this sin and I just don’t get it- You shouldn’t try to hide under the baggy, it never works!
dude you look incredible after the alterations you went through….. thanks for all the advices.
Man, those before pics with the baggy sleeves really hits home.
Now I can’t stand dress shirts like that…this is a good reminder for me to finally get rid of those for good.
Yeah, I was clueless. Had no idea anything was even wrong. That’s the point of this article – to convince those who still need some convincing.
Unless you already have an experience with the tailor, I would suggest not bringing everything to the tailor at once. I usually only bring at most 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, maybe even less when first or second time with tailor. You want to know they aren’t going to screw up alterations and/or not listen when you tell them the sleeves are still too long or you wan’t a half break on your pants. Plus going multiple times allows you to create a connection with the tailor, they will start to recognize you and they will remember you as a valued customer and get better service than every regular joe coming in.
You don’t want to bring in 10-20 shirts and they all get screwed up from a bad alteration job and either have them all redone or have to go to another tailor.
Fit and fitness are always the biggest factors in how clothes look on you I believe, plus both help with confidence which also makes clothes look better.
Great article Brock, your articles have really started to mature in the advice and detail since the beginning of the site.
Great point about not taking everything to a tailor you don’t have a relationship with. You’re totally right on this (I’ll add it above).
Thanks for the kind words! Means a lot to hear that from someone who was here from the start. I’ve been putting way more time and effort into every post lately, so you can expect more of this kind of in depth content.
In fact, I’m working on a post now about finding a tailor you can trust. Stay tuned…
I second that from experience. I have had tailors ruin clothes. The frustration of shopping for clothes, finding your style, buying and getting stuck with the wrong item, gets horribly compounded when the even the tailor seems to be working against you. I was as close as i could have been to giving up on dressing better when my favorite new shirt came back unwearable.
Just added this tip to the post. Thanks both!
Kai Rinchen says
Holy cow, those before and after photos are the best argument for why good fit is everything. What an incredible improvement. Great article!
Oh, also, GO TERPS!
Thanks, Kai! Are you a UMD grad? Nice!