Entrepreneur, speaker, world traveler and men's fashion enthusiast, Thanh Pham is one of the most interesting men we've featured.
Thanh Pham's Stats
- Height: 5'7″
- Body Type: Average
- Jacket Size: Small / 46 (European)
- Pant Size: 30 waist, 29 inseam
Brock: Describe your style in three words.
Thanh: Understated. Neutrals. Designer.
How'd you get into men's fashion?
I grew up in the Netherlands and everyone dresses well over there. When I was 15, I started wearing collared shirts and blazers because everyone around me was.
I've worn chelsea boots at age 16 because I saw kids older than me wearing them at school. So I've always had fashion forward items in my wardrobe but it usually wasn't a coherent outfit. It was all thrown together like an omelette with veggies, cheese and onions.
Fit is so crucial for business casual and formalwear, especially for someone like you who travels, hosts parties and does plenty of public speaking. Do you struggle with finding clothes that fit?
For the longest time I would walk around the mall and visit several stores to find the perfect shirt. I've wasted days doing this only to learn that most brands don't fit me off the rack.
I have short arms so sleeves are always too long. It's the same thing for the inseam of pants and length of shirts. Once I accepted that nothing off the rack fits me, I started to accept that everything I buy will always have a $15+ tailor tax and shopping became fun again.
There are two places where I can fit perfect fitting clothing: Japan and MrPorter.com. Japan is a fashion heaven for menswear. Some of my unique and most complimented garments were bought there.
The great thing is that almost everything fits me off the rack. Their sizing is made for shorter men like you and me.
On MrPorter.com most garments have measurements. I bought a measure tape and once I got my measurements, I had my assistant find the perfect garments.
I will tell her that I want the perfect white t-shirt and she knows how to find it according to my measurements. That website is great for all the nice, high quality basics. Once I like a few brands and I know their sizing works for me, I'll keep coming back for more.
Are there 2-3 brands you tend to wear most often?
The best way I describe my style is that it's classic with either a statement piece or something unique. When I grew up, I loved Diesel. They have classic items but there's always something unique about them. Sometimes they had cool statement pieces too.
Now that I'm older, I still like the same style but I'll go for more understated and unique statement pieces. My favorite brand would be YSL for their unique and statement pieces. Especially their shoes and jackets are items
I always buy and get lots of compliments on. Since the branding is in the silhouette, most people can't tell what brand it is from looking at it. So they'll ask you and it's another great way to get people to come talk to you.
Diesel is still a favorite of mine for jeans, pants and some jackets as well. I have over 17 pairs of jogg jeans in different colors, washes and fits.
When they first came out in 2011, I immediately got hooked and I started replacing my denim with jogg jeans. They're the most comfortable sweat pants that look like jeans. All of my friends cannot tell the difference when I wear them.
Lately I've also been getting into Junya Watanabe (Japanese) because they have classic pieces with very unique twists to them.
The quality is also top notch. I discovered this brand when I first went to Japan a few years ago and it got me hooked on Japanese fashion. Every item is classic with a unique twist.
Do you go to the tailor? How often?
Yes, I know her by first name basis and she knows me very well. I go there probably twice a month.
Most high-end stores offer complimentary tailoring and I usually take that offer. For everything else like Nordstrom or any other clothing store, I usually prefer to use my own tailor. She knows how I like my clothing to fit.
What's the most common alteration you get?
It's hemming my jeans and pants. I wouldn't be surprised if I've spent over $1,000 on just hemming in my life.
Most jeans and pants are not made for short people. At least with shirts and tees you can find stuff in XS or S but with jeans it's hard to find one in 29 length.
Any advice for beginners who want to upgrade their appearance?
Keep a look book folder on your computer. Anytime you see something cool you'd like to wear or get inspired by, save it in your look book folder.
Over time you'll have a collection of stuff and then when you go shopping somewhere, you kind of have an idea what to look for. It's an easy way to discover your own style without having to break the bank.
One mistake that I've made was buying expensive statement pieces early on – especially when I was still figuring out my style. Avoid that as much as possible. Especially if they are trendy and expensive statement pieces.
Save that money and buy the lookalike pieces from cheaper fashion designers like Zara and Forever 21. Your style and taste will change and it's a huge waste of money if you're young to buy these things because they instantly lose value and have terrible resale value.
Once you get past that and you have your style figured out, then only buy stuff when you go “I MUST HAVE THIS!!!!”. You only want to buy clothing that makes you think that you might regret it later when it's not available anymore. That's when you know you got something you really want.
Otherwise you end up with a lot of clutter and you don't get excited by anything you have. You'll have to get rid of stuff every year to make room for new things.
Brock: Has your height every been a source of insecurity?
Thanh: Not really. Do I wish I was a little taller sometimes? Sure but it's never something I felt insecure about. I never could control that!
It's pointless to stress about something you cannot control and influence. What I lack in height I make up for in other areas that I can control like my intelligence, my sense of humor, wealth, fitness and style.
Does being a man of modest height make it hard to dress well?
Not hard, just a little bit inconvenient sometimes because of the extra tailoring that's needed. Just like really tall people have to deal with that too.
I feel bad for a lot of them because at least we can chop off fabric to make something fit. When you're really tall, you don't have that ability and something has to be made specifically for your size. It's all about perspective.
Any style tips for shorter gents who want to look sharp?
In my opinion, when you're shorter, you have less room for error to make a good first impression (dating, professional). So really focus on fit and get stuff tailored as much as possible.
Especially with tops (shirts, tees) it's worthwhile to nail that fit because it can help make everything else look more proportional.
When the top is too long, it emphasizes even more how short you are because the proportions with your pants will be off. Every half of inch of your top counts!
Do you have any shorter style role models (for example, I admire Donald Glover and Aziz Ansari, in terms of style)?
I have a few people on Instagram and celebrities that I look to for style inspiration but never because they were a certain height.
All of them are obviously way taller than me but I get a lot of ideas of what I can wear. They have stylists dressing them so I always get an idea of what's trendy and what to wear together.
Brock: What are you currently ‘up to' in life?
Thanh: I'm really passionate about Asian Efficiency and helping people become more productive. There's so much need for this that I've made it my personal mission to impact as many people as I can with my message.
When I'm not doing that, I love traveling and eating food all over the world. The last few years I've been focused on building meaningful relationships with people and spending time with them.
I've realized that this makes me happy so I'm trying to spend more time with people I care about. If they happen to live in a different country or part of the world, it just gives me another excuse to travel.
What's next for you?
I've been focused on my public speaking and getting into more media. The last few years I was “behind the scenes” and now I want to get in front of more people because I know I can help them. So if this resonates with you, reach out to me!
If you sold your company for millions and didn't need money for a while, how would you spend the next year of your life?
I'd be a travel and food vlogger. A part of me is an entertainer and if I can travel all over the world, eat all the delicious food every country has to offer and tell stories about it…that would be something I'd love to do.