Sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it – something doesn’t feel right with this or that outfit, but you aren’t sure what… After my post on signs your clothes don’t fit right for taller men was so popular, I felt it only fair that I write another post for the shorter guys out there. I hope that I can help you to see where some of your clothes might be letting you down in their fit, and what to look out for on your next shopping trip. Okay, let’s get started!
Your sleeves end lower than your wrists
Many shirts from regular stores are not adapted accordingly to fit men who are shorter or taller than the average. Thus, you end up with sleeves that come well past the wrist, and end somewhere around the palm, or even lower. Of course, you could always just roll your sleeves up, but if you’re attending a formal event, that’s not an option. To find a shirt with sleeves that fit properly, check that the cuff of the shirt ends at your wrist, lightly grazing your palm at the most. The sleeves shouldn’t be so short that they show off your watch when your arms are relaxed by your sides, but equally they shouldn’t be so long that they cover your hands. And while t-shirts are pretty much universally considered casual attire, that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. The length of a t-shirt sleeve is a matter of personal taste to some degree, but it certainly shouldn’t meet your elbow – if it does, then it’s too long and won’t make for a good look.
Your shoulder seam sits on your arm
On a properly fitting top or shirt, the shoulder seam – where the sleeve attaches to the main body of the garment – should sit right on the edge of your shoulder. However, for many shorter men shopping in regular stores, it’s often the case that this seam sits further down the arm. This is a difficult problem for tailors to fix, so it’s worth checking that this aspect of your garment fits correctly before purchasing.
You’ve got too many breaks in your pants legs
Okay – I’m not telling you to break your legs! The ‘break’ refers to where the material in your pants legs folds a little to create a soft crease. How deep the break in your pants is, depends on how long the leg is. The number of breaks is somewhat down to personal taste and the occasion, but a high number of breaks usually means that the pants are simply too long. As Nicholas Taverna at Primer Magazine says: “With jeans, it is preferred to go for a full break, which allows a person to turn up the cuffs of the pants if they please. Some people find it desirable to get even longer pants that develop multiple breaks, or folds, known as ‘stacks’.” Notice that Nicholas is referring to jeans, there, where an informal look is preferred. ‘Stacks’ with dress pants would look incredibly sloppy, whereas one break at the bottom of the pants would look smart and sophisticated. Simply taking your pants up may solve the problem – check out our guide on hemming pants.
Your pants sit too low in the crotch
Unless you’re trying to impersonate a rapper from the 1990s, then the crotch of your pants should not be sitting anywhere near your mid-thigh region. Unfortunately, though, for shorter men this is often the case. The effect is that your legs look shorter than they are, and you generally look rather sloppily dressed. The reason that this happens is because pants often aren’t adapted properly to fit the frames of shorter men, so you end up having to pull the waist right up to bring the crotch up to a normal level – which means you have to wear a belt to keep the pants up, and the whole thing ends up looking ridiculous. To avoid this happening, you’ll need to try before you buy wherever possible so that you can check that the crotch sits where it should – not so high that you end up speaking in a Mickey Mouse voice whenever you wear them, but also not so low that you’re mistaken for a rebellious teenager.
Your collar hates your neck
If your shirt collar looks like it has serious issues with being in the vicinity of your neck, chances are it’s too big. There’s an easy test you can do to check, though – if you can fit more than two fingers in your collar when it is buttoned up, then it is too big. Try the size lower, and measure your neck to see what size of collar you actually need.
Your shirt is too baggy
For many shorter men, shirts are often made in entirely the wrong proportions to fit them correctly. Even when the shoulders and sleeves are sitting right, there are often great swathes of fabric around the torso, resulting in a rather unflattering look. Many men also choose to wear shirts that are too big in an attempt to hide their tummies, but in actual fact the extra fabric makes you look much bigger than you really are. Wearing a shirt in your proper size will look much more slimming. If your shirt fits correctly, you’ll be able to pinch between 2-4 inches of fabric when you lift one arm up. Any more, and the shirt is too loose; and if you can’t pinch any fabric, or only a very little amount, then it is too tight. Nicholas Taverna at Primer Magazine offers a great tip if you simply must wear an oversized shirt – if you’ve no time to purchase a better fitting shirt before an event, for example. “If you have a shirt that is too large in the waist, one trick is to use the military tuck,” says Nicholas. “To do this, pinch the sides of the shirt at the sides of the waist until you have an equal amount of extra fabric on both sides. Now fold that fabric back on itself and keep it in place using your pant waist.” Of course, the best option is always to wear a shirt that fits properly in the waist, as it’s much more flattering.
Your t-shirt hangs past your zipper
Remember – a shirt is not a dress! If the hemline of your t-shirt, sweater, or shirt hangs lower than your zipper, though, then it may well resemble a dress rather than a top. You could also have the opposite problem – a top that shows off your mid-riff every time you move. The best way to avoid this issue is to check your top when you try it on. Where does the hemline sit when your arms are relaxed and by your sides? How about when you raise your arms sideways? In the first instance, the hemline should be somewhere around the zipper, but not past it. And when you move your arms, you should be able to see no mid-riff, or at the very least, very little. If you’re struggling to find a decent t-shirt that ticks all of these boxes, please feel free to take a look at our Luxe-Fit Tee Shirt, which offers altered torso and shoulder dimensions to properly fit shorter men.
Your pants pinch at the waist
For shorter guys, it’s often difficult to find pants that fit both in the inseam length and the waist, so it may well be the case that you’ve squeezed into a pair that are on the small side because the leg fits, to avoid having to take a trip to the tailor. Regular stores simply don’t offer much in the way of range in waist sizes – they assume that all shorter guys are slim, which isn’t true. It’s just not worth wearing pants that are too tight. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can even have the irritating effect of making you appear larger than you actually are, and drawing attention to areas that you would probably rather not put a spotlight on. The same goes for pants that are too big – if you need to wear a belt to keep them up, then they will be doing nothing for your figure. Belts should be a stylish accessory, and nothing more. So, if when you arrive home you cannot wait to take your pants off and slip into a pair of PJ bottoms, and you’re left with an imprint around your middle from the waistband of your pants, it’s probably time to say goodbye.
I hope that this guide helped you to identify why some of your clothes may not feel right when you’re wearing them, and offered some advice on how you can adapt your clothes to fit you better. And I hope that next time you’re looking for great fitting clothes, you consider ForTheFit.com – we offer a great range of stylish clothing created especially for shorter guys! URLs: http://www.forthefit.com/Luxe_Fit_T_Shirt_short_Men_s_clothing_sizes_S_XXL_p/t01tsh713.htm http://www.primermagazine.com/2012/spend/how-a-shirt-should-fit-the-principles-of-fit http://www.primermagazine.com/2012/learn/how-pants-should-fit-the-principles-of-fit http://blog.forthefit.com/how-to-hem-dress-pants