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Can there be honest fashion criticism ?

Here is a great commentary from Jason Dike printed in

We first came across it on and thought it was worth sharing.  It highlights one of the major problems in the world of fashion.  To often those that we depend on to evaluate, critique and advise us on what’s worth knowing about and wearing  in the world of fashion are to dependent on those they are reviewing for advertising dollars and support.  How can you be objective about the very people who are essentially paying you.

Dike laments that the real source of the problem isn’t a lack of those willing to honestly express their opinions but with the changes in the newspaper industry, a loss of places for unbiased evaluation.  Here at Shortees we agree there are problems with the questionable critiques that are often pushed upon us but also with the total lack of context in relation to how today’s man actually dresses.  The gap between what the runway considers “fashion” and what the average man considers fashion is quite large.  Yes there are significant differences between a corporate soldier, the casual tech worker, college students, the average jeans/tee-shirt guy and every other box with which we can separate today’s styles into.  One thing they all have in common, they are not in the costumes that litter fashion weeks across the globe.

Here at ShorteesStyle we make no secret of the fact that we are the blog home of Shortees Inc. ( and have our personal agenda.  We sell t-shirts, we think the best fitting t-shirts ever for men 5’8″ and under.  While we promote our own products here we remember that tees are just one small piece of the entire wardrobe and with that in mind strive to guide real guys with actual advice that is relevant to themselves and applicable to how they really dress and live.

Here is Dike’s commentary and we encourage you to explore the original source via the link at the top of this post.

 Cathy Horyn’s retirement has reignited the debate about the state of fashion criticism. It’s been asked whether her departure from her post at The New York Times spells the end of honest critique. But this has always been a rather simplistic argument. The issue isn’t what Cathy Horyn’s departure means for fashion, but whether the current media environment can produce another critic of Horyn’s ilk.
Several of fashion’s most independent, well-versed, fearless and knowledgeable critics got their start working at local and regional newspapers. Horyn worked at Detroit News for four years. Robin Givhan started at the Detroit Free Press, where she worked for seven years. Lynn Yaeger worked at The Village Voice for three decades.
But The Village Voice — which was bought by New Times Media in 2005 and has seen circulation fall from 247,000 in 2006 to 124,998 as of December 2013, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations — no longer has a fashion section and never replaced Yaeger after her departure in 2008. Both the Detroit News and the Free Press now use syndicated Associated Press coverage in lieu of hiring their own fashion reporters.
Why is this important?
Because young writers working at these kinds of papers were able to learn their trade from experienced journalists and, critically, write in the context of a business that wasn’t totally reliant on fashion advertising for income. But with these kinds of outlets either shrinking, disappearing or slashing budgets, there is a chasm where this important stepping stone once was.
That doesn’t mean that the world is devoid of media outlets for fashion coverage. Quite the opposite. But most fashion outlets are visually driven and depend on fashion advertising for their survival. Thus, it’s bad business to publish anything negative about an advertiser or potential advertiser, leaving very little room for honest critique.
As the interconnectedness of the web brings content and commerce closer together, online stores have begun investing significant sums of money in creating well-written editorial. But a shop is essentially there to sell product, so real critique is out of the question.
It’s often been asked how fashion has found itself in a situation where honest critique has been squeezed out, while other creative sectors like book publishing, music and film have managed to avoid this fate.
Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer both complained about negative reviews of their film The Lone Ranger, blaming these for poor box office performance. Musicians often dislike the reviews they get and are sometimes very vocal about it (Tom Odell’s father even called the NME to complain about a 0/10 review the outlet had given his son). And author Alain de Botton was incensed enough to write the following to a negative reviewer: “I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.” But despite this, in these other creative sectors, critique exists in a way that it simply does not in fashion.
It’s time for fashion to change this.
But as we, as an industry, grapple with these issues, let’s remember that the real problem isn’t that there’s no one with an honest opinion anymore. It’s that there are very few places left to publish that opinion.

New York Outdoors Blog gives Shortees some love.

Our friends on the other side of country at New York Outdoors Blog ( were kind enough to help spread the word about Shortees.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Rich and Sue Freeman, the blog authors.  They are a really great couple who followed their passion for outdoor activity and started writing a great series of guide books for hiking, biking, paddling, cross-country skiing/snowshoeing and just about any other outside activity in Central and Western New York State.  You can find their guide books as well as great book stands on their blog or at

Little by little the story of Shortees gets spread around.  Help your 35 million fellow short guys dress better and spread the word yourself.  Maybe you’ll end up getting featured on

The San Francisco Chronicle Style section gives Shortees some love

Shortees CEO’s big idea: T-shirts for short guys

Dino-Ray Ramos, Special to The Chronicle

Sunday November27, 2011

New Jersey native Seth Levinsky founded Shortees after receiving his MBA from San Jose State University. His company’s shirts, available online, are several inches shorter than typical T-shirts, and the armholes, sleeves and shoulders are adjusted accordingly.

Seth Levinsky, a personal trainer from Campbell, used to spend hours at the mall – not because he was enjoying the sights and sounds but because he was shopping for the perfect T-shirt for his shorter stature.

He would walk away with nothing but a pair of socks and underwear. He was frustrated. Thus, his quest became clear: He needed to create the perfect T-shirt for shorter men so that they could be their best and never have to settle for ill-fitting clothes.

He needed to create Shortees.

“The No. 1 mission of Shortees is to manufacture better-fitting clothes designed specifically for men 5 feet 8 and under,” says Levinsky. “A secondary mission is to empower shorter men to feel proud and comfortable with whom they are. Being short should be seen as a point of pride, an asset. I want to see women writing personal ads that read, ‘looking for a short guy …’ ”

A New Jersey native, Levinsky came to California for an MBA at San Jose State University, then spent two years researching business ideas. He thought about Internet-based businesses, since he was living in Silicon Valley, but didn’t have the skills to write code or to raise boatloads of money.

When the dust settled, the idea for Shortees shone the brightest, so in 2007 he took the idea and ran. He poured 15 years of savings into Shortees, but he had a couple of hurdles to jump. He had no experience or training in the apparel industry, and absolutely no contacts to get his idea off the ground. It was, as he says, a comedy of errors.

“The story about how difficult it actually was to launch Shortees would take a long time to tell,” Levinsky says. “Every time I thought I found someone who could help solve a problem or get something done for us, they turned out to be the wrong person and slowed us down by a few months. What should have been a six-month development took closer to three years.”

Levinsky defines 5 feet 8 and under as “short,” the height of the target Shortees customer. Through his research, Levinsky, who is 5 feet 5 1/2 inches, says that 1 of every 4 men – approximately 35 million men – falls into this category.

That’s a lot of Shortees.

“The solution that other companies give customers is that if they need a shorter length, they should get a smaller size,” Levinsky says. “If you need a large shirt to fit your torso, there is no way you can squeeze into a small, and even then the shirts are still way too long.”

This is why the primary feature of a Shortees shirt is the length. Whereas most T-shirts are 28.5 to 31 inches long, Shortees shirts are cropped at either 25 or 26.5 inches. Shortees also redesigned the average T-shirt so that the shape and size of the armholes, the length of the sleeves, and the angle of the shoulder are adjusted to better fit a shorter body.

Shortees has a large potential customer base, and so far, the shirts have gotten some return customers and positive response. Levinsky’s customers have been giving feedback such as “Wow, a T-shirt that actually fits me. Thank you! I’ll be purchasing all my T-shirts through you from now on” and “The shirts fit me perfectly, and I would like to replace my entire shirt lineup with them.”

Needless to say, his online-only company has only scratched the surface of an expansive market that includes solid-colored and graphic T-shirts, the latter being fairly new for Shortees.

“I can go online and find new T-shirt companies every day. There is no shortage of them, and everyone thinks it’s an easy business to go into,” Levinsky says. “What I really hope is that one day these other companies will print their designs on Shortees shirts and make a properly fitting version of their designs available to the 25 percent of the male population they are ignoring. They are missing a lot of potential business.”

Levinsky would like to have a brick-and-mortar storefront eventually. He thinks it would be ideal for someone to be able to have the choice to shop online or go into a local boutique to pick up a supply of shirts.

The primary focus for their first year was launching the company and doing the best possible job serving customers. Now that that has been established, Levinsky says he’s ready to partner with retailers that want to tap into this segment of customers that they have been missing.

“Amazing things are in the future for Shortees,” Levinsky says. “(I want to) make sure more people learn about Shortees and that they can finally have a great-looking shirt that fits.”

For more information on Shortees, go to

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