fashion, lifestyle, dating and humor for the average guy

Archive for the category “Short Men’s Fashion”

Inexpensive suits that fit like an expensive custom suit. Is it possible?

It’s nice to see that some attention is finally being paid to developing nice suits that don’t cost more then the average guy earns in a month.  For your typical starting fresh out of school investment banker this may be an entry level suit but for the average guy this is probably the most expensive suit he will ever own.  Most men find their one and only suit at a local large department store or perhaps one of a small handful of national specialized chains.  A few hundred dollars and you can manage the average wedding, funeral or job interview.  The problem is most of these suits are to big, baggy and unflattering.  Take a closer look around at the next wedding you are invited to.  Yes the men can “get by” but if you really start evaluating the fit and cut of their suits your perspective will never be the same.

From the September 23, 2014 Wall Street Journal online:

The starter suit is not what it used to be. A generation ago, a man without a great deal of means—whether he was embarking on his first job or attending his first wedding—had to settle for boxy cuts in rayon and wool-blends from departments stores. But beginning a decade ago and ramping up over the past five years, there has been a veritable revolution in men’s suiting priced under $1,000. Brands like J. Crew, Club Monaco and Suitsupply have invested in fine Italian wools, slimmer cuts and refined construction to produce moderately priced suits that offer men something similar to, and occasionally indistinguishable from, their upscale counterparts.

Read the rest of the article  here:

Have any of our fellow short men tried any of these yet?  If so let us know your opinion on how well they work for today’s shorter man or are we out of luck once again.


Why Fashion Matters to Men


The overwhelming majority of men, despite the fact that we get dressed (most days),  just don’t care about fashion.  The question is, should we care?

And the answer is YES.

While what you wear shouldn’t matter to the extent that you will forgo saving money to buy the latest, trendiest thing or chase a particular brand despite the absurd price premium that it commands, there are many valid reasons why fashion is relevant to today’s average guy.  Lets start with the most basic and important reason.  What you wear serves as a form of communication to others about who you are.  Yes, we should all be judged based on the value of who we are as people, how we treat others, the quality of our work but the reality is others do make very personal judgments about us based on how we present ourselves.

How would you feel about your neurosurgeon if he walked into the room wearing a pair of tight, short, cut off denim jeans, cowboy boots and a sleeveless Hank Williams Jr. tee shirt with fringe cut into the bottom?  Would you trust him to cut into your brain?  Doubtful, though he may be the most skilled surgeon on the planet.  What if the only difference between two surgeons was that one walked in the room wearing a nicely pressed pair of pants, a wrinkle free fitted dress shirt, a properly tied tie along with matching belt and shoes and the second surgeon walked in with a wrinkly loose dress shirt, an off kilter tie, pants that are to baggy and loose and older scuffed shoes that don’t match his belt?  If you had to make an instant decision about which physician is going to take a scalpel to you I’m wiling to bet that 95 out of a hundred people will choose the first surgeon based on nothing more then how he is dressed.

What we wear communicates to others who we are.  It impacts how we want to be perceived.  In a professional setting it conveys education, training, knowledge and trust.  Someone who pays attention to detail in how they dress is likely to also pay attention to detail in how they perform their job and live their life.  Now in reality does the detailed dresser always pay more attention to the quality of their work or are they just more caught up in how they look?  Often style has no bearing on substance but it does communicate the impression of substance and frequently that is all that matters.  We all know individuals of questionable or limited competence who excel in the workplace not because of what they know but because of the impression that they convey.stripes

Does this mean you have to adopt the costumes that you see in magazines and on TV? Absolutely not but it does mean you have to give some thought to what you put on and some effort in making sure your wardrobe is current and fit wells.  If your closet is filled with pleated pants its time to donate them to Goodwill and buy a few new flat front pairs.  If your idea of  a nice tee shirt says Affliction or Ed Hardy its time to get out the blow torch and find something that wasn’t featured on MTV’s Jersey Shore.  If your idea of  a dressier going out shirt is a vertically striped, untucked button up shirt you are either a tool or still trying to wear what is trendy and cool but three years behind the times.  Whether on a date, hanging out with friends or at the work place, what you wear says a lot about who you are and what others should think of you.

For the shorter man fashion will never make you taller or change the perceptions that others may falsely hold about shorter men but it will allow you to present the best version of yourself that you would like others to see.  You can’t control what others think but you can control the message that you send out to the world.  You can show that you care about yourself.  You can utilize fashion to set the stage, preempting preconceived notions that others may have allowing you to dictate the course of your interactions with them.

Fashion communicates much more.  Fashion is often used to communicate social and economic status.  It creates a barrier between the haves and have-nots.  Upscale brands allow high status seekers to communicate to each other that they are of the same class.  Ostentatious displays of upscale brands communicate status and often insecurity about that status so the wearer makes sure that everyone knows they are worthy because they are walking billboards for Gucci, Prada, Channel or whatever the it brand of the moment is.  Is class differentiation via fashion a good thing, not really but it is a reality and one you should learn to utilize judiciously to your advantage.

Fashion has other positive features.  It can serve as a powerful form of self expression.  You can have some fun with your clothes and utilize them to draw attention to yourself in a positive way, to express your culture, beliefs or lifestyle or simply to feel good about yourself and in the end, that display of self confidence is the best thing you can ever wear.  Brands certainly take advantage of our desire to utilize fashion as a form or self expression.  Do you want to communicate to the world that you take healthy living and your fitness seriously then you’re likely to spend half your time walking around in Nike, Under Armor or Adidas.  And if you walk around in Lululemon instead it clearly sends a different message.  Are your jeans Levi or $250 selvedge denim from a small manufacturer.  In the end don’t let your choice in brands define you but feel comfortable utilizing fashion for fun and to bring out a little of your individuality.

Fashion designer Marc Jacobs gets credit for our next item.  Fashion is a luxury and as Jacobs points out, it is human nature to want and enjoy luxuries.  Be it because we enjoy the luxury or we enjoy that others are attracted to our luxury, either way there is nothing wrong with wanting and enjoying something on the nicer side of life.  Yes thrift and humility and living simply are positive virtues but it is quite alright to also embrace a touch of luxury.

And last but not least fashion is an economic powerhouse that keeps countless people employed.  While there are a handful of individuals who are getting rich from fashion (I’m not one of them) the majority of designers, pattern makers, garment workers, retail sales people, shippers and textile designers earn modest, if even that, livings from jobs directly related to the fashion industry.  Then their is the multiplying effect of all the other industries that touch the world of fashion from bankers, lawyers, accountants, technology professionals, web designers, advertising firms right down to they guy who takes the trash out at the mall where your favorite store is located.  Fashion is part of the economy and its impact is most certainly a positive thing.  That doesn’t mean you should blow through your paycheck buying new clothes and claim you were doing it for the good of others but you certainly don’t have to feel bad about updating your wardrobe a bit.

Do I still find most of the world of fashion utterly ridiculous.  You bet I do.  It is often absolutely absurd.  Women’s fashion ten times more so then men’s, and lets be thankful for that.  Despite the often laughable nature of what is considered fashion it doesn’t change the fact that fashion does matter and it is worth a small moment of your time.

Selvedge denim. What the heck is it and does it matter to me?

Every industry and profession has its own secret language.  It serves to help people in the field communicate in a standardized way despite language differences.  It also serves to exclude non-professionals in that field from practicing or claiming to have a high level of understanding of the relevant material.  It’s a handy way of making yourself more valuable.  In my years working in sports medicine/fitness/performance I’ve been guilty again and again of tossing out latin anatomical terms and physiological references that only someone with a similar background and education could understand.  It makes my athletes and clients more dependent on my expertise and keeps younger, less experienced professionals in their place if they get to cocky about what they know.  With time some of the common terms from any industry make their way into the everyday language of the average person.

The world of fashion and apparel is no different, encompassing its own secret set of terms and directions that are apparently very important but make absolutely no sense to the everyday consumer.  One of the terms that has recently started to make the transition to consumer products is “selvedge” or “selvage”, most commonly used in reference to selvedge denim.  In its most simplistic definition, selvedge refers to the way that the edge of a woven fabric is finished so as to prevent the edge of the fabric from unraveling.

3Sixteen SL-100X Indigo Selvedge

3Sixteen SL-100X Indigo Selvedge

Denim is woven on a loom.  Prior to the 1950’s it was woven on shuttle looms, usually 30 inches wide.  In selvedge denim made on a shuttle loom one piece of thread is woven back and forth as opposed to individual threads being used for each weave.  This creates a smooth edge instead of the frayed edge that we are used to in most of today’s clothing.  A pair of jeans made from the material produced on these narrow looms takes about three yards of fabric.  For economic reasons, manufactures wanted to use the entire 30 inches so they finished the edges of the fabric with a straight outside seam featuring colored thread.  Different types of fabrics would be distinguished by different colored threads.

As jeans gained popularity in the 1950’s shuttle looms were replaced by faster and less expensive projectile looms.  These new looms produced wider pieces of denim that could then be cut and sown together.  Thus the end of selvedge, at least temporarily.  Some of the older looms made their way to Japan.  In the 1980’s there began a popularization of classic Americana in Japan and this included vintage clothing.  Adopting older American styles, Japanese fans started to roll up the hems of their jeans.  A look that would show off the selvedge in vintage jeans.  With time the selvedge itself became a symbol of quality. A special detail that showed the wearer had real, authentic garments. Something unique and special.  Some forward thinking Japanese manufactures saw this growing trend, as well as the trend for nicer cuts of denim in general, and began producing high quality, selvedge denim.  Flash forward to today and there is an entire sub-industry of premium quality denim, much of it featuring selvedge.

Does a pair of jeans have to be selvedge denim to be high quality? Not at all.  There are lots of high quality denim available.  Jeans that look great, will hold up and generally cost a lot less than selvedge denim.  There is also lower quality denim that is finished with a selvedge edge.  Even though they have this mark of quality, they can be more reminiscent of bargain quality jeans instead of a premium garment that is made to last though years of wear a tear.  What high quality selvedge denim does offer though is a pair of jeans that will fade and pattern in a unique way making a one a of kind, very personal item.  Is it worth the extra price?  That is a personal question and if you are on a budget, probably not.  You can get a some very nice jeans that cost a fraction of what a high-end brand costs.  If you are a clothes aficionado and want something that you know is high quality and special then perhaps its worth taking a dive.  And while I usually do not recommend shorter men roll up the bottom of their pants legs, it only highlights that you are short and generally doesn’t look flattering, this may be one time when you can consider breaking the rules.

The Essentials: Belts

belts 1Welcome to the first installment of our new series, The Essentials.  It is exactly what it sounds like, a list of the must halves for any adult male’s wardrobe.  It is not meant to include every item that is useful but cover the most basic, mandatory items that you should have in your closet at all times.  For any item on the list there are countless versions, many more fashion forward and stylish.  The Essentials represent the most basic, classic versions that will stand the test of time and will anchor any more current looks or trends that you pursue.  Over time we will cover more stylish versions of essential items and you will no doubt want to include them in your wardrobe but The Essentials will hold up no matter what your age or how trends are changing.

belts 3

For our first edition of The Essentials we are covering an item that is often an afterthought, the belt.  The most utilitarian of items, the belt is usually the last thing that guys worry about but if you need one and don’t have it, it’s the most important item ever.  While a good fitting pair of pants should be able to stay up on its own, when it won’t nothing is more important than your belt.  Now you will find some sites recommending that shorter men skip the belt because of the horizontal line that it creates.  Our thought on that notion?  It’s nonsense.  Unless your pants are made without belt loops feel free to slide on a belt, just be sure its the right one.

Belts are usually broken down into two categories, formal and casual.  Formal belts are meant to be worn with suits, business and office apparel and dressier casual outfits.  The should match your shoes in color and may be on the shinier side.  Buckles should be on the smaller, more understated side and in gold or even better, a silver tone.  Formal belts should also be thinner and the length should allow you to go through the first belt loop after the buckle but not much farther and absolutely lay flat.  Most men will be fine with one quality belt in black and one in brown if they have shoes of a similar tone.

dress belts

Casual belts can be worn with jeans, slacks or even the right pair of shorts if they fit loosely.  Belts can be slightly wider and while you should still have an understated buckle, you may add a small touch of individuality though we strongly recommend you begin with a basic black version and a brown version with simple buckles that will go with the majority of your casual wardrobe.  Again it is best to match your shoes to your belt though you have a little more flexibility.  That said, while taller men can get away making more of a statement with their belts and buckles, shorter men aren’t trying to draw viewers eyes further downward and over-emphasize elements away from their faces.  If you do want to utilize a belt to express your individual style save that for later on after you have built your foundation and added basic black and brown, simple buckle formal and casual belts.  For now, leave the wild colors and flashy buckles to the clowns and rodeo champs.

belts 4


belts 2

A fashion don’t. Leave the Short-Suit on the red carpet.

Pharrell Williams In A Short Tuxedo Suit - The Oscars 2014

It’s warm in California.  Shorts weather warm.  Out here we love these warm early March days when you can leave the fleece at home and roll down the car windows.    In fact it may be a little to warm and dry.  While we are short on rain, we aren’t low on bad fashion styles.  This weeks comes to us courtesy of Pharrell Williams at last weekends’ Academy Awards.  Pharrell tried to parlay his growing celebrity status into establishing credibility for a fringe fashion look.  And no matter how much listening to “Happy” makes me happy, nothing is going to make the shorts-suit look acceptable.

Recently at, Matt Allinson wrote a nice post in defense of the short-suit,  Allinson writes

One path is encouraging us to emulate the 1950s and develop a timeless personal style that will transcend the next fifty years. The other desperately wants to find new ways to stand out from the ever-growing crowd of stylish gentlemen. And the short suit does just that.

He hits the nail on the head regarding the challenge between having a classic, lasting personal style that never falls out of style and the desire to stand out and express your individuality.  However in our humble opinion, he over-reaches in describing the short-suit as classic with a twist.

For the shorter man, the shorts-suit is an exceptionally bad choice.  Consider it a fast track to looking like you are dressed as an English school boy.  Unless your name is Angus Young and you can rock there is just no reason to attempt this style don’t.

Are there any exceptions?  Of course.  If you are in Bermuda feel free to adopt the local style, so long as you leave it on the island when you depart.  Perhaps if you are an early 20s Bro with a an over-active sense of self-worth and lack of awareness you could attempt the look but be warned, it will fail and only your obliviousness to anyone but yourself will protect your fragile ego.

So be warned.  No matter what celebrity style you wish to emulate, this is one look to leave on the red carpet.

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.

Hello 2013

It’s hard to believe that it is already 2013.  It’s hard to believe that the Shortees Style blog was set up just over a year ago and hasn’t been updated since last January.  As you can tell maintaining this blog has not been a priority over at Shortees.  That is about to change.  2013 is looking to be an exciting year for Shortees and part of that is a renewed focus on updating and maintaining our Facebook page and blog.

What should you expect to see from us over the next year?  Lots of things.  News and advice on topics that matter to today’s man including fashion, grooming, sports, women, dating, humor and our own brand of commentary on all of those topics and more.  Some of it will be specific to the 5’8″ and under man while much of it will appeal to anyone regardless of height.

What makes us different from the unending assortment of other options out there for readers?  We don’t cater to the lowest common denominator.  We enjoy a good fart joke, sexy women or epic fail as much as the next person and we celebrate all of them but we know you aspire to more than that.  At the same we understand that the majority of our customers and readers are not living on an unlimited budget.  You want to live and dress in a way that flatters you and is realistic for the reality of  your everyday, not in a costume, like a celebrity or if you stepped out of a period television show.  You appreciate trends and what is best about them without mindlessly chasing them.  While we represent a brand and every business consultant in the world will say that we want you to identify yourself by the Shortees brand we defy that approach.  We celebrate our individuality and support your search to define who you are.  We are here to help.  With great fitting clothes, usable advice, worthwhile reviews and good laugh (ok, the occasional hot chick as well).

With that we invite you to participate with us.  Send us your comments, thoughts, ideas, rants and whatever else crosses your mind.  We will do our best to visit the topics that matter most to you and extend the Shortees ideal of a better fitting shirt to a better fitting life.

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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