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Archive for the tag “short men’s fashion”

American Apparel marches on with a new CEO. Edgy but not as overtly sexual.

Source: American Apparel

Source: American Apparel

Anyone who has been following the apparel industry in North America (if you can even say there is enough manufacturing left to call it an industry) knows the story of American Apparel.  Slightly kooky CEO/founder builds the largest garment manufacturing operation on the continent through the savvy use of sexually charged images targeted at teens and young adults.  Wildly successful company faces all sorts of financial challenges and more then once teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.  Questionable CEO is repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and bizarre behavior until his is finally driven from the company.

It sounds like a soap opera and certainly will eventually be turned into a James Franco vehicle for him to once again channel his inner oddball.  In the meantime hudreds of millions of dollars in revenue continue to roll in and it is now the responsibility of new CEO Paula Schneider to create some sort of order out of the chaos.  Schneider recently gave her first public interview to Bloomberg and the headline that has been all over the internet for the past day, edgy but with less skin.

By Matt Townsend at Bloomberg

Paula Schneider, American Apparel Inc.’s new chief executive officer, wants the brand to be as provocative as it was under expelled founder Dov Charney. Just with less skin.

“It doesn’t have to be overtly sexual,” Schneider said in her first wide-ranging interview. “There’s a way to tell our story where it’s not offensive. It is an edgy brand. And it will continue to be an edgy brand.”

Schneider, an apparel industry veteran who has led private-equity backed companies and ran the swimwear division at Warnaco Group Inc., has been in the job only a month and is still formulating her strategy. But it’s already clear that she wants to build on the battered chain’s underlying strengths.

To read the full article go to: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-06/american-apparel-ceo-wants-less-skin-but-isn-t-afraid-to-be-edgy

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Is menswear going to the mountains?

Men's jacket by Aether, source Aether

Men’s jacket by Aether, source Aether

Perhaps there is hope for those who can’t seem to find anything to relate to fashion wise when they scan the latest pics from the runway or pursue  the ads in the latest edition of GQ.  I know every time I pick up a fashion magazine I shake my head wondering what tiny percentage of the population is actually buying the looks I see.  Not 99% of the guys I know.

One subset of the fashion universe that has slowly been coming back are looks based on heritage/vintage styles along with more tactical and outdoors performance based looks.  The bonus to most of these styles, they hold up well to the elements and make you look like a man, not a dandy.

Rebecca May Jonson over at The Business of Fashion took a look at the topic today in A Survivalist Streak in Menswear

From triple seam sealed Gore-tex and ballistic nylon to shearling vests and stylish axes, why are men buying fashion fit for surviving the apocalypse?

Dubbed a “snowpocalypse” by sensational American media outlets, a recent winter storm in the US prompted New York City mayor Bill Blasio to declare a state of emergency, ban cars from the streets and shut down the city’s subway for the first time in history. The snow never really materialised (only 5 inches were recorded in Manhattan’s Central Park) but politicians and consumers alike responded like doomsday survivalists, battening down the hatches in preparation for apocalypse.

In fashion, amidst an uncertain climate — geopolitically and economically, as well as literally — it seems like menswear has taken on a survivalist streak too. “It’s a brave new world. We are in a different climate both politically and meteorologically,” agreed men’s fashion consultant Nick Wooster.

To read the full article go to: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2015/02/survivalist-streak-menswear.html

 

Yahoo/ET shows love for 5’5″ Bruno Mars

 

Bruno Mars Taylor Swift

Usually when I come across an online post from a major outlet that mentions a guy’s shorter height the article turns out to be a shot at short men.  Even when they think they are trying to be complimentary it’s usually a back-handed compliment that actually insinuates that being short is somehow inferior to being tall.

Hey guess what, in our imperfect world it is.  Sure there are plenty of exceptions but overall women prefer taller men, taller men earn more and get ahead easier in the workplace and it’s just plain hard to reach those high shelves in the kitchen.  The world is also unfair to women, the overweight, older individuals, the poor, non-heterosexuals, and minorities.

Bruno Mars Victoria Secret

At the end of the day most of us who are short have learned to embrace it and love who we are.  I happily turned it into a business opportunity.  The last thing we need is the popular press taking cheep shots just because they need to push out so many meaningless pieces of material to fill their web pages and blogs so when there is a little love for the short man and a celebration of just how awesome he can be I want to take a moment and acknowledge it.  And yes, we have a sense of humor and know how it looks when we are standing next to an extremely attractive, extremely tall women.  I don’t think Bruno Mars is complaining about any of the company he is keeping in these pictures and I’ll bet those women are pretty happy to be next to him.  Funny how one of the worlds hottest musicians and entertainers is one of the shortest.  Perhaps the world should stop looking over our heads into the distance for the next great thing and glance down a bit.

For a great look at Bruno and the tall women in his life check out: https://tv.yahoo.com/news/bruno-mars-standing-next-tall-220000452.html

What color shoes go with what color pants?

It’s a well-known fact that something in the Y chromosome makes it more difficult for men to properly match colors.  Yes you have mastered wearing black dress shoes with your only suit but with today’s growing selection of different colored pants not only are you looking more like your wife/girlfriend, you have to actually think about what color shoes to wear.

Thanks to Justin Jeffers, The Fine Young Gentleman you no longer have to think.  Just look at this handy spreadsheet published in Business Insider and walk out of the house with confidence that you won’t embarrass yourself.

Shoe Pant Guide, The Fine Young Gentleman

Shoe Pant Guide, The Fine Young Gentleman

Find the original at: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-color-shoes-to-wear-with-pants-2013-11

What Label is that? Will Men Buy The Same Brands Their Girlfriend Wears?

Looks from Michael Kors Autumn/Winter '14 Mens Collection | Source: Michael Kors

Looks from Michael Kors Autumn/Winter ’14 Mens Collection | Source: Michael Kors

The menswear market is growing.  Faster then women’s.  Will today’s average guy be willing to slap his girlfriends label on his shirt?  We’re betting the average guy doesn’t know who Michael Kors or Tory Burch is.  And those that do are willing to put on whatever their wife or girlfriend buys them, just so long as they don’t have to go to the mall to try it on.  The upscale men’s fashion market in the US is small.  For all the blogs and TV coverage about fashion, most men don’t care.  They want basics that make them look like they belong.  Most men don’t want anything that is going to stand out to much and the smaller percentage that do, don’t want to be to loud and overstated.  Just look good and have a dash of something that will garner a compliment.  Sure there will always be a small fashion forward market and yes, it will generate billions for the luxury houses and brands that capture it but it will still make up a small percentage of the menswear sold.  And for today’s shorter man, forget it.  The odds of any of the major fashion brands catering to us is slim to none.  Perhaps if you are extra lean and closer to the 5’7″-5’8″ mark you can squeeze into a small, otherwise you’re out of luck.

NEW YORK, United States — When Michael Kors’ 22,000-square-foot flagship opens at 520 Broadway in Soho this December, there will be a floor dedicated to accessories and fragrances, another to women’s fashion and shoes and another, entirely stocked with menswear, kicking off the multi-billion-dollar brand’s foray into the men’s market. “From there, we will begin to test free-standing men’s stores next year and believe that there may be the potential for as many as 500 men’s stores worldwide over the long term,” said Michael Kors chairman and CEO John Idol on an earnings call in August. The company projects its men’s business will generate $1 billion in revenue by 2017.

By Lauren Sherman, Dec 15, 2014 at Business of Fashion.

Read the rest at: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/12/womenswear-brands-make-play-mens-market.html

Eytys. Hitting the mark or better left in the past?

eytys-mother-canvas-bottle-green-43

I recently discovered the Swedish sneaker brand Eytys (pronounced like the decade, 80’s).  I was attracted to the minimalist, utilitarian aspect of the initial product, “Mother”.  A basic, single color sneaker with a fat white sole.  Basic, straight forward and understated simplicity.  Built to be comfortable and versatile.  Plus they come from a small privately owned company and we always like people who take the dive to make their dream products.

The Mother is made in canvas, suede and leather, priced from $150 to $230.  Eytys also produces a high top for $300.  All a little on the pricey side.  Especially for something so straight forward but in a world where most quality training sneakers cost $750-$150 its not insane.

 In a little over a year, Jonathan Hirschfeld and Max Schiller have managed to turn their fledgling Swedish sneaker brand, Eytys (pronounced ’80s’ and spelled with Ys in reference to Generation Y), into a growing cult sensation set to generate €2 million (about $2.5 million) in revenue in 2014. This is surprising, considering that, until very recently, Eytys made only one product: a unisex platform sneaker with a significantly thick rubber and cork sole and a minimal upper that looks like a ubiquitous deck shoe. This model, the “Mother,” gleans its maternal name from its “mothership” status as the label’s first foray into footwear.

To read the entire article from The Business of Fashion: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/10/inside-eytys-explosion.html

Has anyone tried them?  Let us know what you think.

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:  http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-reinvention-of-the-entry-level-suit-1411153710

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.

The changing face of men’s fashion designers

Selling clothes that people actually want to wear.  That was the message that Paul Trimble, a founder of Ledbury, expressed in a recent New York Times article, “But Can They Write Fashion Code? “New wave of male entrepreneurs changing fashion scene”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/fashion/new-wave-of-male-entrepreneurs-changing-fashion-scene.html?_r=0

This article struck close to home as the founder of a men’s clothing line that was designed to not to express some unmet creative need or cater to an elite sartorially inclined group but to meet the need of a large and long overlooked segment of the population that craves basic, classic pieces that actually fit.  A simple solution to a long standing problem.  Shortees was founded with a simple mission, create a t-shirt that could be worn untucked by shorter men.

I identify with the founders of these companies as someone with no fashion design or industry experience who dove into the deep end on the first try.  Like them it was far harder then I ever imagined.  The lack of industry knowledge, unfamiliarity with the secret language that all industries use to streamline communications and keep outsiders from understanding what is going on and the total lack of connections have made it a near impossible task some days.

Every day that I get online I find multiple new apparel companies and countless others talking about starting one.  The entrepreneurial side of me salutes every one of these founders or prospective founders for taking the bold step.  The practical side of me wants to shake them and say they have no idea what they are getting into and the odds of their success are vastly small then they could ever imagine.  When I started Shortees I at least had the advantage of having completed business school along with a number of years of experience developing small businesses so I understood both the challenge as well as many of the business functions that were going to be necessary.  Even with those skills I still faced a monumental challenge entering an industry I knew nothing about , and still feel that I barely know.

The t-shirt industry is a unique animal.  For most new brands they stake their space based on graphics and the segment of the population that identifies with their ascetic and lifestyle message. The growth of street-wear totally changed the t-shirt market and made it not only cool but a potential source of riches.  The tales of small brands started by no-names in their garages abound.  Suddenly everyone thinks they have the greatest new graphics that everyone will love as much as their close friends and mother does.  For these founders the path is actually quite simple.  Pick any of the countless mass produced blank t-shirts that are manufactured in enormous quantities.  They are quite inexpensive and readily available in both large and small quantities.  Find a decent screen printer and for a few hundred dollars more you have inventory.  Throw up a basic shopping site for a few hundred to thousand more and you are in business.  For a lucky few the orders start rolling in.  For  the majority its a lesson in Field of Dreams Theory.  If you build it they will not come.  You have to go out and find them and drag them back to you.

For those like Shortees that want or need to redesign their products and have them manufactured to custom specs its an entirely different and much more challenging process.  Designers, pattern makers, sample makers all have to be identified and vetted.  If you can get through that process then you have to deal with finding a manufacturer.  While there are hundreds if not thousands of garment factories around the world finding one that can not only make your product but make it to your actual specifications at an acceptable level of quality is an enormous challenge.  Then there is the cost.  If you just want to print a few dozen to a few hundred shirts its pretty affordable.  If you need to go through the entire design process and custom manufacture its an entirely different economic scale.  Tens of thousands at a minimum if not hundreds.  And we haven’t even touched on web site development and marketing costs.

As I read the New York Times article what stands out to me about the companies they mention are the backgrounds of their founders.  Private equity, finance, technology.  These founders are used to six figure incomes and had resources to finance their new projects or at least savings to support themselves as the launched their new careers.  Do I feel bad for the failure of You Tube founder Chad Hurley’s foray into upscale apparel and accessories with Hlaska? Not at all.  He will be fine living off his millions.  I stumbled upon a Hlaska store when they first appeared.  They suffered from the same mistake that many others do.  Simply launching a brand and expecting that by virtue of your price point that consumers will identify and value you as a luxury brand.  Yes it works for some brands but it either takes a lot of money, time and patience or a great deal of luck.  Most luxury brands earned their way to the top or spent a fortune positioning themselves there.  Though Chad, if you want to invest in an up and coming men’s brand focusing on the 25% of the population under 5’8″, touch base.  I’m easy to find.

I’m proud of my roots in personal training.  Shortees was built on the back of hundreds and hundreds of personal training sessions and continues to be supported by my other business.  Its the primary reason for the slow growth of my apparel company.  It would have been wonderful and ideal to work full time on Shortees but I had the misfortune of having to earn a living while I launched it and generating some form of cash flow to support the company until it was able to reach a self sustaining level.  Even today our biggest limiting factor is the cost of expanding is greater then what we can cover at any given time.  The result, a slow but steady growth curve and a long list of happy but frustrated customers that want more then what we can deliver them.

Do I feel like a fashion designer?  Not usually but some days. So go out and support your local small scale fashion designer.  Skip the big box retailer and large fashion houses and try something new.  You never know, your next favorite shirt may be designed by a former equity trader, internet-technology start up code writer or even a personal trainer.

Men’s pants are getting to tight and short.

The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan gives up a well summed up look at the state of the ever shrinking men’s pant.  We agree fully with her, slimmer cuts are a good thing but taken to far is just well, to far.  Unless you are wearing shorts we don’t want to see your ankles when you are standing up and we certainly don’t want to be able to tell if you are circumcised through your pants.  If you are short it’s even more important to make sure you have the right cut.  If you pants are to short and start showing off to much ankle it will only make you look shorter.  And while to baggy of a cut will be unflattering, there is huge difference between slim and tight.

This is the era of ever-shrinking men’s trousers — they are tailored and shorter, tighter and shrunken, too tight and too short. And even occasionally veering into: Pitbull, exactly how are you breathing in those high-­waisted white pants?

The look of menswear changes at a snail’s pace, and sometimes it takes years before a not-at-all outlandish idea trickles from the runways, which are now hosting the spring 2015 collections, to the mass market. But when a fashion idea finally reaches the vast middle ground, it tends to stay a while, putting down roots in the menswear landscape.

Thus we are deep in fashion’s equivalent of an old-growth forest — surrounded by men in aggressively tailored pants.

The ubiquity of this trend, even in offices far away from the expected crucibles of creativity, had an executive at a Maryland real estate development firm recently marveling, with some chagrin, that the men in her office were given to wearing particularly close-fitting trousers, which she described as “tight.” While that is a judgment call, it’s true that the cut of men’s pants — the more fashionable cut, that is — has gotten snugger, much snugger than what it was back when Giorgio Armani’s loose Italian tailoring defined power and President Bill Clinton was wearing roomy Donna Karan suits.

To read the rest of the article follow the following link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/fashion-puts-men-in-a-tight-spot-with-pants-that-keep-shrinking/2014/06/24/aee7c8a0-f728-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html

Bad Fashion: Bottle Rock 2014 edition

A little to coordianted

A little to coordinated

The summer festival season is upon us.  That means warm summer days, cold beer and a few outfits worth raising an eyebrow over.  This summer the Shortees team hit Bottle Rock in Napa California and we weren’t disappointed, in the music or the fashion.  While we weren’t able to capture every outrageous look, here are a few items that caught our attention.

Our opening look is quite the stunner.  We are always captivated but never impressed by the onsie look or those who take matching to an extreme.  Yes your friends can find you in a crowd but do they really want to?

A little to much national pride

A little to much national pride

 

 

 

Ok we get it.  You love the USA.  Maybe you should love it a bit more and not sit on it Malph.  And if you get that reference perhaps you to have a neon tank top in the bottom of your dresser drawer. (Yes Weezer did play and while it took 45 minutes for us to realize they weren’t animatrons, they sounded great)

 

 

 

These next two gentleman were kind enough to spend a set or two reminding us why there is a certain population of men that would rather not associate with.  I’m sure they spend their days comparing card stock and perfecting their Christian Bale American Psycho impersonations.  We all felt sorry for the girls in their group.

Bottle Rock 2014 American Psycho 1

Bottle Rock 2014 American Psycho 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is so much wrong with their shorts.  One highlighting a pair of Izod pants that look they were stolen from his grandfathers closet and the other still clinging to the notion that they can make tight jean shorts cool again.  Both failing miserably.  As for the fanny packs.  It doesn’t matter how ironically, throwback cool you think they are, just throw them away.

We wouldn’t forget the ladies.  While events such as this are an opportunity to pull out your wildest costumes, and we often appreciate it, sometimes it would just be better to pull it back a bit.

Bottle Rock 2014 bad girls fashion

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