Are you over 5’8″ tall? This article isn’t for you.

X out of your browser window right now. What I’m about to say doesn’t concern you.

Alrighty! Now that those guys are gone…

If you’re 5’8″ and under, I want to tell you guys about a brand that I’ve recently looked into that makes clothes just for you.

If you’re of shorter stature, you know that shopping can be annoying.

If you’re a regular EG reader, you know the importance of a well-fitting wardrobe.

If you’ve studied fit and proportion, you know what a good fit feels like when you have it on.

If you’re pumped to buy some great-looking clothes, but every single time you enter a fitting room, your encounter these scenarios:

  • With each shirt you try on, the sleeves are too long, and the body fits like a tent.
  • T-shirts? They go past your butt and the sleeves flare out like a pair of 70s bell bottoms.
  • Every pair of pants are too wide and long in the legs, making you feel like a boy wearing your dad’s jeans.
  • Coats and jackets swallow you whole, even though they’re technically your size.

It’s a struggle that I, admittedly, don’t face very often, but know a lot of EG readers do. That’s why this article is for you.

Sure, I could tell you things like:

  • “Get your pants hemmed”
  • “Avoid off-the-rack clothing and buy made-to-measure instead”
  • “Find a tailor”

And so on. Indeed, we have written articles like that, and while that’s all good advice, shouldn’t it just be… easier?

I mean, average guys can just walk into a store, buy a Medium or a 32×30 pair of pants, and be on their merry way.

Why can’t it be just as simple for guys who are a bit shorter than average?

Striking The Right Proportions: Great Clothes For The Shorter Guy

I first discovered Peter Manning NYC a few years ago when emailing with my buddy, Brock.

Brock has a site that enlightened me many times on the not-so-tall man’s plight.

At 5’9″, I’m a pretty average height (by American standards), and my biggest problems when it comes to fit are that my chest and back are relatively wide compared to my waist, and my thighs are bit more muscular than average.

Editor’s note: Do you even lift, bro?

So I have to size up every once in a while. Big deal.

But when Brock listed out the seemingly infinite number of issues he faces as a guy of smaller stature, it blew my mind. I hadn’t even thought of some of the things he mentioned.

My biggest takeaway was that simply shortening the sleeve or pant legs will not solve the problem. If it were that easy, shorter guys wouldn’t have as hard of a time finding clothes that fit.

It comes down to proportion and balance.

Most off-the-rack clothing isn’t made with the shorter guy in mind, so the proportions can be off.

You can’t just snip snip and trim a few inches off a shirt’s sleeves or body, because every other element was designed with the average body size in mind.

Same goes for your pants.

Sure, maybe you can chop a few inches off the inseam, but the seat, thighs, and waist were designed for someone taller than you, and it won’t be as proportionate as it should.

All this is to say that Peter Manning is a great option for the not-so-tall guys. Everything is proportionately sized down so you don’t have to make any compromises for the perfect fit.

While I don’t happen to be their perfect target customer, I know a lot of my readers are, so I asked them to send me some samples to check out in person.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Clothes For the Shorter Man By Peter Manning on Effortless Gent

Fulton Wool Topcoat

I’m used to the rough ruggedness of my seven-year-old peacoat. This topcoat, also made from wool, is substantial and warm, but has a soft hand feel, like you’re petting a baby bunny.

That might be an exaggeration, but it’s definitely soft to the touch, which is nice. I can’t say the same for my weathered peacoat 🙂

Clothes For the Shorter Man By Peter Manning on Effortless Gent

Tribeca Field Jacket

This is, by far, my favorite casual jacket style. You can wear it with denim and a T-shirt, or class it up a bit with a button-down collar shirt and tie.

Its also fairly weather-resistant for the fall and winter, and could work for the more blustery days if you layer with a sweater.

Clothes For the Shorter Man By Peter Manning on Effortless Gent

Black Jeans

This pair in particular has the dark denim look and feel without being over-dyed black, which I prefer. Depending on availability, they also have a dark indigo model.

This denim is slim (though not skinny), and straight through the hip and thigh.

They also have inseams from 26″ – 30″, so you’ll never have to worry about excess stacking at the ankles, when what you really want is a clean, streamlined look.

Clothes For the Shorter Man By Peter Manning on Effortless Gent

Weekend Shirt

The cut of the Weekend shirt isn’t super tapered, so if you want to wear it with a T or henley underneath, go for it.

It’s also designed to be worn untucked, so expect this shirt to hit right at that sweet spot—not too long, not too short.

This flannel fabric in particular is incredibly soft and would look great with the field jacket.

A word on sizing

Instead of sticking to the typical S, M, L sizing that conventional clothiers use, Peter Manning invented a sizing system of their own to accommodate their customers.

It’s built on a numerical system (1, 2, 3, 4, and 2x / 4x) that is based on a combination of your height and weight.

Pants are sized according to waist and inseam like usual, except you have more options for shorter inseams, which isn’t very common in most off-the-rack stores.

Take a look at their sizing charts here.

Is the struggle really real?

Again, if you’re a man of average height (5’9″+) this suggestion may not benefit you much, but for my not-so-tall readers, you should give Peter Manning a try.

Quick question: Are you below the 5’8″ (American) average? What are your struggles when it comes to finding properly-fitting clothes?

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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9 Responses

  1. Phillip Chen on

    I’m 5’4~5’5. my struggles are that I cant find anything notable worth buying. im an xs for shirts with a 27 waist and an athletic build. rarely anything fits. Even shoes are limited because no one sells size european size 40.5 shoes

    • Barron on

      I hear ya. I know Allen Edmonds is a favorite for guys looking for smaller sizes. I believe they go down to a 5 or 6 (might just be on their site). 40.5 is an 8.5 US, right? That shouldn’t be too rare of a size

      • Phillip Chen on

        I wish i could afford the shoes on Allen Edmonds, broke college kid here just starting to redo his wardrobe and integrate clothing that isnt all active/tennis wear. Do you know of any clothing options for me to start out thats has quality and pricing similar to uniqlo and jcrew/jcrew factory?

        40.5 is a US 7.5

        • Andy Budnik on

          Do you ever go to Gap? I know that even a small probably isn’t enough, but I think they have XS. I’ve found that their stuff fits pretty well, even if I’ve been faithfully giving chunks of my paycheck to JCrew Factory. I think someone else even said maybe try the kid sizes? Not trying to be mean with that, but I used to always think I was a large and told everyone that. Now I’m really a M or S in some cases. I just buy what fits well, as the size doesn’t matter at all. I’ve been shopping Gap online a lot recently though and have seen XS on quite a few things. The reviews for their slims have kept me away from that fit as I think it may be too small, but perhaps it would work for you? You can just return it in store anyway, or go there first and buy online.

  2. Mala on

    At 5’4 I have some information to share. I’m a large in kids
    Rugged clothing is often difficult to find. Sometimes you want a bad leather jacket or sweet field coat and you simply can’t find it. Even henleys are personally hard for me. Quality is usually crap.

    I’m happy though. I always find a way. Limited selection doesn’t keep me down

  3. Andy Budnik on

    I’m 5’9″ too, but I’ve always found that I LOOK shorter still. I have wider, muscular shoulders and lats, plus a thicker neck (15.5 to 16). Finding dress shirts and suit coats is extremely hard for me. I tend to size down on the neck, but have found Land’s End dress shirts to be exceptionally well fitting – not too long and I found the perfect size. They’re mainly larger sizes, but I think if you’re a bit shorter and have the same proportions, you may want to give it a try. 15.5 and 33 is darn near perfect. They go to 14.5 and 32 sleeve.

    Other than that, JCrew Factory and Gap fits just right in Mediums and 32×32 pants, though sometimes depending on the rise, that gets muddied. I have a place by me called Napoleon’s Tailor, which caters to men 5’8″ and shorter, but I use it since I am still short and my proportions make me look shorter many times. I’ve finally found a way to fit into slim pants even while gaining mass in my legs, which goes a long way to making me appear taller and slimmer. As long as the top is fitted correctly also. I used to think I was a Large, but I’m really a Medium or a Small and I’ve gotten over my need to say I wear a certain size.

    As Barron says, fit is everything. But I understand the struggle in getting the correct fit. It can be really frustrating.

  4. Joshua on

    5’3″ here and looking for an MTM sweater. My pants, shirts, and jackets are all MTM. I’ve bought pajamas and sweatpants from Peter Manning; they’re perfect fit!

  5. qin on

    I am 5’9” and always need to wear the smallest size at most of the stores.

    And I can’t afford getting muscular cuz if I need to size up on the chest, sleeves are ALWAYS too long. Right now i have a 36 chest and 29 waist and I find a balance in 36S jackets and XS in coats or whatever stuff.

    I know JCREW has XS that fits me, and a lot stores also have short sizes. I guess the trick is don’t get bulky. No 5’6” guy with 40 chest can find off the rack clothes. Keep a healthy body but not super super muscular.

  6. The COMMAN on

    Great tips, will definitely check out Peter Manning NYC as well! Another brand that I’ve found quite useful is “ASKET”, they produce great quality t-shirts with 15 different sizes, so they fit sooo much better than the regular S or M.