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Clothes for short men with athletic builds

jake8078

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Hi All, this is my first post as I am a new member to this forum.

I'm looking for help from others who are shaped like me in finding clothes that look good on me.

Short Background (heh) (skip to below if you find this irrelevent):
I'm 23 and, growing up, I always found it very difficult to find clothing that looks good on me. While many of my friends have and can go to a store and quickly grab what catches their eye, I have always found myself eventually donating more of what I've bought than keeping. I've finally reached a point where just recently, I've been trying to figure out what makes certain clothing look good and what makes it look bad on me. I've purchased several books on men's fashion and have been scouring the internet for tips, tricks, and theories.

The conclusion I've come to is that, based on my size and shape, it takes an extremely delicate balance to find things that flatter my shape. This is because I am short, narrow waisted, but of an athletic upper body build. A lot of fashion tips for short men are at odds with tips for muscular men.

I'm looking for some guidance from other men who are roughly my size and shape.

My dimensions:
I'm just under 5' 7" tall
36" chest
29" waist (though 28" 'true' waist, just above where pants usually sit)
29" inseem would be about ideal most of the time
31 - 32" sleeve length (sleeves are often too long for me)

In general, clothing is often too tight (making my head look to big for my body) or too loose (making me look like I'm a kid in daddy's clothes). Sometimes it's a combination of the two: jeans that are slim fitting [although I have an athletic upper body, my lower body starts with a 29" waist and ends with small calf muscles and size 9 feet] drowned by a shirt that ends too low.

I'm thinking I have two goals:

1.) Wear clothing that is flattering to my upper body. In order to do this, I'm guessing I need to find shirts / sweaters / etc that taper well. This is difficult to do because I need to find that correct cut / proportions and it ALSO needs to be scaled down to someone of my size.

2.) Wear clothing that makes my legs appear not so skinny. In order to do this, I'm thinking I need to find trousers that are of a "relaxed fit" but are also short rise, 29" waist and 29" inseem. I'm also guessing I need to stick to medium to heavy weights so they don't flow around what isn't there.


My request to you all:

1.) Let me know if I am on the right track! Please, I welcome all tips and advice!

2.) Point me in the direction where I can find such clothing!


Really looking forward to hearing back from you all. After years of frustration, I'm trying to really make an effort to understand what works well for me and most importantly, where to buy it. Thanks in advance!
 

TheFoo

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I'm not dissimilar from your build, though there is nothing athletic about me. I just did a blog post on this issue, actually, so you might want to take a look.
 

slumdawgbillionaire

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Originally Posted by mafoofan
I'm not dissimilar from your build, though there is nothing athletic about me. I just did a blog post on this issue, actually, so you might want to take a look.

is your blog post in your sig?
 

Mute

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Your measurements are almost an exactly the same as mine. I don't have too much problems with casual clothes except for button down shirts. I just make do. For dress clothes basically you need patience and a great tailor.

Don't compromise on fit. It's not necessary. I just look carefully for what I want and I have a pretty good grasp on what items will give me a good fit (after much trial and error experience).

Give the SF members some more specifics about what you're looking for and your budget and you get some good suggestions on where to look.

To start here's a few suggestions based on my own experience. Since you're still young, slimmer style suits will be best unless you need something more traditional for a reason (e.g. work or formal occasions).

For pants, if you have skinny legs, you'll want something a little more relaxed but don't over do it or you're going to swim in them.
 

AThingForCashmere

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Originally Posted by jake8078
2.) Point me in the direction where I can find such clothing!


Really looking forward to hearing back from you all. After years of frustration, I'm trying to really make an effort to understand what works well for me and most importantly, where to buy it. Thanks in advance!


It would help to know what part of the world you're in.
 

Nicola

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Originally Posted by jake8078
This is because I am short, narrow waisted, but of an athletic upper body build. A lot of fashion tips for short men are at odds with tips for muscular men.

I'm looking for some guidance from other men who are roughly my size and shape.

My dimensions:
I'm just under 5' 7" tall
36" chest
29" waist (though 28" 'true' waist, just above where pants usually sit)
29" inseem would be about ideal most of the time
31 - 32" sleeve length (sleeves are often too long for me)



2.) Wear clothing that makes my legs appear not so skinny. In order to do this, I'm thinking I need to find trousers that are of a "relaxed fit" but are also short rise, 29" waist and 29" inseem. I'm also guessing I need to stick to medium to heavy weights so they don't flow around what isn't there.



You're only narrow waisted if you think the average american is normal. I'd say you were normal and the average is the problem. Which gets to the point. If you're shopping in North America you'll have problems because most off the rack is built for average.

The other issue I see is rise. Rise depends on how you're built. A 6 footer might find a pant low rise while on you it might be normal rise.

Work out your legs. Biggest muscle group .

If you have small legs then even normal fit should look relaxed on you. Remember normal fit is for the average.
 

Scrumhalf

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I am almost exactly the same size as the OP - I am 5'6", about 130lbs, 37" chest, 28" waist. It is hard to find OTR clothes that fit well, but nothing that is out of reach of an alterations tailor. You can get a pretty decent fit with your build with OTR clothes as long as you are willing to spend some extra cash on altering them.
 

nahneun

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Shop in Asia.
 

jake8078

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Wow, thanks for all the responses everyone!

Originally Posted by Mute

Give the SF members some more specifics about what you're looking for and your budget and you get some good suggestions on where to look.

For pants, if you have skinny legs, you'll want something a little more relaxed but don't over do it or you're going to swim in them.


Originally Posted by Nicola

Work out your legs. Biggest muscle group .

If you have small legs then even normal fit should look relaxed on you. Remember normal fit is for the average.


I actually do work out my legs, they just don't respond to training as well as my upper body, so they're lagging behind.

As far as what I'm looking for... right now it's mostly casual wear. I'm 23, and I feel like I can't just do graphic t's anymore. I want to look a little more my age. Sweaters, jackets, vests, etc. Mostly, I'm a big fan of just wearing an untucked button-down shirt over jeans or chinos. I'm not too concerned with businesswear or suits right now as I just got laid off from a corporate job that I spent 4 years at and I'm not looking to get back into that. I'm currently training to be an airline pilot.

My budget is very tight, but when it comes to clothes that fit and look good on me, I can justify spending. I know that's kind of ambiguous still, but I guess I'm saying I'd like to keep it as cheap as possible without sacrificing quality. After some research last night I ordered a pair of Levi 550's and a pair of Chip & Pepper Picklewagon jeans. According to mytruefit.com, the later should fit well. We'll see.

I ordered the Levi 550's because they're supposedly relaxed a little through the seat and leg with a slight taper near the bottom. I figure that this will help to "blend" my look together from my small feet and thighs, a little more relaxed through the leg, and then up to a waistband that actually fits.

I'm in an experimenting phase here I guess. Like I said in the OP - there seems to be a delicate balance I need to find. When I wear an outfit that's fitted all around, it makes my head look big. I'm sure some of you guys have experienced what I'm talking about with that.


Originally Posted by AThingForCashmere
It would help to know what part of the world you're in.

I'm in mid Connecticut, USA.



Originally Posted by Scrumhalf
I am almost exactly the same size as the OP - I am 5'6", about 130lbs, 37" chest, 28" waist. It is hard to find OTR clothes that fit well, but nothing that is out of reach of an alterations tailor. You can get a pretty decent fit with your build with OTR clothes as long as you are willing to spend some extra cash on altering them.

This is the conclusion I'm starting to come to. I am a very avid do-it-yourself'er so I think it's time to pick up some books!
 

jake8078

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Originally Posted by Scrumhalf
I am almost exactly the same size as the OP - I am 5'6", about 130lbs, 37" chest, 28" waist. It is hard to find OTR clothes that fit well, but nothing that is out of reach of an alterations tailor. You can get a pretty decent fit with your build with OTR clothes as long as you are willing to spend some extra cash on altering them.

Also, do you have favorite stores at which you shop for casual wear?

What kind of jeans / chinos do you find work best for you?
 

Mute

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For casual shirts, I find that Aquascutum, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren gives me a decent fit, though sleeves are still long (curse my unnaturally short arms).

On Ralph Lauren, they have their slim-fit shirts. Their Black Label are also fairly slim and offers a good fit for my size needs. I suggest you subscribe to the Ralph Lauren website. That will put you on the mailing list for the frequent discount codes they send out. As a start, I'd wait for a discount code and order their "create your own" slim-fit oxford.
 

JTA

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Originally Posted by jake8078
Also, do you have favorite stores at which you shop for casual wear?

What kind of jeans / chinos do you find work best for you?


Jil Sander, nice slim fit.
 

gin8u

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Originally Posted by Mute
On Ralph Lauren, they have their slim-fit shirts. Their Black Label are also fairly slim and offers a good fit for my size needs. I suggest you subscribe to the Ralph Lauren website. That will put you on the mailing list for the frequent discount codes they send out. As a start, I'd wait for a discount code and order their "create your own" slim-fit oxford.
I guess you missed the part where the OP said he was on a tight budget.


Either way, I'm exactly the same size as you are, except the larger thighs. One thing I wouldn't be able to live without is a good pair of jeans, which i noticed you got the Levi's. I've always bought cheap non-SF approved jeans before and once i got my APC NS, everything looks good with them.

There is only one or two collared shirts that i bought OTR and that fit me perfectly, the others I had to alter them in one way or another.

Sweaters in my opinion are hard to find that fit properly. I find a lot of them have the shoulder seams fall in the right place, but the P2P is too wide, which ends up having a bat-wing effect.
 

jake8078

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Originally Posted by gin8u

Either way, I'm exactly the same size as you are, except the larger thighs. One thing I wouldn't be able to live without is a good pair of jeans, which i noticed you got the Levi's. I've always bought cheap non-SF approved jeans before and once i got my APC NS, everything looks good with them.


Thanks for your post! Someone else also suggested those same jeans! I mostly ordered the Levi's to experiment with fit styles (my theory about relaxed through the thigh and slightly tapered at the bottom.

The website says to order small if you're new to APC NS's. What size waistband did you find works for you? Also, where do they sit? On your hips, waist, etc? And one more - did you have them hemmed after you purchased them or do you cuff them? It doesn't look like there's an option for inseam length.

THANKS AGAIN!
 

longskate88

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I can't speak to formal clothing, but if you're looking for streetwear or semi-formal stuff, try Armani Exchange. Seriously, if you can find the logo-free stuff, it fits really well.
 

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