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Clothes for short men with athletic builds


Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2009
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i thought i'd touch on another point - it's hard to alter a jacket when the shoulders are broad relative to chest size. a suit is still tighter on the athletic guy with a 38-inch chest than on the slim guy with the same chest measurement.
Originally Posted by jake8078
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.
i'm in a similar boat, in that i've only started looking at my options and am of a similar build (5'5", 38" chest, 30" waist, 150 lbs). here's what i've tried so far: (1) i had a few (dress) shirts taken in at the waist - to be precise, taking cloth off the side seams and the addition of darts. the improvement was significant, and i've had most of my shirts taken in since. (1b) i've had one dress shirt tailor-made, to see what a reasonable tailor would make for my frame from scratch. one reason i went both routes was i didn't trust my own eye, and realized it was easy to get carried away and get the shirts tapered to guido-like proportions. the tailored shirt certainly had more fabric around the waist, but was more cleanly done and probably more tasteful overall. (2) tailor-made pants. it's hard to buy a suit with a 38" chest and expect the pants to fit - even if in the "right" size OTR (30"), the pants are often too skinny and don't flow with the line of the suit. MTM lets you you ask for a high rise and a slightly wider leg. hope this helps - keep us posted on findings.


Distinguished Member
Feb 1, 2009
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There are brands with more generous shoulders. You don't say what you're shoulder measures but I'm about 48 Over the arm with about a 39 inch chest. A Zegna 50 Italian fits fairly well. The Roma might be a touch big even in the shoulders. The Milano etc are almost spot on for me.

At least you're only a drop 8.


Distinguished Member
Sep 3, 2011
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I'm a little under 5'7", 38" chest, 29" waist, 14.5-15" neck, 32-33" sleeve. What would you guys suggest for button down shirts (intended for smart casual wear)? If going MTM, is there a particular online MTM that you'd recommend, or a good OTR shirt to start with to take to tailor? Of course, an OTR shirt that doesn't require tailoring would be fantastic. I find 15x32 Brooks Brothers extra slim fit is pretty good, but a little tight in the chest due to high armholes. Like the OP, I'm on a budget, but I'll worry about that later...

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