Short Man Style: The challenges of dressing as a short guy
Updated: May 24, 2020
I have a very exciting event coming up this summer. My baby sister (not an actual baby, obviously) is getting married. She's getting hitched on a Greek island and has asked me to be MC for the event.
Beyond the excitement of the wedding itself, though, lay a slight issue. An occasion like this means one thing: suit shopping. Now, I love suit shopping and a summer wedding on a Greek island offers all sort of opportunities. I had - and still have - visions of suave and cool summer suiting. Think Jude Law and Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley (without the killing) or Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name (without the steamy summer romance) or Alain Delon in, well, anything.
But suit shopping poses a simple problem for me: the world does not really make suits to fit people my size.
I am 5'5" with a 29" leg and a 28" waist. You can hold the "have you tried the children's section" gags, I've heard them all. Suits seem to stop at 30" for waist and leg. The few shops which do offer smaller sizes only offer them online which is not much use for a suit which you want to try on.
As much as I enjoy a bit of sartorial experimentation, turning my bedroom into a fitting room littered with the discarded failures of ill-fitting tailoring is not high on my to-do list.
I am well aware that I could - and probably will have to - get something tailored for the occasion. There is a prevailing, and very sensible, wisdom which says all items should be tailored slightly since very few people can get clothes which fit properly off the peg. We are not all the same size, after all.
But normally you can buy something which pretty much fits and have it tweaked to suit your style. I think saying "I'll have two inches off the waist and leg and the whole rest of it tapered to fit" is more customisation than tailoring.
This also speaks to a wider problem for smaller men who want to look and feel good in their clothes: most stores don't cater to us. There are special shops and lines for the tall or bigger man, bu nothing for the smaller. And it is not even the case that you can find what you want by escaping the high street. In my experience, the high-end and luxury brands are often even less accessible for men looking for a smaller size.
It must be possible to do. There are stylish men of smaller stature out there - and if you know any I would be very grateful for any tips you can grab - so I'll keep my eye out for tips, tricks and good places to shop and I'll let you know what I find.
In the meantime, I am off out to find a linen or cotton suit in a suitably summery colour for the wedding of the year.