For generations, short men have been saddled with a tall order when it comes to shopping for clothes.
“I’m five foot seven and struggled to find stuff that would fit me off the rack,” says Elie Robinson, of Cedarhurst. “I used to buy jeans with a 30-inch inseam because that’s all I could get. I’d tough it out with them bunched up, or go to a tailor, but the tapering is never the same once you hem a pant.”
That's why Robinson, 43, a former tech and e-commerce entrepreneur, recently opened Under 5’10, a Cedarhurst shop serving not-so-tall men just like him. And like Jonathan Glaubach, 50, of Woodmere, who stands five feet two.
“Shirts would drape on me,” says Glaubach, vice president of product and retail for Under 5’10. “I’d never be able to wear them untucked, and they’d be so long they almost touched my knees.”
At Under 5’10, shirts are cut with scaled-down collars, armholes, sleeves and tails. Inseams for pants start at 26 inches, rather than the standard 30.
Women have long had petites departments and plus sizing, and “big and tall” shops have catered to men by necessity — those shoppers need extra fabric to cover the body. “Whereas the shorter guy swims in his clothing,” says Robinson. “It’s just been tolerated for a long time.”
In roughly the last seven years a host of new brands have opened, targeting men under five feet nine inches — the height of the average American man. Only a few have lasted, and most are just online. Robinson is one of the few to open an actual brick-and-mortar store. And business is growing.
His shop and website debuted in October, with just 11 shirt styles. Since then, he’s expanded to 37 shirts, plus four types of jeans, with more coming and chinos and dress pants arriving this month. All at reasonable price points (shirts run $40; jeans, $50). (He plans to open a second store in a local mall.)
“When you wear stuff that’s extra baggy, it makes you look — and feel — even shorter and heavier,” says Robinson. “We hear this from customers all the time. ‘I look taller, thinner.’ And they walk out wearing the clothes they just purchased. Once they see and feel the difference, they don’t want to put their old clothes back on.”
OTHER SHOPPING OPTIONS
Under 5’10 founder Elie Robinson stands five feet seven. Here’s how some of his top online competitors stack up:
ASH & ERIE
Detroit-based brand (originally called Ash & Anvil) on “Shark Tank” in 2017 (and won a deal with Mark Cuban). They now offer short- and long-sleeve button-downs (classic solids and eye-catching camo and floral prints, $88 to $98), and slim-fit stretch jeans, in black, medium blue or this indigo wash; $158 at ashanderie.com
Focused exclusively on short men’s clothing since 1975, designer Jimmy Au (left) offers upscale styles for TV and film — “Hollywood is a lot shorter than you think,” says Jimmy’s son and co-designer Alan Au — and other clients at his Sherman Oaks, California, shop, plus trunk shows across the country. Look for sleek suits ($995 and up), date-night shirts (about $145), even leather motorcycle jackets ($650); at jimmyaus.com
PETER MANNING NEW YORK
There’s serious variety here in button-downs (including flannels, seersucker and tux shirts, $98 to $108), pants (chinos, stretch twills, cords and more, about $98), plus polos, knits, suits, activewear and outerwear. You can try on anything at their Manhattan “Fit Shop,” then order online. This Harrington jacket, $195, and stretch chinos, $98; at petermanningnyc.com