June is the Shortest Month of the Year in the World of Men’s Fashion

00:00 Jan 01

Every June, shorter men across the U.S. celebrate National Short Men of Style Month. According to U.S. Census Bureau Statistics, it is estimated that there are at least 30 million, professional, American men in the U.S. under 5'9" in height. These men are under-served by the existing retail menswear market, which tends to build their inventory programs around the middle 50% of shoppers, or men 5'9" and above, where profits are strongest. Nonetheless, there are many successful, stylish shorter men out there who make the extra effort to find stylish apparel even under these difficult circumstances. To celebrate and encourage those men, ForTheFit.com, an online short men's e-tailer with headquarters in Orlando, Florida, sponsored National Short Men of Style Month. Celebrating shorter men's fashion is a great way to bring attention to the difficult fashion obstacles faced by shorter men, as well as the various ways these can be successfully overcome. For example, Fashion and style guides regularly suggest that shorter men should consider shopping in the boy's department, or resort to tailoring and alterations. These options are unacceptable to many. The young men's department offers an inappropriate fit for a man's shape, regardless of his stature. Further young men's styles often lack the maturity required by today's successful, professional man. Alterations or custom tailoring can be viable options, but the process is not for everyone. "Buying clothes that always have to be altered is a pain in the pocketbook," explains Mary Foster of Tinley Park, Illinois, a frequent shopper for her 5'9" and under husband and son. Greg Cason of Orlando, Florida, takes issue with the cost and time involved in alterations, and prefers to avoid the "extra trips" to get alterations after shopping for pants. Like many stylish shorter men, Mr. Cason has discovered the value in specialty retailers such as ForTheFit.com, who cater to shorter men, "The pants I ordered fit perfectly out of the box" he enthuses. Shorter men often require trousers with shorter hems, a shorter rise, and smaller waist sizes. Sleeve lengths and the overall proportions of dress and casual shirts and most suiting available off-the-rack are generally too large for shorter men. To stock their online store, For the Fit, Inc.'s buyers look for apparel manufacturers and brands that cut their menswear fashions trimmer and smaller than average, and custom manufacturers apparel in sizes proportioned for their target audience. Jeffrey Bova, the company's C.F.O., adds, "quality, up to date styles and known brands were sorely missing in this market segment… (this) dissatisfaction with the selection available in smaller sizes was a major factor that drove us to start our company." Short men's retailing is still a rather unique concept. Besides For the Fit, Inc., only about five other stores exist nationwide- including the popular Jimmy Au's in southern California, and Napolean's Tailor, with two locations in Wisconsin and Illinois. National Short Men of Style Month was established to celebrate the shorter men, like Mr. Cason, who make the extra-effort to craft excellent personal style, despite the difficulties and limited shopping resources available to shorter men. Though the event has been celebrated since 2005, For the Fit, Inc. is proud to announce its sponsorship of some new additions to the festivities. First, they will be publishing their first ever list of the most stylish male celebrities under 5'9." "Many people are surprised at how many of their favorite celebrities are men under 5'9"," notes Mr. Bova, "these men know how to make their talent and style take center stage- not their height. There is a lot we can learn from them." In addition, 2008 brings the first annual "National Short Man of Style" competition- a contest to find America's most stylish shorter man. Contestants will write a short essay and enter a photograph of themselves looking their best for a chance to win prizes such as a new wardrobe or a new suit ensemble from us "There is good news. Whether you are tall or short, there is a men's hat that will compliment your features."