There is no such thing as being vertically challenged when it comes to having good style. No matter what your height, the trick to looking good is all about proper fit and proportion. And when it comes to dressing you “not-so-tall” guys, designer Peter Manning has your back. If you appreciate the lines of a well-designed suit and understand that just hemming a top coat won’t make it fit better than you’ll want to shop his stylish classics, especially this fall. Shorter guys can count on Peter Manning NYC for both business and casual clothing like standout outwear, innovative five-pocket twill travel pants and soft Henley shirts. We spoke to the magician himself about how shorter guys can elevate their personal style.
What inspired you to start designing for shorter guys?
A lot of the desire to do this was based on my own experience. My whole adult life I'd never been able to find clothes that fit right. I'd always have to go to the tailor. The more I talked about it with other "not-so-tall" guys; I realized it was a common problem that almost no one in the clothing business was addressing. I decided to do something about it.
Who wears Peter Manning NYC best? How not-so-tall are your guys?
All our guys are 5'8" and under. We have a huge range of men from college kids to older guys and everything in between. Everyone looks good when clothes fit properly. We have a classic American style, but guys can really make it their own. Our guys typically have an inseam 30" or shorter. We offer inseams of 30", 29", 28", 27", and 26". You can't find that in any other store.
What are some of the pitfalls of trying to size down clothing with the help of a tailor? What is a tailor tax?
What we call the "tailor tax" is that extra money some guys need to pay a tailor to have off-the-rack clothing fit the way it's supposed to. Our guys have paid it all their lives.
But often there's no amount of money you can pay to fix something.
First, you can never properly shorten a sport coat as the pockets won't be right. If you shorten tapered pants too much, you take the tapering right out, and the openings will be wider than they should be. If you try to tailor a pocketed shirt that's too long, you might get the sleeves right, but the pocket will hang at the waist and not the chest.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the collection and would you describe it overall?
Well, we're proud of everything we do, but I'm especially fond of our outerwear, as that is one area of men's clothing that no tailor can help. Our lambskin coat has been a top seller. Many of the guys who've bought one say it's their first leather coat because they've never found one that fits before.
Do you have any shopping tips for shorter guys? What kinds of styles and colors should they be looking out for?
A not-so-tall guy should always gravitate toward slimmer profiles. A baggy outfit will always make him look like a kid in his dad's clothes. Pleats should be avoided. Thankfully, flat-front pants have been the standard for a while, but that's beginning to change. Stay away from anything billowy. Scale and proportion matters as well. Make sure patterns and details are smaller and properly scaled.
Never ever should a shorter guy wear _________________?
A jacket that covers his hands.
Which not-so-tall celebrities are good at dressing for their body type?
Well, first I'd say Michael J. Fox and George Stephanopoulos - because they've worn our clothes! But really, most celebrities - a surprising number of whom are of below-average height - manage to look their best thanks to stylists and bespoke clothing. The Peter Manning NYC experience is for everyone else: the guys who just want to be able to buy a pair of pants or a shirt or a suit and have it fit perfectly. For those of us who aren't celebrities, it hasn't been easy, until now!