Men under 5’8″ are used to being overlooked – clothes that don’t fit right, watches that are too big and the inability to see at concerts. Until recently, there were few viable options available for shorter guys to find great-fitting clothes that accentuate their style – outside of having an entire wardrobe tailored. As a man on the shorter side, Brock McGoff was tired of being underrepresented and decided to create an online community dedicated to helping men that lack height feel their most confident. As a business that shares this common goal of helping men feel great about themsleves, we wanted to share Brock’s advice so that modestly sized men no longer feel like they’re receiving the short end of the stick.
Tell us a little bit about yourself personally and why you started The Modest Man?
I created the The Modest Man as a resource for men who want practical, honest style advice presented by a guy who is 5’6″ in shoes.
I started TMM because, when I finally realized how poorly I dressed (in my mid-20s), I couldn’t find any style advice on the internet that was geared toward me – a shorter, smaller guy. There were plenty of great blogs out there, but I noticed that most of the clothes being suggested didn’t fit me properly. If your clothes don’t fit, nothing else really matters – you’re not going to look good.
So I started learning about tailoring, custom clothing, specialty brands, etc. and I decided to document what I was learning. At the time, I was also learning a lot about digital marketing, including SEO, blogging, affiliate marketing and passive income. My plan was to turn The Modest Man into a business that would give me a bit more time freedom and location independence.
It took over three years to go full time, but I absolutely love what I do!
What’s The Elevator Pitch of your company and what you do?
My aim is to help men dress better and ultimately feel more confident. I try to present advice in a straightforward, easy-to-digest way. Most of my content centers around basic men’s fashion advice: what to wear, how to choose the right colors, how your clothes should fit, how to take care of your skin and style your hair.
Fit is the most important aspect of style. You need to understand how clothes should fit, especially on your body. Most of us aren’t 6’2″ fashion models, which means some alterations might be in order (or at least careful shopping and a willingness to try new brands).
Once you nail down your fit, focus on colors. Most guys should build a foundational wardrobe full of neutral colors, then add their favorite colors on top of that. I think 80% of a man’s wardrobe should be neutral. It makes combining pieces and getting dressed very easy.
What are the essential grooming tips you pass along to other Modest Men?
Go easy on your hair. Don’t use too much shampoo, especially cheap shampoo that strips your hair of natural oils every time you use it.
Get a brush and a blow-dryer and learn how to use them. Experiment with different hair products until you find what works for your hair. In general, longer hair needs lighter products, and shorter hair needs high hold products.
How can shorter men maximize the advantages and mitigate any negatives associated with their height?
No matter your height, there will always be a lot in life you just can’t control: genetics, where you’re from, your IQ… the list goes on and on.
It’s crucial that you ignore all of that (as much as possible) and instead focus on the aspects you can control: your social skills, grooming, fitness, relationships, how you spend your time, etc. etc.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever given and received?
I didn’t really “receive” this advice, but the one book that really changed my life was Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Work Week. Despite the title, it’s not about working less. It’s about taking control of your time and, therefore, your life. The simplest way to do this is to get control of your income through entrepreneurship.
On a related note, when younger people ask me for advice, I urge them not to spend time doing things they don’t want to do (working jobs they hate, for example).
Do things that you enjoy. If you don’t know what you enjoy, actively try out different jobs and hobbies until you find something you love. I’m not saying it won’t feel like work. There are plenty of days where I don’t want to write or edit a video, but it sure beats being chained to a desk from 9 to 5 for some company I don’t care about and don’t have any stake in.
When in doubt, try to think of how you’ll feel a few years from now. If you want to get really stoic with it, picture yourself on your deathbed. What would future you tell you right now?
What are some of your favorite clothing brands aimed at Modest Men?
By far, my favorite brand is Peter Manning NYC. I love this brand so much that I actually joined the PMNYC team in mid-2018, so I’m now a managing partner in the company. They’re the only brand that sells a full catalogue of clothing for shorter guys, from t-shirts to suits and ties. On any given day, I’m wearing at least one item from PMNYC, if not more.
Who are some icons of style and fashion who might be smaller in physical stature?
There are SO many stylish shorter men out there. To name a few: Josh Hutcherson, Donald Glover, Elijah Wood, Dave Franco, Kevin Hart, Prince, Usher, Winston Churchill, Daymond John and Aziz Ansari.
Any good jokes?
What do you call a dinosaur that takes care of its teeth?
(Bonus Tip: Be like a Flossoraptor)