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Modest Man - Brock McGoff On How to Look Good as a Short Man
01 · 08 · 2019

Modest Man - Brock McGoff On How to Look Good as a Short Man

Written by Gavin Humphreys

You really have to hand it to us short people (usually because we can’t reach).

Ok, so friends might make us the butt of many jokes, but we do tend to overcome the odds - yes, some short people wallow down here, but others stand tall (not that tall, but shut up).

There are advantages to being short, not just having legroom in aircraft. Nevertheless, we do also face challenges, for example finding clothes.

When it comes to fashion, there are things we have to be aware of that taller people don’t necessarily think about. It is handy to know what to look for - to dress for our stature and look good.

I talked to Brock McGoff, who writes a blog focused on shorter gentlemen, The Modest Man, and we chatted about fashion, confidence and MMA fighting!

Brock, your blog is focused on short people - like you and me! - what are the best and worst things about being short in 2019?

From a fashion perspective, the best thing is the fact that we now have so many custom clothing and niche clothing brands to choose from. You can get everything made-to-measure now, from suits to t-shirts. And you can shop at specialty brands, like Peter Manning NYC, that actually make clothes just for guys who need shorter lengths.

The worst thing is the fact that you'll still pay a premium for better fit, whether it’s due to the “tailor tax” or just higher prices from made-to-measure and specialty brands. This is because, despite the demand, most major apparel manufacturers are still kind of ignoring the shorter man.

As the weather changes from season to season, do you think there are good and bad seasons for short people? Do we fit better with shorts or with scarves?

I think fall is the best season for style, regardless of height, because it allows you to layer up without adding too much bulk. Winter can be tough because extra-bulky jackets aren’t super flattering on shorter guys. That said, both fall and winter are great because you get to wear boots, which usually add an inch or more to your height. I don’t recommend elevator shoes, but I’ll take that natural boost that boots offer!

Talking about elevator shoes, what looks bad? What’s the most critical ‘mistake’ short people tend to make when it comes to clothes?

By far, the most critical mistake that short men make when it comes to style is wearing clothes that don’t fit. For most shorter guys, this means clothes that are too long and sometimes too wide. This totally kills your look, no matter how nice or expensive your clothes are, and no matter what colors or style you’re wearing. Fit is the most important aspect of style, hands down!

If something doesn’t fit, we have the option of taking them to get adjusted. Are there specific difficulties shorter guys face when getting clothes tailored?

Other than dealing with the extra cost and the hassle of going to the tailor, I think shortening certain parts of a garment can problematic. For example, some sleeves are tough to shorter because of the construction of the placket. Some jackets can’t be shortened, because it will throw off the proportions (like the pocket placement and button stance). Many jackets have functioning button holes, which means the sleeves need to be shortened from the shoulder - a difficult and expensive alteration. The key is to understand what can and can't be altered, then find a tailor you can really trust.

What looks better on short guys than on tall guys?

! Haha, I kid...sort of. Shorter men typically see quicker results in the gym, and they’re often stronger, pound for pound, than their taller counterparts. They also tend to maintain their speed, cardio and agility, which is why short MMA fighters are so entertaining to watch.

MMA fighters certainly won’t get the Micky taken, not to their faces anyway. What are your best tips for shorter guys in terms of confidence, and commanding respect and attention?

Shorter men are often told to “be more confident” - as if confidence is a dial you can turn up at will. The truth is, confidence is a byproduct of action. To be confident in something is to trust it. You’re confident that you can drive to work because you’ve done it a thousand times, and you always get the job done easily. You’re confident that you’ll be able to tie your shoes in the morning because you trust in your ability to complete that task.

So the only way to become more confident is by giving yourself reasons to feel more confident. I'm talking about personal development, or improving yourself. And I think that, when it comes to self-improvement, learning how to dress well is low-hanging fruit.

For me, knowing how to dress well for any occasion gives me confidence. Ignoring everything else, I have that one part of life figured out. I know that my clothes are working for me, not against me, in any given scenario.

In my life, I’ve also found that being successfully self-employed has given me a lot of confidence. Training in martial arts (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and lifting weights has also helped me to feel more confident.

Notice that these are all actions. I'm not trying to will confidence out of nowhere. I'm taking action, and the confidence eventually emerges.

Oh, and a great place to start is by making sure you have 2-3 solid pairs of shoes that make you feel like a million bucks!

Thank you

A big thanks to Brock, AKA the Modest Man, for his advice. Please check out his blog and the links above. Thanks for that subtle plug for us at the end! And the motivation - I’m off to the gym.


Gregory Rose III Oct 07, 2019

Great article! Really enjoyed the last bit.

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