Finally, Not So Tall Guys Get A Store To Call Their Own
Garage|June - July 2017
Short men need fashion love, too. The big and tall have their own specialty clothing stores, as do the plus-size, while guys the size of Daniel Radcliffe (5’5”), Tom Cruise (5’7”) or Bruno Mars (also 5’7”) may find themselves pawing through the offerings in the boys’ department.
 
Steven Kurutz
But in March, the men’s wear brand Peter Manning, which designs for guys 5’8” and under, expanded its online business and opened a store in Manhattan. Located on the third floor of a building in the Flatiron district, the shop has a discreet presence at street level, as if to acknowledge the mild embarrassment its customers may experience on their way in and out.

“You’re not going to go into the petite store for guys,” said Jeff Hansen, the brand’s co-founder and chief executive (and, at 5’8”, a customer himself ). “This category is a real challenge to market.”

Thus, a semantic sleight of hand was necessary, he said: “We developed this concept of ‘not so tall.’ We also added a ‘not so tall, not so skinny’ line.”

For men who have spent a lifetime wearing ill-fitting off-the-rack clothes, the store will seem an improbable wonderland. Jeans that don’t bunch at the ankles. Suits that fit without tailoring. Dress shirts that don’t feel like dresses. Polos in a range of colors, not just the last extra-small left, in fuchsia.

Pants under a 30-inch inseam aren’t generally sold in traditional stores. But Peter Manning offers shelves of chinos, jeans and corduroys that top off at 30 and go down   to 26 inches, what might be called Danny DeVito (4’10”) ready-to-wear. Even the ties have been shrunken ever so slightly.

The shop has a lounge area with a bar cart, fitting rooms and salesmen who would never be mistaken for basketball players. “A lot of our guys have never really known what it’s like to wear proper-fitting clothes,” Mr. Hansen said. “We get him fitted up and looking good, and he walks out of here feeling like a million bucks.”

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