If you’re below the national average for height, then you’re one of approximately 40 million guys in the US alone who has probably had to put up with making endless alterations to your clothing purchases, or worse, have been walking around in poorly fitting clothes for most of your adulthood.
The truth is, nearly all brands make the vast majority of their collections fit the peak quartile of the bell curve for height, but what if you don’t quite measure up? Well, you can keep wearing trousers that gather at the ankles and shirts with cuffs that flirt with your knuckles, or you can buy high-quality, timelessly stylish menswear from a brand that understands your predicament.
Meet Peter Manning, the New York-based e-commerce label that was founded in 2013 with the express intention of making not-so-tall guys look better by producing modern essentials that are perfectly proportioned.
With roots in Italy and Brooklyn, as well as a fit shop in the Flatiron district, Manning has applied a savvy approach to its collections, leaning on a casually sartorial aesthetic, and borrowing elements from modern preppy style to create a rounded menswear concept, but most importantly, one that fits shorter guys.
The brand’s belief in a small and efficient wardrobe filled with a few quality pieces that all work well together is something everyone should get behind.
For this winter season, we’ve curated five key pieces from the Peter Manning collection that are often troublesome to find in one’s size if you’re shorter than average. From denim jeans you won’t need to add huge turn-ups, to a cashmere topcoat that you won’t feel like you’re drowning in, these garments are non-negotiable items that will elevate your style.
In recent seasons, the field jacket has climbed the ranks of men’s outerwear to become a contender for the most versatile multi-season jacket ever made. With a heritage steeped in the military, the field jacket deftly combines masculine style with modern utility, and can turn its rugged hand at many a different menswear aesthetic, from preppy off-duty looks to a rugged foil for more sartorial fits.
Many of the better modern field jacket styles today still owe a lot to the original M-1943 used by the US military, although a shorter stand-down collar is the preferred option these days. Peter Manning’s Tribeca Field Jacket is testament to the timelessness of the original, but also a perfect example of how a traditional silhouette can be tweaked to be more in keeping with contemporary aesthetics.
Constructed from rugged cotton canvas with a warm flannel lining and contrast corduroy turn-down collar, the jacket is perfectly sized for shorter guys. It’s a great piece to layer over relaxed tailoring for a workwear approach to sartorialism, while it also works as an off-duty layer with preppy denim and an OCBD.
The girls might be able to get away with edgy oversized leather jackets, but the same does not fly for the guys. A leather jacket is a statement piece that instantly gets noticed, so you need it to fit perfectly. Hence, if you have a small torso or narrow shoulders, most regular off-the-peg leather jackets are going to drown you.
So rather than play hide and seek, invest in Peter Manning’s proportionally perfect lambskin leather jacket. Available in both black and chocolate brown, Manning’s jacket riffs off the classic flight silhouette, only without the bulk. The short stand collar is borrowed from the traditional café racer style, giving the jacket a sporty attitude in what is otherwise a sophisticated tailored silhouette.
The leather itself is buttery-soft, full-grain New Zealand lambskin with a quilted chambray lining. It’s a versatile piece that you can wear over a fine-gauge roll-neck jumper or a simple plain white tee.
If you’re below average height, then the word ‘topcoat’ may need to come with a trigger warning. You will have no doubt experienced the frustration of shopping for wool topcoats before, trying on endless styles only to find that the shoulders are too broad or the hem flirts with the floor. Maybe, just maybe, the sleeves were the right length, but the body of the coat could wrap up two of you.
Peter Manning’s cashmere topcoat is a welcome solution, providing the perfect proportions without losing any of the elegance and sophistication of this classic menswear silhouette. Cut from a cashmere and wool blend, the coat features a Bemberg lining (made from regenerated cellulose fiber) and has been designed specifically to have a natural drape on the shorter man.
It’s a beautiful piece to wear over a suit Monday to Friday, as the notch collar helps it to retain a sartorial attitude, but it can also change tack at the weekends, becoming a luxurious layer with more off-duty fits such as a shirt and jeans.
Premium Italian Denim
Shopping for high-quality denim jeans when you’re not off-the-rack size can be a nightmare. Of course, you can add a turn-up to the leg if the jeans are too long, but not all guys want turn-ups. And if you’ve had any experience altering denim, you’ll know it’s not as straightforward as it sounds.
That’s why Peter Manning teamed up with New York-based pants specialist Bandanny to create a range of premium denim jeans for the shorter man. The jeans are constructed from top-quality denim sourced at Candiani, Italy’s most well-respected denim mill since it was founded in 1938.
They come in both slim and standard fits, plus a variety of washes from an indigo rinse to a dark vintage wash, giving you a plethora of stylish off-duty wardrobe options. With a properly sized rise and proportionate in-seam, these will be the best-fitting jeans you ever try on.
As the winter is now fully exercising its wrath, a solid coat that can withstand whatever the elements throw at you is an absolute must. It needs to be effortlessly stylish while also inherently practical, and one of the best, most timeless silhouettes up to the job is the parka.
From military origins, the parka has become an essential piece of men’s outerwear, adopted by many a subculture over the decades. If you’re a shorter guy then you’ll know that the classic fishtail parka was not designed with you in mind, which is why Peter Manning has opted for a much sportier silhouette that finishes at the tops of the thighs.
It’s constructed from a water-repellent nylon shell with a detachable hood and fleece-lined collar and pockets, making it a lightweight and warm winter option, but without unnecessary bulk.
Proportionally, it’s well executed, with slightly narrower shoulders leading to the perfect length of sleeves. It’s available in both black and navy styles, each of which is versatile and will seamlessly slide into your cold weekend wardrobe.
A paid partnership with Peter Manning – words and opinion Ape’s own.