A complete outfit that fits perfectly right off the rack.
hat’s the most universal challenge for guys looking to upgrade their style? Is it budget? Knowing which brands work with a certain look? Finding the time to shop? All valid answers, but not quite correct.
Fit is essential to good style. A perfectly-fitting t-shirt from a bargain brand will look better and give you more confidence than the equivalent piece from an expensive brand that’s too baggy, too tight, or oddly proportioned. Fit transmits attention, polish, and goes a long way to making you look your best – no matter how you’re shaped.
The problem is, if you’re buying off the rack – as the vast majority of us are – good fit is a serious challenge. You have to go the extra mile, sniffing out which brands fit the best … or maybe the least bad for your body type.
This is especially vexing for smaller guys. Whether it’s inseams that are too long, out-of-proportion sleeves, or tree-trunk collar sizes, guys with smaller frames have a hard time. In fact, many turn to boys’ sizes to achieve a decent fit for certain items.
What if there was a brand specifically designed for the not-as-tall man? One that makes serious quality menswear in sizes stores never carry?
You’re in luck. We’re building a smart casual, dress-it-up-or-down outfit perfect for office and family holiday parties … and it’s from the brand exclusively for modestly-proportioned gents: Peter Manning. Primer readers can save 20% off of their first order with code ‘primer1118′.
The Not-As-Tall Brand Storming The Internet
We’ve introduced you to Peter Manning before: It’s the first and only clothing manufacturer for shorter guys with a full lineup of clothes, from casual button ups to outerwear to short inseam slim and skinny jeans to suits. Heck, they’re practically family here at Primer. Founder Andrew Snavely has documented his struggle to find quality, affordable style that actually fits his frame. He’s an average 5’10” but wide shoulders and narrow waist and an uncommon 29″ inseam makes nailing a perfect fit off the rack challenging. Since their inception, Peter Manning has been one of his go-to brands.
Started in New York by the eponymous Peter Manning (himself a thoroughly average height), the company’s first offerings were simple: a shirt, sweater, shorts, and pair of pants. From humble beginnings the brand has exploded – men from all over the world seek out Peter Manning because the company has pioneered offerings in average and less-than-average sizes.
The response has been robust. As Manning himself puts it, “The world doesn’t need another clothing company. But they do need this one.” Since their founding, Peter Manning has continued to innovate, add to their line, and expand the sizes available to smaller guys. It’s a big reason Andrew’s relationship with the company has continued for this long.
Actually, Size Does Matter
Did you know that over 30% of men are 5’8” and under? That’s a huge demographic poorly served by an industry that, over time, has shifted its focus almost exclusively to sizes medium and up. Costco doesn’t even offer small any more.
In response, Peter Manning has pioneered an approach to sizing that actually makes sense for the millions of guys who need it.
For shirts, button-ups, jackets and all upperwear Manning offers six proprietary sizes based on height and weight. You can size yourself or punch your pertinents into a handy online calculator to find out.
For pants and shorts, Manning uses familiar waist and inseam measurements, with a twist: they actually offer shorter inseams! Need a 28W x 26L? Or a 38W x 27L? They’ve got you covered.
Fit Makes The Man
So what does a proprietary fit system do for your overall style?
Simply put: fit is everything.
For the less-tall guy, proportions are more reflective of body shape, sleeves and inseams fit better, and collar sizes have a better ratio. Gone is the need to cuff pant legs or worry that sleeves will extend beyond the wrist. Issues with billowing fabric or improper rise in pants are addressed.
Clothing made to fit. If you think about it, that’s actually kind of a novelty in today’s three-sizes-fits-all clothing landscape.
Building A Peter Manning Outfit for Fall
Interested in achieving great fit with Peter Manning but not sure where to start? How about a smart casual/business casual crossover that’s ideal for the season?
We started with the Essex dress pants. Constructed from 100% super 120s Italian wool, they’re both soft and warm without being stifling. While the Essex can be paired with a suit jacket, the straight cut of pant is more casual than a bespoke suit and is easily dressed up or down.
Available in a wide variety of patterns and colors, the Everyday Shirt is a Peter Manning workhorse. Average-sized guys will appreciate the proportionally scaled collar and other details that refine the fit. A slightly tapered midsection makes it perfect for layering, which is exactly why we’ve paired it with a quarter zip sweater for warmth – both physically and tonally. This is an outfit you can wear to the office and after; it works in both contexts.
Rounding out the look is the Fulton wool cashmere top coat, a piece we’ve tested and fully approve. It’s luxurious without being voluminous and as with the Everyday shirt all the styling details are proportionate to the wearer.
Combined, these pieces add up to a fall look that’s both layered and elegant without being stuffy.
Why Has It Taken So Long?
You have to ask, why Peter Manning? Why now? Obviously, it took the disruptive power of the internet to bring clothes for the average-sized guy to market. But it definitely feels like major national brands should have been clamoring for this demographic decades ago.
Perhaps it has something to do with culture, expectation, and stereotype. Women’s clothing has had petite sizes forever and it’s totally acceptable. Conversely, there are plenty of big and tall stores for guys. But a petites store for guys? That won’t do at all, it seems.
How unenlightened. It shouldn’t be taboo for guys to buy clothes that actually fit.
It’s about time there was a brand that actually addressed the needs of smaller framed guys. And thanks to the internet, people of all sizes can have their sartorial needs met via ever-more-finely-sliced boutique clothiers.