Cloth and Hide · Musings

The Magical Shrinking Act of Menswear

It’s been creeping in and you probably have noticed it. Menswear has definitely been shrinking over the last decade or so. First it was skinny jeans. That led to skinny chinos. It was bound to happen as the internet and #mensstyle blogs started teaching men to dress better, cleaner, and tighter. I think somewhere along the way fit, comfort, and silhouette have been thrown out the window. Maybe it’s just because I am in my thirties and my metabolism is slowing down and I want to be able to eat my lunch, a piece of cake, and still be comfortable. Or maybe I’m just sick of zipping up those ridiculous short flies at the urinal – how are you supposed to get anything done with a fly that short?

There are a couple of areas which I think definitely have not been improved in the shrinking/tightening trend:


Let’s start with pants. Overly tight pants do not allow enough movement in the hip and thigh area, so everytime you bend or more or do anything, you get a lot of creasing and unsightly revealing of areas which generally should not be seen by others in public. The other thing is that the rise is getting lower and lower (which is what leads to the short fly and revealing of butt crack when bending over). If you have a bit of a gut, the lower rise makes your gut hang out more and look more unsightly. If you are wearing a jacket and tie, you get that ridiculous bit of tie hanging out under the button like some sort of Gene Simmons impersonation. In 2017, I’m starting to see a general shift back to more comfortable pants – some tapering is still good, and above all else get the damn things hemmed to a correct length. The rises are generally still too low though. For brands with mid-rises, here are some frugal options.


Shirts should have a little bit of give so you can move around. If there is any stretching or pulling of the fabric when it is buttoned up, then it is probably too tight, especially around the chest and armpit area. Shirts have also been getting shorter so that lazy guys can buy one shirt and expect to be able to wear it both tucked and untucked. This coupled with the shrinking rise basically means that your shirt is coming untucked all day long. The answer is to buy dress shirts that are longer so they stay tucked in.

Most guys also don’t wear ties on a daily basis so companies have been making collars smaller. The thing about small collars is that when you do decide to wear a tie, the collar is dwarfed by the tie knot and it looks unbalanced. The collar can also be so small that it doesn’t quite cover the tie around your neck. Even if you go tie-less, a small collar is more likely to go spread-eagle during the day if it is not a button-down. And if it is a button-down, then the small collar means you don’t get any collar roll. Always get properly sized collars. Always.


So the guys on the cover of menswear billboards are all wearing too-tight jackets and so is everyone on Instagram so you should follow right? A suit jacket or sportscoat is meant to be an elegant thing and this is ruined when you get pulling of the fabric around the buttoned area. Jackets, like shirts, have also been getting shorter which I think makes them look cheaper. I personally prefer a classic length where the jacket covers your butt and the top button of a 2 button jacket, or the middle button of a 3 button jacket buttons at your belt-line (which should be either mid-rise or high-rise).


It’s true that fashion comes in cycles and things are starting to go back to the status quo again. I, for one, am glad.

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