Answerland: Inexpensive Business Casual & Clothes for Short Guys

Answerland is the weekly feature that gets answers to reader questions about style, etiquette, finding clothing in your size, food, and just about anything else our readers ask us. Send us your questions via social media or by using the contact form found here, and we’ll get answers for you.

Learn how to make shorts like Matthew's
Here’s Matthew in his DIY shorts

State of Arthur asked: Can you help me find a post I saw before? The outfit looks like the one from your Wear it Well: Turning Your Pants into Great Looking Shorts, I think it was taken on a beach. Thanks!
Man, that’s a hard one. Matthew’s a pretty snappy dresser, so maybe it was another of his photos? You can also check out the rest of Chubstr’s Wear it Well series – maybe the photo you’re looking for is in there. Here’s a similar look, though not on a beach. Also, check out our reader photo submissions section – there’s a ton of photos in there – you might find what you’re looking for.

Man with camera in front of a mirror

Anchors and Armor asked: So, I’ve recently gained some weight. I am up to a 46 waist and a XXXL shirt! Where’s a fella to shop for business casual clothes and still not break the bank??
The million dollar question! It’s not always easy to find clothing in extended sizes that isn’t pricey. You have to keep an eye out for sales. If there’s one in your area, Dillard’s tends to have some great sales at the end of each month – usually over the weekend. You’ll want to go into a local store to get the best deals, but I find a lot of business casual goodies there. Also try:

JC Penney (sizes to 60 waist) for reasonably priced sales if you’re willing to search the site.

Old Navy  (sizes to XXXL in a bunch of tops and a small selection of bottoms) for budget options – some of which can work for a business casual look. Keep in mind that not all of their XXXL shirts fit the same way, so you can run into some that don’t fit well.

Destination XL (sizes to 7XL) has a sale section, and it includes more than 1000 items that run the spectrum. Be prepared to search through that section. I did a quick search and found polos starting at $8, so if you have the patience to browse for a while, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for at prices you can handle.

If you have a specific type of look you’re going for, let us know and we can try to help you find something that works for your needs.

Photo by i b i k e l o n d o n

Tailor Made Shorty asked: I hear the term big & tall to describe men’s plus-sized fashion, but what about those of us who are short & stout? What are some good fashion do’s & don’ts for shorter plus-sized men? Can you recommend any stores or blogs for guys like me? Thanks!
Big and tall is kind of the industry’s catch-all for men of size. Men’s plus size clothing certainly has subcategories, and there ARE some brands and blogs out there catering to those specifically. I heartily recommend you take a look at The Modest Man. It’s a blog that focuses specifically on men of below average height – exactly what you’re looking for. While they don’t specifically focus on the heftier man, they do cover resources that might work for you.

I reached out to Brock, Founder of The Modest Man to get some answers to your questions. Here’s what he has to say:

When you search for fashion tips for short men, you find a bunch of worn out advice like “wear vertical stripes” and “buy shoes with thick soles”. These generic tips just don’t cut it. Short men aren’t all the same. We come is various shapes and sizes, just like average or taller men. The key is to dress in a way that flatters your body type.
Short and stout men can use colors, patterns and fit to downplay their girth and look taller. Here are some easy ways to do this:
  • Wear small-medium size patterns (thin stripes instead of thick ones).
  • Avoid low-rise pants (they make your legs look shorter and stouter).
  • Avoid “relaxed” or baggy clothing. Get your clothes tailored to fit closer to your body (think slim, not skinny).
  • Make sure accessories are proportionate. For example, avoid skinny ties (they will only emphasize your width). Go with wider ties and substantial knots.
Most importantly – wear what you like and feel comfortable in. Feeling good and looking good go hand in hand.
Want more tips? Check out Brock’s new guide: Dress Taller: 11 Crucial Style Tips for Short Men. Get it for free by clicking the link.

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Photo: Loren in Suspenders