The Men's Fashion Industry Does Not Celebrate Height Diversity


If you've ever wondered why the clothes off the rack don't fit quite right, this one's for you....

Men whose height is under 5’8” are largely ignored by most mainstream fashion brands [1].

Even when brands carry clothing sized small (S) and extra small (XS), they are designed for tall, lean body types, so their fit does not match the proportions of men who are 5’8” and shorter [2]. Because there is no sizing category equivalent to ‘petite’ for men, many male consumers are underserved by the North American fashion industry.

The inability to find fashionable clothes that fit their bodies is often a source of frustration and low self esteem for men whose height falls below average. This is exacerbated by cultural norms that associate masculinity with physical strength, stoicism, and emotional suppression (Oransky & Marecek, 2009). It is also detrimental to retailers because customers are more likely to return garments with fit issues.

• A study conducted by Howarton and Lee (2010), found that many people were annoyed with the fashion industry because of how ready-to-wear garments fail to suit their fit needs [3].

This begs the question, if fashion companies did a better job of understanding the relationships between body type and garment fit, wouldn't everyone be happier? The customer would be better served, and fashion brands would keep their profits.

The problem is, men tend to be less vocal than women when it comes to advocating for their particular needs in clothing in fashion. As a result, brands are not aware of the issue and therefore cannot address it.

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References:

3)Howarton, R. and Lee, B. (2010). Market analysis of fit preferences of female boomers. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 14: 219-229.

2) Sindicich, D. and Rutherford-Black, C. (1999). An assessment of fit and sizing of men’s business clothing. Fashion Marketing and Management Journal, 3(3): 446-463.

1) Shim, S. and Kotsiopulos, A. (1991). Big and tall men as apparel shoppers: Consumer characteristics and shopping behaviour. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 9(2): 16-24.