Shortening Belts Part 2

 

For the second installment on the series about shortening belts, I will show how you can work with a belt that is too long.  For this segment, I take a size 34 brown-braided H&M belt, and without any cost, demonstrate how to accommodate a smaller size waist with a larger sized belt. 

 H&M Linen Elbow Patch Navy blue cardigan (S), Armani Exchange Grey Pima V-neck (S), H&M Brown Braided Belt (34), Sisley Manchester Slim Shorts (28), Timex Weekender Watch

There is no way I would ever be able to wear a size 34 anything.  However with this simple trick that can be seen on street style blogs to people on the street, I manage to make a size 34-belt work for my size 28 waist.

H&M Linen Elbow Patch Navy blue cardigan (S), Armani Exchange Grey Pima V-neck (S), H&M Brown Braided Belt (34), Sisley Manchester Slim Shorts (28), Timex Weekender Watch, Navy Converse High Top Sneakers


The first way is what I call “The Over Under.”  As you can see by the pictures, you take the belt, over the normal path it would take, and slip the belt under the segment that has already been wrapped around your waist.  If the belt is not too long, surprisingly, it does not get in the way of sweaters or jackets as one would think.

H&M Linen Elbow Patch Navy blue cardigan (S), Armani Exchange Grey Pima V-neck (S), H&M Brown Braided Belt (34), Sisley Manchester Slim Shorts (28)

I call the second way “The Under Slide.”  Creative, right?  This requires the same minimal effort as the first, but instead of going over and down, you go in a downward direction first, then coming up through the already wrapped portion of the belt.  This example shows the underside of the belt and tends to get in the way a little more with jackets or sweaters, but it is all preference.  Truly, it is much better than having a saggy belt hanging from your belt loops.

H&M Linen Elbow Patch Navy blue cardigan (S), Armani Exchange Grey Pima V-neck (S), H&M Brown Braided Belt (34), Sisley Manchester Slim Shorts (28), Timex Weekender Watch

The big thing that I like with these tricks is the unlimited options you have.  Here I pair this belt with shorts, a simple v-neck tee, a linen cardigan, and some high top Converse.  You could do the same with a sharp-looking navy suit and get the same effect.  So next time you see a belt that is two to four sizes bigger than you that you really want, consider this.  Could I make it work with one of these simple tricks mentioned above?

PHOTOGRAPHY: WYN WILEY

 

 

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THE shorter SIDE Reviews Ratio Clothing

Levi’s Trucker Jacket XS, Club Monaco Navy Cardigan XS, Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, Save Khaki Olive Cargo Pants (28)

Among all the new companies popping up on the Internet, I am always curious to try them.  But I don’t really want to take a risk to be unsatisfied.  With Ratio Clothing however, one should not even give it a second thought.  In fact, there are a multitude of reasons to rid any hesitation or second thoughts about ordering from Ratio.

Levi’s Trucker Jacket XS, Club Monaco Navy Cardigan XS, Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, Save Khaki Olive Cargo Pants (28), J.Crew MacAlister Boots

Custom clothing was once perceived to be something for the elite–people who had tons of money to spend on their clothes, and spent it well.  With the Internet, the idea of custom clothing is changing.  Not only can people with so much money they don’t know what to do with buy custom, average people can now access different channels in which they get their own custom fix.  For those of you who are not aware of Ratio Clothing, let me introduce you to them.

 

Based out of Denver, Ratio has been making custom men’s shirts and switching up the custom game for the public since 2011.  Their idea of “custom” is great.  It isn’t intimidating for those who are still deterred by the word “custom,” yet for those who are interested in exploring options of custom clothing for men, saying it satisfies that curiosity would be an understatement.

Levi’s Trucker Jacket XS, Club Monaco Navy Cardigan XS, Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, Save Khaki Olive Cargo Pants (28), J.Crew MacAlister Boots

Let’s start off with their system.  It is a five-variable system using many measurements most guys already know:  Neck size (If a size 14” neck is too small but 14.5” is too big, you can thank Ratio for providing the option of 14.25”. Genius!), sleeve length, chest size, shirt length, and the overall desired fit of the shirt.  The one measurement a guy might not know would be shirt length, which can easily be determined by the options of short, regular, long, and extra long.  Speaking of, we all may own shirts that are cut too high on the sides.  Yeah, Ratio conquers that.  No more high cut sides on the length of the shirt.  Once you get past the fit details, then you can move onto the fun stuff.

Levi’s Trucker Jacket XS, Club Monaco Navy Cardigan XS, Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, Save Khaki Olive Cargo Pants (28)

They have three options for collars:  An English spread, semi-spread, or button down with the option of having a white contrasting collar on any shirt/collar combination.  In addition they offer more collar options, such as a club collar or what they call a “Londoner” collar, considering it is custom shirting.  There are also three options for cuffs:  A simple one-button barrel cuff, a 2-button mitered cuff, or the fancy French cuff.

Topman Grey Herringbone Sportcoat (34), John Varvatos USA tie, White Cotton Pocket Square, Navy Blue Club Monaco Cardigan (XS), Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, H&M Brown Braided Belt (Size 34, Shortening Belts Pt. 2 Coming soon), Imogene + Willie Barton Fit (Size 26, 1 year 7 months)

The options they provide in terms of the back pleats are awesome.  I have had far too many shirts with center pleats that are too full in the back giving me a sharkfin-esque poof in the back.  And, I have had too many shirts with side pleats that I alter and they end up too tight in the back.  Fortunately for me and many other guys, their “no pleats” option reigned supreme.  Regardless, there are options for all types of physiques.  Finally, it is your choice whether or not you would like a pocket and a placket choice of standard or seamless.

Topman Grey Herringbone Sportcoat (34), Navy Blue Club Monaco Cardigan (XS), Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, Imogene + Willie Barton Fit (Size 26, 1 year 7 months)


This all seems too good to be true, right?  To make it seem even better than it already is, the fabric is sourced from some of the world’s best mills with most shirts consisting of 2-ply, 100% cotton fabric.  And take a bow Ratio Clothing, all of their shirts are handmade right here in the USA.

Here is my take.  I ordered the Dark Blue Stanton Check in a 14.25 neck size, 31.25 sleeve length, 33-chest size, and a short shirt length in the Ratio slim fit.  I did a semi-spread collar, barrel cuffs, no pleats in the back, no pocket and a seamless cuff.  Was I pleased?  Words cannot describe.  The first one they cut for me did not quite fit the way I wanted it, so they worked with me through e-mail to make sure it was corrected.  Yet one more thing I love about Ratio.

Levi’s Trucker Jacket XS, Club Monaco Navy Cardigan XS, Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, Save Khaki Olive Cargo Pants (28), J.Crew MacAlister Boots

Their customer service is top notch, impeccable at the least.  The second shirt was cut perfectly.  Slim through the arms without any billowing fabric, sleeves landing perfectly at my wrist bone, the neck, snug but not too tight, while the overall cut of the shirt fits my torso incredibly well.

Right now, Ratio is just focusing on shirting.  While suiting is a possibility in the future, nothing is official right now.  They want to focus on the balance of their dress and casual shirts, such as their new flannel, before they delve into other arenas.  But if they do go into the suiting business, tell your wallets to beware.

Topman Grey Herringbone Sportcoat (34), John Varvatos USA tie, White Cotton Pocket Square, Navy Blue Club Monaco Cardigan (XS), Ratio Slim fit Shirt in Dark Blue Stanton Check, H&M Brown Braided Belt (34), Imogene + Willie Barton Fit (Size 26, 1 year 7 months), J.Shoes Andrew Wingtip Boot in Peanut

Considering custom?  Look no further than Ratio clothing.  I can guarantee you will not be disappointed with your foray into custom men’s shirting with their excellent customer service, high quality, and variety of options.

PHOTOGRAPHY: HUDSON GARDNER

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BK - Just wanted to say thanks for this post. I’m a shorter guy, 5’5 and I’ve been enamored with ratio as well. I also like that topman blazer… so thanks for posting your measurements, it helped me figure out what chest size to get.

Shortening Belts: Part 1

 

For this three-part installment, I am going to show you three different ways that belts can be shortened.  I will take a simple brown plaque belt, a webbed belt, and a braided belt and show how you can either work with, or alter the lengths on belts that are too long.  Depending on the brand, my waist size varies from a 28 to 30, so one can imagine how difficult finding a good men’s belt can be.              In the first segment, this simple brown J.Crew plaque belt was a 32-waist sized that I asked a leather worker to shorten.  It cost around $12 and was completed in about a week.  The process was very simple.  They just marked where I wanted the belt to end, and then a week later I picked it up and it was shorter.  Easy as that.  Along with knowing a good tailor, knowing resources in or near your location is important too.  For example, where to get soles replaced, leatherwork done, watchbands adjusted, etc.  Yelp is a great place to check for those and has reviews that are usually pretty honest.

J.Crew Plaid shirt (XS), J.Crew Brown Plaque Belt, American Apparel White Slim Slack (29), Cole Haan Suede Bucks

You want to make sure to take a look at the belt before you purchase it to see how it will be shortened.  If it is an adjustable plaque belt like what is pictured, then it will be a simple shortening operation.  If there are holes in the belt, more than likely new holes will need to be made, making the operation slightly more costly.  Overall, shortening a simple leather belt is entirely worth it.  Just like many other things, when something is too big or a belt is too long it is likely you will not wear it and it will go to waste.  But with a simple investment of shortening, the usage will increase and you will get your money’s worth.

PHOTOS: WYN WILEY

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CC - Great blog! I’m a shorter guy myself and I found your posts very helpful. Hope to see more. Thanks!

Brand Spotlight: Brooklyn Tailors

 

About a year and a half, maybe two years ago, I started getting obsessive over my shirts.  I would pull all the excess fabric out in places where they didn’t fit right, and then sigh with the thought of “There goes another brand that doesn’t work”.  I knew my body type was hard to fit, and the fit I wanted would be a hard find.  I have always been open to trying new brands, trying to find that perfect fit.   Whenever I would travel, I would always tell sales people to give me their “slimmest fitting shirt they have”.  They would come back with Shipley and Halmos, Gant Rugger, Burberry, Thomas Pink Super Slim, etc, and it was never quite the fit I wanted off the rack.I remember stumbling across Brooklyn Tailor’s Etsy shop but not thinking much about it at the time.  Months later I decided to order a couple shirts and give them a try. At this point in the search, the worst that could happen was that it wouldn’t fit – which would not have been a surprise.  I received them, tried them on, and they fit incredibly well.  The sleeves weren’t too long (for once), the shoulders hit spot on, there wasn’t this massively full arm that I was swimming in, and the shirt wasn’t too long, forcing me to tuck it in. These two pictured are ones that I have had about one year.  They have worn really well, and I still wear them frequently.  The plaid works very well into the fall season, and the pink oxford works year round.  Having been in my rotation for a year now, the only complaint I have is that the sides come up too shallow.  They claim that they are the perfect shirt you can wear tucked or untucked, which, let’s be honest, what guy doesn’t want a shirt that he can wear to work, and then when the environment is more relaxed just keep the same shirt on untucked.  The idea of versatility in clothing is one that is enticing for many guys.  But that philosophy just hasn’t rung true for me.  I can tuck them, yes, but with any slight raise of the arm the shirt comes untucked.  So they end up falling into my category of shirts labeled “shirts I only wear untucked”.Until this coming season, Brooklyn Tailors has been a fairly exclusive brand.  They have a store in NYC, a well-curated online shop, and select retailers in the U.S, Canada, Japan, and Australia.  However, as you can see by their “Where to Buy” page they are slowly getting picked up by other boutiques and retailers.  One I am particularly excited about is Barney’s Co-Op.  I just hope they make sure to carry plenty of XS.

Overall, for a trim, shorter guy who has a hard time finding shirts, their XS (or 1 with their sizing) Brooklyn Tailors takes the cake.  I’ll make sure to let you know if I find better.

 

http://www.brooklyntailors.net/

 

Photos: Wyn Wiley

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Shortening Bags

 

Bags.  My obsession and infatuation with them isn’t healthy.  It doesn’t matter the size, shape, color, or material.  Nor is it very fortunate that most of them don’t work well with my height of 5’ 6”.  It seems that when I try to use the handles, the bag practically drags along the ground.  And when I adjust the shoulder strap to make it as short as it can possibly be, it seems like it still hangs too low and hits closer to my hips than it does my waistline.

Black LaCoste Polo (3), Alternative Apparel Shoulder Bag, Red Levi’s 511 Skinny Sta-Prest Pant (29×32 hemmed to 29×29), Black Timex Weekender

With my most recent bag purchase I was determined to make it work.  I bought this simple cotton canvas military green Alternative Apparel bag with a woven shoulder strap.  I adjusted the strap so that it was as short as possible.  I wore it a couple of times and it just wasn’t working.  I decided I would take it to a tailor and see if there was anything they could do.  They marked the bag where I wanted it to hit my side, and in about a week and a half I picked it up.   The bag hits exactly where I want and the total cost was a reasonable $15.

J.Crew leather belt bracelet, LaCoste Black Polo (3), Alternative Apparel Shoulder Bag, H&M Braided Belt (34), Red Levi’s 511 Skinny Sta-Prest Pant (29×32 hemmed to 29×29)

Now, I’m not saying that this is possible for all bags, but if you look at some of the pictures above, you will see what the tailor did.  She simply removed that tiny leather piece, shortened the shoulder strap, and reattached.  A pretty simple operation!

Black LaCoste Polo (3), Alternative Apparel Shoulder Bag, Red Levi’s 511 Skinny Sta-Prest Pant (29×32 hemmed to 29×29), H&M Braided Belt Black Timex Weekender, J.Crew belt bracelet, AllSaints Spitalfields Brown Crush Sandal (8)

Take a look at the bags that you have at home whether they be canvas, nylon, leather, or any other material.  If they are too long and you want them shortened, inspect the strap.  If you’re unsure, visit a tailor or leather worker and ask.  If they don’t think they can do it they will let you know.   Otherwise, you may have a bag sitting, collecting dust; when, with a few tweaks it could be the bag you end up carrying everyday.

Photos: Wyn Wiley

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Brock - Great post! This is something a lot of short guys struggle with, but it’s so far down on the list of problems (under baggy pants, long sleeves, etc.) so it never gets addressed. Well done.

I just had a leather messenger bag made for me while I was in South America (where custom leather work is extremely cheap), and it fits perfectly.

The only problem is – and I’d like your thoughts on this – proportion. So, for example, even if the bag is the right length, it could just be too big (overall) for a smaller guy.

Does this mean short/small men have to buy 13″ laptops instead of 17″ ones so their bags don’t make them look smaller? Seems ridiculous, but something to think about…

-Brock

preston - Interesting thought. It is far on the list but can definitely be something that is important down the line. Yeah, I agree with you on the idea of proportion. As shorter men, we don’t necessarily have a lot to “work with” in terms of bags. So while a 17″ bag could make a shorter man look smaller, I don’t think he needs to opt for the smaller bag or laptop. More of just being aware that it may look “off.” I don’t think many people could pinpoint it, but I see what you’re saying…tricky. Very tricky. End advice. Get the laptop size you want, try not to get the bag any bigger than 17″.

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