When Seth Levinsky first contacted me back in May to let me know that he’d launched Shortees — the world’s first-ever T-shirt company by and for short men — I was floored. I broke the news to you in this post (which is worth a read if you haven’t already). And I was excited when Seth sent me some actual tees. With two choices of hem lengths (Short and Extra Short) in sizes ranging from Small to XXL, I figured: What more could you ask for?
Well, some good designs, mainly. But I’m getting ahead of myself… There’s so much they get right.
When it comes to fit, Shortees nails it.
I can’t emphasize enough just how huge that is. Fit is by far the toughest thing for us short guys when it comes to clothes. In some ways, your typical off-the-rack T-shirt is even a lot worse than other articles of clothing. The average industry length ranges from about 28 to 32 inches long. But unlike, say, dress shirts, T-shirts are notoriously difficult to have tailored. They just never look right.
Not a problem with Shortees. Every size (from Small to XXL) comes in two different lengths, both of them significantly shorter than average: 25 inches and 26.5. That’s the thing that I love about Shortees. Not just that the shirts are short, which is great, but that they’re offering us options — something smaller guys are sorely lacking.
These options are an absolute godsend for guys struggling with nightshirt-length tees. Especially heavier men, because as they know all too well, as a shirt’s chest size increases, length usually goes up accordingly. As Seth told me: “If you happen to be more muscular or have some extra pounds there is no way you can go with a typical Small or Medium, so you are always stuck with a 29.5-31″ shirt.” Have you ever seen an XXL shirt that’s 25 inches long? All I can say is: these guys are for f—ing real.
So how does the advertised length stack up against the actual?
Dead on. At least, for the shirts that I tried: a Small in each of the different lengths and a Large in the shorter size. In my experience, actual measurements usually differ a bit (sometimes even greatly) from what’s listed on a company’s size chart. So I really appreciated that these were more exact. That’s the whole point, eh?
How well did they fit me?
At 5-foot-5, 130 lbs, both Smalls fit me great. The shorter one probably better, which squares with what Seth told me originally: “I recommend that people under 5′6″ try the 25-inch length, and those between 5′6″ and 5′8″ go with the 26.5.”
Chest size was 20.5/21-inches across on the Smalls, 22.5 on the Large. And after my usual laundry cycle (cold wash, tumble dry low) they seemed to shrink about half and inch to an inch across and about the same in length. Not bad. Sleeve length was good on the Smalls (about mid-bicep), but a bit longer on the Large. It wasn’t down to my elbow or anything, but my guess is it could stand to be shortened up a tick. Granted, I’m not a Large and was just testing one out to cover all the bases, so take my sleeve critique with a grain of salt; it might be perfect for someone who actually is that size. I also think they could stand to add an XS size. But I’m splitting hairs.
These pass muster. At $20 a pop, that’s a decent price for a graphic tee. The fact that these will actually fit you is almost priceless.
So what’s rub?
In my opinion, the designs are lame. Besides fit, graphics are the next biggest selling point… or potential turn-off. The four designs Shortees currently offers don’t happen to be to my personal taste. But I see other people wearing stuff that looks similar to this, so my criticism isn’t so much that I just don’t like the looks of them. My real problem is that they’re generic-looking. This is, unfortunately, a real bummer.
Luckily, they also come in white and black. OK, twenty bucks is a little pricey for a plain tee, but the material is nice and the fit is unmatched. And every guy needs at least one of each color in his wardrobe — I’m glad mine come from Shortees.
I don’t do much cheerleading on this site. Especially when it comes to official product reviews. As always, I think I’ve been fair with this review, laying out the positives, but not shying away from criticism.
That said, this is a brand that I really want to succeed. You guys probably do too.
Shortees is off to a great start. The length options are unprecedented, the fits are good and will hopefully get even better, and the price is moderate. The only major problem area — lackluster design — is something Seth is fully aware of and wants to improve. At 5-foot-5-and-a-half, he’s one of us.
There is so much potential here. So let’s make sure it happens:
Visit the Shortees website.
Friend them on Facebook.
Subscribe to Seth’s personal blog.
Send him an e-mail with your feedback, criticism, ideas, wants, desires, and designs or designers you like.
And buy a shirt. So he can invest in another run — this time with cooler designs, of course.