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As someone who has a frame encompassing all of five feet six inches, I find myself struggling more often than not with the sizing norms of the men’s clothing industry.
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What’s labeled as “small,” “medium,” “large,” and so on, are designed for body types that fall into measurements with somewhat generic, and widely accepted, proportions. What this means for guys like myself is walking into most stores or shopping online only to walk away with something with draping sleeves, shoulders being off, and likely, a trip to the tailor to hem pants.
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However, there’s a small, but growing, number of brands creating clothing specifically tailored to guys of shorter stature. Shorter men are finding more options now, with brands like Ash & Erie, who are reframing the men’s clothing space for vertically-challenged bodies. They offer the oft hard-to-find men’s jeans and men’s chinos under a 30-inch inseam as well as shorter-hemmed men’s t-shirts, button-down shirts, and more.
What is Ash & Erie?
Ash & Erie was founded in 2015 and gained a bit of fanfare following a successful offer on an episode of “Shark Tank.” The brand makes clothes designed, measured, and produced for shorter guys. You’ll find everything from joggers to button-downs and basic tees, all reformatted for small frames.
The clothing is very basic in terms of a contemporary style. It feels a bit updated from department store looks with gear set to appeal to everyone with almost any style. According to the site, most of what they make is specifically directed toward those under 5 foot 8, but that feels a bit on the high side based on my testing.
Initial Thoughts About Ash & Erie
Out of the box, I thought the materials used were of lesser quality; they just don’t have that same touch and feel as some other notable brands.
This was especially true on the training tee and joggers. While functional, the material simply isn’t what you’ll get with a Nike or Adidas product. For example, with the tee costing $58, you may be able to find a higher quality at that price point from a different brand, albeit sacrificing the fit.
Most of what I tried on felt the same. Having these types of items cut for smaller bodies is a big win, but it does come with the material quality tradeoff.
Ash & Erie Activewear
Simply put, I need my activewear to keep up with me. If it doesn’t, it’s going to sit in the closet or be sent off to a charity.
I was pleased to find that the training tee did well through a couple of intense workouts, and held up through the laundry. However, it was cut very short, so I found my midriff exposed while jumping and raising my arms. Those with more average-sized torsos might find a similar issue and it’s more annoying than anything to have to constantly pull down your shirt mid-workout. Consider ordering a size larger.
The joggers might be the winner among Ash & Erie’s activewear. They’re a perfect length, light enough to prevent overheating, and flexible enough to feel in place with no slippage. They’ve quickly become a travel staple for me.
BEST FOR WORKING OUT
Ash & Erie Green Training Tee
Buy Now $58
– 90% Polyester / 10% Spandex
WEEKEND FLEX PLAYER
Ash & Erie Black Hybrid Jogger
Buy Now $88
– 76% Polyester / 24% Spandex
– Wrinkle and abrasion-resistant
– XS through XXL
– 2 inseam options
What We Liked From Ash & Erie
The Ash & Erie undershirts are a nice polyester material, which is perfect for guys seeking a tight-fit layer to throw on beneath a sweater or light jacket. Many guys have trouble finding a well-fitting undershirt and this one seems to hit the mark.
The brand’s rain jacket was also a pleasant find. It’s cut short, similar to the training tee, but performs well in wet conditions. I think where the potential miss lies is the feel of the material. This is not GORE-TEX and feels more like wearing a tailored tarp. That’s not necessarily bad, but it lacks some of the breathability of even a 3L GORE-TEX. It’s a simplistic piece and many will find solace in the classic, Nordic-inspired style. At $148, it’s a good value for what it is, and those not needing high-level outdoor performance should be covered just fine here. Think of this as a great commuting jacket for rainy months in the city.
BEST FOR LAYERING
Ash & Erie White V-Neck Undershirt
Buy Now $22
– 90% Polyester / 10% Spandex
– Sweat-wicking performance fabric
– Can be tucked into shirt
BEST FOR COMMUTING
Ash & Erie Black Rain Jacket
Buy Now $148
– 100% Polyester fabric
– Adjustable cuffs
– Zippered pockets
What We Didn’t Like from Ash & Erie
The fit of the button-down, jeans, and chinos was good. But I do have some concerns about long-term durability. The button-downs have a rather basic feel. The material is fine, but it’s not particularly comfortable through longer wear.
As someone who has learned a lot about denim (and thus is very picky), Ash & Erie’s denim quality leaves a lot to be desired. While comfortable, I foresee issues down the road with wear and thin spots developing at the biggest stress points.
Ash & Erie Rinse Wash Midtown Jeans
– 98% Cotton / 2% Elastane
– Inseams from 25-29
– 5-pocket jeans
– Slim fit
– 5 washes
BEST WORK SHIRT
Ash & Erie Stone Grain Shirt
Buy Now $68
– 50% bamboo rayon / 50% polyester fabric
– Slim or standard fit
– Untucked fit
– 10 color options
FOR WORK OR PLAY
Ash & Erie Deep Blue Washed Stretch Chino
Buy Now $128
– 98% cotton / 2% elastane
– Four color options
– Slim fit
– From 25-29 inseam
The Verdict: Overall Impressions of Ash & Erie
First off, I’m in favor of more brands designing a wider range of clothes to fit non-standard body types. Ash & Erie is doing important work by adding another voice to the apparel conversation where there needs to be more representation.
However, based on the pieces I tested, the realization is that some pieces, right now, are better than others.
The winners for me are the Ash & Erie activewear and undershirts as functional basics you can count on. Everything else is good but not the best I’ve ever worn. With that said, for those needing the smaller fit, you certainly have a range of options within Ash & Erie.
What I would do first is buy one or two pieces to see if you like the fit and design before committing to more pieces.
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