Suave and small are not mutually exclusive.
So says Elie Robinson, 5’7”, who just expanded his clothing shop for short men, Under 5’10, to Brooklyn. The business, which sells duds ranging from casual henleys to formal button-downs, opened its first location in Cedarhurst, LI, about a year ago.
Robinson’s own dressing struggles are what inspired him to start the business.
“I was getting frustrated trying to buy clothing off the rack,” the 44-year-old tells The Post. “I never understood why things didn’t fit me properly.”
The former CEO and COO found himself swimming in button-down shirts, and pants were always too long. “I couldn’t wear any of my shirts untucked,” says Robinson.
After asking around, he found that he was far from the only frustrated male shopper: Poorly fitting clothing is a chronic problem for shorter men. When he researched the fast fashion industry, he found out why: “They’re cutting clothing around the average male height,” he says. “When you hit 5’8” and lower, you really start to run off the scale.”
To create clothing for this overlooked market, Robinson decided to partner with an investment group who saw things on his level — all members are 5’2”. Today, they all wear Under 5’10’s clothing exclusively. One of his co-owners, Jonathan Glaubach, is also 5’2″.
His other co-owner, Greg Grinman, is 6’2″. “Greg is a giant,” Robinson says.
The store’s clothes have subtle but important differences from what you might find at the typical retailer. For example, shirt collars are slimmed down and pants are lower-rise.
Robinson has hopes his brand will go national. His second shop, at 337 Albany Ave. in Crown Heights, celebrates its grand opening Thursday night, and Robinson is finalizing lease agreements to open a pop-up in Union Square.
The pop-up won’t be far from another brick-and-mortar shop catering to short men. Peter Manning sells clothing specifically for men 5’8″ and under, and opened at 933 Broadway in 2017.
And although the Internet also offers a smattering of brands targeting diminutive male shoppers, Robinson is confident there’s still a need for stores like his.
“As much as men still complain, ‘I hate shopping,’ they like to touch and feel the clothes,” he says of the new location.
His prices, he argues, are a bargain for men who generally have to buy at market rate and then get their clothing tailored. Pants start at $50 and shirts and sneakers at $35 — and for a product that fits from the get-go, he says.
And buyers are deeply thankful for his wares: “Often, men come into the store and buy an entire new wardrobe,” Robinson says.
Sometimes, men will even throw out what they’re wearing so that they can walk out the door in their new clothing.
Our trash cans get full of their old clothes,” Robinson says.