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The Dreaded Scourge of the Long Shirt

Fashion labels are stretching out your clothes — and they must be stopped

Have you encountered the Long Shirt? In the past decade, it seems to have invaded every fast-fashion brand. Shopping at stores like Zara, Uniqlo, Forever 21, H&M or Urban Outfitters puts you at risk of picking out a “medium” shirt that hangs down to your thighs. It’s baffling, and nobody can explain it. You begin to wonder what the average dimensions of a torso are.

Technically, the cut is known as a “longline” shirt, and we have celebrities to blame for its current popularity. Fuck you, Justin Bieber. Take that giant wardrobe of baggy plain tees and walk your ass back to Canada. The rest of us are trying to dress like normal people. I’m sick of this nonsense.

At 6-foot-2, I can sort of pretend my longer shirts are correctly proportioned, but not everyone is so lucky. These garments discriminate against short kings! “I am 5-foot-8 and wear a size small,” a redditor wrote on r/malefashionadvice in 2019. “Now it seems that more than half the time I order a shirt, it goes down to or past my crotch. […] Usually, the shirt doesn’t look absurdly long on the 6-foot-3 model, so it’s difficult to tell beforehand how it’s going to lay on me. I am not a fan of this style at all, and it really annoys me that I can’t seem to find a stylish, affordable website that hasn’t succumbed to this trend.”

The only viable solution the guys in the forum offered was to seek out shirts expressly advertised as being a reasonable length, like the button-downs from Untuckit, or the “untucked” line from J. Crew.

And therein lies the problem. It would be one thing if longline shirts were produced as a novelty for the freaks who think they’re cool, but instead they have gradually eclipsed the standard design that everyone is used to. Entire racks of appealing colors and patterns are given over to this aesthetic mutation. It’s the 21st century, and if men want dresses, they can have actual dresses. Fashion naturally evolves over time, but come on, what are we even doing here?

Again, I’m not saying these clothes have to go away entirely. I’m a reasonable man. I can even picture, like, a guy skateboarding in a long shirt, and more or less rocking it — skateboarders have their own vibe going on, after all. But if I or pretty much anyone I know puts on a long shirt, it’s basically pajamas. That, to me, is unacceptable. We have to resist, or someday soon we could wake up to a world without any alternatives.

Elsewhere online, another fed-up man has noted that he owns older shirts labeled the “exact same size” as the overstretched shirts he finds now, but the actual measurements don’t match at all. “Is it a new style these days for men to wear outrageously long shirts or are Americans just getting bigger?” he wondered. In his frustration I read the terrifying possibility that we, as a culture, may simply forget how shirts used to be, and what we expected of them.

Maybe I’m too old to have opinions on this. I should probably keep my mouth shut and enjoy the fine collection of tank tops — none of them weirdly long — that I have amassed since embracing the beach dirtbag style. My concern, however, lies with the youths who will come of age believing that the typical shirt hem falls below the fly of your pants, and that Oxfords from Uniqlo need to be tailored after you buy them. Ludicrous! Therefore, I’m compelled to speak up, and I will not be silenced. I will protest at the mall if I have to. And if shirts of appropriate length are driven to extinction, I will take scissors to long shirts and turn them into crop tops. Try me.

Till then, all I can do is tell men that no, they are not crazy, and yes, an entire industry has bowed to some deranged whim. Stay strong, fellas. Unafraid. And, of course, soundly attired.