Confidence, Style and The Short Man

This is a guest post written by Style Crew ambassador, Eric Rodriguez. 

Change in a man’s life is inevitable, and there are certain times in our life when we need to ask ourselves, “How can I make a change to my life for the better?” Positive change comes in a variety of ways, but the most impactful change can come from two things: style and confidence.

“…as your confidence continues to grow, other things that may have seemed important start to feel less important.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines confidence as a “belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.” Style refers to “a group of personality traits which also match a specific fashion theme.” I truly believe that each one of these traits succeeds with the help of the other. Style begets confidence and vice versa. For the shorter man, having each of these traits in spades is essential.

Graphic t-shirt and baggy sweatpants. 1996.

Confidence is not something many men would admit they’re lacking in. They may be very confident in other areas, such as sports, academics, or creative pursuits, but when it comes to presenting themselves to others, whether it be a group, a potential employer, or a romantic partner, their confidence dwindles (especially the last one!). For the shorter man, that feeling at least doubles.

Although there are many ways to develop confidence, I’ve discovered that the most effective way is to focus on your personal style. Most self-aware men have some type of style or look. And unlike other men, I was always someone who liked to stand out in a crowd instead of blend in, so my particular style was a bit more theatrical. In high school, I went through my rock n’ roll stage. In college, it was the preppy stage, and post-graduation, I went through a biker and a western stage. That last stage lasted the longest.

Since I rode a motorcycle for quite a long time, my particular look revolved around jeans, t-shirts, biker boots and a leather jacket. Later on, I started to add more “stand-out” pieces, like western and civil war-related clothing, WWII aviator jackets and other rather theatrical pieces. I must admit, I did receive my fair share of compliments on my outfits, but it wasn’t until I decided to upgrade my style to something more “grown-up” that everything changed.

Upgrading one’s look, especially for men, can seem rather difficult. Men are creatures of habit. We’re very comfortable with an old pair of sweatpants, ratty jeans, an old t-shirt (most likely one with a superhero graphic on it) and worn-out running shoes. Now, you may read that and think to yourself, “What’s wrong with that? I should be able to dress how I want without being judged!” This is a commonly held belief, and although that should be the case, the reality is the first impression we make on others is heavily influenced by our appearance.

For me, that was my height.”

If your go-to walk-around attire is sweatpants and a t-shirt, you’ll give people the impression that you don’t care about yourself. People may even think you’re lazy. Whether any of these traits actually hold true, that’s the message you’re sending to others. You’d be surprised what the difference a simple pair of well-fitting khakis, button-down shirt, and clean, casual shoes can make in how people see you and treat you. More importantly, you’d be surprised in the difference that makes in how you feel about yourself. This is where your confidence starts to develop. And as your confidence continues to grow, other things that may have seemed important start to feel less important. For me, that was my height.

Smart layers and fitted clothes. 2019.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not constantly thinking about my height (or lack thereof), but, in the past, I would treat my height as the go-to scapegoat for any hardship. If things didn’t go my way, it was because of my height. Nothing else. That changed once I decided to care more about myself. I now feel more confident that the message I’m giving is one of someone who knows what he wants and what he’s doing to achieve it.

I’ve begun to look at challenges as opportunities to grow. That if something doesn’t go as planned, it has less, or perhaps even nothing, to do with my height and more to do with how I tackle that particular challenge. My focus has shifted from a mindset of, “Why me?” to “What can I do differently the next time I’m in a similar situation to achieve a better outcome?”

Confidence is a powerful thing. It allows you to see possibilities you couldn’t see before. And as you continue to grow your confidence, my hope is you remember that change starts with you.

Eric Rodriguez is a content creator based out of Brooklyn, NY focused on men’s style. He enjoys food, watches and fashion and is an up-and-coming model, having been featured in several campaigns for various brands. Currently, he is an ambassador for Ash & Erie as well as Beckett Simonon, the shoe company. 

You can check out his page here: @ericrnycstyle

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