One should never be ashamed of their size and figure, and this goes out to plus-sized men out there who think that they will never look as good as Daniel Craig or Channing Tatum.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to slim down or lose weight to look as good as them. As a plus-sized man, I am here to tell you that I am inspired by the likes of Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen who embraced their plus-sized figures and yet still manage to dress as confidently as any A-list actor.
But shopping for plus-sized clothes can be a challenge, and some styles can be difficult to pull off if you don’t have the clothes for it. In fact, I can still remember a time back in the 90’s when I resorted to just buying whatever XXL size shirt or pants I could find in any store because they didn’t have the style that I want for my size. Things are different now, and shopping for plus-sized clothing is now as easy as 1-2-3. Brands like Old Navy and Nordstrom are now catering to plus-sized individuals with their own line-up of plus-sized clothes.
So without further ado, how does a plus-sized individual like you go from casual to straight-up fashion head turner in a few steps?
What to do with coats, ties, and formal wear
From among the different styles, formal wear is probably the most difficult for any plus-sized individual to pull off. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t look as dapper as Brad Pitt on the red carpet.
For formal wear, it’s all about getting the right fit. When I say the right fit, I mean everything just has to cover you up the right way. I am going to share with you another mistake that I made when it came to formal wear.
Like shirts, I just picked the one that’s closest to my size or the one that would fit me with ease. The end result is that the suit would be too big for me, so I’d look like a walking table with a drape over it.
What’s the easiest solution? Get a tailor.
Tailors are just not meant for the rich and the elite. Tailors are your best friends when it comes to getting the right suit to fit you.
Why? They will have your measurements, and they can adjust any suit to fit your body type. Did you purchase a pair of pants and coat from Macy’s, but found it a little big for your body? Go to a tailor.
Sure, you’ll pay a little extra but the investment can go a long way.
What about shoes?
I remember a particular scene in the movie The Kingsman where Colin Firth and Taron Egerton go to a shoe closet and talk about two particular kinds of shoes – the Oxford and the Brogues. As a plus-sized man, it’s important for you to know the difference between them simply because they can enhance your entire ensemble tenfold.
Oxford and Brogues are two of the many different types of dress shoes, but they just happen to be the best. They go well with any suit and can be used even with semi-formal wear.
What can you do with casual?
This is where the meat of our article will be focused on. When I talk about casual wear, I mean those that won’t require you to wear a suit, tie, or pair of slacks – unless you’re going for a smart casual look. In this case, it’s no excuse for you to go dress like a hobo just because you’re a plus-sized individual.
Again, you can look as good as any celebrity even if you’re just wearing a plain shirt, a pair of shorts, and a good pair of loafers. But allow me to go over some wardrobe rules that you can easily follow.
- ) Measure first before buying – Again, why am I going to remind you this for the X time? Just because it’s XXL, it doesn’t mean that you should buy it instantly. Remember that there are sizes out there that are still bigger than you. Wearing a small shirt can be awkward, but wearing a bigger shirt will be more awkward. When it doesn’t fit, like if it drapes over your shoulder or if it’s longer than your waist, go to a tailor and have it adjusted.
- Do not go for mainstream clothing – Don’t be fooled into looking like one of the models for Sears catalogue, and I mean the outfits that they usually wear. This is what I refer to as mainstream clothing or what’s usually the trend for this month/year. Mainstream clothing, though they look good, can end up burning a hole in your wallet because you’re pressured to keep up with the fad. Also, the style or trend itself may not even be to your liking as well.
- Go for a more mature look –It’s time to ditch those cartoon shirts and start dressing up like an adult. In this case, try to minimize the purchase of shirts and go for polos and collared shirts, khakis and chinos, and decent loafers. You’d be surprised how mature you look when you wear a dark polo over a brown pair of khaki’s. A mature look also forces people to take you more seriously as opposed to you wearing a Charlie Brown shirt. Again, just because it was the only shirt in your size it doesn’t mean that you should buy it and wear it all the time.
Now let’s go over the bits and pieces of what your ensemble should be like:
Your shirts – Part of the goal here is that your ensemble should “help reduce” your size. This can be done through a series of illusory tricks that can be achieved by wearing the right colored shirts. For starters, there are two things that can make you look slim and taller – vertical stripes and dark colors. That’s right. Go for shirts with dark colors and vertical stripes.
Allow me to explain. Light colored shirts will make you look big because it adds to the shading and shadowing of the curves and its contours. Your size becomes accentuated with bright colors while dark colors do the exact thing. Because they minimize the presence of shadows, your body will look relatively smaller and leaner. As for vertical stripes, eyes are unconsciously drawn to tracing the lines and with vertical stripes, the motion goes up and down/down and up. This adds to the illusion of a taller and leaner you.
Your trousers and pants – Do not go for anything baggy here. Instead, go for straight cut denims, khakis, or chinos. Again, your tailor will be able to help you achieve this cut or if there are straight cut jeans in your area, then all the better. Straight cut jeans will fit over legs, specifically the thigh part, and balance the size out with your lower leg (the calves and shin). As a result, straight cut jeans will contour with your legs and when you combine with dark colors, you often get a more elongated and slimmer look.
Your neck and collars – Should you go for rounded necks or v-necks? V-necks are often the best choice for plus-sized individuals because they give the illusion of a longer neck and a longer neck means it throws off the focus from the rounded shape of your face. It actually makes your face look slimmer when the focus in around your neck and chest area. Use this to your advantage.
Your waistline – The waistline is the most problematic part of the body as it’s the core – pardon the pun – that can make or break your wardrobe. Through a proper combination of shirts and pants, you can actually reduce your waistline size and your figure will be more accentuated/curved. Remember, dark colors and straight cut jeans do the trick here.
How to do layering the right way – Whether you’re donning a vest over your polo or a cardigan, it’s important to know how to do layering the right way. In order to achieve a slimmer and leaner look, the layering needs to be inwardly focused. In other words, the color arrangement needs to be alternative – DARK – LIGHT – DARK. If you’re wearing a dark shirt, your second layer should be a light colored one, and the third layer should be a dark color again.
For example, I can have a navy-blue polo shirt with a turquoise-colored vest over it and top it off with a black cardigan. The blending of the colors will allow for a more inward look and the illusion of a smaller body is still achieved.
Of course, you can also do the other way around – LIGHT, DARK, LIGHT. I can have an orange shirt with a slightly maroon unbuttoned polo and topped with a brown or yellow cardigan.
But where do plus-sized individuals buy their stuff and how does one go about buying them?
Now that we’ve gone over the basic guide on how to dress properly, it’s time that I teach you how and where to buy plus-sized clothing.
It doesn’t involve rocket science. Just pure logic and common sense. You see, just because you have a big shirt doesn’t mean that the price tag should be as big too. You can enjoy shopping on a budget if you just know where and how to buy your shirts.
Allow me to introduce to you – THE THRIFT SHOP.
Yes, I am talking about the Thrift Shop that Macklemore sung about. Thrift shop is your best friend when it comes to securing the best brands and styles of shirts without paying more than you need to.
Now, thrift shops are like treasure chests. They can be big and you need to do some digging to get what you want. In my experience, I’ve done a fair bit of shopping in several thrift stores and I always get branded shirts, pants, and even suits less than their actual price.
My biggest loot, pardon the pun, was a Tommy Hilfiger cardigan priced at $375 retail and I got it from a thrift store for $90. I paid the tailor $15 to do some alterations, bringing it to a total of $105 branded cardigan and saved close to $275.
There are also a few stores and boutiques that have the best collection for plus-sized clothing and their collections are often worth investing in if you really want clothes to last you for years.
Nordstrom – at the top of the list is Nordstrom. This is the place to be where you can buy stylish, luxurious, yet affordable plus-sized clothing for men. What makes them unique is that you cannot find their styles in any other store so I have to give it to Nordstrom for being an excellent store. Sure, you may end up paying more but the investment is worth it. Nordstrom is home to a fine collection of formal wear too, so I highly suggest going to this store if you want the best suits in the market for plus-sized men.
Macy’s – Macy’s needs no introduction. They’ve been around since God knows when and their affordable line-up of clothing can never compare to any other store – even Sear’s (though Sear’s is still a good place to buy plus-sized clothing). Macy’s has everything – and I mean everything. You want Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, or even Levi’s? Macy’s has them. Their line-up of plus-sized clothing comes from different brands that market to plus-sized individuals – you have Old Navy, GAP, Banana Republic, and Forever 21 just to name a few. You can even find some classy brands like Tommy Hilfiger and High and Mighty.
There you have it: your complete guide to plus-sized clothing for men. You need to spend thousands of dollars to look good nor just settle for the most mediocre piece of clothing you find in any boutique. As I mentioned earlier, you can look as good as Jonah Hill or Seth Rogen without having to worry about not pulling off the look.
Remember, it’s all about perspective and vision.
Did I miss out on anything? Let me know in the comment section.