Although it's been happening in women's fashion for the past few years, people seem to finally realise that some guys need specific plus-sized men's fashion. Here's everything you need to know about clothes for bigger men.
For too many years guys have been limited to the inflexible size options on the high street. These don’t account for the multiple variations in men’s overall body shapes. Unfortunately, a lot of mainstream men’s fashion retailers don’t have the time or money to sell clothes that cater to such a variety of body shapes. This can sometimes make it extremely difficult for bigger guys to find flattering wardrobe options.
Although plus size doesn’t necessarily equate to being overweight, taller guys, stocky guys, and those with bigger chests all come under the category of ‘plus-sized’. There will often be concerns from retailers that selling larger men's clothing sizes will be seen as accepting unhealthy lifestyles amongst their wearers.
It can be hard to maintain a trim physique in today’s climate with longer working hours, the need for ‘on-the-go’ food options and limited hours for gym time during the day. We are, however, also the most informed generation when it comes to the importance of exercise and nutrition.
Fashion For Plus Size Men
A great wardrobe will present your body in the most flattering way possible. Clothing styles for men, regardless of size, should give a clear, clean, defined shape to the body.
Without a doubt, the most important element of big guy fashion is the fit. Most men’s fashion brands will offer little in terms of diversity when it comes to their sizing. They will base their measurements on a standard mannequin and then simply add or subtract inches when it comes to differing the sizes. But not all men fit into these binary options.
To shop for your shape you must first know what your shape is. Follow this guide to determine what shape your body is:
The Oval Shape
Famous Oval Body Shapes: James Corden, Seth Rogen, Adam Richman (Man Vs. Food)
Oval shaped men appear round, especially around the stomach with thinner arms and legs.
The Rectangle Shape
Famous Rectangle Body Shapes: Freddie Flintoff, Vince Vaughn, Jason Segel
The rectangle is pretty self-explanatory. This body shape is a little like a ruler, straight from top to bottom with the chest, hips and waist all around the same size. For plus sized men, this often means that you will be taller than the average male with wide shoulders, hips and thighs.
The 'V Shape'
Famous V Body Shapes: Robbie Williams, Kanye West, Ben Whit (model)
This body shape consists of wide shoulders and narrower hips and legs. The top half of the body is significantly larger than the bottom half of the body. In terms of fashion for larger men, this will mean that you might not necessarily be an overweight man, but will have a noticeably broader chest in comparison to your waist and therefore might struggle to fit into mainstream S, M, L, XL sized clothing.
The Stout Shape
Famous Stout Body Shapes: Jack Black, Cee Lo Green, Jonah Hill
This body shape has a torso that is as wide or wider than his shoulders and is less than 5’6” tall. The biggest style problem short, stout men face is inconsistent fit. Clothes that fit well on one part of your body tend to fit terribly everywhere else. This includes trousers that fit around the waist but are too long on the leg or a shirt that fits across the abdomen but is too long in the body.
The Fit in Plus Size Men's Fashion
There’s a simple rule of thumb here: the better the fit, the more comfortable you will feel and the more body confidence you’ll have when wearing your outfit. If an item is ill-fitting and has strains, bulges, sagging, or wrinkles it is unfortunately amplified on big men's clothes.
One of the biggest mistakes that a slightly chubby man can do is buy clothes that are several sizes too big in a bid to disguise his shape. If your clothing is too big you will draw attention to your weight, add bulk to your body, and give off a sloppy impression.
Instead, you want your clothes fitted - not tight - which means touching your body but not being too tight or too loose. You want your clothes to ‘frame’ your body shape, not hide it or hug it. The best option is to buy an item that is slightly large and then have it professionally altered by a tailor.
Plus Size Fashion Tips for Men
If you're wondering how to dress if you are a bigger man, there are a few key tips that you must follow. You will want to discourage other people’s eyes from lingering on any complicated features that might draw negative attention to certain parts of your body. Here are our top tips:
- Keep it simple. If you’re a bigger guy you will want to keep the bright patterns and colour to a minimum. Solid neutral or dark colours are great but, if you want to wear a pattern, you should choose something low-key such as paisley, light stripes, or subtle dots.
- If you're wearing stripes then make sure they are vertical. These are slimming and will elongate the body. Do avoid thick stripes however and opt for a more subtle thin stripe.
- Layering is a great fashion tip for larger men as it can successfully narrow a silhouette. Add lighter colours underneath dark outer colours to brighten up the outfit and create a clearer vertical line down the torso.
- Avoid heavy or thick materials as they will give your shape a bulky outline (and they’re usually hot and stifling too). Instead, switch to lighter cotton materials and layer up if needing to get warmer.
- Accessories are your friend if worn correctly. If you’re sporting a rounder tummy then a loud belt buckle will draw negative attention to your midriff. Instead wear accessories such as glasses, scarves, watches, and a hat to draw attention to the extremities.
- A bigger guy should have big accessories. To stay in proportion to your body go for a hat, watch or scarf that is larger than your average - you don’t want your accessories to get lost.
Jeans for Bigger Men
When it comes to trousers, you should go for slim jeans for big guys as these will elongate your legs. Avoid super-skinny jeans as these won’t suit your frame. Instead choose a slim-legged pair, or straight cut at a push, but avoid anything baggy. Wide-cut jeans will simply make you look bigger.
You don’t want the jeans to sit too low as they will not look flattering on your waistline. It is best to pull the jeans slightly higher around your waist - this will flatten your stomach and ensure longer looking legs.
The darker the colour the better with jeans so opt for black, charcoal grey, or a dark denim.
Tailoring for Bigger Men
A great-fitting suit can make any man, regardless of size, look amazing. An ill-fitting suit, again regardless of size, can do quite the opposite.
As is often the case, getting a professional tailor to fit a suit for you is the best option, especially when it comes to big men's suits. If this is not an option for you then don’t despair, these hints and tips will ensure that you get it right next time you’re shopping for a suit:
- Ensure it is the nice fit across the shoulders, the chest, and the seat. You don’t want any sagging or straining on the material.
- Go for a suit jacket that has big features such as wider lapels or large pockets.
- There is some debate over single or double-breasted suit jackets in big men's fashion. The single-breasted jacket which fastens quite low is most flattering as it will create a very deep V shape, making you look leaner and longer.
- The hacking pocket is at an upward diagonal angle on the jacket and therefore the eye is drawn towards the sternum. This makes the man wearing the suit appear slimmer and taller – ideal for the larger gentleman who wants to hide a few pounds.
- Block colour navy, black, and charcoal are your best colour options.
- Don’t have turn-ups on your trousers - this will shorten the legs and break up the vertical line.
- A good tie can finish off a well-fitting suit perfectly. If you're a bigger guy you should choose a slightly wider tie than normal.
Big Men's Dress Shirts
The same rules apply when buying a dress shirt for plus size guys. Avoid going too big or too small. You need to carefully consider arm length, chest size and shoulder width. When it comes to the specifics of your shirt, follow these tips:
- Choose a stiff-collared shirt which will stay as vertical as possible to elongate your neck.
- Avoid slim fit cuts on shirts as these do not have a place in plus size men's fashion.
- On the flip-side, don’t wear a tent. You want a garment that hugs you nicely without leaving excess material to droop around the waist.
- Wear a vest or compression undershirt under your dress shirt to elongate your torso - many men feel more confident when wearing another garment under their dress shirt.
Big Guy Gym Fashion
Even though there are clothes for bigger guys, everybody should be aware of our fitness to keep ourselves healthy. Going to the gym is not everybody’s favourite activity, and it can be especially intimidating for larger men who are at the start of their fitness journey.
There are definitely a few dos and don’ts when it comes to gym gear for bigger men. Firstly don’t wear a non-dry fit top, particularly in grey, as this will show up all of the sweat marks. Also, avoid tight-fitting vests and leggings and really short shorts.
Instead, opt for more comfortable gym clothes such as a looser fitting T-shirt which will not cling to your body as much. Don’t go too large however as it will be unflattering and can actually prove to be a danger while working out.
Drawstring shorts are perfect for the larger man whose weight may fluctuate and a pair of compression shorts underneath will definitely make you feel more ahem…secure.
8 Fashion Tips For Plus Sized Men
- Dress to your size. Garments that are too large will not ‘hide’ you and they will actually exacerbate your size instead.
- If you're wanting to wear stripes go for thin, vertical ones.
- Avoid baggy jeans like the plague! Opt for skinny or slim fit jeans instead.
- Go large on the accessories. Choose hats, scarves, glasses, and bags that draw the attention away from the torso.
- A single-breasted suit jacket with a low-placed fastening is best for a larger man.
On That Note
Although fashion for bigger men has a long way to go, it is comforting to know that dressing well as a larger man is not really all that different to dressing well with any other body type. It all comes down to fit. Like any body shape, the larger man will have to invest enough time and patience to choose a wardrobe that flatters his body shape and, in which, he will feel comfortable to wear. Size should never be a barrier for great style.