BigAndTallFashionAdvice.com

 If you are a Big & Tall guy who wants to look your best, read my tips and let me know what you think.  
 
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I regularly participate on Reddit/Big Men Fashion Advice as saturdaynightbob

Assuming the Collar-ary based on the Average.

Jim writes:

One of my problems is I have a GIANT neck compared to the rest of my body. I have 19 1/2" neck, but my body is much smaller. When I buy a 19ish shirt, the body is like a nightgown. My weight fluctuates quite a bit, 230-255, and custom shirts are expensive and hard to get a great fit. Any tips?

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There is more than one way to be big.

NickDirty Writes:
 
I'm a 6'3" guy and built. My chest and shoulders fit a 46" jacket, but my waist is 34". I'm going to have to have a suit custom made, for sure.
I'd like to stand out a bit, be bold, but still look classic. Can I pull off a pinstripe with as tall as I am? I've read that pinstripes don't work for tall guys because it appears to lengthen you and make you look lanky. However, I'm not a small guy. Would pinstripes work in my situation?
 
I'd like to have a suit for general purpose, I've read that charcoal is a good way to go, but if I'm spending $800-$1500 to get a custom suit, do you think I should go with black so that I can wear it to funerals and formal events? I'm not sure if/when I'll have the occasion to get another suit. If I try to go with the pinstripes, will that take away from the versatility of the suit? If it's a subtle pinstriping like in the picture I sent to you can I still wear it to a funeral or is that a faux pas?
 
I'm going to talk to a tailor sometime soon, but I'm the type to do some initial research. Thanks for your time!

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Well Suited for Work

Rick writes:
In the photo, I think my 3 button suit is ill-fitting, e.g. too tight, perhaps out of style? It was in bright sunlight so my shirt and tie appear washed out. I think the suit jacket is a 43L. In the next photo, I think the 2 button suit, at size 44L is much better looking in general especially when buttoned. I tend to carry my extra weight through my mid-section, and my shoulders and chest and legs are relatively slender. I am 5 foot 11 in, 205lbs, which is probably 15 lbs over where I look my best. Any ideas for colors? I tend to go for dark suits, light blue and white shirts and conservative ties. The more I weigh, the less I feel comfortable and confident in my suits, but maybe that is because they have gotten too tight. Your candid thoughts much appreciated-thanks!
 
First, I want to say that your selections look great. It's obvious that you've got a look you prefer and I suspect that your work environment probably dictates a lot of your choices in this matter. If you feel like you are presenting yourself in a way that makes you feel prepared for your day, you are doing a great job at it. Regarding putting together an outfit, a dark suit with a white or light blue shirt is pretty hard to mess up, so if you like that look, stick with it. I was delighted to see that light blue tie has a whimsical animal print, maybe dinosaurs? That's a perfect way to lighten up a suit. A current trend among men who need to keep the decorum of a dark suit is outrageously colored and patterned socks. If you wanted to add a surprise of color, try this out, but as a rule, I'm opposed to gimmicky touches for the sake of novelty. I don't assume clothes need to say anything as long as they are well matched and allow you to conduct business without drawing undue attention; they are doing their job so you can do yours.

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Modernize Your Look By Putting a New Spin on the Old. (And don't wear sweats out of the house)

Anonymous writes:
I basically need help to modernize and update the clothes I have. I ideally would like to dress in a modern casual style, so could you give me some suggestions and examples that would fit for my body type? I wear a 36-38 waist, 34 length, shirts are typically XL or Double XL
 
I'm usually addressing someone who is having a problem dressing and getting a good fit, so it's nice just to talk about fashion in general. At 6'2" and 220, I don't know that I would consider you in the Big & Tall realm, but as an exercise, you might find a proper Big & Tall store and try on some pants and shirts to see if you like how "tall" clothes fit you compared to the clothes you find in regular stores. Clothes with a Tall designation are cut for people 6' and taller so you may discover that Tall pants, which have a longer rise fit you better and that Tall shirts, which tend to have longer sleeves, lower chest pockets, and longer shirt tails for tucking in, more suited to your body type. To your eye, the clothes may not look different but may fit you better when they are on you. Typically, Big & Tall stores will carry garments starting at Medium Tall, so you should find plenty of selection for your build. Be aware however that clothes from these type of stores tend to be more expensive. I do a lot of my shopping at discount stores like Burlington Coat Factory then fill in what I need from retail stores like JC Penneys, then, if I need something specific that I can't find at one of those two places, I head into a Big & Tall. This bottom-up approach saves me money, and I make sure the nice clothes I do have, I take care of by hanging them on hangers right and cleaning things according to the instructions.

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Big Men's Fashion Advice: Paul Goes to Disneyland

Deann reached out to me on Fiverr. Her husband Paul is taking a trip to Disneyland with the grandkids soon and wanted some tips on good travel pants.  She also wanted to know how to get a good fit in the seat for a guy who doesn't have much of a rear-end. She is considering a tailor. She included two pics of  Paul for a critique.
 
Hi Deann,
 
I hope the trip to Disneyland is fun. Certainly being able to get items tailored solves many problems, especially if you develop a rapport with one who does a good job. Ideally, you'll be able to buy pants off the rack to save money and also know that you can drop by a store anywhere and find brands you know fit well. Knowing you can drop into a chain retail store and grab a backup pair of pants wherever you are at can reduce stress traveling or else one spilt cup of coffee can wreck your whole trip.
 
In the case of a guy like Paul who is a bit bigger on top but does not need "relaxed" or "husky" pants, look for slim fit or straight leg pants, not to be confused with skinny jeans. Slim pants are an overall cut and proportion, so you should be able to find them in large sizes. 44/32 is a pretty common size even in traditional department stores. Obviously, there are going to be variations from brand to brand, so if you know of a particular pair of pants that look great on him, take note of the brand and always go back.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 2 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the second of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 13, 4, 5, and 6.

 

Just because you are fat, that doesn't mean you aren't Regular.
When you see clothes described as Regular or clothes don't have a specific cut indication like Big, Tall, Portly, etc., you should assume they are cut to fit the average-proportioned body. Plenty of fat men, regardless of their size, have average body proportions and should be wearing Regular-cut clothes. If you have a large paunch, or belly, and a 3XL shirt is tight around the middle, then look to clothes designated as Big."B" in the size means there is extra room around the body for guys with large girths, so a 2XB is a 2XL garment with extra room around the middle. Tall clothes have longer proportions in many places for guys over 6', so an XLT shirt is an extra-large shirt cut with longer proportions. Portly, in suits, means they are cut for men whose waist size is less than 6 inches away from their chest size. Long suits are for guys 6' and taller. You can also find combinations of these, such as Portly Tall suits or clothes that are both Big and Tall. Pay attention to these labels and understand what they mean to your fit.

sizes

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 3 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the third of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 45, and 6.

supermanMake sure your clothes fit you right.

You should be able to run your finger comfortably between your neck and your shirt collar. You should be able to run your thumbs comfortably in between your waist and your pants. The placket on your shirt should lay flat and not pull apart. Pleats on your shirt and pants and the vents on the rear of your suit coat should all lie flat and not be spread open when you are standing still. They are there so fabrics that don't stretch can allow for movement; they are not there to provide for extra room. On a suit coat, fasten the top button or top two buttons if it's a 3-button coat, and always leave the bottom button unbuttoned, but make sure it hangs under the buttonhole and isn't spread apart. If anything is too tight or if the pleats and vents are spread open, try the next size up or a different cut that is better suited to your shape...not three sizes up. Your clothes should gently hug your shape and in all other respects conform to conventions of men's fashion. Often, when guys are trying on coats, they will talk themselves out of a good fit because they do the Superman Pose and discover with their arms outstretched the clothes pull or become restrictive, and keep moving up a size until they find free range of motion in whatever size coat/paint tarp they end up in. Any good tailor or clothing attendant should refuse to sell you an ill-fitting coat, but oftentimes, the staff isn't trained or you guys are buying stuff alone and doing the clothing-equivalent of not asking for directions. Let's be honest, almost none of you fat guys needs to be able to do calisthenics or climb monkey bars when you are dressed nicely, so cut the this-feels-too-tight-when-I-raise-my-arms-up-like-this routine and know if you are dressed well, you'll probably be standing with your arms by your side or sitting down to type. Make sure your clothes fit well doing those activities and if you need to join a pickup game of soccer or leap out a window because the city needs you, then, take off your coat.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 4 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the fourth of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 3, 5, and 6.

slouchypantsDon't let your pants gather about your ankles.
So common is this faux pas that it deserves to be addressed directly; slouchy or too long pants gathering at the ankles create a terrible look that adds volume to your silhouette and looks slovenly. If you've bought slacks or jeans that are too long for you, do the dignified thing and take them to any strip mall dry cleaner and pay the $8 or thereabouts to have them properly hemmed. If they are dress slacks, verify they will use a blind hem so the thread isn't visible from the outside. The blind hem stitch requires a special sewing machine attachment and is a tad beyond what the average person familiar with a sewing machine is capable of. (Not impossible, DIYers, get a blind hem presser foot, the right thread, and practice it a few times before you tear into those $80 slacks.) If the person helping you with your alterations looks like they don't know what you're talking about when you ask about a blind hem, sometimes called an invisible hem, you're standing in a front for human trafficking and not a dry cleaner; gather up your garments, back out slowly and find another dry cleaner or a proper tailor. When you stand upright and have pulled up your waistband to your proper waist, the back of the pant legs should hang straight down to the back of your shoes, right above the heels, and the fronts should break slightly over the tops of your shoes. Your pant legs hanging straight down, without gathering or bagginess is the best look for you, granted some slight gathering at the bottom is acceptable for jeans. The ultimate length of a pant leg may differ depending on the cut and style of pants, say dress slacks or jeans, so you need to try on, measure, and alter each garment separately; don't allow a rushed attendant to measure one garment and then say they'll use the same measurement for the rest. A proper tailor will ask you how much you'd like your pants to "break," which references how much the pressed crease that runs down the front of your slacks will fold over the tops of your shoes. Full breaks look best on tall guys with skinny legs and for anyone still having their Zoot Suit tailored seventy or twenty years too late. Bigger guys should avoid full breaks and choose half or quarter breaks, which are appropriate for business and casual looks. Guys with short legs (sub 28" inseam) should always choose quarter breaks, sometimes called slight breaks, or no break, which is a look common for military and work uniforms and formal tuxedos. A break is not the same as slouchy pants gathering around your ankles, so be sure to pull your pants up to your navel when they are being measured for hemming and wear them the same way afterwards. If you are having jeans hemmed, where the hem stitch is visible on the outside, it is worth asking about matching the golden denim thread on most jeans, so they look like you bought them like this. If they don't have golden denim thread, again, back out slowly.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 5 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the fifth of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 3, 4, and 6.

Bad looks look twice as bad on you.
There is a full canon of standard fashion advice that isn't directly related to fat men; however, you should be doubly aware of these rules because when a bad look is on you, it not only plays into the well-accepted narrative that fat guys are slovenly, lazy and unkempt, but it is literally larger and more noticeable on you than it is the next guy. This list can be long, but if you are going to start dressing well, you gotta know them. The basics are thus: brown or blacks dress shoes should be matched to a brown or black belt. Clashing colors, like reds that aren't quite exact, should be avoided in the same outfit. Don't wear novelty ties or any childish or funny clothing; those items are strictly causal and shouldn't be worn to work or any place where you need to impress. You should avoid mixing patterns like various plaids, stripes, polka dots, and if you do, hipster, make sure one of those patterns is very small almost to the point of being a solid color, like a tight houndstooth, subtle pin stripe or Gingham check. Any metal on shoes, buckles, buttons, cuff links should match, like all chrome or all gold. An exception to all this matching is your watch, the band doesn't have to match your belt or shoes and the metal doesn't have to match your belt buckle or buttons, but extra credit if it does. Also, if you are wearing a suit or coat and tie, it should be a proper watch, no clunky sports watches or Casio calculator nerd watches. If your pants have belt loops, there had better be a goddam belt in them. Speaking of belts, holding up your pants is its only job; unless you're a janitor, put your phone and keys in your pocket. Avoid patterned pocket squares that match exactly your patterned tie. Any shirts with logos or embroidered emblems can't be worn with a suit. Before you sit, unbutton your coat so it doesn't pull across your torso and stress your buttons and also hike up your pants legs so the material doesn't stretch out over your bent knees. This list can seem endless, but you get the point.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 6 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the sixth of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys.  Read Part 12, 3, 4, and 5.

GLOSSARY
Know what you are talking about the next time you head to the store!
 
TERMS D'ART
Big-Generally refers to large-sized clothes, sizes XL-6XL+, but is also used to specifically indicate clothes like shirts cut with extra room or girth around the torso. "B" is commonly used in the size designation to denote a big cut, thus a 2XB is a 2XL shirt cut with extra girth around the torso.
Big & Tall-A category of clothing, usually used to reference men's clothing (the women's equivalent is often called, "Plus Size") that generally spans regular sizes XL-6XL+, big sizes XLB-6XB+, and tall sizes MT-6XT+. Big & Tall retail locations usually also carry portly, short and extra-long suits, extra-long ties, large shoes, extra long belts, undergarments, lifestyle accessories and orthopedic items for large and tall men.
Tall-Clothing cut for tall men, 6'+, sizes MT to 6XT+,- typically with longer sleeves, torso and tails, lower pocket placement and slimmer cuts for a more proportional look. Tall pants generally have high rises and longer inseams. "T" is commonly used in the size designation to denote a tall cut, thus a MT is a medium shirt with taller proportions. There are some Tall clothes that are also designated as Big, to indicate that they also have extra girth around the middle, in addition to being proportioned for a taller guy.

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How to Be a Fat Man, Dress Well, and Not Look Dumpy-Part 1 of 6

Illustrations by Brian Parra

This is the first of a six part article about factual fashion advice for fat guys. Read Part 23, 4, 5, and 6.

The author dressed so well, his wife was willing to take pictures.
There are 285 pounds of blogging chub inside this sharp-looking sports coat.

 

Fat guys have a hard enough time in life, and looking good in clothes is one of those chores that is inherently difficult and fraught with shame. The main difficulties for dressing while fat are lack of options, poor fit, weight change, the expense of big and tall clothes, and, of course, sheer embarrassment. A common pitfall for fat guys is looking dumpy, when one's clothes are poorly worn, ill-fitting and weirdly proportioned, giving the impression he is slovenly and bigger than he truly is. Looking dumpy is the first thing a person notices about a guy. It's human nature to notice flaws first and dumpy details about your dress can speak louder than the real person inside the clothes.

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