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The New Rules of Style for Guys Who Are Big, Tall, or Both

Because being well-dressed isn’t one size fits all

Not long ago, if you were a man of above-average height or weight (often called “plus size” or “big and tall” at stores), the only style advice you could get came from skinny “fashion” guys. These were editors and street style bloggers who assumed you just wanted to look, well, thinner.

A few common refrains from this bygone era? Avoid splashy patterns and big prints, which bring undue attention to the shape of your body. Wear dark colors because they’re slimming. And, when applicable, opt for v-necks and vertical stripes, which draw the eye down and have a slenderizing effect.

Of course, these patronizing guidelines are pretty out of step with how guys with great style are dressing now—especially the college-bound ones who are too smart to get fooled into feeling shameful about their bodies. They were created long before the current focus on body positivity (which we’re all about at SG HQ!) took hold.

Combine that movement with a fashion moment that is first and foremost about expressing individuality, and the result is a stylish generation of all shapes and sizes making their own rules about how they should dress.

Still confused about this stylish new world order? While there’s no one right way to dress, there are a few ideas that guys of different shapes should keep in mind when shopping for new clothes.

Below, plus size men’s style tips on how to avoid looking cookie cutter in a world where nothing is one size fits all.

Color and Pattern Are Your Friends

As someone with a bigger or taller build, you should never feel restricted to a dark, somber palette. Now that stylish brands like ASOS are catering to plus sized guys, there’s nothing stopping you from wearing a bang-on-trend floral print or an equally au courant oversized logo t-shirt.

polo shirt, $29 | rugby shirt, $29 | Puma t-shirt, $35

Wear Your Stripes — Horizontally

At the end of the day, the old-fashioned rule that horizontal stripes are something big guys should avoid is as out-of-date as a handlebar mustache. And it’s one that modern, size-inclusive retailers seem determined to do away with. They’ve been emboldened, no doubt, by high-end designers and brands like Todd Snyder and Engineered Garments folding the stripes into their fall 2017 collections.

bomber jacket | striped t-shirt | skinny jeans | Vans High Tops

Sturdy fabrics do you a favor

While stretch pants may be comfortable, we know they only really only look good on the people who already look good in everything. If you’re dressing a bigger build, opt for slim straight or straight leg jeans, and definitely consider selvedge denim. Selvedge will stretch to your shape over time, giving your the most personalized – and therefore flattering – fit.

When it comes to other pant styles, lightweight fabrics will keep you cool, and, so long as they are made of a sturdy fabric, will create a straight line along your legs that will look better than one that is pulling and bunching.

Proportion are Important

There was a time when retailers stocked their big and tall sections with drapey, billowy clothing that wound up making whoever wore it look much bigger than they were.

But as more guys have come to realize that fit really is everything, clothiers have caught up and started offering more tailored options. Instead of the grossly oversized items one used to find in the big and tall section, there are now sharp suits, generous coats, and everything in between. Because your size shouldn’t dictate how you express your personal style.

Of course, if your fashion personality is more Rick Owens parachute pants than Thom Browne’s shrunken suits, you can also find clothes with intentionally larger proportions. As long as your wardrobe makes you feel seen, not hidden, we’re all for it. Because right now, designers realize that style is a spectrum that’s as diverse for big guys as it is for lean ones.

suit jacket, $110 | jacket, $60


Become best friends with your tailor

Nothing will make your bod look better than clothes tailored to you. A slim fit is only great when it’s not too slim, and a little bit of drape is necessary for certain fabrics. Thankfully it’s not your responsibility to know which is which – all you need to do is be tight with your tailor.

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