The New Rules: Men’s Fashion for Bigger Guys
Beyond the big and tall store: all the best clothes for larger men
Not long ago, if you were a man of above-average height or weight (sometimes called extended size, plus size, or big and tall mens clothing), the only style advice you could get came from skinny “fashion” guys.
Magazine 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 those who are too smart to get fooled into feeling shame about their bodies.
These rules were created long before the current focus on body acceptance and body positivity 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 want to dress to feel their best.
While there’s no one right way to dress, there are a few ideas that guys of different shapes can keep in mind when shopping for new clothes.
Here’s what you find in this article:
- The best brands and websites for plus-size men
- Tips and tricks on proportions
- How to find the best fitting clothes for bigger men
- Why fabrics matter when shopping for clothing for big and tall guys
- How to wear patterns as a bigger guy
- Your ultimate guide to accessories
Whether you’re looking for casual clothes for big guys or the best shirts for plus size men, SG’s got you covered.
Learn how to avoid looking cookie cutter in a world where nothing is one size fits all…
1. Shop brands that sell extended sizes for men
This sounds obvious, but we’ve gotta start on the right foot here.
Until all retailers catch up to the fact that as many as 40% of men have issues with size and fit and start selling clothes in a more comprehensive range, cut yourself a break and cut out the brands and retailers you know won’t work for you.
The availability for big and tall mens fashion hasn’t always been great, but things are slowly changing – and while a lot of brands have a long way to go there are some great options for stylish clothes for big guys.
Thankfully, stylish retailers like Ralph Lauren, ASOS and Bonobos now offer more options in extended sizes, meaning you can zero in on the places that work for you when shopping.
There are also specialty retailers like DXL, Johnny Bigg, KingSize, and Westport Big & Tall that curate a great selection of fashion for plus size men.
Shopping can feel like a mental game, and you’ve gotta do everything possible to stay in a positive head space.
Don’t get yourself mad, frustrated, or sad about the state of retail when you could be getting excited about adding clothes to your closet that make you look and feel your best!
2. Consider proportions when shopping
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.
And it’s important to remember that whether you’re a skinny guy looking for the perfect slim fit suit or a bigger guy looking for the most fashionable shirts, every guy needs to consider proportions and tailoring to look their best.
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; there are plenty of great stylish options for plus size clothing for men.
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.
3. How to get the best-fitting clothing for bigger guys
Our most important piece of advice for how to dress if you’re a big guy – or thin guy, or tall guy, or small guy?
Find a tailor and woo him like you would your dream partner.
Well, maybe not exactly like that.
But the relationship you have with your tailor is super important and can make or break your wardrobe!
That applies whether you’re shopping for the best suits for big guys, or casual clothes for plus size men.
Truly, 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.
Don’t have one? Ask your best-dressed bud or business colleague for a rec in your area.
4. Pay attention to fabrics
While clothes with lots of stretch may feel comfortable, they usually look best on the people who already look good in everything. Annoying, right?
If you’re dressing a bigger build, opt for fabrics with more structure like selvedge denim and oxford cotton.
Selvedge will stretch to your shape over time, giving your the most personalized – and therefore flattering – fit.
When it comes to the best suits for plus size guys, look for four-season wool with just a hint of stretch, like the Bonobos style in the picture above.
5. Don’t be afraid of bold colors and patterns
At the end of the day, the old-fashioned plus size men’s style tips around hiding your body are out.
The adage that horizontal stripes are something big guys should avoid is as out-of-date as a handlebar mustache.
And there’s nothing stopping you from wearing a bang-on-trend floral print or an equally au courant oversized logo t-shirt.
Instead, look to modern, size-inclusive retailers that want you to wear color, stripes, prints, and patterns!
You can and will look great in stripes if you like stripes! And color if you like color!
Don’t let old rules keep you from expressing your individuality and unique personal style.
6. Embrace accessories
Accessories may be the last thing on your mind when shopping, but we’re here to remind you that it’s the small touches that take an outfit from eh to awesome.
We’ve already talked about tailoring, where an inch here or there makes all the difference, and this rule applies to accessories, too!
A well-placed handkerchief, statement sock, or badass watch elevates any outfit.
This is especially true for men’s fashion for bigger guys, where your clothing options can be limited. Accessories can be a huge help in expressing your unique sense of personal style.
If you find yourself losing inspiration after shopping and coming up short on interesting and stylish pieces in your size, give yourself a break and head over to the shoe department.
Or check out the watches, wallets, belts, suspenders, socks, and yes, even scarves.
Think of the foundational items you’ve found in your size and ask yourself how you can add a little of your personal style to that plain white shirt—it could be as simple as an interesting belt buckle or a brightly colored pair of socks.
When it comes to fashion for plus size men, retailers don’t always make it easy for big guys to have a positive experience buying clothes.
But you can fight that by getting creative and keeping your own taste and comfort in mind.
And remember, you don’t always have to come home from every shopping trip with bags and bags of clothes in tow.
Don’t be afraid to leave a store empty-handed, or shut your laptop after online window shopping, if you’re just not feeling it!
Or, call in the professionals.
The team of stylists at Style Girlfriend are always at the ready to help you update and upgrade your wardrobe with less stress.
There’s always tomorrow and another shop on the horizon!
Above all, be sure to accentuate the positive in your style…you!
Ready to turn up your style?
If you’re ready for a shopping plan that’ll save you time, energy, and your sanity, learn more about how our virtual styling service can help you.