Shopping is no easy task. It’s even harder for men who are big, tall, or a little bit of both. Finding clothes that not only fits but is stylish can be a nightmare too, as many retailers who sell for big and tall often put fashion on the backburner. Worse is when a big and tall store caters to men our size but does not provide clothes for our particular sizes, which often times causes clothes to be baggy on tall men but too tight on big men.
So, what do we do in this retail nightmare, where the clothes doesn’t quite fit and is so plain in design we don’t have anything decent to wear out? Well, there are a few things to accomplish. Let’s start with the basics.
Why Can’t Big and Tall Stores Get it Right?
Some men have a longer body with shorter legs; some have a shorter body with longer legs. Not all stores that say they sell for big and tall men take this simple fact into account. A man may technically be considered a big size but have a torso suited for a tall size.
Not only that but many stores use cookie cutter designs, which is why if you buy big, you know what it’s like to wear a shirt that fits like a potato sack. And don’t get me started on “slimming” clothes, which is just another way of saying the shirt is tight or has too many buttons and designs that have been tacked on to distract passerby.
But I Digress.
Big and tall men are a niche market and let’s be honest, it takes some thought to create clothes that both fits us and suits our style. We are old, young, trendy, nerdy, etc. etc.! If you look at any store, you’ll find each one appeals to a certain demographic. Well, big and tall stores are so few and far between that they have to go generic to make sure they have a wide appeal. Because of this, big and tall men have gotten the short end of the fashion stick.
Buying For Big and Tall: Which are You?
So yes, we’re big and we’re tall. But when we want to dress well, what do we do? First, stop buying the size you think you are. There’s a misconception that simply because we’re round in the belly that means we should buy big. But that isn’t always the case, so grab yourself some measuring tape because here’s a trick: determine the size shirt you need by measuring the length of your torso.
The chest of a tall man falls in the range of 42” to 68”. If your torso is around this range, you may want to look into buying tall sizes specifically, even if you are a little on the big side.
But hey, why stop there? Give yourself a full measure up and down. One great way to get clothes that fit you is to buddy up with your local tailor. Although tailoring can get expensive, you should have at least one nice dress shirt, jacket, and slacks you can wear to formal events.
For our everyday and business casual events, we ask:
Where Do I Buy Big and Tall Clothes?
The answer is simple: online. In-person stores go for simple, generic designs. Online, there’s more freedom for designers to create unique looks without having to spend a lot upfront. That’s because they don’t necessarily have to keep a big stock of clothes on hand in case someone wants to buy it. Some stores don’t even make their clothes until it gets ordered!
There are a lot of big and tall stores that understand our need to look good, and so offer a wide variety of looks. Best of all, these stores provide the measurements for their clothes. Remember when I told you to measure yourself? That’s where this comes into play. Because honestly, what is a 3XL or a 4XL anyway?
Okay, But What do I Wear?
Here are a few quick tips for your casual shirts:
- Go for simple patterned shirts (but avoid horizontal lines!).
- Hawaiian shirts are fine for the outdoors, but not in the office.
- Avoid “slimming” shirts. If you want a slimming look, buy a solid, dark color.
- Get clothes that can comfortably be tucked into your pants.
Going business casual? Keep this in mind:
- If you buy a button-up, the top button should button!
- Wearing a long sleeve? The sleeve should end at the base of the wrist. Got one that’s too long or too short? Don’t trash it! Fold the sleeves back to the elbow.
- A nice jacket has as much formal appeal as casual. Wear it over a simple graphic tee or patterned shirt.
- Jeans are nice for hanging out at the mall or running errands, but if you are going for a drink or other social event, wear khakis that fit snugly on your hips.
- Get a pair of black slacks and a simple white button-up.
- Your jacket should have a pocket, lapel, or another large detail.
- Don’t forget to wear nice shoes!
Finding clothes for big and tall men isn’t easy. But taking time out of your day to find clothes that fit you well, complement your style, and match the occasion is important. So measure up, buddy up with a tailor, and start hunting!
Written by Michael Gal, a social media marketing manager who works with companies looking to improve brand image and visibility online. He recommends Big Tall Direct for all your big and tall clothes.