How To Dress Well When You’re A Big Guy: The Definitive Guide

Fat guys, fear not. We want you to own fashion and style.

Plus size men's fashion

Whether you’re naturally big-boned, have an under-active thyroid, or just enjoy consuming several pies at once (no judgment, no shame), the overweight guy shouldn’t be exempt from looking like a star. Here’s how to nail your style game no matter how much timber you’re carrying…

The most important thing to understand when it comes to fashion for the larger gent is that most ready-to-wear fashion brands are not your friends, nor are the countless magazines and fashionistas that parade around in their clothes.

We’re here to show you some of the best available brands or bigger men but, even more crucially than that, how to make their garments help you look good. Ordering a t-shirt is easy, but knowing which pants, jackets, or shoes to pair it with… that’s where the fun really starts.

Whether you’re going for a smart, casual, or (you guessed it) smart casual look, here are our top tips for looking your big, bold, best.

RELATED: The Best Big & Tall Clothes Brands For Men

Short For Time? Here’s What You Need To Know

What clothes look good on bigger guys?
All kinds of clothes can look good on bigger guys, the key is knowing which pieces to pair and the colour combinations that look best. In short, darker clothes will slim you down, but don’t be afraid of a pop of personality-proving colour.
What is the dress code for bigger guys?
It’s all about the tones and colours you pick. Your big frame already attracts attention, and you should be proud of that, but don’t then go overboard on bright colours or complex patterns; understatedness is key.
How can a plus-size man look good?
Easily: stick to darker colours and neutral tones. If you insist on patterns, vertical stripes are your friend. Nailing the fit is important too; flatter your silhouette with clothes that aren’t too tight.
How should a big guy wear a suit?
The same rule applies to suits as any other clothes for big dudes: dark and solid tones are your friend. Avoid light colours along with bold patterns and you’ll be good to go. Keep it classic.
Do girls find bigger guys attractive?
You bet they do. Studies suggest that more women like larger guys than ever before. The key to nailing the first impression is confidence and a good outfit; we can help with the latter.
Can big guys wear baggy clothes?
Absolutely. Baggy clothes can look great on anyone. The key is to make sure they compliment the rest of your outfit and your overall personal style.
Can bigger guys wear slim fit?
Absolutely. Baggy clothes can look great on anyone. The key is to make sure they complement the rest of your outfit and your overall personal style.

Style Advice For Bigger Dudes

Employ Visual Trickery

Three plus size men wearing outfits for big guys.

The key to looking sharper and slimmer is using visual trickery. Firstly, minimise surface area. This means always tucking dress shirts into trousers and with a belt to break up the belly from the crotch.

Creating a vertical line is another easy win — using a v-neck or a row of shirt buttons, for example — drawing the onlooker’s focus to the centre of the body, not your gut, and emphasising its length rather than its breadth.

Darken out the big places — belly, butt or thighs — that you don’t want to emphasise, and wear lighter tones over your slimmer areas. We all have our not-bad-to-better assets, so understand yours and make them work for you.

Solid Neutrals & Classic Prints

A plus size man wearing a double breasted suit and dress coat.

To prevent yourself from looking like a giant piece of fruit, avoid blocked bright hues such as red, purple, green, yellow and pink on your shirts and tops. Coloured pants are fine but solid neutral colours are where you shine: navy, chocolate, olive, black and grey. These broad, block spaces in dark shades help complement your shape, perfect for tees, jackets and knits.

Look to classic patterns like checks and vertical stripes on button shirts, as they have a distractive element and spice up a boring work look. Try working checks into shirts in dark hues and subtle stripes on blazers in muted tones. It’s all about light textures with prints rather than anything with busy graphics or patterns.

Terrifically Tailored

A plus size man wearing a red suit and bow tie.

Every man needs a good tailor and the larger gent is no exception. Thanks to the inaccessible size ranges of many off-the-rack brands, we recommend skipping the boutique immediately and seeing the man with the tape measure and thread instead.

Made-to-measure suiting or bespoke — where you can select everything from button colour to lapel width — will cost more than an in-store suit but it will fit you like a glove and likely last a hell of a lot longer.

A quality fabric in a timeless hue will last you through the ages. For trousers, opt for a full break on my pants, with the pant skimming heel or slightly shorter. The jacket should cut the shoulder sharply and when fastened should sit flat with no pulling, nicely obscuring the belly.

Pick The Right Fabrics

A man wearing a beige moleskin jacket.

Light yet sturdy fabrics should make up your wardrobe. Too thick, and the materials will add bulk to your frame; too thin and you’ll be exposing your lumps and bumps. For suits, separates, coats and knits, go for wool, cashmere and silk, avoiding polyester. Heavy, cheap fabrics retain heat and lead to increased sweating.

Cotton is key for shirts, tees and chinos but all of these benefit from a small amount of polyester too; the synthetic fibre can add durability and sturdiness, as well as offer shape and fewer crinkles. Go for smooth, natural fabrics that hang close to the body without looking chunky.

Selvedge denim is key for jeans and will mould to your shape for a customised fit. When it comes to other pant styles, natural fabrics will keep you cool while sturdy fabrics help create a clean line from the waist to the ground.

RELATED: 23 Men’s Jeans Brands: For Every Budget & Shape

Keep It Simple

Plus sized men wearing

Simplicity is your fashion friend. Search for clothes that are clean and shaped to the body. Structural suits, jackets and blazers add a nice ‘squaring’ from the shoulders down and give shape automatically. Then, as the coat drapes, the body becomes naturally framed and contained within the garment. Again, structure is key for bottoms too.

Trousers are the silhouette you want, as opposed to track pants and athletic gear which can sometimes look a little sloppy (unless you’re working out, of course, in which case they’re obviously ideal). Separates provide a nice flat front but ensure they are clean and without pleats. If the occasion is more casual, chinos are the big guy’s off-duty go-to.

Other simplicity tips: eliminate chunky wallets and keys from pockets by investing in a document holder, briefcase or backpack for a more streamlined stride.

Spread Collars & Wide Ties

Image: Hollywood Reporter

When you have to dress formally, try to make sure that your shirt has a spread collar. If you have no idea what a spread collar looks like, check out our guide to different collar types. But basically, it means you should go for a wider collar. A good way to check is by looking at the angle where the collar meets the top button and ensuring it’s wider than 90 degrees.

Also, don’t bother trying to wear all those thin, ridiculous ties they make these days. Embrace the wider ones! 

The idea here is that wide collars make your neck and face look less wide, and wide ties also make your torso look less wide.  

A little more on how to dress formally: If possible, replace your belt with braces. Belts draw attention to your waist and clearly divide your body in half—you don’t want that. Finally, don’t wear short-sleeve shirts with formal attire, it doesn’t look right. 

Key Big Man Fashion Items

Suits For Big Guys

As above, we recommend getting your suit custom-made. Go for low-rise trousers, with a short break and cuffed leg length. The jacket needs to be sharp on the shoulder and avoid double-breasted; a single button is great for creating a focal point that streamlines.

Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer Extended Sizes

Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer Extended Sizes

A lighter, more comfortable way to look sharp.

Jackets & Coats For Big Guys

A cropped bomber or leather biker jacket provides a cool, lean silhouette. In warmer weather, an open shirt over a V-neck works too. In colder weather, a long overcoat is a great way to make a solid impression with your whole body. Opt for traditional brands like Hackett or Burberry.

Big & Tall Regular Fit Suedette Bomber Jacket

Big & Tall Regular Fit Suedette Bomber Jacket

Big & Tall collection | Regular fit | Suedette | Long sleeve | Baseball collar | Front zip fastening | Side pockets

Knits For Big Guys

Sweaters need to be wool or cashmere in a slim fit. This helps flatten the front over the belly but only if close and without bulge. And opt for a v-neck to create the vertical line. Knits can be chunky, but fitted and cardigans are key wardrobe necessities. Opt for one with a collar, like the shawl type, for the appearance of tailoring while being casual.

Blake Shelton x Lands' End Men's Big and Tall Cotton Blend Heartland Sweater

Blake Shelton x Lands’ End Men’s Big and Tall Cotton Blend Heartland Sweater

Talk about a greatest hit! This soft sweater with eye-catching shoulder patches is part of our limited-edition Blake Shelton collection.

Shirts For Big Guys

V-neck tees and Henleys should be your staples due to their slimming neckline and vertical focal points. Vertically-striped business shirts are great too — just remember to tuck that thing in. Solid brands include Ralph Lauren, Saturdays NYC and Perry Ellis.

RELATED: Big & Tall Polo Shirts

Bottoms For Big Guys

Shorts aren’t kind to you, so opt for knee-length shorts if the summer weather beckons, avoiding cargo shorts with bulky pockets. Opt for low-rise (a shorter distance between the top of the waistband and the crotch) chinos or pants and don’t sit trousers under your belly as this lengthens your torso to appear short-legged and stumpy.

Check out short and trouser brands, Nautica and Maine New England — made for larger lads.

469 Loose Jean 12.5" Men's Shorts (Big & Tall)

469 Loose Jean 12.5″ Men’s Shorts (Big & Tall)

The ’90s are back. And in a big way—literally.

Jeans For Big Guys

Perfect big-guy brands for jeans include Wrangler’s Texas Fit, Lee’s Brooklyn Big & Tall, and J by Jasper Conran. Nudie Jeans and 3Sixteen do great selvage denim, too.

502™ Taper Fit Men's Jeans (Big & Tall)

502™ Taper Fit Men’s Jeans (Big & Tall)

Meet our most versatile fit—the 502™ Taper.

RELATED: Big & Tall Jeans

Accessories For Big Guys

Suspenders are key under a blazer or suit jacket for ensuring your trousers don’t slip below the belly. And pocket squares, lapel pins and ties are where you can add extra colour, texture and patterns to your look.

Italian Silk Knit Tie in Red Stripe

Italian Silk Knit Tie in Red Stripe

A refined take on a menswear staple. This classic striped tie is knit in Italy from pure silk and has a subtle, open-weave texture that elevates any outfit; it’s versatile enough to dress up a casual look or dress down a more formal one.