It can be extremely difficult to find cool clothing if you’re a larger gent. All the ad campaigns are dominated by slim or built models with nothing much left for larger guys to gather inspiration from. There are also a handful of shops out there that do offer large sizes, however, they’re often plain and simple – sometimes even daggy. So where do you look?
Before we give you the down-low on what’s good in the world of dressing large, it’s a good idea to give you a crash course on large men’s style. The good news? It’s not all bad news.
Ways Larger Men Can Look Stylish
A little known secret in the menswear game for bigger guys is visual trickery. The secret to adding style to your frame is by minimising the surface area of your clothes. This means tucking dress shirts into trousers and utilising a belt to break up the belly from the crotch. Another tip is to create vertical lines in your outfit – a task easily handled with a v-neck shirt or a button-up shirt. This draws attention away from the gut and towards the centre of the body. Colour can also play a big part of this. By simply wearing darker colours like black or navy, larger men can draw attention away from bigger areas of the body, so choose wisely.
What Colours To Wear
The last thing you want is to look like a giant eggplant, so avoid bright colours like red, purple, green, yellow and pink, on shirts and tops. Coloured pants are fine but solid neutral colours are where you’ll shine: navy, chocolate, olive, black and grey. These broad, block spaces in dark shades help complement your shape and are perfect for tees, jackets and knits.
What Fabrics To Wear
Always go for lighter fabrics if you’re a larger gent – but not too thin. 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 and smart casual looks, avoid polyester as heavy cheap fabrics retain heat and lead to increased sweating
- Always employ cotton for shirts, tees and chinos (polyester blends are fine).
- Go for smooth, natural fabrics like linen shirts 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
What Fitment To Wear
There’s no real shortcuts here. Simply search for clothes and brands that offer a flattering aesthetic to your body. In formal wear the key is structural suits, jackets and blazers that 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 offer sloppiness – unless you’re working out. Separates provide a nice flat front but ensure they are clean, without pleats. If the occasion is more casual, chinos are the big guy’s off duty go-to as well. Other simplicity tips: eliminate chunky wallets and keys from pockets as these are unsightly on larger guys.
Now that you know the rules of dressing as a larger gent, it’s time to hit up the selection of online retailers that offer a great range of plus size clothing no matter your personal style or taste.
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Polo Ralph Lauren
Famous for their polos, oxford shirts and classic preppy styling, Polo Ralph Lauren has been offering plus range clothing for quite some time, enabling you to look stylish and sharp.
Founded by two Stanford Business School students, Bonobos has been offering high quality reasonably priced menswear since 2007. Whilst the brand might seem young, they offer some great, timeless items that will keep you looking great in and out of the office.
Champion has become synonymous with both street style and comfort clothing in recent years with their iconic 'loopback terry' donning the backs of various famous individuals. They offer their iconic sweats in sizes up to 3XL.
The denim brand that needs no introduction, Levi's has a selection of denim and other casual clothing that are built to last. Their clothing caters to waists up to 62" and tops up to 6XL.
Since 1983, Nautica has been producing 'Water inspired' apparel that looks just as good on land as it does behind the wheel of a yacht. They have a great selection of 'big and tall' clothing, include a wide selection of polos, t-shirts, swimmers and outerwear.
Originally Carhartt started out life making overalls for blue collar workers. 125 years later, they're making hard wearing clothing thats as tough as it was back in the day. Their larger sized items look tough with hints of collegiate style here and there.
Adidas is known for engineering clothing for the best athletes worldwide and has subsequently developed clothing that is light, comfortable and breathable, allowing the wearer to do almost anything in their kit.
Dockers is a quintessential American brand that is famous for their boat shoes and khaki pants that are still extremely popular in America today. Dockers was also originally a subset of Levi's, hence it's heritage, build quality and icon status. Their plus size range includes some great khakis and other basics.
Publish prides themselves on making clothing that is timeless, transcending the realms of art and fashion. Their line offers a modern take on typically traditional items of clothing, including chinos, sweatshirts and t-shirts.
There really is no need to introduce Nike, they simply make some of the best apparel known to man, much like Adidas they're constantly developing new technologies to make their clothing more comfortable and breathable making their clothing great for workouts or Sunday brunch.
Patagonia offers some of the worlds best adventure and outdoor equipment that is tough enough even for the harshest mother nature can throw at you. They also try and produce their clothing as ethically as possible to ensure the planet we explore isn't harmed by the clothing we explore it in. They have a selection of outerwear, shorts and tops in larger sizes up to 3XL.
Jack & Jones
Jack & Jones are a Danish clothing brand, mainly focus on younger consumers. Their designs are somewhat minimalist reflecting their Scandinavian origins.
Stone Island is fast becoming the outwear brand to have. Since 1982, this Italian firm has been making extremely high quality garments with a minimalistic and sharp look.
Previously known as Noose and Monkey, Twisted Tailor makes edgy, modern suits and shirts. Their selection of tailoring looks modern and fits well, they offer shirts up to 6XL and suits for those with up to a 52" chest.
The online clothes retailer, turned clothing manufacturer offers some one of the best 'big and tall' ranges anywhere online. They offer anything from summer shirts to swimmers and suits. This could be your one stop shop.
River Island is a London based fashion brand that makes on-trend clothing for affordable prices. They were originally started in 1948 by three brother and continue production today under the ownership of the same family. Their plus range is expansive and caters to any occasion and style.
Banana Republic was started by a couple that curated the selection of clothing based on what they wore and bought on their trips around the world. It has since become an up-market brand that caters to smart essentials and preppier looks.
Boohoo Man is another British retailer that produces clothing for the moment. A lot of their collections are vibrant and bright, with unique patterns and cuts. Their 'Big and tall' selection is very reasonably priced and they offer a wide range of products.