7 Style Tips for Large Men: The Big Man’s Guide to Sharp Dressing

by Antonio on July 24, 2013 · 65 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

Fashion, like any industry, has its share of quackery, and no one gets treated to more “miracle products” or “life-changing purchases” (Spanx for men anyone?) than a man with some meat on his bones.

You can forget most of that stuff.

It’s not effective, and it’s creating a problem where there isn’t one.

Dressing well is about presenting your body in the best and most flattering way possible — without trying to distort or alter the body itself. Anything else is just costuming.

To that end, we’ve put together our best advice for the big men of the world.

Whether you’re round-bellied, broad-shouldered, big-bottomed, or all three at once, you can look comfortable, stylish, and suave with a little savvy dressing.

Clothes make the man

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” -Mark Twain

Why Care? The Importance of Style for Large Men

You don’t really need me to tell you what the general (and unfounded) assumptions are about overweight men: fat, sloppy, lazy, greedy, etc. As unfair as these judgements may be, they’re the reality in our society. But if your weight isn’t there for a specific purpose (like you’re an NFL linebacker), you owe it to yourself to work to shed those pounds — not fundamentally to impress other people, but because of the benefits to your physical and mental health that will accrue as you get fit. Yet even if you’re already in the midst of a weight loss journey, you still need to dress the body you have right now; you shouldn’t wait until you’ve reached your ultimate goal to start trying to look your best.

The reason style takes on such importance — and the reason we’re writing about it — is that bad or careless style on a person of average or slender build just makes them forgettable. On a large man, it’s taken as proof of the negative assumptions mentioned above: obviously the fat man is indeed a lazy slob, or he’d have taken time to dress himself better.

As frustrating as that is, it’s a pretty compelling argument for looking your best. And happily, that’s just as easy to do for a heavyset man as it is for anyone else.

Priorities: What a Big Man Wants from His Clothing

We’ll get into specific styles and outfits in a bit, but there are a few things that should always be on your mind if you’re purchasing clothing for a bigger body:

Bad fit to the left - good fit to the right.  ALWAYS use a tailor.

Bad fit to the left – good fit to the right. ALWAYS use a tailor.

1. Fit

It’s true for any man, and doubly so for large men: the fit of your clothing is its most important quality.

If you’ve got bulges, wrinkles, or sagging cloth, it’s going to make your outline look sloppy. On a large man, the effect gets amplified, and it looks even worse. Many large men dress in clothes that are several sizes too big, thinking they are disguising their physique. But baggy clothes don’t fool anyone and in fact draw more attention to your weight while downgrading your overall appearance and the impression you make.

There’s also a simple comfort issue here: the better the fit, the more comfortable your clothes feel, which is good for your mood and for your appearance.

So your first consideration with any garment should always be the fit. You want the cloth to rest lightly on your body — not hugging it tight and not hanging off your skin with visible folds of extra cloth.

The odds of finding something with a perfect fit off the rack are pretty low, so get to know a good tailor. Simple adjustments like hemming trousers or taking a shirt in at the waist are cheap fixes — usually $10-20 — that can make generically-sized department store clothes into well-fitted garments.

For more information on fit – click here to read our classic AoM article on the Style Pyramid.

Keep it simple - for a large man living in a city a well-fitted, solid, dark colored, full-length overcoat is perfect.

Keep it simple: for a large man living in a city, a well-fitted, solid, dark colored, full-length overcoat is perfect.

2. Simplicity

If you’ve got a big frame, you’ve also already got an imposing presence. Dress simple, so that it doesn’t become an overwhelming effect.

Good clothes for large men keep the patterns to a minimum. Broad, solid spaces help complement your shape — be thinking solid-color jackets, lightly striped shirts, and so on, rather than anything with busy graphics or patterns.

3. Light Weight

Thick, heavy cloth accentuates your size and makes you look bulky.

Heavier clothing can also hold heat in, and contribute to excessive sweating, which is something that many big men need to be cautious of. Even if you don’t have sweat issues, you still want to keep your clothing light.

The difference between fine wool trousers and a pair of thick denim jeans doesn’t sound like much, but when you try the pants on you realize just how significant the upgrade can be. A smooth, light fabric that drapes in clean lines is always going to make a large man look (and feel) better than something chunky.

What the Right Clothes Can (and Can’t) Do for You 

Reality check: you’re not going to find clothes that dramatically alter the shape of your body.

You might find something so immensely loose that, like a burqa, it hides the shape completely, but that’s not a look most guys are going for. It often ends up looking more like a parachute than a nice garment.

Good clothing doesn’t change the shape of your body. It makes everything look proportional, balanced, and neatly framed.

Anything that’s sold with the premise of making you thinner (compression girdles and so on) is likely to have a passing effect at best, and probably at the expense of your comfort. That’s a losing proposition in the long run, since an uncomfortable man tends to also be one who fidgets, shifts, and otherwise looks nervous and unappealing.

The best effect of good clothing is to change people’s automatic first impression from “a fat man” to “a big man.”

On paper, that looks like a meaningless distinction, but in people’s minds it becomes the difference between “lazy, soft, and weak” and “powerful, imposing, and confident.”

If you’ll pardon the pun, that’s a big difference.

Clothing for Large Men: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Now that you know what you’re looking for in general, we can talk about a few specific styles.

Keep in mind that there will always be some exceptions to these guidelines. But for the most part, there are certain kinds of clothing that we can describe as being “good” or “bad” for large men.

And yes, there are one or two styles that are just plain disastrous. Stay away from the “uglies” unless you have a very compelling reason to wear them!

The man to the left is wearing clothing that makes him look heavier - the man on the right isn't hiding his weight and is showing that he pays attention to the details.

The man to the left is wearing clothing that makes him look heavier – the man on the right isn’t hiding his weight and is showing that he pays attention to the details.

Good Clothes for Large Men

The best clothes are ones that give a clear, clean, defined shape to the body. That puts suits, blazers, and sports coats right at the top of the list: these are going to “frame” the body and make it look neatly self-contained.

In addition to jackets, smooth slacks (as opposed to jeans) give a nice, clean front, and in colder weather a long overcoat is a great way to make a solid impression with your whole body.

For an excellent summary of how large men can wear suits well – click here to visit our friends over at the Gentleman’s Gazette.

Bad Clothes for Large Men

Things get more problematic when clothes become softer and the outlines less defined.

That means that large men want to use some caution when they’re buying things like sweatshirts and sweaters. They can work — the flat front over the belly can be advantageous, as can something that covers the waistline of the trouser — but you need a nice, close fit and no wrinkles or bulges.

Athletic wear is a similar mixed bag: it obviously makes sense if you’re working out, but in other settings it looks a little too shapeless. It’s also very low formality, which can play into “lazy slob” stereotypes. Try to avoid leaving the house in sweatpants or athletic T-shirts unless it’s to hit the gym or go for a jog.

Ugly Clothes for Large Men

The worst of all possible worlds is anything that combines a saggy fit, low formality, and lots of bare flesh. (The latter has less to do with flesh looking unattractive, and more to do with the contrast it sets up: if your legs and arms are bare, it draws all the attention to your center, which emphasizes your belly and crotch/butt region.)

So steer clear of loose T-shirts, tank-tops, and baggy shorts. Those don’t look great on anyone, and on a heavyset man they’re especially unflattering. Shorts in general are worth avoiding, but if you do wear them, resist the temptation to go with long, baggy ones — your lower legs will look like skinny pegs in comparison, giving you a massively top-heavy appearance.

In general, larger men will look best if they stick to long sleeves and trousers, and select dressier styles that add a little class to their overall appearance.

7 Easy Style Upgrades for Large Men

If you’re a big guy who’s looking to dress a little sharper without breaking the bank on an entirely new wardrobe, we have some tips for you. These are all basic upgrades within your wardrobe — just swapping one item or particular style for another. Put together, they can add up to a big improvement.

1. Switch from Belts to Suspenders

Suspenders are a classic menswear accessory - not just for your grandfather.

Suspenders are a classic menswear accessory — not just for your grandfather.

Belts aren’t much use to men with large, round stomachs. Because the shape of the stomach tapers, a circular band around it is just going to slip right off — it’s like trying to fasten a collar around the lower third of a basketball.

Suspenders avoid the issue entirely, and let the trouser front fall in a smooth drape instead of bunching it up at the top.

A habit of wearing suspenders also helps keep the quality of your pant purchasing habits up — most cheap trousers don’t come with the internal anchors for suspenders. You can have a tailor add them for a couple bucks, or use metal clamp-style suspenders, but ideally you should build a collection of nice slacks that can take button-style suspenders.

2. Buy Dress Shirts with Spread Collars

Notice the proportions of the tie, tie knot, and collar.

Notice the proportions of the tie, tie knot, and collar.

If you’ve got a broad face, get a broad collar to go with it.

Most brands designate anything with a separation of greater than 90 degrees between the collar points as a “spread.” Some will be more extreme than others, so find a brand and a style you like.

Spread collars help keep your face looking proportional, and they give you room to tie a nice big necktie knot as well (try the Full Windsor). You’ll want to do that when you’re wearing a tie — a big guy with a thin tie and a tiny knot looks clownish.

3. Wear a Hat

Wearing a hat requires CONFIDENCE - and makes you look taller!

Wearing a hat requires CONFIDENCE — and makes you look taller!

A hat is one of those great style tools that make almost anything into an “outfit.”

By throwing a stylish hat on, you’re demonstrating that you went to more than the minimum effort when you got dressed. That automatically dispels any “fat = lazy” assumptions.

You also gain a little more vertical space with a hat, which can be nice for guys who are both solidly-built and short. The crown of the hat stretches your overall height a bit further, which helps “spread” your weight a little further.

To learn the basics of wearing a hat, visit these classic AoM articles on “Bringing Back the Hat” and “Finding the Perfect Hat for Your Ugly Mug.”

4. Wear Overalls for Manual Labor

stylish blue collar

Plumber’s crack was never seen again after Jim switched his company’s uniform to overalls.

Rather than jeans and a T-shirt, which are prone to hiking up/down to expose your belly and plumber’s crack, go with a pair of overalls for any serious manual labor.

It’s a classic manly style; the bib front helps smooth out the appearance of your belly, and as an added bonus they’re practical protection from spills and minor abrasions.

You’re not limited to blue denim here — brands like Carhartt and Dickies make good workwear in brown, navy blue, black, and other straightforward colors. Just steer clear of the blaze orange unless you’re actually going hunting.

For more information on blue collar style – click here for a classic AoM article.

5. Sport Well-Groomed Facial Hair

A well-groomed beard can hide a double chin and elongate the face.

A well-groomed beard can hide a double chin and elongate the face.

Don’t go all department store Santa here or anything, but a neatly-trimmed beard around the chin and jawline can really help firm up a soft-faced man’s features.

You do need to be good about maintenance here — a big guy with a neat beard is going to be seen as stylish; a big guy with stubble everywhere or a curly neckbeard is going to be taken for a slob. You can’t get away with messy facial hair if you want people to take you seriously.

But if you can keep it trim, a neat little goatee can sharpen up your chin, while whiskers on the jawline help put a more squared-off frame around your cheeks.

Don’t know where to start with your beard-growing? We’ve got you covered.

6. Wear Large Accessories

Proportion is very important for a big man. The bigger you are, the bigger you want your accessories to be, too — upgrade a flimsy plastic ballpoint for a fountain pen with some real heft, for example, and always keep your watch faces on the larger side.

As an added bonus, people tend to think of large, thick accessories (especially watches and neckties) as “power” items, conveying the strength and presence of the wearer, which is exactly what you want associated with your size.

7. Wear Tailored Shirts Untucked

Hemmingway in a guayabera.

Hemingway in a guayabera.

A single flat plane of fabric over the stomach draws less attention than a waistband contrasting with a shirt. As a result, shirts that can be worn untucked tend to de-emphasize the waistline.

Shirts with round, even hems (rather than “ducktail” styles, which are longer in the front and back) are made to drape over the trouser waist. Polos are often worn this way, as are button-fronted summer shirts.  However, be careful with these styles as if you’re sporting a large midsection they do not flatter unless the fit is perfect. Instead look to try a guayabera — click here for a classic AoM article on this Mexican/Cuban hot weather shirt.

Long-sleeved collared shirts are less likely to be worn untucked, but light sweaters can go over them to fill the same role. In strict business-dress situations there’s not much you can do — anything but a tucked-in dress shirt is too informal — but your social wardrobe should have some good round-hem options for wearing untucked.

Conclusion

Dressing well as a large man isn’t all that different from dressing well with any other body type. More than anything, it relies on honesty about your figure, and the patience to get clothes that actually fit.

If you’re willing to pick the styles that flatter your body type and get them adjusted to fit properly, you’ll look neat, stylish, and well-built no matter what you weigh.

Watch a Video Summary of This Post

_____________________________________________________

large-man-cover-200 Are you a large man and want more style help?

Check out my 60-page book – “Large Man’s Guide to Style: Fashion Tips for Big Men.

Written By Antonio Centeno
For Men’s Style Fashion TipsClick Here

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 L. David Fluty July 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Such a wonderful article! I am a big man myself so this was a great education.

2 Marcus L July 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm

You don’t see too many post on fashion for larger men like my self but, every little pointer is appreciated.

3 Eva E. July 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

This article could also double as “How to Dress Like a Mafia Gangster”.

4 Dillion July 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I understand why shorts are out but are slack still preferable for 110 degree weather? Is there any other options?

5 Brian July 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm

As a short guy with big chest and a belly, finding clothes that fit well is pain in my glutes. Find a shirt that is big enough for my arms and my chest and it hangs like a tent. Find one that “modern” or “slim” cut that fits in the chest and belly, and my arms end up looking like stuffed sausages.

Either way, any polo or t-shirt ends up being at least 3 inches too long. Tuck it in? “Why yes, I do squats. Why do you ask?”

6 JJ M July 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Would be nice to have an article that covers tall men, not just big men. This article is very useful though.

7 Craig July 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for the article. I’ve been thinking about getting suspenders. I think I’m going to do it. Then I just have to find a way to work in a bright orange bow tie and I’ll be set.

8 Dave July 24, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I work in a creative job where dress attire is not appropriate. Any suggestions for the large-sized creative?

9 Luc July 24, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Thank you for this article. It was concise, informative, and helpful.

10 Gerald July 24, 2013 at 11:16 pm

As a big guy all around (tall, broad shoulders, overweight [I'm working on it!]) this is fantastic.

I’m going into my 3rd year of university and I switch my wardrobe over last Christmas break and all my new clothes are actually very similar to those in this guide, thanks for the confidence guys!

Gotta get some suspenders though, haha.

11 Rob W. July 25, 2013 at 1:30 am

Antonio,

Thank you for writing this. All of this advice is incredibly helpful and shows that you’ve dealt with clients that had these problems before and have done your research. In some of your good/bad pictures, I swore you based the bad one off of what I wore today! From the stretched neck on the t-shirt to it’s large fit with athletic shorts and hairy legs. Such a wake-up call. Time to call the tailor!

12 Johnny July 25, 2013 at 7:32 am

This is an absolutely awesome article. Thank you so much!

13 Heather July 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

Suspenders are severely hot and I’m not ashamed to say it.

14 Native Son July 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

To the fellows who insist that shorts are necessary in hot weather…All I can say is that most shorts are cut in a way that make large guys look at best sloppy and at worst, disrespectful in public.

15 Silvia July 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

Great article Antonio!

16 Claude July 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

I’ve learned that just being neat goes a long way. When I started tucking in my shirts and wearing better fitting clothes, even on weekends, people started to assume I lost weight.

17 Marko July 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

As a formerly big man, best advice I can give you is that you can stop being a big man in less than a year maybe even in 6 months, depending how big you are.

18 MatthewSD July 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

…thank you. A hundred times over, thank you.

19 Chris July 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

This is a great article and I would love to see something similar for tall/thin guys too. I’m 6’3″ and about 185 lbs and have trouble finding styles that work.

Thanks!

20 Erik B July 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

Thanks for your time Antonio. A wealth of information for us big fellas!

21 Ryan Sanchez July 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm

This is great, you don’t know how hard I’ve been searching for a good article that will help me plan my clothes. MORE PLEASE!!!!

22 Samuel Warren July 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Spot on as usual Antonio!

As a (used to be bigger) big man, I know the feeling on alot of this stuff.

I started two years ago at 304 pounds in a 5’8″ frame. My clothes were whatever made me feel like you couldn’t see me, and fashion wasn’t even an afterthought.

Moving forward two years (and quite a few of Antonio’s articles). I’m down to 230-240 and have a wardrobe that I LIKE to wear.

My wardrobe contains everything from suits all the way down to athletic clothes. On a budget (as most people are), almost every piece came second hand from thrift stores. You’d be surprised how many nice suits and sport coats are in thrift stores for $5 apiece. Be prepared to dig through the older dated looking ones if you go! As a side note, many thrift stores I’ve been to keep their suits in the back. You have to ask to see them.

For me dressing correctly for the occasion is an important part to making a good impression, and all these tips are right on the money!

23 Steve July 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm

@Brian

Hit your local tailors, I am a bit on the short and broad side, I always have a few inches taken off the hem of my shirts and it works a treat. I can even wear them untucked without looking like an idiot.

24 Chris July 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm

No matter what the tailors say, today’s big men DO NOT wear their pants mid-way up their belly as depicted under paragraph 1. above.

Pants go below the belly at the hips; not nebulously midway up the curve of the gut, like these tailors will constantly try to push.

Oh, and flat front pants were designed for Barbie’s crotchless Ken. Real live men have real live anatomy and do not look good cinched tightly into flat front pants. Again, no matter what the tailor / fashionista says, go with the pleats, you’ll look more comfortable because you’ll feel more comfortable.

25 Steven July 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

@Marko you say, “stop being a big man in less than a year maybe even in 6 months,”

Being a former big man yourself, I expect that you understand the term, “Easier said than done.” All we can do right now is stop “acting like a big man”. I stopped acting like a big man (diet and exercise) two years ago and guess what, I’m still big. Maybe, just maybe, dressing a little better will help me with my confidence and attitude so I have the endurance and mental fortitude to meet your mythical one-year deadline. In other words, “Shut up, we’re working on it.”

Thank you very much for the article Antonio.

26 Jeff H July 26, 2013 at 2:10 am

One correction: instead of “Don’t go all department store Santa here”, it should instead be “Duck Dynasty!”

27 Pat July 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

After I got out of high school I decides to change my appereance from t-shirts and torn jeans to something more mature to match my personality. So now whenever I go out I will always make the effort to put on a nice polo, button shirt, clean jeans that aren’t baggy, or khaki pants. One thing this article didn’t cover is the man boobs. I can live with the gut, but man boobs are the worse. Word of advice, doing the bench at the gym doesn’t get rid of of the boobs, but it does change the shape from a bag of pudding to something a little less detail and less noticeable under the shirt.

28 Steve July 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

A short term solution to “moobs” would be a tight t-shirt worn under a shirt, something with a decent elastine content that would be tight to the body. Maybe go a size smaller than the norm to make sure you get some mild/light compression.

Obviously, long term solutions all boil down to getting exercise and eating right, but they are of little use if you have somewhere to go this weekend and wish to look your best.

29 Mark July 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm

There are lots of great tips here that I plan to try out. A couple that I’m already doing are wearing suspenders and wearing hats, though not for the reasons that Antonio gives.

I used to wear a belt with my pants until about 7 years ago, during which time I always had trouble with having to pull up my pants, no matter how tight my belt was. This was because I have a surgical scar on my waistline, and my belt would always slide into it, thus puling my pants down with it. That problem disappeared with my getting suspenders instead, and I wear them all the time now.

I also wear a couple of different types of hats, especially on warm, sunny days. One is a cowboy-style Stetson, which works very well for the small, Western town where I live. The other is a leather cap that I can wear when I want to be a little more stylish. They both serve the purpose of protecting my bald spot from being burned by the sun, but now I know they also help me look taller (at least the Stetson does). Just the other day, in fact, I was complimented on my leather cap, so I now know it looks good on me, too!

Thanks for this article, and I look forward to seeing more.

30 dannyb278 July 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Great artical, but a few opinions:

1. Unless you are physcally engaged in outdoor barnyard or mechanical activity, Overalls ALWAYS look laughable.

2. Shorts are okay. no need to be miserable in high heat when you dont need to be.

3. Pleats, on any man under 50 look rediculous. Flat front is the way to go. All pleats to for big guys is draw more attention to the gut.

I’m 6’4, 253 pounds

Thats just my two scents.

31 Phillip the Bruce July 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I started wearing suspenders several years ago when I realized that tight belts were not only uncomfortable, but unhealthy. Same applies to “girdles.”
I have problems with off the rack slacks because a 42 is usually too small, but a 44 is too big. Suspenders help, but I will probably need to go the ‘tailor’ route to look my best.

32 Ian July 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Re: Wearing a hat…

Right now, it seems like there’s a strong backlash against fedoras (particularly if you’re fat and/or bearded, as I am), which, sadly, is my preferred hat. I’ve taken to going hat-less of late, but I’d like to find a new hat.

Any suggestions for a fat bearded dude who wants a socially-acceptable hat?

33 dannyb278 July 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Ian,
i too am big, bearded and enjoy wearing a hat. What about a donnegal hat, also known as a flat cap? My favorite style of hat, especially in fall and winter paired with a pea coat and scarf. Looks good with leather jackets, t-shirts and jeans, etc.

I bought one of these hats off of amazon way back in 2007. one in brown and one black for around 15.00 each and they have stood the test of time well.

34 Pete Q July 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

Nice article, as a naturally big lad, i appreciate all the info and help i can get. Although even at my slimmest, i was still 17 stone/108 Kg/240 lbs(take your pick) and that was as an army level judo competitor. Now, twenty years later, im about 300 Lbs/21 stone/136 Kg. I pretty much agree with every thing you say and only have one piece of advice: Be CONFIDENT in your own skin. I’m shrinking slowly due to healthy eating and exercise (i love my cross trainer) Not tried the braces yet, but you can bet i’m going to.

35 Hermann July 31, 2013 at 10:21 am

My advice as a large man would be:

Drop the trousers – put on the kilt!
I have never had that many women and men compliment me on my outfit in all thee 30 years before!

36 Rook August 1, 2013 at 9:32 am

Somehow I just can’t see myself climbing a fruit tree to prune it in bib overalls!

37 Pita August 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

The three “F’s” of men’s fashion should be stressed anywhere:
- Fit,
- Fabric, and
- Fashion
In order or priority. No matter you body size, if it doesn’t fit – or if you can’t make it fit with a tailor, then don’t buy it. If you can make it fit then examine the fabric and the drape. Is it good or is it cheap? Does it lay flat? How is the stitching and the finish? Finally, is it fashionable? Would you actually wear it? Where? And with what?
These are my rules of clothing. They have same me thousands of dollars over the years in buying clothes.

38 Mppeace August 5, 2013 at 8:34 am

Being a bigger guy, I find that guys and girls always admire my calves and most of us have really big calves. So show those babies off :D

39 Randy Y August 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

HAT’S they are nice, The art of Manliness inspired me to become excited about hats again. I used a tape to find my size and ordered a Fedora ($150) 7 1/4 it was too big. Sadly it did fit my oldest son who now were’s it all the time. I was determined to find my right size and I found this http://www.panamahatsdirect.com/arp/PHD-SizingChart.pdf check it out. Your head isn’t flat this sizing tape isn’t either. I now have a nice fedora that fits very well and a panama I really enjoy. The right size is a must.

40 Steven P August 5, 2013 at 10:01 pm

This is excellent! Being a normal sized chap, dressing snappy is obviously tricky. But this? Heck, I may print it out and stick it in my closet!

41 Dan Brown August 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Good pointers on the guayaberas and overalls. Living in New Orleans, I find my guayaberas indislensible to dressing up a bit without having to add layers.

In lieu of shorts, gents, try linen slacks, or even linen/rayon blends. They’re even cooler than comparable cotton shorts. Its less about having less pants as having better pants.

42 Foxman August 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm

This is what I have been looking for! I just wanted one person to say that a big guy can still look good. I am not exactly big, but I am pretty stout. The point being is that I can stand to drop some weight, but I only will do so much for the structure I was born with. This article has opened a new door to me. Inspirational!

43 Matt k August 8, 2013 at 12:42 am

im a big guy and love this article. about a month ago i got a job where i need to dress well. this helps cause now i know what to buy

44 Frankie C August 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Hey, don’t know if this is the right place to ask but do you guys have any tips for big guys in college in the tropics? I usually wear shorts and boat shoes with polo shirts. The article suggested we stay away from shorts and jeans. I am at the head of student organisation and want to be taken more seriously than the average student. Thanks.

45 Johannes Ek August 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Lovely! This big guy is going to follow your advice.

46 Ian ST John August 13, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Three of Antonio’s points I wholeheartedly agree with…

1) Heat and perspiration is definitely an issue for the larger man. Flesh is an excellent insulator, just ask polar bears. Couple that with constantly hauling around the equivalent of a ninety pound pack and you’re in sweat city. This, rather than self esteem issues is why a lot of larger men dress like comic book guy. Linen trousers or suits are very light and help shift the heat. Merino socks and trunks wick perspiration and promote evaporation, keeping you dry, cool and sweat smelling.

2) Casual clothes do a disservice to the larger framed. Relaxed fit jeans, printed T-shirts and travel vests look terrible and aren’t particularly comfortable. Khaki tactical pants are a definite improvement. The less pockets the better. The diamond crotch and elasticated waist section make them much more comfortable than jeans. Use a loose belt to cover the gathered waist. Compliment them with a smart navy blazer and breathable suede shoes.

3) Of all body types, sport coats, blazers and suits flatter larger men the most because they cover that troublesome waistline. Take advantage of this. Untucked shirts are less effective but more appropriate in certain circumstances.

Ian ST John

47 Rishi Chullani August 25, 2013 at 6:43 am

This is a great article. Very detailed and covers some very important points. I agree with all but most of all with these 3:

(1) Baggywear certainly does not make bigger men look slimmer, contrary to popular belief! Baggyear makes bigger men look bigger than they already are, which leads to point no. 2

(2) Wearing a fitted jacket adds lines to your body and can definitely help with making you look slimmer, as it presents your body as one well contained unit, as the article suggests. As a guy who is 6’2 and used to be 230 lbs, I can definitely attest to a jacket helping with perceived slimness or at the very least, reducing the ‘width’ of my body.

(3) Facial hair – absolutely agreed that if left unruly can add to the unfortunate connotations of sloth and sloppiness that is often associated with bigger men. Well trimmed facial hair, however, shows that you care about the details and basically adds a jawline to your face, which, again, helps to slenderize (if thats a word) your face and detracts from lack of visible cheekbones etc.

Additionally, and (somewhat related to the above points), what I think can really help are the following:

(1) Wearing a jacket with vents, as wearing one without vents will accentuate your size. There is a distinction to be drawn between wearing fitted and too fitted. If something appears too tight, don’t wear it – it was probably intended for slim men out of Western Europe

(2) With color choices, opting for darker colors can help to reduce perceived width and enhance your overall ‘slimness’

(3) When wearing shirts, pants, with patterns, try to opt for a more seamless look. Start contrasts in patterns will show clear breaks in your clothing and accentuate your size. Choosing similar patterns will give you more of a silhoutte look, hence helping to reduce your perceived ‘width’.

48 James R August 28, 2013 at 7:49 am

This was a great and informative article.
However, as I live in Australia and 4-6 months of the year are generally too hot to wear most of the clothes you mention (slacks, blazers and sports jackets etc) – do you have any advice on clothing to wear in Summer months for someone who is bigger in size?

49 Berny N September 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Most of these tips are fine, but I really have I really have to disagree with 2 tips. Shorts for most big men are a good thing because they often accentuate the calf. Often a better feature on an overweight man. Shorts should be loose to disguise paunches and bulges. A slim short bunches at the thigh when seated, and exposes the thickness of the thigh. Suspenders are just a terrible Idea for anyone who isn’t trim. they make a “parentheses” around the stomach, and bowls the waist of the pant; creating a rounding effect to the lower torso. The shoulders and chest are usually a highlight point on a big man.

50 Randy September 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I’d love to see some actual examples of how to dress 36″ waist or bigger guys. Not drawings. Where can I find some?

51 konradt September 23, 2013 at 7:25 am

Great article!

my opinion on the shorts is that, Chino shorts works well. the shorts is formal but gives a well groomed impression.

52 Dave September 24, 2013 at 10:57 am

The lightweight fabrics tip applies to t-shirts as well. If you like wearing t-shirts on weekends, etc, “Dri-Fit” (Nike’s microfiber polyester fabric) t-shirts, in dark solid colors, worn un-tucked are comfortable, look good, and hang well on a larger man. I’m 6’5, 260lb, and I can wear XXL “Dri-Fit” T’s because they DON’T SHRINK, and they never look wrinkled either.

53 menswear October 16, 2013 at 6:37 am

brilliant post Antonio- I think for me, ‘Fit’ is the most crucial factor. Many larger men always end up in even larger clothing but i agree the right fit can make all the difference

54 chuck gee October 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

awsome article, im a heavy set guy with a lets say beer belly and cant seem to get the top part right, everything else in my body is smaller arm legs so this really will help plus im older and would like to switch up my style and get more of a fitted look, and also work on droping a few for icing on the cake god bless all the big guys out there

55 Garth October 31, 2013 at 9:46 am

I read the article and enjoyed it, as I have with most of the dress and grooming articles over the past few years, however it was not what I was hoping for. I am a bigger sized fellow, only no one would describe me as “husky.” I’m about 6 foot 8, 230 pounds and I have a 33 inch waist. I tell you this to illustrate the point. The problem that myself and my friends of a similar build, in America today you can be big or big and tall, not just tall. Clothes are all but impossible to find and many styles that work for normally sized people come across as too agressive on a taller man or just amplify height and awkwardness to clownish proportions. Help us please!

56 CD November 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm

This is extremely complicated, how about just spending half a year losing weight?

57 Phil November 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Thanks for this amazing article. I am taking good notes for the holidays!

58 Tony Nguyen December 5, 2013 at 2:12 am

Hi! Thank you for your share above. My father is a large man, and he is worried about his fashion styles. He asked me help him to choose a suitable style. All of the information that you shared is very useful for me. This is a great and informative article. Thanks again!

59 Bob December 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

So when given the option do you opt for the dinner jacket when going to a nice restaurant or nice shirt or sweater?

60 Robert January 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

I have the same concern as several others… What do do in warmer climates? I’m 6’5″/300lbs and live in south Florida. A few months out of the year I can get away with the styles outlined above; however, most of the year its just too hot! What can I do?

61 Logan January 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

As a xxxl size male coming up short of 6ft I liked this article, if I still lived is Missouri. Sadly I live in south GA, and several of the “fashion” advice pieces just won’t work. Biggest thing I find is know your build, if you have huge fat content with minimal muscle content under it, things will fit differently then a former power lifter whose quit lifting, but still eats like they’re training. I have 15.5″ forearms, 20 in calves, and 28″ thighs, all still solid muscle. I am proud to show them off with shorts and polos. I am definitely not going to outline my gut with some stupid looking suspenders. As far as clothes that fit I love Duluth,their stuff fits right and lasts forever for the cost, and for the most part doesn’t shrink.

62 Richard March 8, 2014 at 8:12 am

I live in Texas where the temperature can get hot, but I have and use a wool blend navy Blazer with charcoal grey slacks with cuffs. I compliment these garments with dress shirts and black loafers for a classic look. I use this web page to refer and enhance my wardrobe and find your information very useful. Thanks.

63 Matt March 9, 2014 at 1:10 am

I’m kinda a short guy with broad shoulders and im over-weight. This article is great. Im gonna make sure I have this stuff for when I get back from spring break. No more normal clothes for me except at frat events

64 Big daddy March 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

For shorts, check out a golf store. they have stylish shorts that are more flattering to a big guy and don’t look sloppy, and are made from comfortable breathable fabrics. The worst thing you can do is get baggy cargo shorts from A&F or someplace skinny teenagers go.

65 Bob April 16, 2014 at 7:51 am

It’s always nice when you find a style guide and find that you’re already following it! I’m merely an “L” guy but I also find these steps necessary to not look slobbish. I’ve given up on T-shirts and shorts completely. In hot weathers I wear a short-sleeved linen shirt untucked. “Breathes” and looks better than a cotton T. And all stylish pants don’t have to be stuffy wool or khaki, find some lighter fabrics for pants and try not to wrinkle them and you’ll be fine.

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