Wouldn’t it be great if we could have the body we want, instead of the one genetics and life have given us? As challenging as it may be to dress the not-so-perfect body to look perfect; body type is never a reason to accept anything less than perfection for ourselves and our image. No matter which wardrobe issues you’re faced with, there is always a way to look sharp and put together for every arena. From work to dating; there are clothes designed with you in mind. This article is the first of a series which will discuss dressing the heavy guy – suggestions on how to choose and wear clothing that fits.
Before we get into discussing clothing, I want to remind you about the importance of good posture for both health and image reasons; in addition to how much thinner it makes us look. Standing up correctly can actually shed the appearance of ten to fifteen pounds! What a simple and smart way to look thinner even if the scale hasn’t budged. Good posture and its’ many benefits will enable you to feel as confident as you look; projecting a man who’s comfortable in his own skin no matter what his size.
Too often I see heavy guys wearing clothes that are way too big. Just as inappropriate are clothes that are too tight. Wearing clothing that doesn’t fit properly makes you look heavier by emphasizing your weight. Loose, baggy clothes make you look larger because they add girth to your size. Tight clothing draws attention to your weight which has outgrown the clothes. The idea is to wear clothing that truly fits and accentuates your best features; while downplaying the others. Easier said than done, but the following tips should take the guesswork out of dressing successfully.
- Depending on your weight and build, you may be comfortable in a tapered or fitted shirt, but if your waistline seeks a little more room, choose a standard-fit shirt. However, make sure the shirt is not so loose it hangs on you like a tent or balloons around your waist. You’ll want to minimize the amount of fabric by wearing a shirt (or any clothing) that truly fits you. Extra fabric means extra size. Be sure the shirt fits in other areas, too, by having your neck and arms measured. Being large doesn’t mean it’s okay to wear ill-fitting clothes.
- Avoid loud, bold colors and patterns, since they’ll draw attention to your upper body. Dark, solid colors are beneficial, since they’re slimming and very complimentary; making us appear ten pounds thinner. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should avoid white or light shirts – just make sure they fit properly.
- When wearing a bright, loud color or pattern, layer with a solid, dark colored jacket or sweater. The contrasting layer will compliment and tone down the shirt’s pizzazz.
- Stripes are okay, but only if they’re vertical, which are slimming and elongating. Thin stripes are a safe bet.
- Pointy collars draw a person’s attention to your face. Wide collars can balance your torso.
- No gaping button holes – even when sitting. If fabric pulls around the button, your shirt is too tight.
- If you wear button-ups outside your pants, with or without layering, shirt length should only be midway down your butt. Anything longer looks like a muumuu – good for granny, not for us!
- If you’re not wearing a tie, unbutton the top button, which will elongate your neck; giving it a slimmer look.
- Choose shirts that have squared shoulders; not droopy or rounded shoulders. Shoulders that fall off the shoulder not only look sloppy, but add to your visual size.
- For the best selection of off the rack shirts, shop big & tall men’s shops, or any store that carries big guy clothes. Not only will your selection be greater, but the stores will have experienced staff to help you.
- Buy custom made shirts, or have shirts tailored for an exact fit, if you have trouble with off-the rack shirts, or just want the luxury of wearing a shirt specifically made for you.
- Whenever weight changes, get refitted, so you’re wearing the right size.
Sportcoats and Blazers:
- Choose jackets with three buttons, since three elongates; making us appear taller and thinner.
- Single breasted jackets look best on big guys. Double breasted jackets draw attention to the gut area; plus buttons tend to pull and not lay flat if you have a large waistline.
- As always, leave the top button unbuttoned for fashion and ease of movement.
- Wear jackets made of thin fabric, since bulky materials will add girth to your appearance.
- If you’re attempting to look thinner, choose darker colored jackets, or those without a pattern.
- Jackets with a center or double vent will allow ease of movement, especially when sitting. Vent-less jackets are more restrictive, since the jacket can not open up in the rear.
- Vents should always lie flat and closed when walking. The (vent) material should never be stretched or pulled apart, since that indicates your jacket is either too small or the cut is too tapered.
- If you’re unable to buy off the rack, have jackets tailored for that perfect fit. There are online companies that sell custom made jackets at reasonable prices.
Dressing the heavy man is not much different than dressing anyone else. Keeping a few tips in mind will enable you to maximize your wardrobe, confidence and image. It’s not about our body, so much as it is our presentation. Now, go forward and represent!
Aaron Marino is the founder, owner, and senior style consultant at Atlanta’s alpha m. Image Consulting. He also runs alpha m. Dot Net, which features accessories for men, and I Am Alpha M. , which is a lifestyle and personal development zone for men. He authored the book, “The Guy’s Guide to Image, Style, and Impeccable Grooming” and appeared on VH1’s Glam God and also Man Made Style. He frequently makes public appearances, giving his expert opinions an advice, and his highly sought after videos appear on YouTube.