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Men’s Plus Size Fashion: Dressing a Larger Frame7 min read

Arguably, when it comes to plus size fashion, the high street has been slow to respond to the needs of the larger male. Unlike their female counterparts, plus size men are presented with limited options when it comes to fashion – commonly resulting in the need to resort to oversized sportswear in order to achieve the same level of comfort afforded by men of smaller stature.
While looking slimmer will probably be more of a priority, dressing a larger frame is, for the most part, the same as dressing any other body type – one needs objectivity and patience to create a look that is neat, stylish and well put together.

Get the right fit

Try before you buy
Although the rise of online shopping has its advantages in terms of choice and convenience, there is no substitute for tangibility. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that large men try on items in-store before making a purchase. Not only does this remove the temptation of retaining ill-fitting items, but it is also essential to sample a variety of sizes and styles when searching for the perfect fit. Furthermore, a good sales assistant can be an extremely valuable resource when searching for the right style as they are likely to be able to make informed recommendations.

Finding the right size available can be difficult for any body weight, but on the larger and taller scale it can become infinitely more difficult, especially for shoppers in the UK. Looking out for a retailer that imports from mainland Europe (countries such as Germany and Holland) can help your search. The retailers that import tend to have a larger range of sizes available including XXL, XXXL, XXXXL as well as choices of 5XL and 6XL (66” chest). Some retailers may also accommodate sizes up to 8XL (Coes  included) so it’s worth looking around to see what’s available.

Buy for your size now
While it may be tempting for big men to buy a smaller or larger size in anticipation of a fluctuation in weight, this practice tends to result in a wardrobe full of ill-fitting pieces that add extra bulk to the body or, alternatively, show every lump and bump.  Instead, bigger men should always aim to purchase pieces for the size they are now or wait until their weight reaches a plateau.

Know your measurements
In order to ensure the perfect fit, men should know their measurements. Not only will this be advantageous when searching for the correct size in store, but it will mean getting items altered by a tailor is much easier. For larger men, tailoring is the key to success – it removes excess fabric to create a slimmed-down effect.

Don’t carry around excess bulk
Despite it becoming commonplace, the practice of storing phones, keys and wallets in trouser pockets is not particularly flattering. In the same way that baggy clothes add weight to large frames, these items can protrude and make hips look considerably larger. To prevent this, larger men should get pockets sewn up by a good tailor so that they lie flat to the body. Additionally, investing in a good quality bag or briefcase will remove the temptation to use trouser pockets for storage.

Recognising the right fit
As a general rule, all form-fitting clothes should skim the body and not hug to it. However, some items are harder to get right than others:
Jackets and blazers: when searching for a new jacket or blazer plus-size men should pick one with side vents, pin striping and structured shoulders. These features re-engineer the lines of the body and are less restricting. Furthermore, selecting a three-button jacket will add the illusion of length, which in turn makes the body appear slimmer. Most importantly, jackets should cover majority of the rear and remain comfortable with movement.
Shirts: When buttoning shirts, the fabric should not have to stretch; if this is the case, then the shirt is probably too small. To test whether a shirt fits, move around in it – if there is pulling or it comes untucked at the waist then it is recommended that you try a bigger size.
Trousers: Large men should (generally) shy away from trousers with pleats, as these have a tendency to make legs appear larger – similarly, wide leg pants are often uncomplimentary as they add the illusion of width. When selecting trousers, choose a size that fits comfortably on the waist and get them tailored – keeping in mind that the longer the pant the taller the body will look.

Create the right proportions

Know where you carry your weight
Determining where weight is carried is essential for creating a slimmer appearance – large men who carry their weight on the top half of the body will want to draw attention away from this area. In a similar vein, those that carry weight on the bottom of their body will not want to accentuate it. For those lucky enough to carry weight relatively evenly, it may be of benefit to add height, as appearing taller will equate to looking leaner.

Using colour
Using colour to create a slimming effect is extremely important when it comes to dressing a larger frame – light colours are ideal for drawing attention to and emphasising assets, while darker colours underplay flaws. If you have a large stomach, dark wash jeans teamed with a white shirt and black V-neck jumper will smooth the midsection and draw attention to your face (while also lengthening the neck). For the majority of bigger men, dark colours will be particularly flattering and colours from the same colour family will lengthen the body.

Consider the overall look

A good grooming routine will always improve appearance, regardless of weight.  A good barber should be able to recommend a cut that emphasises the jawline and puts focus on the eyes. In addition, an off centre parting can slenderise the face. When it comes to facial hair, keeping it relatively short so as not to add unnecessary width is key – facial hair should always be used to accentuate, not conceal.

The proper use of accessories can help to add a unique twist to any outfit, allowing for the creation of a statement style. A good way to hone your individual look is to invest in a few pairs of high quality footwear (look around for a retailer that accommodates the larger size footwear, including the upper end of 15, 16 and 17), a good belt and a versatile watch – although the sky really is the limit!

A pleasant cologne is a great finishing touch for any outfit. To extend the life of your fragrance, always invest in complimentary shower products as this allows you to layer the scent, ensuring it stays on your skin for longer. When applying cologne, apply in moderation – remembering that it should be intriguing, not intense.

Invest in flattering pieces

The following items are great investment pieces for the larger man:

–          Single breasted blazers

–          Three-button vented suit jackets

–          Lightweight sweaters

–          V-neck tops

–          Tailored flat front trousers

–          Dark wash jeans

–          Dress shoes with a slight heel

–          Good quality watch and accessories

The Brand

Having a resource of brands to rely on can be a great assistance in knowing what to buy and what fits your body type. Although the number of brands accommodating the plus sizes is gradually growing, there are a few key names that do larger sizes well:

–         Raging Bull (Plus Size Shirts)

–          Kam (Plus Size Jeans)

–          Franco Ponti (Plus Size Knitwear)

–          Caterbury (Plus Size Sportswear)

–          Schoffel (Plus Size Outerwear)

–          Anatomic (Plus Size Footwear)

Big Menswear at Coes

For further style advice and our full range of plus size clothing, please visit us in-store! Our strong customer following has enabled us to offer a vast selection of clothing for the larger man up to a 68″ chest. The variety we offer is comprehensive and caters for all tastes from classic to contemporary – we have everything from suits to shirts and jeans. You can find our largest Big Style department at Coes in our Ipswich, Suffolk store, but we also offer a wide range of items in our Maldon store. Alternatively, you can view a selection of our ‘Big Style’ products on our website: Big Style Menswear page.

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