Friday, January 8, 2010

It's a Big & Tall, not a Big OR Tall!

"It's a Big & Tall, not a Big OR Tall." I once said that to my boss when he complained about shopping at Casual Male XL. My boss is really tall, but he doesn't necessarily fall into the big category. Finding clothes that fit well is tough for him, but he does ok. I tease him most days because his wardrobe consists mainly of khaki pants and blue oxford shirts. So if you're reading, this one's for you, Andy!

For starters, all you men out there should know that King Size Direct offers Big OR Tall as well as Big AND Tall clothing. Now on to the style advice.

For anyone not blessed with the body of a supermodel, the key to looking good is FIT. I'll say it again- FIT. I'm using all caps when I say that FIT IS IMPORTANT because I can't stress it enough. The proper FIT will take 10 lbs off your frame instantly. I know a guy who lost over 100 lbs. When he got down to a certain size, the pieces I'd selected for him felt "tight." He wanted all the seams let out and the garments loosened up. I told him "No." Because, you see, he'd spent his days as a larger man wearing baggy clothes, because that's what most large people do. When he trimmed down, he wanted to continue doing the same thing, but what he didn't understand is that when he wore baggy clothes, no one could tell he'd lost all that weight. Fit makes a difference. Every. Single. Time. There is no exception to this rule. Have I beat this dead horse enough? Can we move on to a new subject? Or better yet, how about we move on to my recommendations.

For starters, gentlemen, please invest in a good pair of dark wash jeans. Dark wash is ALWAYS more flattering and slimming. Banana Republic offers Big & Tall sizing (up to 44W and up to 36L) in this fabulous jean:

And of course, there's always the world leader in jeans, Levi's offers the 514 in Big & Tall sizing (up to 46W and up to 38L). The 514's are a slim fit. Key word: SLIM. Please note I did not say "Skinny." I'm not asking you to wear skinny jeans. (In fact, the only people who can really pull of skinny jeans are the people whose thighs don't touch. More on that another day.) Back the term "Slim." It's what all you Big & Tall and Big or Tall guys should be looking for. Slim also means streamlined, fitted, sleek. Add these adjectives to your fashion vocabulary. And while we're up in your vocab business, remove these words: Baggy & Relaxed.

While the 507 and 527 do not come in an inseam measurement longer than 34, I am still going to recommend them because their cut (a.k.a. FIT) is exactly what you should emulate when shopping for jeans AND pants.

The 507 and the 527: 

Do you see how the shape of the jeans actually hugs the shape of the leg? In other words, the thighs are wider, then they taper in at the knee,widen back out directly below the knee and then fall straight down. This is what you should look for when shopping for jeans and pants. However, keep in mind that jeans should always be a little more snug than pants. And as for length, ALL pants of this cut (FIT) should have a break at the ankle. In other words, they are long enough to have a bit of extra fabric at the TOP of your foot, but not the back. The back of your jeans (and pants) legs should be about 1/2 inch from the ground. This will allow for enough fabric to create the "break" in front. Any more and you look sloppy, any less and you look like Urkel. Well, not quite, but you get the picture.

Now that we've covered jeans, let's move on to shirts & jackets. Obviously, finding the right length is what can be most difficult for you guys out there, but I also want you to consider- you guessed it- FIT!!! Look for a slim fit when shopping and you'll always be a tad more streamlined that you were before you discovered the wonderful world of slim fit. Most men's button-front shirts have a box pleat in the center back. Alternatively, they may have two side pleats rather than one center box pleat. In either case, the pleats are there to help the fabric drape more evenly and fit a man's back. Unfortunately, the end result often means good fit across the shoulders, but the rest of the shirt hangs away from the body from the chest down, resulting in a boxy, oversized look. This is NOT good. A slim fit shirt compensates for the pleats and tapers in from the chest down. Believe it or not, you don't have to spend a fortune for a fine looking, fitted shirt. Target offers a line called Red Level Nine with this exact fit and the shirts run in the $20-30 range. They also come in nice prints like these:

I want you gentlemen to pay particular attention to the first picture. Notice how the shirt is tucked in, yet it does NOT "blouse" out of the pants. This is due to the slim fit.

Express for Him also offers well-fitted button-front shirts, but they don't have a Big & Tall line. The largest shirt size they offer is XL, which will help some of you, but not all of you. They do offer an inseam up to 36 in their jeans, though, which is a nice surprise to some of you, I'm sure.

Gentlemen, if by reading this post, you take anything away from it, I pray it's that you understand the importance of FIT. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but it won't take long to grow accustomed to the new feeling and trust me when I say it will make a huge difference in how you present yourself to the world. Leave me a comment to tell me about your shopping experiences and what frustrates you. I'll be happy to help you solve your dilemma. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Renee I love this post! Men have no idea how sexy they are in a great fitting pair of jeans.
That said, with my body type, they are the hardest things for me to buy. Do you think that one of these days you could do one for the ladies who don't know how to shop for jeans?

Tina :-)

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