If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. And don’t worry, your identity will be protected too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org
So I am a big guy – 6’5″, 300lbs, 40×32, 54 Long. I have the HARDEST time finding clothes on a budget that aren’t simply a 2XL. Very few places offer good quality 2XLT at a decent price…
I don’t really have the funds to get all of my outfits tailored. What would you recommend as a good place to shop to find clothes that might fit off the shelf?
– Phrustrated in Philly
This past summer I wrote a response to a reader of a larger size who wanted to stay cool and stylish during the hot months. I learned a couple things in writing that column, and then reading the reader comments in response. Mostly that there is a woeful lack of resources for full-sized fashionistos. Your options are limited, expensive, and inconvenient to obtain. Boo. But, I went through a number of websites and tried to cull what I thought were the best options from each site, so that you’re not wandering blindly. Normally I try to stay away from naming specific brands in my columns, but seeing as there are so few resources for the big and tall dresser, I’m going to make an exception below.
Casual Male XL: According to a reader, some of their clothing is great; some of it is terrible. I can confirm this information from looking at their website. Tragically, they are fixated on sports logos and stretch waistbands. But, you may find some basics here that can be the foundation of your wardrobe, like polos and dress shirts.
Eddie Bauer: I was pleased to see that EB has a fairly large selection of pants to fit the bigger man, and that you can customize the pants by rise, inseam length, waist measurement, and hem. Lots of options so that you can get the best fit possible. They also have a nice selection of on-trend sweaters, almost all available in big AND tall sizes.
Jos. A. Bank: This site is good for more formal wear. Lots of suits available in your size, Phrustrated.
Nordstrom: Surprisingly large and diverse selection of clothing for bigger men. Unfortunately, you’ll pay typical Nordstrom prices. But, if you shop there selectively, you can buy a few high-quality, beautiful pieces from time to time and not break the bank. I love the cognac hue of this belt, and the deep mahogany color of this dress shirt; both of these items are available in extended sizes.
Macy’s: There are a number of steals on Macy’s website even as we speak: this classic, long overcoat (can’t you picture John Payne running around New York, defending Kris Kringle in this coat?) and this more modern style of overcoat (cashmere blend!). Plus, they have a ton of options for jeans in all different cuts and finishes.
Despite all this information I’ve given you, it’s still going to be a matter of trial and error. Any time you have the opportunity to get into a brick and mortar store that has these big and tall options, do it. Try on jeans, slacks, sweaters, blazers, whatever they have, and–don’t laugh–take actual notes. Do you hate how the jeans fit of a particular brand, but love their khakis? This is good information to have, even if you don’t need khakis at that particular moment, you’ll know where to go in the future. Much of your shopping though, will have to be online, simply because there are more options. Try to take advantage of free shipping offers whenever possible. You’re going to have to return some items, that’s inevitable, but eventually you’ll get a good inventory going of what brands, cuts, and pieces to buy where.
My last piece of advice is to keep an eye out for specialty boutiques, espeically when you travel. Large, metropolitan cities are more likely to have independently-owned stores that cater to specific needs, like big and tall men. If you know you’re headed to Chicago for a business trip, research ahead of time and see if a store may be worth visiting.
I fervently fancy fortuitous fashion finding for you, Phrustrated.
Got a question for Beth? Send them to: email@example.com