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As an overweight man, what are some fashion mistakes that I need to stay away from this summer? What colors or styles can be more slimming for a man of “healthier” proportions?
I write this response on what is technically the first day of summer. Technically. Where is summer, Douglas? Where is it? Maybe you have summer at your house, but summer has not arrived at my house. I want sunshine and clear skies. Is anyone in this Godforsaken hemisphere experiencing summer? What’s that? I should stop bitching and stick to fashion? Fine. When I die from Vitamin D deficiency, you’ll feel really badly that you weren’t concerned.
Everyone, no matter weight, should consider their shape and size when dressing themselves; this not just a rule for our fuller fellow fashionistos. Dark colors are slimming; light colors are not. However, given the warm temperatures, I doubt you want to walk around in head-to-toe black and navy blue from June to August. So, when choosing your outfits, pay attention to your proportions.
- Are you heavier on top, or bottom? If you carry much of your excess weight in your mid-section, for instance, you want to avoid a dark bottom with a light top, because that will slim your bottom half while accentuating your top half, making you appear even more top-heavy.
- If you carry your weight spread equally across your body… you might try a monochromatic look. This means you dress in one color from top to bottom, and usually in the same shade of that color, though a bit of variance is fine. This look can be slimming if you’re pretty well-proportioned. And, you could try it out with the lighter colors of summer.
As far as styles or cuts go, it’s all good news. Clothing companies have finally, in the last five to ten years, realized that people of all shapes and sizes are interested in well-made, stylish clothing, and thus they’ve tailored many of the trendier styles to fit and flatter large sizes. Remember when skinny jeans first came out? The only people who could wear them were models. Literally. They were skintight, low-cut, severely tapered. Gradually, they became accessible to many more body types, with higher cut waists, looser fits, and kinder silhouettes. So don’t be afraid to wear the styles you’re seeing in magazines and on runways. Do be realistic about what looks good on you, however. Bring a girlfriend or sister or friend shopping with you who will honestly tell you whether or not you can pull off the look you’re going for.
Other random tidbits to consider as you shop: pleats always add bulk (plus, let’s be real, they’re so heinous-looking) so stick to flat front pants; vertical stripes are most slimming, but if you love horizontal stripes, stick to thin stripes (See right).
Finally fit, fit, and fit (and I say this to EVERYONE). Make sure your clothing fits well. Do NOT wear bulky clothing in an effort to “hide” your size. Conversely, make sure buttons aren’t straining on your dress shirts, and that you can comfortably zip up your pants. Clothing should skim, not cling.
You’ll notice I didn’t link to any websites above for examples of plus-size men in plus-size clothing…that’s because while I did find a number of sites that cater to bigger guys, the photos on the websites are still of slim men, so that’s not very helpful (hey clothing companies, why not show your actual target shopper modeling the clothes?!?). But, there are a ton of stores you’re already familiar with that have “Big & Tall” sections to their websites: here, here, here, here, and here. And guys, please post links below if you know of other great sites with plus size clothing–I’d love to add them to my arsenal of advice-giving information.
Happy shopping Douglas! (And if you see summer, tell him to stop by my place…I’ll leave the light on.)
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