If you’ve ever had to shop at a Big & Tall store, this article is going to help you dress better.
Truly big guys do not have it easy in this world. To be comfortable, it feels as if everything needs to be extra-large: your car, house, plates of food. While your clothing shouldn’t necessarily be extra large, you’re not going to look your best in ultra-slim clothes that are en vogue nowadays.
If you haven’t yet done so, please read our high-level guide which covers nine different body types, two body type “modifications (“athletic” and “irregular“). You’ll be able to navigate to your body type’s page straight from there, just in case “big and tall” doesn’t apply to you.
If you’re here because you know this material applies to you, we hope you enjoy the advice we give and find it helpful!
What Does “Big & Tall Male Body Type” Mean?
This is a classic endomorph who’s on the tall side of things. We take “big and tall” to mean a few different things beyond that, such as:
- Any guy who’s 5’11” or over who has a waist and hips that are about the same width as his shoulders.
- A man 5’11” or more who is barrel-chested or “thick” in some other way.
- A guy who’s been up-charged at a custom tailor for extra yardage on a non-plaid pattern
To be clear, to be “big and tall” does not necessarily mean you’re obese. That’s a conversation for you and your doctor to have.
How Should Big & Tall Men Dress?
The key for big and tall men is to draw as little attention to their frame as possible while still doing it justice.
To help us envision the big and tall guy, we looked no further than our Creative Director, Paul. He’s 6’4″, a classic endomorph body type, and you could say that he has a flair for clothing. Pictures of him are used below.
If you’re big and tall, you’ve got to be judicious when you’re picking out clothes. In general you want your clothes cut generously but not so much so that you look sloppy and thus bigger than you already are.
- Typical Size: 46 and up, often in “long” sizes
Like tall, thin men, your jacket can afford to be a touch on the longer side. You don’t need to look any taller than you already are, and if it’s tailored well (and it should be), you’ll look slimmer too.
To further break up height, opt for odd jackets and trousers instead of a suit. A suit’s look comes from the unbroken vertical line it creates, which serves to add height. Paul is pictured below in a navy jacket and charcoal trousers from Benson & Clegg.
Lapels should be a bit on the wider side to accommodate your frame. See below:
- Typical waist size: 40″ and up
- Typical inseam: Depends on leg length vs. torso length, but generally no shorter than 32″
We suggest high-waisted trousers that sit right at the navel if you’re overweight instead of just “big.” More generically bigger gentlemen can wear their trousers a bit lower to break up verticality, but avoid hip-hugger territory.
If you choose to wear a cuff, make it 1.75″ instead of the standard 1.5″. This will sync better with your larger proportions and give you some style cred to boot.
Wider neckties will serve you well, think 3.25″-3.5″ (the one above is a whopping 3.75″, the absolute widest any tie should ever be). You will likely need an extra-long tie as well, so make sure that you’re spending a little extra money so it doesn’t fall short when knotted.
Custom neckties are also available on the market.
Remember that no matter what your build, your necktie’s width should roughly sync with that of your jacket lapel.
Stick with medium-to-large-scale patterns as these will look best on you. Small-scale patterns will be dizzying to anyone who looks at you because they’re covering so much ground. Leave those to the little guys.
If you’re taller and a bit bulky, solids and very subtle textures like a laid-back herringbone will also suit you well.
Braces & Belts
- Typical belt size: 42″ and up
- Typical size for braces: n/a as most are one-size-fits-all, but if your torso is quite long, you may need custom braces, or make your own
Make this decision based on how you carry your weight. If you’re pear-shaped, opt for braces. If your shoulders are still wider than your waist but you’re just, say, barrel-chested, feel free to wear a belt.
In general, we suggest braces for their superior style and comfort.
***EDITOR”S NOTE***: Paul is not pear-shaped.
- Typical size: 12D and larger, often getting into E or EEE widths (11 wide and larger in U.K. sizing)
You want substantial shoes to carry your frame. Italian shoes may look gorgeous, but they’re probably not for you. Stick with the British and American brands for your footwear.
Big & Tall Celebrities
It’s easy for extra large men to dominate the space that they’re in, no matter what it is. There’s no need to draw additional attention to your frame, so the best thing you can do is keep proportion in mind. This is true for any body type, but big guys in particular.
Always, always shoot for harmony between who you are and what you wear, and because nobody’s perfect, we strongly encourage you to read our article on irregularities in the male body to fully flesh out your wardrobe. Read our article on the athletic body type if you’re on the muscular side.