I am a fat dude that enjoys fashion and I’ve been chubby all my life. In this piece, I will share a few things that I’ve learned throughout my own journey in search of my style. While losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle is the best way to “look good and feel good,” developing a style that you love for yourself is another way that you can achieve this “look good and feel good” attitude. I preface this by reminding you that I am not an expert, if anything I am a casual hobbyist when it comes to style and fashion.
“It Takes Time & Effort”
Experimenting with your style isn’t a smooth road. A lot of times you’ll find yourself trying on something and realizing it just doesn’t work. Maybe it didn’t look the way you expected, maybe it just doesn’t fit right. While online shopping is super convenient, most of these models are just not big like I am. How a piece looks on them will look drastically different on me. Don’t let that discourage you. Make a note of it, and keep searching.
It’s not easy finding stores or brands that create clothing for bigger people, so it’s important to do research and keep notes of the brands that do work for you. My work attire is pretty casual, but I still like to look good. If you look in my closet, you will find a majority of my shirts are Polo Ralph Lauren. I try to go for simple looks that are easy to mix and match. Ralph is one of those brands that has a wonderful Big and Tall range, so their oxford shirts are my favorite and I try to cop anytime new colors are available. Do research, don’t be afraid to try and fail (take advantage of the return policy). Keep track of pieces that work and others that don’t.
“Make Sure It Fits”
One of the things I hate that people say, “Just get it, even if it doesn’t fit. You can use it as motivation.” It might be a good idea for others, and for anyone that is dead set on losing weight, please go for it. But for me, I always think “Well how does that help me now? I need to make sure it fits now!” It all depends on what you are shopping for at the time. I’ve learned to avoid the clothes that don’t fit me at the time of purchase. I wasn’t always like this. A couple years ago I bought so much supreme clothes, but they never fit me. They all ended up in my sister’s closet, and now she’s saucy as fuck. Yet, I’m still a lazy bum. Now I’ve stopped buying clothes that don’t fit me. If I lose weight, then I’ll buy new clothes.
In regards to fit, I go for clothes that aren’t restricting. While getting slimmer fitting shirts and trousers can definitely make bigger folks look smaller, I just don’t rate that illusion high enough to sacrifice basic comfort and mobility. Most of my current tops are loose fitting. Though that doesn’t mean I’m rocking 6XL shirts or tall tees (that was middle school me). With shirts and jackets, I think you want to look for something that fits well on your shoulders.
Living in london for the past year, one of the things I’ve picked up is rolling up your sleeves. Specifically on short sleeve shirts or tshirts. It’s probably different for everyone but I find that it makes me look more buff instead of chubs. I think that this helps even out the look especially when you need to get a shirt size bigger than the fit on your shoulders to accomodate for a large belly. The idea is to look less awkward and more proportionate.
In terms of how your pants fit, it’s really up to you. A tapered fit is heavily popularized these days, where the thighs are roomy and the pants taper down to a much slimmer leg opening below the knee. I like this fit, or a more straight leg fit (cuffed or hemmed above the ankle). If you want to go for some matchstick fitting pants, make sure to pay attention to the material. Go for something that stretches. Check to see if you can comfortably sit down while wearing the damn pants. I believe that trying to sit down is the most honest way of seeing how far you’re willing to make those jeans work.
And for shorts, I prefer ones that end right above my knee. Like my hack with shirt sleeves, if I have some shorts that are longer than my knee, I usually style them with the pinroll technique. I have very large calves, so when shorts go past my knees, it makes my entire leg look much larger than it really is. The idea is to make the your bottoms conform to the flow of your body.
Pay attention to your shoe game, specifically how it looks with the hem of your pants. It’s all in the details. Even with slim fit pants a lot of times the hem goes much wider than the width of the shoe (especially if you have big calves like me) and you end up with excess material that makes it look like you’re wearing bootleg fit pants. If that’s not what you’re going for, I suggest cuffing or hemming your bottoms to accentuate your shoes. I go for right above the ankle so my pants don’t touch the shoe, showing off a bit of my ankle (sock game must always be on point).
Look into adding some accessories into your fit. A nice watch is a nice touch. Hats could be a good look depending on the weather. I usually just wear hats when its colder since I sweat a lot, but you can wear it in sunny weather to protect your scalp. A subtle chain is always a good look. Recently I’ve been getting rings whenever I find a good fit. I have fat fingers so the only places I’ve been able to find a ring that fits are vintage stores or actual jewelry artisans. I personally favor sterling silver to complement the rest of my looks, but it all depends on your style and budget.
“Wrapping up your purchases”
Developing my style as a fat dude has been frustrating but not impossible. Ever since I earned the freedom to pick and buy my own clothes, I’ve continued to experiment with my style. I went from white tall tees in middle school to wearing a shirt and tie in high school. My current phase right now involves a fat pile of raw denim as a result of my ongoing search for my ideal fitting jeans. The process of finding the right fits is frustrating and exciting at the same time. It has become an important part of who I am and I hope that what I’ve shared here might help others out there start or continue to experiment with their own sense of style.