Fitting Larger Men

There’s been more than a little ink spilled by now on how men should dress for their specific body types. For example, I’ve read that larger men do better in two-button jackets with lower buttoning points, rather than a true three-button design. The idea is that a three-button gives you more visual heft and adds weight to your frame. Similarly, flapped pockets should supposedly be avoided because they draw attention to your waistline, and ventless jackets are said to be more slimming. 

Some of these things may or may not be true. Who knows, really. The black and white photos above are of men from the 1960s, and I think they look great for their time. Here we see flapped pockets, three-button jackets, and two-buttons cut like a three. The skimpy lapels might exaggerate their frame, but they still look pretty good overall. 

Whatever may be true, the one cardinal rule I think should always be observed is that heavier men should wear fuller fitting cuts. You can see how well this works above, though admittedly the color photographs show a man on the edges between a fuller cut and slim. 

If you’re a larger man, consider wearing easier fitting clothes. Tight fitting ones, particularly around the waistline, will only accentuate your size. There’s nothing like a stuffed sausage look up top coupled with overly slim trousers to make a man look heavier than he actually is. Worse still, if the trousers are heavily tapered, they can exaggerate your waistline. Better to wear something proportional to your frame. The jacket doesn’t have to baggy or sloppy, but the chest, stomach, and upper sleeves shouldn’t appear tight. Your trousers should also be full enough so that they look like they can support your torso, and not like stilts that may buckle at any time. In fuller fitting clothes, a larger man will look more comfortable and elegant than he would in slim ones, no matter what other details he’s supporting - two vs. three buttons, flapped vs. besom, ventless vs. vents. Above, you can see this is true from the 1960s till today. 

(Photos from Cutter and Tailor and The Sartorialist)