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Six spring style moves for bigger guys

Six spring style moves for bigger guys

It can often seem like fashion is designed with only the stick thin in mind. And, frankly, that’s too often true. Which is a shame, because most men don’t have the physiques that sashay down runways at fashion week.

In winter, it’s easy to get round this problem – layers are forgiving and smooth out sizing issues. But once it starts to warm up, getting dressed can start to feel a bit trickier. If you’ve got thighs honed on a football pitch, how do you find shorts that fit? If you’re carrying a bit of extra weight around the middle, do you need to forgo all those eye-catching shirts that are around right now?

Well, we’re firm believers not only that you should dress for the size you actually are, but also that almost any trend, look or approach to getting dressed is adaptable to any body shape. Thankfully, our stylists know every trick, from what brands will suit a bigger frame to which fabrics, silhouettes, and colours will make you look your best.


Make friends with stripes

Over the years, there have been as many studies proving the theory that stripes make you look wider as there have been disproving it. So, what we advise instead is to just go for it. Stripes aren’t some secret tool by the optical illusion Illuminati designed to pile on pounds. In fact, because we’ve all internalised this idea that stripes widen your frame, by wearing stripes people will assume you’re confident enough to own the shape you’re in. In case you need proof, just look to French sailors, original wearers of the Breton top. They had some heft, but still looked pretty damn good.

Invest in outerwear

A good spring coat will pay dividends. Not only does it pull a look together, but it also gives your body some structure. Look for fabrics that are sturdy enough not to cling – things like waxed cotton will stand away from your body a bit instead, giving it shape. As it’s spring, bear in mind that it shouldn’t be a heavy wool coat but it should be weatherproof.

Brighten up

Black’s slimming, but it’s also not that summery. When the days get longer, look for block colours – especially not-too-bright shades like forest greens and mustard yellows – then use them to break up all that monochrome. If you’re dressing head-to-toe in black, you should only be doing it because that’s the vibe you’re going for, not as a form of camouflage.

Discover the joys of layering

Layers are flattering and practical when the weather’s unpredictable. To stop them adding bulk, keep things in the same colour family. This stops your outfit looking too busy and helps the eye travel vertically, which will elongate your body. Think an olive jacket over a white tee and off-white trousers, which creates enough contrast not to look like a uniform, but still feels nice and consistent.

Get the fit right

This applies year-round, but it’s even more important when you haven’t got big coats to hide under. If you wear clothes that are too big, they don’t make you look smaller. And if you wear clothes that are too small, you look like you’ve outgrown them. Instead of sizing up, go for fits that are deliberately cut looser, like boxy shirts (see below) and straight-leg chinos. They’re more breathable, more comfortable and will actually make you look leaner because they’ll create a better balance between torso and legs.

Embrace the patterned shirt

Perhaps our favourite new addition to the menswear wardrobe is the short-sleeve patterned shirt, especially those with a fold-back camp collar, which are like a grown-up take on Magnum PI’s favourite Hawaiian. You might think that big arms and shoulders make them off-limits, but they can actually be super-flattering on bigger physiques. The trick is to avoid anything too garish – so no pineapples or hula girls – and instead stick to two or three colours. If your shirt’s as busy as a magic eye picture, there’s no focal point, which makes the body beneath look bigger. Instead, look for patterns with a decent amount of negative space, like subtle florals, stripes or even animal prints.

Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Danny Lowe
Styling: Freddie Kemp