The Suit Experts: Articles on Luxury Menswear

Big Man, Big Choices: Best Looks for the Heavy-Set Man

Being on the bigger side can be an advantage for a man, lending power to your visual presence; this can be a double-edged weapon, however, and thus you must take care that it does not overwhelm you.

Always remember that a black suit is your number one choice for a powerful presentation. This stands despite the fact that black is usually thought to be slimming. For these reasons, a black suit is an excellent choice for a heavy man, particularly on a day when he needs to bring the maximum personal power to his presentation. Salary negotiations would be a perfect example.

Suit Styles That Slim Your Appearance

Generally speaking, darker fabric colours are slimming, and often read as higher on the social scale, except in shirts and ties. Stripes are excellent for visually lengthening and slimming you as well. 

Finer fabrics, with smooth finishes, can also be slimming as long as they don’t wrinkle or drape unflatteringly; this will depend on the suit cut, interlining, and structure. Heavy or textured fabrics, or loud patterns, should be avoided as they increase visual bulk.

The two button suit is a good choice for a heavyset man; if he wears a double-breasted, the two rows of buttons have the effect of forming horizontal lines all across his front, making him appear larger than he is. A three-button suit is slimming, because of the strong vertical of the buttons, but is a more daring sartorial choice, and the lapels are of course shorter. Discuss with your tailor if it’s right for you, and wear it with the top button unbuttoned.

Conventional wisdom suggests sticking to a single vent in the jacket, giving you a strong vertical in the back, another visually lengthening feature. Some heavier men who carry their weight in the rear, however, will find the suit drapes better with two vents, and you should never sacrifice fit for fashion.

Get Measured for a Well Fitting Suit

Speaking of fit, it’s critical to ensure the suit fits properly, with enough room to move and drape. A slightly looser silhouette is far more flattering to the larger man than a slim, European cut. You don’t want to look like you need talcum powder to get into your suit. The effect of a properly, not tightly, fitted jacket and trousers is far more slimming than a tighter cut, even if the numbers are larger on the tailor’s measuring tape.

Accent Your Appearance

Wearing Lapels, Pockets and Ties as a Large Man

Peaked lapels are your best choice here, making a lovely vertical line down the front, and adding a dash of extra polish. Avoid wide or narrow lapels and stick with the standard width: wide will of course make you look heavier, and narrow will look like you’re trying too hard.

Slanted pockets work well to narrow the larger silhouette, and a big man can carry off flapped pockets in a way that a smaller man cannot.

Dress Shirt Tips for Large Men

When it comes to shirts, you have more options than some others, and most things will look good on you. Avoid the British spread collar if you have a heavy chin. If you’re self-conscious about your neck, a tailor can adjust your collar to cover much of it. As for ties, you can truly carry off anything and needn’t worry about getting an ultra-skinny tie to look slimmer. As long as it strongly contrasts with the colour of your shirt, it will read as a strong vertical and be flattering to you.

Wearing Belts and Suspenders as a Heavier Man

You may have a large and beautiful collection of fine leather belts; good for you, you’ve got a hobby. What you don’t have is an accessory that is doing you any favours. Stick with suspenders. They are both more comfortable than a belt and more effective at presenting a slimmer look, as they do not cut you in half at the waist the way a belt would.  And wear your trouser waistband above your hips, don’t drape it below your belly: that look only works on pugnacious ex-boxers in 30’s movies.

Tailoring can do wonders for a larger man’s look, and he will look better in a suit than any other possible combination of attire. After all, the reason we leave the bottom button unbuttoned is that the King of England had a bit of a belly, couldn’t close his, and all his courtiers wore theirs unbuttoned so he didn’t feel self-conscious.


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