The Gintlemen, John: Clothes for the Big Man
This week, John, who blogs over at Whisky Apocalypse, talks about his own frustrations in the world of plus size.
I used to love my clothes.
Before I had a family and could afford them that is. Stone Island, Armani, Hackett, and Paul Smith were my favourites and now everyone of them is out of the window, because I’m fatter than I was.
I’ve always been big, I do weights and punch things, I’ve always had a belly. But over the past few years I’ve piled on the pounds, and because we’ve been saving for a while now to buy a house, I wasn’t bothering to buy anything new.
Now we’re settled in our forever home, I had a look online for some clothes and was stunned at the lack of choice for anyone with over a 36 inch waist and a 44 inch chest. At least those who wish to look reasonably young and swish. I’m not asking for much, I’m a 44 inch waist and 50 inch chest – all I’m asking for in a few nice lines in actual shops in the actual high street but if I want to buy anything other than socks, I’ve no choice. I have to shop online and shopping online is shite.
So what’s my look? Well, I change depending on the situation. I tend to chill out in loose cords or shorts, a Ralph Lauren or Lacoste Polo shirt with my Great Frog jewellery. Think a cross between a skater boy and late 80s early 90s football casual and you’re there.
I quite like the odd tweed or striped boating jacket, part of the Captain John thing I have for my whisky writing, and a funky Hawaiian shirt with a boating jacket, proper trousers and my skull ring and silver bracelets is a strong look. But then I’m in my forties and I think that confidence grows with age. I do feel sorry for those bigger lads in their teens and twenties who want to look nice.
Almost no designer brand offers a bigger size. Most only offer jeans, and in the UK only offer sizes up to 36-38 waist and you’ll struggle to find much bigger than a xxxl which is often a laughable 48 inch chest. I mean come on.
If I do want designer wear (and I don’t really anymore, most of my clothes end up with jam or snot on them anyway) I go to Ralph Lauren, Lacoste and TM Lewin. It’s nice to tart yourself up.
For everything else, I have to shop online.
The thing about shopping online is that you buy something which says it’s a xxxl with a 52 inch chest and it’s fucking tiny. Or I buy the same thing and it swamps me – I look like my five year old daughter is wearing one of my jumpers.
Marks and Spencer are okay by the way for shirts – but for some reason whilst they don’t mind selling large shirts, they don’t really fancy making anything else. I’ve given up pretty much anywhere else, even Primark and the Supermarkets don’t cater for bigger men. They say they do, but they don’t, not really and I challenge anyone of my size or even a bit smaller to go into town and get a few bags of decent gear.
Like I mentioned, I don’t really like shopping online but I don’t have much of a choice anymore so where to go? Some of the high street stores do offer a big and tall range but it’s pretty dire. so it’s really just specialist shops for us freaks.
I’m half surprised I don’t have to go on the dark web to find these sites.
Jacamo are my favourites, they have some good sales on, are reasonably priced anyway, more of that later, and there is a full range too, from suits and over coats to hoodies and cords. And Bad Rhino aren’t half bad either although I’m fairly new to them.
I have done a bit of research and Next are okay too. Maybe not the biggest range but decent. Shame that absolutely zero of this is available in store, but then maybe fat people can’t fit in the changing rooms or something? Or that we’re so busy eating chips?
Answers on a postcard to the usual address.
There are others out there but I fail to see why I should pay more just for an inch or two more material and I know that this outrage is across the board.
It’s not just men who suffer from this.
Come on high street. You can do better than this.