Esquire just wrote an article about the state of plus size men’s fashion in 2017. The mostly positive, wide ranging piece covers what retailers are offering big men, and how they feel about the options currently available to them.
Interviews with people from many facets of the industry, like Brandon Coates, Daniel Franzese, Zach Miko, and even me, tell a story that, if you have been a Chubstr reader for any amount of time, you already know: The industry is growing, there are more options, but we’ve got a long way to go.
The article talks about how much smaller the men’s industry is (they estimate about $1 billion) compared to the women’s ($20 billion or so), and how men’s is growing, but slowly and quietly. Why? Though they don’t really come to a conclusion, we can make some guesses.
We’ve Been Told Not to Love Ourselves as We Are
Fat people are told that they’re worth less than everyone else. For years, we’ve been told that we’re not perfect and that we shouldn’t be allowed to be happy with our bodies. Messages in magazines, online, on TV, and from people in our lives barrage us with messages telling us our worth is tied to being what’s considered a mainstream version of fit and good looking.
Decades of that type of programming sticks with you and makes it difficult to talk about what you want, especially when it comes to something like fashion. We’ve been told we don’t deserve it, so why would we be expected to go out there and ask for it?
(Most) Companies Aren’t Really Making Products for Us Yet
We’ve seen some solid progress with companies like Asos offering men’s clothing to 6X, but the vast majority of brands and designers aren’t making clothes for bigger bodies. The ones who are just don’t put much money behind marketing to the plus size men’s audience, which means that they don’t know they have these options.
We get emails every day from people who don’t know where to look for clothes in their size. I won’t even dive into the brands that are offering extended size clothing that is based off a size M fit model. It just doesn’t fit. Needless to say, the industry has a long way to go before they catch up.
We Need to See More People Who Look Like Us as Models
Now, we just need more of it. More short and wide models. More models of various ethnicities. More plus size trans male models. Different styles, different abilities. Variety is a good thing, and companies will see that people are more apt and willing to buy products when they see models who look more like them wearing the clothing they are trying to market to them.
What’s Next for Plus Size Men’s Fashion?
When I started Chubstr, I wanted to create something that showed the world that big guys want options and are as interested in style as anyone else. In the years since I started doing this, progress has been made.
People who couldn’t find clothes they wanted to wear took matters into their own hands and created their own lines. Some large companies realize there’s a consumer here who wants to spend money on stylish clothing that fits. Best of all, more big and tall people are realizing that it’s OK to care about style, no matter your size. We’re only at the beginning of a movement, but I see good things on the horizon.