PLUS SIZE FASH­ION FOR GUYS

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - JOSEPH PISANI

Chris Cyr doesn’t like much about the big and tall clothes he finds in stores.

“They’re “not very ad­ven­tur­ous,” he says, and the fit can be too baggy. And then there’s the ar­ray of odd prints: “A lot of Hawai­ian shirts with sail­boats and golf balls tend to pop in.”

But the standup comic from St. Louis says he is find­ing more fash­ion­able threads for big­ger guys on­line, as a crop of in­ter­net re­tail­ers are fi­nally cater­ing to the long-ig­nored group.

The com­pa­nies are mak­ing larger sizes of slim-cut jeans, bomber jack­ets and other trendy clothes that shop­pers say are hard to find else­where.

Big­ger-sized mod­els are used when de­sign­ing the clothes, which the com­pa­nies say helps make sure the pro­por­tions are right.

Rather than just mak­ing a pair of jeans larger, for ex­am­ple, they also ad­just the back pock­ets and other de­tails.

Asos, the hip on­line cloth­ing seller, launched a line for plus-sized men late last year. MVP Col­lec­tions, founded a year ago, sells velour hood­ies in sizes up to 6XL and mo­tor­cy­cle jeans that go up to a size 54. And The Win­ston Box, which calls it­self a cloth­ing sub­scrip­tion ser­vice “for guys with some junk in the trunk,” sends up to four items a month to mem­bers.

“There’s a lot more op­tions,” notes Cyr, who pays $75 a month for The Win­ston Box, and says the 3XL shirts he re­ceives fit bet­ter than what he finds else­where.

He also re­cently bought a blazer from Asos that he wears to his standup shows.

Men have long had big-and-tall shops to turn to, but young shop­pers say they don’t find the trendy clothes they crave there.

Kyle Gam­mon, a col­lege fash­ion stu­dent who lives near Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia, says Asos has be­come his go-to af­ter he dis­cov­ered its plus­size line ear­lier this year. While fit can be a ques­tion for any­one buy­ing on­line, Gam­mon has bought a cou­ple of print shirts from the site. He likes the way they fit, giv­ing him just enough room around his mid­sec­tion with­out a lot of ex­tra fab­ric in the arms. He’s also a fan of the colours and styles the site of­fers.

“They have a re­ally good va­ri­ety,” says Gam­mon, “which I’m not used to get­ting.”

For­mer baseball player Mo Vaughn, who co-founded MVP Col­lec­tions, says he could find Tshirts and suits in his size in stores, but noth­ing in between. Now his com­pany sells items such as grey sport jack­ets and de­con­structed jeans made with a bit of span­dex for stretch.

“Why can’t we be fly like ev­ery­body else?” Vaughn says.

Daniel Franzese, an ac­tor who starred in “Mean Girls,” joined The Win­ston Box as cre­ative di­rec­tor ear­lier this year af­ter see­ing an ad for the com­pany on Face­book. He says stylists of­ten had trou­ble find­ing clothes for him to wear for TV roles or for red car­pet events.

“Fash­ion for­gets about the big­ger male,” Franzese says.

That’s still gen­er­ally true, even with the new op­tions. Sev­eral mar­ket re­search firms said they didn’t track or have es­ti­mates of the value of the men’s big-and-tall cloth­ing mar­ket. And star­tups say that to pro­mote their brands, they go to con­ven­tions and events around the coun­try aimed at curvy or plus-size women — be­cause there aren’t any for big men.

Diana Smith, a re­tail and ap­parel an­a­lyst at re­search group Min­tel, ex­pects that to change. She says the high obe­sity rate, plus an in­crease in the num­ber of men who care about how they dress, will in­crease the de­mand for big-sized men’s cloth­ing. She says the suc­cess of women’s plus-size cloth­ing, which ac­cord­ing to NPD Group had sales in the U.S. of $20.6 bil­lion in the past year, also helps.

“There’s a lot of buy­ing power there,” says Smith.

At Asos, it was the pos­i­tive feed­back from its women’s plus-size line launched about eight years ago that pushed the com­pany to cre­ate one for men, says head de­signer Nick Eley.

JEFF ROBER­SON, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Co­me­dian Chris Cyr has found that fash­ion for plus-sized men has im­proved over the past few years.

MVP COL­LEC­TIONS BY MO VAUGHN PRO­DUC­TIONS VIA AP

Mo Vaughn mod­els cloth­ing from his MVP Col­lec­tions line.

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