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Hey Sid!

Big & Tall

Hey Sid!

You ask, Sid answers

Submit a question at heysid@sidmashburn.com

"Hey Sid – I'm a bigger and taller guy (6'4", US 48L/Italian 60L jacket, 40" waist). What advice do you have about business casual looks for guys my size?" – Chris

 

Muhammad Ali (6'3") and Wilt Chamberlain (7'1") - big and bigger

 

Hey Chris - I am so glad you asked.

So many men over the years have walked into the shop and apologized, with some version of "I know I'm not as skinny and tall as you and your guys..." I hate hearing that - because it is so not what we're about. While it's true that a couple of our earliest employees happened to be pretty lanky guys, it's our job to make everyone look great. And if we could only do that for model types... we wouldn't be in business very long. I have never ever ever wanted size to be a barrier – which is why having an MTM program has been part of our offering from the beginning. Let me go on the record: the "SM look" is for everyone who wants to wear it.

I am super proud to dress a fantastic customer and friend who has a 70-inch waist. I hope this doesn't sound boastful, but he looks so great in our stuff. We have dressed a 98-pound young man for his Bar Mitzvah. We have tailored clothes for guys in wheelchairs. You get the picture. If you want to wear our stuff, no matter your size or situation, we can make you look great. It might require some custom work, or some extra tailoring, but we can do it.

So, Chris, you sound pretty proportionate, but what I am about to say holds true for anyone on the bigger – or smaller – side, or those whose weight is distributed less evenly. How your clothes are tailored – how they fit you – is the most important thing. Clothes that don't fit right will accentuate your heaviness, your scrawniness, your wideness, your long neck, your whatever... you fill in the blank. To paraphrase Johnny Mercer – we're trying to "accentuate the positive" and "eliminate the negative" and "latch on to the affirmative." I LOVE this song! But anyway, okay, what does 'fitting right' mean? For a larger guy, we'd say:

  • Your jacket sleeve should hit just above your wristbone, and the body shouldn't be too long or too short. For most guys, it should ideally hit at the bottom joint of the thumb when your arms are at your sides. And if you're tall, a too-short jacket is even worse than one that's too long... but it sounds like you're already wearing Ls, so you're in good shape.

  • Your pants should have a minimal break. Puddling or stacking at the top of your shoes will only make you look bigger, and a little unkempt. And the same holds true if you're small... it makes your legs look shorter

  • Speaking of – and this is probably the biggest surprise when a guy first comes to see us – you want flat-front trousers. Pleats add the illusion of volume, so if you're trying to look trimmer, they're going to work against you. We can take 5 to 10 pounds off a man, visually, just by putting him in a pair of flat-front pants. We've got a pleated pant body on our line, and I'm not anti-pleat, but they are harder to get right. Flat-fronts, on the other hand – those are for everyone. I promise.

Your height and stature already make a statement when you walk into a room. This is great! But it means that you may want to tone down your clothes a touch in light of that. You command a presence – your clothes don't need to do it as well. You may not want people to remember you as "that tall guy with the wild shirt." Or maybe you do, and in that case, load up on Liberty and day-glo and camouflage as you please. Do YOU. But we find that most people want to be remembered for their great personalities, and not just their looks or build. And when you feel good in your clothes, you're usually giving off a good vibe.

That does NOT mean you have to look boring. No matter your size, we are big proponents of the second look – smaller details that make someone look twice. A cool beaded belt, a great-fitting navy blazer in a quietly interesting fabric, maybe a watch you got from your grandfather. It could be as small as a pocket square that makes you smile. Wearing things that are of the best possible quality, without being flashy, is a pretty good recipe for success. I think leaning into quiet quality will allow you to stand out without making your physical presence the main event.

 

on the more casual side... Wilt Chamberlain (7'1") bowling with Willie Shoemaker (4'11")

 

I am always here to spread the gospel about overdressing vs. underdressing – but I think this is especially important when you're on the bigger side. When there's more of you, there's more of your clothes, which means more of a statement. More polish if you look polished, more mess if you look messy. The stakes are higher. I'm not saying to wear a suit to a barbecue, necessarily, but generally, a collared shirt – one with a substantial collar – is your friend.

We did a previous post on "biz cas," (you can read it here,) so I don't want to repeat myself too much. But all the tips above apply to business casual, they apply to dressing up, they apply to black tie, and they apply to days when you're hanging out at home in your jeans and bare feet. Make sure your clothes fit you well, lean into flat-front trousers, go for subtler pieces unless you're a big personality, and err on the side of being more nicely dressed than not. A great-fitting sport coat over a dress shirt - tie or not - will take you almost anywhere.

P.S. I'll point out that we're on sale right now, which makes this perfect timing for your note. Sale is an amazing time for you to shop. Often, by the time we get to marking down our seasonal stuff, the Mediums and 52-Regulars are long gone, but the fringe sizes are still hanging around. This is when being on the outskirts really pays off. Have fun.

From Sid

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