Fashion Advice for Large Guys feat. Sergio Arteaga

July 2nd, 2012

We’ve been meaning to add this feature to the “Dress Your Body Type” series for some time. When I met Sergio, an NYC school teacher who revamped his wardrobe with the help of Articles of Style, I knew he was the right guy for the job.

Sergio was born and raised in Inglewood California and until a year and half ago his style was admittedly “all flashy sneakers and oversized urban clothing with branding all over the place.”

“I stumbled across Articles of Style via a popular sneaker forum (shout out to NikeTalk) and it changed the way I look at clothing… The most important thing I learned from Dan is the importance of fit, fit, fit, fit! As a bigger guy it’s even more important to find the proper fit; too big and your clothes just add size to your frame, too small and you can look like a sausage.”

Alex and I met up with Sergio to put together some tips for larger guys.

Yes, as a larger guy, you can wear a slim fit!

Most guys who have a larger stomach than chest make the mistake of buying clothes that are oversized in order to “hide” their bodies underneath them. You’re not fooling anyone, this only makes you look bigger than you actually are.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you should be buying clothing that is labeled “slim fit”. Think of it this way: you may need larger clothing, but you don’t need larger allowances (the difference between the size of your body and the size of your clothing). Your clothes should contour and “skim” the body, smoothing out your shape without pulling or looking tight.

Buy full-cut, and have your tailor take it in

Your best bet is to buy full-cut clothing that fits properly in primary areas (collar size and sleeve length for shirts, shoulders and body length for jackets), then have the rest of the garment shaped by your tailor to contour your body.

Stay cool

Larger guys typically run hot, so don’t forget that undershirts can help absorb moisture, and make sure you are investing in lightweight fabrics to keep sweating minimal. Heavier fabrics can also ad unnecessary bulk to your frame. This look is a great example: linen jacket, short-sleeved short, properly-hemmed chinos, sockless with a summer hair cut.

Don’t forget the details

Accessories like a pocket square and lapel pin can draw attention to your chest and shoulders, and thus away from your belly.


Go Clothing Is Life Changing

There are too many trade-offs with off-the-rack clothing, especially with suits. Some guys have NEVER felt a proper fit. These days there are “custom” options for just about any budget, and it makes a world of difference.


Suiting Tips for Larger Gentlemen

– A longer jacket will visually elongate the body.

– Darker colors are slimming, as are pinstripes.

– Try to keep your jacket buttoned as much as possible when standing, it shapes the silhouette.

– A deep button stance will create a stronger “V” shape, accentuating the chest and masking the belly.

– Go with a wider notch or peak lapel to draw the eye upward and proportionally cover your broad shoulders.

– Leave some room in the trousers so you’re not accentuating the girth of your upper body, but you don’t need a big sloppy break at the bottom.

– A strong shoe with a solid heel will help anchor down your look. I really like wingtips with a substantial sole for larger guys.

– Slanted pockets, in theory, draw the eye downward and are slimming on the physique.

– Use a ticket pocket to fill some space in the midsection.

– Your pants do not need pleats. If they’re made for you, flat front trousers should be plenty comfortable.

– Go with double vents. The jacket can be cut a little slimmer in the hips since side vents pulling open are much less obvious than a center one splitting. It also keeps a clean drape across the back when your hands are in your pockets.

– Odds are, you’re tough on your clothing. Opt for a heavier, more durable cloth but lose the lining to avoid overheating. A second pair of trousers may also be a good idea as they tend to wear out faster than the jacket.

– Keep your shirts simple and elegant. Think solid color and subtle stripes.

– Spread collar shirts should be matched with larger tie knots (like a windsor or half windsor), and both are ideal for a large neck.

– Larger guys often have shorter necks, have your shirts made with a shorter neckband

– Bigger guys typically have flat hips and seats, which causes their pants to fall down unless they are cinched unaturally tight around the waist (which accentuates the stomach). Try using braces to float your waistline – they’re generally more comfortable, and stylish too.


One last tip from Sergio: “Marry a beautiful woman! That way the attention is always on her, not you. My gorgeous wife is the main reason for my transformation…she has great style and I simply want to dress to impress everyday because she deserves to see me at my best.”

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


Take me to the Shop

  • Ary Prasetyo

    Brilliant article!

  • Anonymous

    Hi there,
    My boyfriend has a very large belly and has difficulty finding shirts long enough to cover him. He is unable to lift up his arms without showing off his belly. Do you have any suggestions where he may be able to find shirts online or in Canada? Thank you.

  • JohnC

    I’ve been following the blog for a couple years now and have been waiting for this post to finally come; great job! There’s one thing I’d live to ask about concerning the neck/shoulder area though. After losing a good 115, my shoulders and neck are framed to fit a size L, but my midsection is still significantly larger (around an XL). So a lot of times the top halves of shirts will fit great, but around the gut, not so much.

    How would one go about getting a proper fit in both parts without the neck/shoulder being too loose and the the gut section bein too tight?

  • john halls

    Love this blog. As a personal shopper its hard to convince larger guys they look better in fitted clothes.
    You have to get them in the whole outfit for them to believe it. Great pics

  • Tanner


    Solid post as usual but I have a question about one recommendation. You say larger men should consider a ticket pocket on their suits as this breaks up the middle area. Doesn’t that break up add more visual weight? A ticket pocket is a great thing for tall, skinny guys as it makes them look more proportionate so keeping that middle area empty would help slim out a wider man. Pairing that void middle area with peak lapels and a lower button stance – like you suggested – would also continue to pull the eyes away from the belly and towards the shoulders. Am I missing something here?

  • Robert

    This article was very helpful and answered some of the questions I had. Many store look down on heavy guys so it was refreshing to read this!

  • Klein Epstein & Parker

    The best answer for larger men, or for anyone really is getting your clothes tailored to fit you, and only you. This can be a bit more expensive, but there are places that provide great quality for a low price. And when getting a suit or something nice (which typically already is expensive) might as well choose to have a custom tailored suit just for you. Come check out our store in Beverly Hills!

    • Sergio

      MTM is not custom as the website states it’s only MTM services. Bigger guys like me need more than MTM usually and really do need to go the true Bespoke route. This is why I trust only Michael Andrews Bespoke as my custom clothier.

  • Enrique

    thanks for the post. I have a question though. in this point

    “- Bigger guys typically have flat hips and seats, which causes their pants to fall down unless they are cinched unaturally tight around the waist (which accentuates the stomach). Try using braces to float your waistline – they’re generally more comfortable, and stylish too.”

    What are the braces you are referring to?


    Great advice. We always say Bigger is Better and this post proves it! Nicely done.

  • Philip

    Certainly better than the other offering.. (I know it’s a spoof)

  • MK

    I love how everything is on a budget too! Gives us bigger guys hope!

    Thanks Dan & SB Team

  • gian

    Very well said!

    Great post as usual.

    take care

    Consultant Style Advisor

  • Joe

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Also, nice job Sergio!

    • Joe

      Have to add – You nailed it with that last tip! I always refer to my wife and I as a sitcom couple (think King of Queens). But as you nicely point out in these photos, that doesn’t give you a license to get sloppy! Just the opposite, it should motivate you to be the best arm candy a man can be!

      @SB – I’ve been waiting for a post like this and you definitely didn’t disappoint. I love where this is going.

  • Stephanie Roper

    AWESOME advice! Great pics!

  • TK

    SB team and or fellow readers,what are your thoughts on bigger men tucking their shirts in? Doesn’t that draw much more attention to the stomach sticking out/hanging over pants a little?Great post as always SB team!

    • SB

      Hey TK,

      An untucked shirt does not hide the stomach (it’s obvious that the shirt is hanging off the belly and away from the waist). If anything, it just looks sloppy.

      I recommend staying tucked. If you’re self conscious about the “bulge” above the belt, wear a jacket buttoned or a thin layer like in look 3.


      • TK

        Good points,thanks! Big things popping for SB and company this year,destined for greatness! Best of luck

  • Sergio

    Thank you to all for your feedback and positive comments. One thing I do want to add. It’s not about hiding the extra pounds, it’s about being comfortable with the way you look. Wearing properly fitting clothing, whether you’re 130lb or 230lb matters. For bigger guys like me, going up a size or two doesn’t hide your stomach it just makes it look bigger. It’s no different for the 130lb guy wearing a size or two too big.

  • Vick

    Good post. I read somewhere that; when posing heavier gentlemen should stand with their feet closer together. If he had his feet together while posing with that suit on he would look proportional, his shoulders would look more broad…….

  • HF

    GREAT post (as always). Love how the photos really do prove the tips.

    Keep it coming! You’re killing the game and we all see it!

  • TTG

    Great post as usual. My only concern is the advice of completely staying away from slim fit, buying regular fit and having it tailored. I believe this would cost a lot of money for the bigger guys, having every single shirt they purchased tailored. However i would suggest purchasing slim fit that’s a size or half larger. Saves money, gives the desired fit, and less trips to the tailor. I know a few bigger guys that this works well for.

    • SB

      Hmmm. I did not mean to “completely stay away from slim fit”. The word “slim fit” can mean anything, depending on the brand. For some American retailers it’s more “not overly huge”.

      For shirts, make sure the collar, shoulders and sleeve length fit (as these are impossible, or expensive, to alter). The body of the shirt can be shaped for $10-$15. Your better off buying a cheaper shirt, or less of them (quality over quantity), and having them done right.

      Buying a size up in the collar will leave you with a gap at the neck, which is not a good look.

      Of course, every body is different. Try it, if it works, go for it!


      • mistahkelly

        I agree. That’s why thrifting is so awesome and a great way to test out tailoring. I found a brooks brothers shirt for $2.95 and it was over sized a bit. add in the cost of altering and you’ve STILL saved a bunch of money. And you’ll have a piece that is completely YOURS.

        • Sergio

          Yes this is Sergio from the post! Thank you for the comments! In regards to where to shop. If you are someone who is not on the spectrum of having to shop in a Big & Tall store, don’t. Most major brands carry up to XXL and in some cases XXXL, and pants 40 and above. Personally I’m a VERY CHEAP person especially in regards to clothing. Most of my stuff with the exception of the MAB suit and shirt are off the rack and were very inexpensive.

          Personally I’m a size XL for shirts, size 35-36 waist believe it or not, with an inseam at around 28. When it comes to OTR suits I’m a 46. My preferred brands are honestly Old Navy, Banana Republic and Calvin Klein. Personally I’m not loyal to any one brand, if it’s cheap, I like it and it fits, I’ll buy it. Remember the stores usually are selling a season ahead so sales and clearance racks are great. For example, look 1, cost probably $140 to put together, not including the watch.

          Get to know what brands fit you best. For me Calvin Klein suits are the best fitting OTR for me. Usually all I’ve had to get done is getting the sleeves shortened and pants hemmed and tapered. Most importantly do you, buy what you feel comfortable in, fit wise and appearance wise, don’t just wear the “newest” trend.

  • Kevin

    Great post! As a bigger guy, I appreciate the help. Any tips on where to shop? I’d some options other than Ralph Lauren’s Big and Tall shop.


    • SB

      Good question. Some popular retailers have “big & tall” sizing (although it would be better if it were “big and/or tall”).

      Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, The Gap, etc.

      If you find a fit that works well for your body, stock up! Sometimes they can be scarce.


  • Kiel

    Great post. What this shows me most is that a man (such as Sergio) needn’t hide his shape, rather tailor his clothes to RESPECT his shape. Sergio looks like a total badass, and it’s great that his wardrobe aids his confidence.

    • SB


      You may not be able to hide your weight, but you can use your clothing to divert attention toward your other “assets”.

      It certainly helps that Sergio is a smooth confident guy :)

      Thanks for reading,

  • Jeff

    Thanks for this post, I have been waiting for some tips like this one. Being a bigger guy it gets a bit frustrating finding that right fit when you don’t like the “baggy” look. This was very helpful.

  • Ambyr

    Those suit tips are fantastic! Being a woman styling men, it helps to hear reassured tips and ideas from someone actually able to wear the clothing. GREAT post!


  • Ksteezy

    Amazing post, very informative and right on with how a bigger guy should approach his wardrobe!…Serg looked great in every fit, I’ve dealt with weight issues my whole life, thankfully I got it under control now, but when I was heavier I found it extremely hard to dress the way i wanted and it would have been nice to have stumbled across something like this then, to give me some confident which is much needed…Serg is obviously comfortable in his own skin and I always said confidence is by far the best piece of “garment” you can throw on in the morning, it’ll compliment you no matter what!….good job TSB


    • SB

      Thanks brother.

      You said it, confidence is the most important thing a man can put on.


  • mistahkelly

    ive been waiting forever for this post. Serge embodied alot of bigger guys and he should be commended for being open to changing his style. Didnt know MAB supplied the big dudes. I’m definitely gonna look into that.

  • Adyna

    Good post! That one last tip from Sergio it`s great :)

    • SB

      :) he’s a smooth operator

  • Desmond K

    Great one! I definitely think this post was needed since (according to statistics) 68% of Americans are more than average size. But as I was discussing with a stylish gent recently, you dont have to be a certau size to be stylush. You just have to understand your body and know what to wear for your body type.

  • monty

    i commend you guys for doing this article

  • Method Man


    JK. #NT knows.

    • SB


      I gotta get my social media (anti-street?) lingo up.

  • Khalid

    Looks good! Especially the last outfit… natural, clean-lined, friendly. Collars all feel appropriate, and I like the way the first one frames his face.

  • Bryan

    Great article. As a bigger man (250, 6′), this advice helps out tremendously. Until this, I really thought I knew what I was doing.

  • TK

    SB team and or fellow readers,what are your thoughts on bigger men tucking their shirts in? Doesn’t that draw much more attention to the stomach sticking out/hanging over pants a little?

    • Joe

      @TK – I’m a big guy and I think tucking in a shirt is a simple way to clean up your look (a must if wearing a sportcoat/suit jacket, jeans or no jeans). The key is to wear your pants AT your waist, not below. IMO this streamlines (and “covers”) your gut. The biggest mistake is to wear your pants so that the waistline sits below your gut. I realize this may mean getting bigger pants, but you can always have the legs taken in (also, stay away from Loose fit jeans/pants, they have a way of making you look bigger than you are; if they fit at the waist, either a regular or slim fit straight leg is the way to go, IMHO). Another reason to tuck is, with a bigger midsection, an untucked shirt can drape off your gut in a unflattering way, accentuating your midsection.

      -Fellow big dude

      P.S. If you’re still concerned about how your midsection looks, always keep a well-fitting blazer handy, two button with deep V as pointed out above, and keep it buttoned.

      P.P.S If you’re still concerned about your midsection (as I still am), more salads and working out. I did that when my daughter was born, and though I still qualify as a big guy (now 46R, was 54R), I’m getting less big day by day, though I’ve still got a ways to go.

  • TK

    Thank you!!