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Fashion Tips for Big & Tall Men feat. Esosa Imoisili

December 1st, 2013

Esosa Imoisili has been a submitting strong entries to the Articles of Style Giveaways for a few months now. He’s made the Top 10 a couple times, primarily because of his impeccable fit. For a guy who stands 6’9″ 245 lbs he has put together an impressive wardrobe of timeless well-tailored pieces.

We asked Esosa to share a little more about his style and give some advice to our big & tall readers (hint: you should not be shopping at traditional “Big & Tall” stores).

Esosa on his style origins:

“I’m Nigerian but I have lived in the US most of my life. From a very early age I was introduced to style from the view point that Nigerians, by their very nature, dress to impress. I can remember as a kid watching older gentlemen and women come and go from parties in the neighborhood dressed in beautiful clothes and thinking to myself; “I wonder where these clothes were made?”.

I was raised very modestly in sometimes very poor surroundings and was not privy to beautiful tailoring or quality garments. From a subconscious standpoint, however, I understood what quality looked like aesthetically.”

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Suit by Brooks Brothers (Milano fit). Blue stripe spread-collar shirt by Suit Supply. Tie by Brooks Brothers. Tie bar by Tifanny & Co. Monkstrap shoes by JM Weston.

On becoming a man and his style evolution:

“As a teenager in the 90s I was much more into style than a lot of my peers. As a kid it was baggy jeans, Timberland boots and Tommy Hilfiger polos. I always admired the older gentleman in their Armani power suits back then, but as a teenager I was still finding my way. I finally figured it out during my Sophmore year of college, in 2000. I switched from baggy jeans and Timbs, to turtlenecks, pea coats and boat shoes. Guys on my basketball teams would give me a lot of flack and call me “diddy” because I would dress differently from others who still wore the baggy look.

Thirteen years later I can say that my aesthetic is the same but I have streamlined my looks. My style is more ‘American Prep’ with a little flash here and there. In my opinion, true style is timeless and never ages.

I look at pictures of my style icons like Sidney Poitier from 50 years ago. His style still resonates today because the fit of his clothing is classic and non-fussy. Like him, I like to keep my looks simple, especially because of my size. I let the fit and the quality of my clothes do the talking.”  

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Hat by JCrew. Glasses by Ray Ban. Cardigan by H&M. T-shirt by Gap. Jeans by Levi’s 505 vintage. Boots by Allen Edmond Dalton boots. Watch by Swiss Army.

On the importance of dressing well for business: 

“In my line of work (I’m a business insurance broker) when I meet with a client there is already a built-in trust when I look professional and put together. I look like the guy that can give you advice on how to insure your multi-million dollar business just by the way I am dressed (as I’ve been told by multiple clients). So, for that reason, dressing smart in properly fitting clothing is important. First impressions matter and can open doors.”

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Windowpane suit by Trussini. Shirt by Hugo Boss. Tie by Armani Collezioni. Pocket Square by Brunello Cucinelli. Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo Tramezza. Watch by Oris Point dater automatic. Glasses by Ray Ban. 

On dealing with tall guy fashion frustrations:

“As a tall guy fashion can be frustrating. I’m 6″9, 245 lbs. I have very broad shoulders, a barrel chest, a relatively small waist, an extended inseam and long monkey arms. That presents a multitude of problems. I remember when I first started building my wardrobe and I would walk into department stores. The sales associates would alway say: ‘you need to go custom or bespoke’. I was a year out of undergrad so this wasn’t in my budget. There was no way I could afford 2 grand for a suit back then. So I did my homework.

I started by simply walking in to several department stores and trying on as many different brands as possible. The goal was to figure what fit and what did not. From my research I knew that it had to fit nicely in the shoulders, chest and the length had to be right. Once I figured out the brands that worked I gave myself a goal of what I wanted to acquire every year and how much I was willing to pay. That started in 2003 and ten years later I still do the same thing.

I have been fortunate enough to go the custom route on occasion but most of my clothing is still off-the-rack, with alterations, of course.”

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Grey pinstripe suit by Canali. Shirt by Hugo Boss. Tie by Robert Talbot. Pocket Square by Etro. Shoes by Gucci. Watch Vintage Omega. 

On finding a good fit Off-the-Rack: 

“As a tall guy don’t let a sales associate talk you into an ‘Extra Long’. Try on a ‘Long’ first, or even a ‘Regular’. As long as it covers your seat completely you can’t go wrong.

In terms of off-the-rack fit, it has to fit in the shoulders and chest. It cannot be too tight in the shoulders where you can see divots at the sleeve head, nor should it be too wide where it looks like you’re wearing football pads. The shoulders of the suit are crucial – they should give you a nice clean profile. The chest cannot be too tight where the lapels buckle, not should it be too big where there is an excessive fabric drape.

All the suits and denim here have been worked on by my tailors in Fresno. For the last 5 years I have focused on buying more quality and less quantity. The suits have to be at least half-canvassed to create a decent shape around the chest. When it comes to one brand versus another, it’s all about the silhouette of the suit and how accommodating it is. It has to be forgiving in the chest and shoulders but still have high-ish armholes and a slim body for a nice profile. And, of course, the inseam needs to be long enough (most of my pants have to be let all the way down at the hem).”

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Leather Jacket by Y3. Chambray shirt by Urban Outfitters. Jeans by 7 for all mankind standard cut. Loafers by Allen Edmonds “Pomona”. Glasses by Ray Ban. Watch by Brietling – Colt automatic.

On treating your tailor right:

“The next important thing is to find a tailor that knows what they’re doing. I have been working with my tailor since I moved out here to Fresno. He’s done some incredible major surgery on some of my items; from sleeve rotation due to sleeve pitch issues, to cutting down collars to adjust for my shoulder slope, to reweaving tears, to removing linings to keep me cool in this Cali weather. The list could go on forever…

They do so much work for me that I bring them a couple bottles of wine on major holidays as a “Thank You” for the work they do. A good tailor is hard to find, and a great tailor is a rare relationship that should be cultivated. They are indispensable for a stylish gent of non-model proportions.”

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Jacket by Oxxford. Sweater by Banana Republic. Shirt by Hugo Boss. Jeans by 7 for all mankind slimmy cut shoes. “Jefferson” wingtips by Allen Edmonds. Pocket Square by Banana Republic. 

Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Esosa for sharing!

Yours in style,

Articles of Style

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