men_in_full: (Nine of Cups)
We're men, we're men in tights..."
Mel Brooks, "Robin Hood"



Recently Kenneth Fish of the San Francisco Menswear Examiner defended the custom of "men in tights" (in this case, leggings) against New York Magazine writer Amy Odell, who called them a "silly man trend."

So of course I had to go out and find some suitably stellar examples of sixteenth-century Netherlands Renaissance "meggings."

In which we find that men's fashion is NOT what it used to be, and more's the pity ... )

men_in_full: (crabby pants)
I spent some frustrating hours this past week, trying to find long-sleeved dress shirts for Mr. B. Short-sleeved dress shirts pose no problem; he simply orders a 22 Tall, and is done with it. Peekaboo-belly is cute but not office-appropriate, and ordering a Tall gives him the "coverage."

The difficulty lies with the long-sleeved shirts. Has anyone else noticed that "big & tall" men's shirts seem to be shrinking in the hem length? Mr. B. needs a 22 with a 34/35 sleeve length. However, with many shirts both dress and casual, the measured length of the shirt from the top center back of the collar to the hem seems to be getting shorter all the time.

Men's Wearhouse has worked for him before. But this time, even at MW, the regular-length shirts fit in the chest and stomach - but in length were too short. Since they were 100% cotton, I knew they wouldn't make it through even a cold-water wash. Unfortunately, if you switch to a "tall" in their dress shirts, the sleeve length gets longer accordingly - and Mr. B did *not* need a longer sleeve.

So I tried mail-order from King Size Direct - it should have been called "mal-order." When they arrived, they were an inch shorter than even the Men's Wearhouse shirts and four inches wider across the chest (36" instead of 32".) The only advantage was that since the shirts were made of a cotton/poly blend, they wouldn't shrink. Fortunately KSD paid for the return shipping *and* said they would reimburse his initial $13 shipping cost.

Shirts returned to Men's Wearhouse: Check.

Shirts mailed back to King Size: Check.

One thing about men's dress shirts - they seem so intimidating in the store. They're all wrapped up in plastic packaging, pinned together, full of complicated cardboard forms. If they could talk, they'd say, "Don't you dare try me on." Or, "If you try me on, you better buy me." Trying on almost seems like a necessity, though, if the sleeve lengths are standardized but not the hem lengths.

I suppose Mr. B. will just have to get by with fewer shirts for awhile, until a solution presents itself. On a related note, while browsing through patterns, I did find these Simplicity styles for big men. This one (4975) contains a dress shirt, a Western shirt, and a vest, and goes up to a size 5X. The other (2895) is a costume vintage frock coat with vest and round-collared shirt which goes up to a size 52.

Sewing for Mr. B. never seemed an option in the past, but now it seems like a possibility. If the "big and tall" options are devolving into mail order, that option seems fraught with failure both in money (if they *don't* refund your shipping) and time. Also, mail order seems like a kind of defeat, because if bigger men don't buy from stores, stores will have no incentive to carry any larger sizes at all.
men_in_full: (opera goers)

While the vast majority of women's clothing companies still show large-sized clothing on tall, thin models, a few are slowly switching over to models more representative of who will actually wear the clothes.

Not so for men, though. Clothiers either use tall models who are slender at worst, broad but still flat-bodied at best. Or online cataloguers will forgo models entirely, just showing shots of the clothes themselves. This isn't helpful for larger men, for two reasons. First, it renders the fat man "invisible." Second, it doesn't take into account the shape of the man's body, particularly the belly. Not all fat men have large bellies, but for many, which cut of shirt or pants they buy will depend highly on how the cut looks with a larger belly. Worse, some larger men's clothes are cut as if the wearer was as flat as the models showing it.

Fuller-bodied men's clothes, modelled )

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September 2013

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