Destroy the notion that it’s just a shirt or just a pair of pants. Style is an introduction to you and a declaration of how you want the world to see you. I’m not being overly-grand. It matters.
“Hello, I’m Mr. Fat” was my introduction for a long time, announcing to the world that I liked baggy tee shirts with dumb messages on them. But only because that’s all that seemed available to me at the time.
The fact is, there are obstacles that can keep you from expressing yourself through fashion. Money is one. Apathy or a crippling sense of self-seriousness also comes to mind. Or you may really hate shopping. I’ve encountered all of these in my life, but most of them can be toppled with creativity (a knock-off here, a bargain there). The thing that kept me in shitty tee shirts was not as easily destroyed: Mainstream stores didn’t see me as a viable consumer because I didn’t fit into the sizes they had on the rack. I was too big; too tall; too outsized.
So for a long time, it was just a shirt and just a pair of pants to me. I didn’t really know where to look for clothes and didn’t really want to search, endlessly, for only nominal upgrades. Whatever cast-aside and oddly-sized thing I could pick (sometimes literally) from a disorganized (and sometimes filthy) closeout store rack is what I’d wear, my heart breaking every time I pulled a too-good-too-be-true shirt off the rack only to realize it was tagged with the wrong size. Shopping was generally joyless and boring.
You feel like you’re suffocating a little when you can’t find clothes that suit your personality — the result of risk averse and unimaginative buyers who failed to realize that there are, as big man’s fashion guru Michael-Anthony Spearman says to me, “a lot of big guys out there and we are willing to shop.”
Now things are shifting. With brands scrapping to stay alive and the fashion world atomizing (along with the wave of body positivity across genders) it feels like companies are getting the message. Big and tall has gone mainstream. Finally.