In a lot of ways life is easier for men than it is for women. There’s a lot less objectification, fewer double standards, and the whole peeing standing up is a real winner. But when it comes to plus size fashion for men, they are often found in the same boat as women, struggling to find something that fits, fits well, and fits fabulously.
The slow and steady rise of the plus size model means that we’re now seeing a few familiar male faces appearing in campaigns and on the catwalk. But a step in the right direction doesn’t mean that life is easy for the larger lads in the spotlight.
Plus size fashion for men is still pretty miserable
One of the most well-known male body positive activists out there is the Notoriously Dapper model Kelvin Davis, who has appeared in ad campaigns for the likes of Chubbies and Aerie (although the latter was not especially well-received). Despite his success, Kelvin still struggles to find stylish and well-fitting plus size fashion for men. In a recent interview with Mic, he spoke about how his size make it difficult to shop, and if he were to get any bigger it would become almost impossible.
“I remember going to Gap, Express and a couple of other companies, and all of the blazers were very slim-fit, and they all fit the same and they really wouldn’t come over my shoulders and they wouldn’t even button.
“I wear a XL/XXL, so XXL is where a lot of companies stop. So, I’m like at the last bit. If I get any bigger, which I probably will over time, then I would have to shop at, I don’t know, big and tall stores that are meant for very, very tall men. But, I don’t really know why companies are not making larger sizes.”
We were so excited to sit down with Kelvin (@notoriouslydapper) when he was in NYC last week for New York Fashion Week Men’s. Topics discussed ranged from the lack of plus-size male models to the importance of men in the body-positive conversation, and we have a lot of fun videos for you. But first, we asked Kelvin to tell us what it’s like to shop for clothing when you don’t fit the one specific type of body that brands are creating for. We often hear about the struggles women face when shopping for trendy pieces, but what about men? It turns out, they share a lot of similar frustrations. Kelvin actually started his blog because of a bad shopping experience. “I went to go get a red blazer and it did not fit,” he says. “They did not have any larger sizes. … All of the blazers were very slim-fit and they all fit the same and they really wouldn’t come over my shoulders and they wouldn’t even button.” But he doesn’t know why brands aren’t making bigger sizes. “I wear a XL/XXL, so XXL is where a lot of companies stop,” he says. “I’m like at the last bit. If I get any bigger, which I probably will over time, then I would have to shop at, I don’t know, big and tall stores that are meant for very, very tall men.” . . . . . . . . . #notouriouslydapper #strutbymic #body4me #effyourbeautystandards #beautystandards #wewearwhatwewant #goldenconfidence #bopo #bopowarrior #bodyposi #bodypos #bodypositive #bopoman #malebopo #plussizemodel #psfashion #psootd #plussizefashion #plussizeootd #everybodyisbeautiful #allbodiesaregoodbodies #nowrongway #selflove #selfcare
Visibility is still so important
With the success of models like Kelvin Davis and Zach Miko, it can be easy to get complacent and bask in the success of how far we’ve come. However, diversity and inclusivity will only come about with visibility. Having a token plus size model – male or female – will only affect real change when it’s no longer a scandal, and that people of all ages begin to expect it and accept it as the norm.
“I think it’s so important to have this conversation with young men,” says Dexter Mayfield, a plus size queer male model who famously walked the catwalk at the Marco Marco show at Fashion Week Los Angeles in 2015. “No matter how far I’ve come in the industry, I’ve been told, ‘You still need to lose weight.’ When it comes to presenting an image of male beauty, we need to expand that. We have Zach now, but we still have a long way to go.”
— Dexter Mayfield (@DexStar84) October 21, 2015
Talking about self-love and acceptance isn’t enough. Mayfield wants men like him out there, showing everyone that there is no one definition of male beauty.
“Once we expand that spectrum of what male beauty is, I think that to continue to have that visibility is crucial,” he said. “We need to be out there on billboards. I think that so many more young men will be confident in themselves and happy as the person they are if we can do that.”