Let’s keep it real, everyone wants to look good in whatever they’re wearing. Growing up, for others, affording a pair of jeans you liked meant devising a plan and coming correct to your parents for the coins. But for me, living in a larger body meant that I didn’t ask my mother for the money because the stores didn’t sell my size. Shopping was frustrating, and a lot of times, overwhelming.
Right before my 17th birthday, my older brother took me shopping at our favorite department store. Although smaller in size, he had always been my style influence, and going shopping with him meant getting my own styling session with my personal “Dapper Dan.” However, by the time we had left the fitting rooms I had nothing to show for, while my brother was able to grab 7 items and look Fashion Week ready. Sadly, I had to put everything back because nothing fit.
Because of the lack of variety in sizing for men who live in larger bodies, for a while, I had to rely on basic tees and the un-cool jeans from what would only be described as the “dad section.” However, as I got older, I began noticing larger guys like Anthony Anderson (the flyest dad on TV!) who was able to rock these outfits that I only thought people like my brother or Kanye could pull off.
I realized then that having a larger body doesn’t mean having to be boring with what I wear.
Discovering the inclusive brands that sat well within my budget, but also embraced larger men and cutting-edge fashion at the same time, allowed me to have a breakthrough with my own style. With the ability to become bolder in my choices, my confidence and my fly guy-spirit grew.
In finding clothes that fit me well and were on trend, I was able to let my personality truly shine and let something other than my size or my skin color do the talking.
Many fashion brands have started to become more size-inclusive by making clothes that fit individuals in larger bodies while also featuring us in their ads. As someone who online shops way too much (because we know most brands “only sell extended sizes online”), I started to feel inspired by not only the clothing, but by the individuals in them, too.
Because I saw people who looked like me and were wearing the things I like to wear, my confidence grew enough to pursue my own career in modeling and fashion.
My experience as a model has been a positive one – but the fashion industry, as a whole, still has a long way to go. I can only hope that my style and my journey can be an inspiration for other higher-weight men who feel like they have no voice or no representation in the industry. Sometimes, as individuals in larger bodies, or as people of color, the world sees us before we have the chance to show them who we are as individuals.
My hope, as a model, is to represent men who, like me, never felt like they could wear the latest styles because of their size, background, or who they are. We all deserve to feel like a million bucks regardless of how we look, and I hope I’m sending that message to the fashion industry and to all men out there.
Hear me loud and clear: men of all sizes are deserving of good fashion, confidence, and swagger!
Self-love requires constant maintenance, and presentation has a lot to do with our well-being. Looking good means feeling good, and brands have a responsibility to cater to the full range of sizes.
As I continue to represent the “brawny” men out there, know I hear you and see you, and will continue to push the boundaries of what male models, and all men, “should” look like.