I was raised in New York City, which is probably why I prefer men in suits...which is a rare sight in Tucson! While men’s clothes abound at most of our local retailers, large men regularly ask me for help. Here’s what I’ve discovered.
If you’re an extra large gent, you’ve become a diligent shopper out of necessity, since many retailers stock the bigger sizes haphazardly, if at all. Large women face the same problem, so there’s no gender discrimination here, but bigger gals have Lane Bryant and Torrid at most of America’s malls today, which has helped.
For a full selection of terrific clothes in bigger mens’ sizes, head to Oracle Road at Limberlost and visit DXL, which stands for Destination Xtra Large. If you can’t make it to the store, their website is as close as your computer, and you can sign up for email notifications about sales and specials. (On many items, you can get same day pick-up at the store.) Right now, there are lots of summer clothes on sale, many of which are still ideal for our daytime temperatures. If you’re a year-round swimmer, don’t miss the Island Passport Lobster Print Swim Trunks, now 25% off!
For over 50 years, King Size Direct has been one of the main resources for large men’s clothing, and now they are as close as your computer. Request a catalog and browse at home, or wander their website and sign up for sale announcements. Their discounts can be significant -- they did 31% off for Halloween.
Right now, in Macy’s Big and Tall department, Levi’s 541 Athletic Fit jeans are marked down to
$47.70 a pair, and you can skip the mall and head to the website to order them. Kohl’s also has a Big and Tall men’s department, and their Sonoma Supersoft Flannel Button Down shirts are on sale for $23.99 and they are perfect for getting through the chill of the next few months.
Burlington is over on Broadway, but their website is as close as your smartphone, and they often have terrific values in the Big and Tall Department. Right now, the Ecko rhino logo sweatshirt (which is $45 or so just about everywhere else) is $16.99 at this off-price leader.
Also here in town, and also easy to find on the Internet, JC Penney has a large selection in their Big & Tall Men’s Store, which ranges from jeans and tees to suits and winter jackets.
Just a regular Joe
Best as I can tell, a third of the guys hereabouts wear khaki pants and polo shirts; another third wear jeans with those same polo shirts, and the remainder wear tee shirts with whatever’s clean...yes, I still miss gents in suits. Can you tell?
A good pair of khakis can last for years; get them tailored to fit you and you’ll look fabulous! Some stores offer tailoring (Nordstrom’s Rack, Dillards, Macy’s, Mens Wearhouse); for those that don’t (Express, Kohl’s, WalMart) there’s Mendel’s Wife the Tailor at various locations all over town, and lots of independent geniuses too. Seamstress, tailor, alterations are all good Google searches; word of mouth is terrific.
If you are a tee shirt guy, that’s a great look when the shirt is clean, smooth and free of holes. How you wear your jeans is up to you, but most women prefer men to look like they haven’t slept in their clothes…And even ladies’ jeans are waist-high again, so consider investing in a pair that will cover the back forty!
Some winters, the only thing we need is a decent sweatshirt to keep off the morning chill. Others, the pipes burst and we’re all online at the mall buying sweaters for the entire family. Since the weather forecast isn’t much help, consider layering as the best alternative until we actually know how low the temperatures might go. For the jeans and tees crowd, thermal long sleeved shirts are a great idea, since they can be worn under or over the tee and removed later in the day when the mercury rises. My sons both swear by the Uniqlo Heattech tops, which look great and really add warmth without weight. This season, Uniqlo has ultra-light down jackets and vests, which are slim enough to go under or over your clothing. Their website has everything, and they offer free shipping if you pick your order up at their store.
Costco’s 32Degrees clothing is a step beyond traditional thermals. Tee shirts (both short and long-sleeved) are lightweight but offer total comfort as the thermometer dips. My husband swears by them, and as a musician he’s often playing outdoors at night, wearing several layers.
About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com
More information about Karen’s new book at TucsonHappenings.com/fashion