I just want clothes that fit, dammit!
February 10, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Am I falling victim to the embiggening of the United States or am I missing good stores? Help me find clothes that fit a tall, thin guy!

I haven't had to shop for clothes in a year or so, but things are getting shabby, so I need to think about replacements. That's where things start to get unpleasant. I'm tall and fairly thin....6'3", and ~195#. This seems to put me into a missed segment of the market.

For shirts, I've typically gone to EddieBauer/LandsEnd/LLBean and purchased Large Tall. I'd continue to do this, except the LT size seems to have grown to cape-like proportions. Can anyone tell me where I might find shirts that are sized similarly to the LT of 3-4 years ago?

Then, we move on to the world of jeans/pants. I seem to have unusually large legs/butt(soccer player), relative to others of my waist size(34"w, 35"inseam), so I wind up with either REALLY baggy jeans, or jeans that are so tight in the buttal-area that I can't sit down. Any suggestions?

Thanks, all!
posted by specialnobodie to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried online for these stores? I know that Banana Republic has (tall) sizes online that they don't carry in the store.
posted by emkelley at 12:14 PM on February 10, 2010

Can you get to an H&M? They tend to run tall and skinny, especially with men's clothes.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:18 PM on February 10, 2010

A tailor can take in the sides of a shirt quite inexpensively.
posted by Comrade_robot at 12:20 PM on February 10, 2010

Nordstroms has shirts for you (and me!) but I don't know about pants.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:24 PM on February 10, 2010


On the women's side of things, at least, I can testify that all these brands' tall sizes have indeed seemed to get ridiculously voluminous in the past couple of years -- I've largely given up entirely on them. Banana Republic, J. Crew, and Gap tall sizes (all online only) still seem to fit pretty slim (though again, this is for women's clothing, but I'm guessing they've maintained the slimmer silhouettes for their menswear, too).
posted by scody at 12:25 PM on February 10, 2010

Go to Nordstrom (or Macy's even) and talk to a man in their men's clothing department. We did this last year with my husband and it was great. He knew all the right brands/sizes for my husband just by looking at him. (My husband is also thing, not quite as tall as you, but has very broad shoulders/built arms. Ill fitting clothing looks absurd on him.)
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:27 PM on February 10, 2010

6'2 and 185 here, and if you're already shopping at Land's End, look at (1) their Tailored Fit stuff, and (2) their custom-shirt program. Their tailored fit pants, in particular, fit me really well - and slimmer than slim-fit pants from Brooks Brother/J Crew/Banana Republic.
posted by brozek at 12:31 PM on February 10, 2010

I know the problem. I've been having pretty good luck at Bloomingdale's lately.
posted by spilon at 12:36 PM on February 10, 2010

Express has "modern fit" shirts that should fit the bill. In general, look for labels that say "slim fit", "tailored fit", "modern cut" or something like that.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:38 PM on February 10, 2010

Yeah, unfortunately clothes that fit you are out there... they're just more expensive.

I have a hard time with the Old Navy/Gap/Target/Whatever clothes because I am in a similar boat as you - they are all too boxy.

For good slim cuts, you have to hit up the Euro labels or the higher-end stores. Banana Republic, Zara, maybe some at Urban Outfitters (tight is in with the kids). Nordstrom (Rack) is fantastic.

Plus, as some have mentioned, have your shirts tailored.
posted by kaseijin at 12:39 PM on February 10, 2010

Also, do you know your measurments? Go in to a "men's store" like Men's Wearhouse or the like and get measured for shirts.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:39 PM on February 10, 2010

I'm your height and about your weight, I'll second H&M. My girlfriend got me to go there after seeing my button down shirts and mentioning that they were like sails on me. Now I buy all my shirts there. Cheap, too.
posted by Brian Puccio at 12:50 PM on February 10, 2010

My husband is 6'4", 163#, and the easiest thing for us has been just to take in the shirts. Put it on inside out and pin it where you'd like it to fit. Turn it right side out and check the fit. Then turn it back inside out and sew along those lines. Cut away the extra fabric and finish the seam in some fashion. You have to ease the armpits a bit, match the seams, and make sure to leave the bottom a little flared (to tuck in right). The easiest thing to do was practice on a couple of shirts destined for the rag bag and to do my first couple real ones with cheap-o shirts from a place like Marshall's.

This takes maybe 15 minutes start to finish and holds up well, though I would take any really expensive shirts (or anything with a complicated pattern that needed to match) to a tailor.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:56 PM on February 10, 2010

yep, try places that cater to younger men - the men's equivalent of Juniors - that's where you find pants with the inseam longer than the waist. also, mainstream stores like gap, etc, actually carry a wider range of sizes (eg: 34x35, etc) but you have to order them, not so helpful if you want to try on first, but great if you know what fits.

IDK where you live but K & G Fashion Superstore (in the south) is great for casual dress to dress clothes in a wide range of sizes and low prices.
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:59 PM on February 10, 2010

Seconding H&M, and try Zara as well. Zara is cut similarly to H&M, but I find that their clothes cater to taller people - I'm fairly short and skinny and sleeves on Zara shirts are always much too long for me, while they fit correctly in the chest and shoulders.
posted by pravit at 1:07 PM on February 10, 2010

Sounds like you have the ideal hipster body (except for your legs). Urban Outfitters?
posted by AlsoMike at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2010

Don't just have shirts tailored; have your shirts custom made for you. See this other AskMe Thread. It's not much more expensive than buying ill-fitting shirts and spending the time going in and having them tailored, and you will get a better result. Plus you can choose your fabric and details instead of taking whatever's on the racks.
posted by meowzilla at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2010

Go to the Banana Republic and Gap websites, and find the Mens Tall sections. They will have a lot of options, but be sure to pick the slim-fit shirts. Their pants are ok though, still too baggy in all the wrong places.
posted by mlo at 1:23 PM on February 10, 2010

Response by poster: I'm in Chicago, for whatever that's worth. Local recommendations for specific stores(or tailors) are certainly welcome.

Sounds like I might have to depart from my usual haunts, which I can accept. What's H&M's quality like? I dislike shopping enough that I'd rather not have to repeat the process very often.

I'll take the tailor idea, too. I've always figured that would be a pain, but it might be the best way to go if I can't find any off-the-shelf options. Can jeans be hemmed by a tailor like a shirt can?

Thanks for all the suggestions thus far! Thanks for all yet to come!
posted by specialnobodie at 1:29 PM on February 10, 2010

I have no idea what's going on with clothing sizes but I bought a pair of 32x32 jeans online and was swimming in them when they arrived. Turns out that pants with a 32 in waist can be 37 inches around...
posted by foodgeek at 1:29 PM on February 10, 2010

Jeans can definitely be hemmed!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:42 PM on February 10, 2010

I'm in roughly the same situation (6'3, 215) and I really feel your pain. 'Large Tall' shirts are no longer 'V-shaped', but 'bell shaped.' Also, big and tall stores should just all rename themselves 'fat' stores, because they don't sell tall shirts that cannot double as car covers.

First thing: Get measured - specifically know your neck and sleeve sizes. This is not a magic bullet as the cut of a shirt varies wildly but neck size and sleeve length are generally accurate.

I've had mild success with discount stores like Burlington Coat Factory, Marshals, etc who buy the sizes that retailers can't sell and mark them down significantly. Since the shirts are usually less than $15 anyway, I buy 1 or 2 sizes of 3 to 4 different brands (all white or neutral colors) and then take them home to try on. If I find a brand that I like/that fits, I scour the area to buy up all that I can find at the same name discount stores while they're still in stock. Those that do not fit I can attempt to return or just wear under sweaters in winter.

For what it's worth I've usually had success with Van Heusen (tall), Alexander Julian (tall) and some Jos. A Banks (tall). Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and polo stuff is usually on the border and good for a few washes before it shrinks too much. Brands that are simply NEVER long enough include Geoffrey Beene, Calvin, J. Crew, Express, and Gap/Old Navy/Banana. As I'm sure you already know, most higher end designers either do not sell 'tall' or their 'tall' is too short :(. Good luck!
posted by datacenter refugee at 1:45 PM on February 10, 2010

I'm in the same boat as you, though not quite as tall (5'11", 140 lbs). I've found some Esprit shirts fit me very well, though I've only seen them in actual Esprit stores. American Eagle polo-type shirts fit me pretty well and Gap occasionally has button-down shirts that fit, as well.

You might try on some Wrangler jeans (boot-cut I think). I was pleasantly surprised by how they fit and they last forever.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 2:40 PM on February 10, 2010

Shop online. Many stores sell tall sizes online that they don't stock in brick-and-mortar outlets. It's a hassle sending them back when they don't fit, but it's better than nothing.

When you find something that fits, stock up. I found tee shirts that fit me at Penney's online a couple of years ago and bought 24 of 'em, all black .
posted by justcorbly at 2:42 PM on February 10, 2010

H&M quality is a bit erratic. The fit of their clothes vary a bit more within the same size, and some things like buttons aren't sewn on as well as they should. I don't know about shrinkage since I line dry all of my clothes. They have a cheaper line in their stores, "Divided", that seems to be even lower quality than the main H&M line. I avoid these like the plague.

H&M clothing are slimmer than department store "athletic" or "fitted" clothes as well as BR and Gap "fitted".

Also, I have no idea why men's clothing is measured by neck and sleeve size. You should choose clothing that fits your shoulders/chest well most importantly, unless you plan on wearing a lot of ties. Sleeves can be easily shortened (but not lengthened; most sleeves are cut too long for this purpose). However, changing shoulder/chest size is practically making a new shirt, so that's not an option.
posted by meowzilla at 2:57 PM on February 10, 2010

I am about the exact size as you and also played soccer for many many years.

For myself, the best fitting jeans I've found are Gap Low Rise or boot cut jeans. Seem to fit me perfectly. I get the 33,34 or 34, 34 usually. Generally speaking all of the pants that Gap have to offer fit really well on my frame.

For shirts I just stick with XL or XL tall depending on the company. I actually could wear a large shirt but they are too short in the torso area. Another problem is the arm length of most long sleeved shirts. I just stick to XL for these as the tall arm length is way too long. I feel your pain on this issue for sure.
posted by Gravitus at 3:38 PM on February 10, 2010

Have you considered Levi's 501 Shrink-To-Fit jeans? Get them 1" larger in the waist and 2" longer in the inseam. Wear them in a tub of hot water for 30 minutes and let the magic happen!
posted by cazoo at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2010

My husband is your height and a little slimmer (maybe 175), and he likes Lands End's "tailored fit" quite a lot, as well as their "Medium Tall" size (which may fit like their large tall used to).
posted by palliser at 6:25 PM on February 10, 2010

My recommendation for any man of your height is Rochester Big & Tall. They have a lot of big stuff but they also have tall that isn't big and they carry enough styles that there should be something for thin guys. The clothes aren't cheap, but the quality and service is excellent and they tailor on the premises.

It shouldn't be the only place you go, but you should definitely check them out.
posted by immlass at 10:34 PM on February 10, 2010

Seconding Rochester Big and Tall. My big and tall husband shops there and so does his 6'9" 220lb (crazy tall, not so big) brother.

Not cheap, but good selection and quality.
posted by saradarlin at 2:23 AM on February 11, 2010

Decades of buying for extra tall men in my family was made infinitely easier by a shopping trip with each one to one of the better men's stores in the city and devoting enough time to finding exactly which brands, sizes and cuts actually fit well, then buying enough of each thing to be sufficiently clothed. Thereafter (assuming nobody was still growing) it was just a matter of ordering more of the same to restock the wardrobe as things got worn out or tired-looking. Most men don't like to vary their wardrobe all that much, anyway. Go for the quality because they'll fit you better, consequently look a lot better and last longer, not to mention they'll be there the next time you need new things.
posted by Anitanola at 12:56 AM on August 19, 2010

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