Not quite Big & Tall: Lightweight tee shirts, heavy-ish man
August 17, 2018 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I am the lucky (?) owner of a male body caught in the, uh, no man's land between "normal" clothing sizes and "big & tall". Most off-the-rack shirts in your typical clothing store are too snug for me, but all "big & tall" clothes are far too large. I just want comfortable tee shirts for warm weather.

As a child, I was dragged into the "husky" section. As a grown man ... there does not seem to be a section for me. My build is (despite my wishes otherwise) whatever the term is for someone with both athletic and overweight qualities. Beefy? Burly? Linebacker?

I don't mean this to offend anyone but most clothing I find in the usual stores is cut either for very slender men with no muscle mass, or else very fit and cut men who just climbed El Capitan, or else very obese men who are extremely rotund.

Usually I wind up finding a small selection of clothes from the "normal" section but at the upper size end. There really is no predicting though. One XL shirt may fit just right, while another XXL won't even fit past my shoulders. Above that you get into the "big & tall" sizes and even the smallest hang on me like a nightgown. To put it bluntly, I'm neither thin enough nor fat enough for most mass market clothing.

JCPenney, of all places, has a house line of t-shirts branded Stafford which are cut generously for their size. Their XL is comfortable for me. But, it is a heavyweight tee. In warm weather, I sweat like mad in the these shirts. They do not sell a lightweight or wicking tee with the same type of cut.

The shirts I've tried from the popular athletic brands like UnderArmour are, again, too snug for my liking. I don't want to be a sausage casing. I just want something with a relaxed fit and cool feel in hot weather.

Ideally I would love to find a go-to brand I can rely on to offer cuts that suit me, particularly lightweight tee shirts as that is my primary wardrobe. This low price segment does not justify tailoring or bespoke wear.

Sorry for the long pre-amble, but can anyone suggest brands or stores to look at for this type of build?
posted by thebordella to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How do you feel about shopping online? JCPenney has options online that aren't always in store and looking at their website shows a Stafford tee in a wicking material. Link here. Several colors available in XL.
posted by danielleh at 2:29 PM on August 17, 2018

I've shrunk down to your territory (XL often too small, XXL too big, B&T laughable). I've been grabbing up the Sonoma Supersoft Tees from Kohl's. They are thin material but not see-through, they fit decently, and they look good enough to wear alone and not just as an undershirt. Also: cheap.

I also have a few tees from the Apt 9 brand, but those have a lot of poly blends, and the fit isn't as good. But they may fit better on you. YMMV.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:58 PM on August 17, 2018

My husband is where you seem to be and t shirts from J Crew (they have a relaxed fit) and Lacoste (not Lacoste like from Marshall’s, actual Lacoste) fit him best.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 3:38 PM on August 17, 2018

I like the Eddie Bauer Legend Wash Classic T. I think their sizing runs a little larger than some other brands. They've got a "tall" which just adds a little (not a ludicrous amount of) length to a size that is otherwise exactly the same as the non-tall version, and they have a separate product that's "slim fit", instead of making that the default. They're not the lightest weight, but they're not super heavy, either.
posted by hades at 3:45 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Eddie Bauer also has a wicking T-shirt which looks like a different cut than the ones I get, but if their sizing in those is comparable to the legend wash sizing, it'd probably be worth a try.
posted by hades at 3:49 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

The 'traditional' fit for Lands' End men's t-shirts: relaxed silhouette, large fits chests 42"-44," xl fits chests 46"-48", xxl fits chests 50"-52". Online, and there are Lands' End departments in some Sears stores. (Here's a list of store closures.)

(It's a pain, but don't rule out tailoring for t-shirts. I also have sizing/fit issues, and my cheap tees/jeans/etc. look and wear great after an additional $10-15 stop at the tailor shop.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:14 PM on August 17, 2018

wintersilks has short sleeved knit silk tees
posted by brujita at 6:55 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mister Fabulous - do you buy the XL or XXL of the Kohl's?
posted by jzb at 6:18 AM on August 18, 2018

I've owned both Lands' End and Eddie Bauer t-shirts, and I would not describe them as lightweight.

I'm 6', 215, witha 48" chest, and I have the same problem you do. I have to try on every t-shirt I buy, because they all fit so differently. Recently I've been wearing Life Is Good shirts because I like the fit. They're still probably not as light as you'd like, but not terrible. They make solid-color shirts if you don't want prints.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:59 PM on August 18, 2018

I know what you mean about UnderArmour but do note that they have some products that aren't super snug. I wear their Tech V-Neck as a base layer pretty often and I like it specifically because it's thin and light and does not feel too confining. They have a crew neck with similar fit as well. I could do without the logo but otherwise been pretty happy with them.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:09 PM on August 18, 2018

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