Sharp mens-style blazer for a plus size "woman"
September 12, 2019 3:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm a plus-sized "assigned female at birth" person looking for a sharp-looking, mens-style blazer/jacket. Having a lot of trouble finding what I'm looking for!

Last month I went to a formal event where I was impressed at how most of the men around my age (thirties) had blazers that just seemed to fit them really well, both the skinny guys and the fat guys. I have had no such luck!

What I'm looking for is a blazer that will look well constructed and fit me in a fairly androgynous/masculine way. (ie, will not emphasize my curves) I'll be wearing this with tucked-in button down shirts, maybe a tie, nice pants or jeans, and men's dress shoes. I am OK - actually prefer - looking manly in these clothes.

Where should I be looking? If I buy a men's blazer, what kinds of alterations should I have made?


- I'm a size 20-24 in women's clothes, so firmly in the plus-size category. Which means a lot of the "preppy androgynous" options for women from upscale stores are not available to me. And I do prefer men's clothes in general.

- I have wide shoulders (~47") but even wider hips (~53") and a big belly. I'm resigned to the fact that anything for men that fits in the shoulders, will not close in front. I'm also on the short side, so a lot of men's blazers are just too long for me.

- Boobs are not an issue - they're relatively small and I'll be wearing a chest binder anyway.

- My wide shoulders mean I've found a few blazers that come close to fitting me there but they are still just a bit too big and it ends up looking boxy.

- Blazers for plus-size women are almost always kinda ... flowy (think Eileen Fisher style) or have a lot of darting to emphasize the waist. OR they are "boyfriend blazers" and look intentionally oversized and boxy in a 90s throwback kinda way.

- I have a tailor I like but they told me that taking a jacket in at the shoulders would cost $75, so I only want to do it if I'm sure that will solve the boxiness problem - and I'm not sure it will!

I may wind up just having one made, but it's likely my body is going to change shape in the near future for several reasons, so I'm hesitant to spend that kind of money right now.
posted by the sockening to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oooh! Look at the blazers at Wild Fang! I have also been on the hunt for a blazer and they keep catching my eye.
posted by Hopeful and Cynical at 4:34 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

My plus size butch wife had a surprisingly great experience getting a custom vest & pants made at Men's Wearhouse (in Springfield, PA if you're nearby). When she was looking at off the rack jackets, she was told that it's super hard to make adjustments to the shoulders because they'd have to change the whole shape of the jacket, rather than shortened sleeves, etc. She's likewise fairly broad shouldered with larger hips.
posted by ellebee at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2019

Oooh! Look at the blazers at Wild Fang!

Unfortunately, Wild Fang does not sell plus sizes. And yes, I am quite bitter about it! (Don't get me started on their "inclusive" branding.)
posted by the sockening at 4:44 PM on September 12, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yes, when buying a jacket with the intent of having it tailored, buy it so it fits in the shoulder and has the right length from wait to hip. Those things cannot really be adjusted on a finished garment. If your issue is that jackets which fit in the shoulder are too small across the body, you're better off having something made, rather than trying to get something altered to fit especially if the jackets are also generally too long through the body.

It can be hard to find a tailor who will make any suit jacket at all for women because women's suit jackets have all that waist-definition and bust-darting that you're looking to avoid and which they are also looking to avoid. Likewise, it can be hard to ind a tailor who will make a men's jacket to fit a woman because it's unfamiliar and they're not sure what the finished fit should be.

But I often recommend asking at a local theatre or university theatre department if there is a person in the costume shop who takes commissions. It's likely not going to be any less expensive than a tailor's shop, but the are more likely to be comfortable with requests like "a man's jacket that fits a woman"/
posted by crush at 5:14 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

With wider hips and a belly, I might try big and tall stores or departments. I also treasure having a queer trans friendly tailor.
posted by advicepig at 5:21 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Are you scouting the men's departments, finding the most capable looky human, and asking to be measured and fitted? They are there for this!
posted by DarlingBri at 7:17 PM on September 12, 2019

J. Crew does up to a women's size 24 now. A couple of the blazers could definitely go in a dapper/ more masculine direction. The Regent is a relatively straight cut in my experience (of trying to find a blazer to fit in a curvier way!).
posted by hellomiss at 7:56 AM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Petite AFAB here, I'm used to checking in on women's suiting fashions every year or so to see if maybe my colors have come around again in my size. This year I went into Men's Wearhouse despite being not 'man'-shaped at all. The guys who did my fitting had training/experience in selling their products to people with breasts and hips. They talked about the many adjustments that were possible, and said the only real limitation was timeframe.

I don't know how much of that was buying a more expensive suit, and how much was shopping in the men's section, but it was novel having my request ('blue suit for Occasion') treated like a normal and possible thing, and not like a problem that should be resolved by me having a more convenient body. Also, pockets.
posted by mersen at 9:39 AM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just bought a men's blazer that somehow fits me almost perfectly. I'm about a women's size 18 and my blazer size is 44S. I have a belly and boobs, but honestly the real difficulty I had was finding one that didn't give me 80s shoulders. I was planning to get it tailored if needed but the only problem I have is that it's a touch long in the sleeve -- and it even buttons! I got mine at Macy's. I also had good luck at Nordstrom's but Macy's was significantly cheaper -- that being said, Nordstrom's will do tailoring for free.

I was sure this would be a terrible and involved process but it was like two hours at a mall on a Saturday. If I were you, I'd go somewhere like Macy's or Nordstrom's and find out your blazer size, and then try on basically everything in your size until you find something that works. I did try on several 44S that didn't work at all until I found the right one (sleeves too long, sleeves too tight, didn't button, 80s shoulders, etc). I can check the brand when I get home if you're interested, send me a PM.
posted by possibilityleft at 11:01 AM on September 13, 2019

Thanks, everyone! So much good advice here! I've heard elsewhere that Men's Wearhouse is AFAB- and queer-friendly, so I'm going to work up the nerve to hit them up. Maybe Macy's and Nordstrom's as well.
posted by the sockening at 11:29 AM on September 16, 2019

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