Good week so far? If not, go give Monday’s clobber-cast a go…Ben, Glen, Karl & Leslie from RGT, what more do you need to know??
Tonight we have the latest of monthly features from Michael aka @bigdudeindenim. We’ve dragged our feet a bit with this feature and we can only apologise to Michael, and you guys, but here we are and it’s a doozy!
I shall now hand the mic over to Michael aka @bigdudeindenim as he continues to pass on his thoughts regards denim fits for the bigger gent/lady. Enjoy!
One of the first things many people do when getting into higher end denim (raw, selvedge, etc) is order the wrong size or fit. Wading through the wealth of options and information out there can be intimidating.
My first pair of selvedge denim was from a company called Gustin. Gustin generally releases various jean fabrics on a pre-order basis and starts production once enough buyers have commited. Kind of like crowdfunding. They carry up to a size 40 in their straight and slim fits. I wore a size 40 in Levis and American Eagle. I was concerned the slim fit might be too tight, so I committed to a 40 straight. After a few months of waiting I finally received my first pair of raw selvedge denim. I was so excited opening the package. The first step toward better jeans! Alas. I had botched it up pretty damn good. Gustin (unlike Levi’s, American Eagle, and most other companies) doesn’t vanity size their jeans/pants. Therefore a 40 in Levi’s and American Eagle that I was used to wearing was actually around a 42” waist. Whereas the Gustin was closer to 39” actually. I couldn’t even button them up. But while the waist was far too small, the legs were gigantic on me. They were like a baggy fit and far longer than I had expected. I was so confused. Back to the drawing board, $90 poorer and with nothing to show for it.
It was at this time I realized I had better get more educated about what I was ordering and what I was doing. I realized the tagged size is meaningless if you don’t know your measurements and what fits well. I measured the waist of my Levis (using an online guide on how to measure jeans/pants) and came up with my real waist size. I did research on how the various fits out there (straight, slim, tapered, skinny, etc.) affect said measurements. What I realized is, there is are a ton of things to consider.
For us bigger guys these measurements become very important. It was surprising to learn that as the waist size increases, the leg widths get quite a bit larger than I expected. Generally speaking, a straight fit on someone who wears a size 32 will look far slimmer than a straight fit on someone who wears a size 40. Same with a slim fit. A slim fit in a size 32 will be much slimmer than a slim fit in a size 40. Part of the reason for this is because tapering down from a larger top block (the upper portion of your jeans) can be difficult. But even more so, everyone has different sized legs so if they taper the legs too much they may not fit correctly on some people. I carry most of my extra weight on my stomach area, which means I have fairly normal size legs. However since I have done martial arts off and on, my legs are fairly muscular which means a skinny fit would be a definite no-go. The next thing I realized is that because I carry most of my extra weight in my stomach, a low mid-rise is a serious no-go. It just pushes my belly up and out even more, which is very unflattering I assure you. Not to mention fairly uncomfortable. So generally speaking, I need a mid high-rise in a slim fit. For others like my good buddy Jesus @vedgesus, a low mid-rise is no problem because his extra weight is distributed differently. Lastly, most raw and selvedge denim generally come in one length. The length on a pair of pants is measured from the inseam, and the larger the waist size the longer the length of the inseam. That is to say a 35” length in a size 32/34 will be shorter than a 35” length in a size 40. I am 6 feet tall so I will generally need a significant hem. The more you hem a pair of jeans, the less the legs will have their taper (depending on the fit). For example my Railcar Spikes (slim-tapered fit) after a hem have a larger leg opening than without the hem. This is due to cutting off the additional length where the actual taper is.
There are so many things to consider and to keep in mind when shopping for denim. The way a pair of jeans or pants fits you is important no matter what size you are, but speaking from experience it becomes even more important when you are a bigger person. I always recommend trying clothes on in person to get the right fit when possible. And, no matter what size you are, if you want that perfect fit, you will either need to have your denim hemmed and/or tapered, or order from a company that will do custom orders.
I hope this post helps not only us bigger guys/gals who are considering taking that high end denim plunge, but anyone of any size who has been considering the same or can’t seem to find their fit. As always I am available for any questions, comments, or suggestions on topics. Find me on the gram: @bigdudeindenim.
~ Big Dude in Denim 7-2-18