How to avoid the male muffin top – 3 rules for dressing Flabulously

For most of my adult life I’ve found it challenging to find clothes that are fashionable and comfortable in my size.

Things have got much better  – with sites like Jacamo and High & Mighty (part of the same chain now) providing outfits that will fit most sizes.  However part of the shopping experience for me is trying things on –  The instant pleasure you get from finding just the right outfit – which  is something that is sadly lacking in the online shopping experience.

There are still only so many brands that provide outfits for the larger man

When you consider studies have shown  that 67% of the male population are now classified as overweight or obese you would think that brands would catch on to the fact that for most men  waist sizes dont stop at 38 and chests at 48.

Some brands do provide larger sizes but in most instances this has been a nod to the larger man without providing any tailoring. To  accomodate my 52 inch stomach for example i have to wear a 52 inch chest  top which sometimes feels like I’m wearing a dress!!

Add to this the fact that Flabulous shoppers often pay a premium for larger versions of the clothes our peers wear and you can see my frustration. Whilst I admit that more fabric does go into the outfit i wear you can understand why I feel shortchanged many times when I find the perfect outfit.

However Ive worked out over the years that there are ways to dress flabulously (without breaking the bank) and below  are my three cardinal rules…

Dress for your size

Firstly you do need to admit what your real size is. I did a visual poll around the bar I was in the other night and was shocked that over half of the FLABULOUS people there had squeezed themselves into clothes that didn’t actually fit.  Whilst they were obviously comfortable enough with the fact that they were in a size smaller than they needed, they didn’t look it.

Dressing for your size is key – do not try and wear something thats going to make you feel awkward. I would LOVE to wear skinny jeans but a) my calves just wouldnt fit – let alone thighs-  and b) it would just make my upper body look even huger – Lollipop anyone?

Let’s talk about that upper body.  Whilst it would be great if we were all fat but toned up top this is very rarely the case. so make sure that if you are wearing a top thats going to showcase your Moobs that they do it in the best way – rather then making you feel uncomfortable.

Sometimes we have little choice. At work I am lucky enough to be in an environment which is casual so can get away without dressing up, but would love to wear shirts and smart trousers occasionally.  What stops me is the thought of going to work constantly “hungover” (the male muffin top). Others aren’t so fortunate and for those who do Wo in a more formal environment thank God for tank tops!

Plain colours or patterns?

Now lets get a few things straight…

  • Black is NOT always slimming
  • Horizontal stripes dont always make you look fatter.
  • Plain colours do help with blending away bumps and lumps
  • Wearing a single colour (dark blue denims and a navy polo for example) will help create the illusion of a more streamlined profile but its not going to perform miracles
  • Patterns draw attention to something so make sure you use these in the right place!!

I guess what Im trying to say here is that there is no one rule for everyone. It will depend on your colouring, body shape, and how you like to be seen on what works best for you. I’ve listed below Some examples that work for me…

Wearing a patterned shirt under a plain tank top or jumper.  The pattern will be showing round your arms and neck but not around your waist and chest- which will give the illusion of a more slimline frame.

Wearing a bright colour outside  darker colours. A bright coat, cardigan, or Gillet on top of darker colours will give a similar illusion.

Accent colours either in shoes , hats, scarves or slogans on tshirts all serve to draw attention away from the main event!,

This is coming for someone that for years wore mostly black, and still has a wardrobe of predominantly black and navy but who now realises that I can wear red or royal blue, and even (god forbid) white if I’ve got the right tan!!

To layer or not to layer

For years I avoided layering. My mistaken belief was that I was already bigger so why add extra girth to my already ample frame. But then one day I put on my favourite tshirt to find that it fit far too snuggly for me to be seen in public so rather then discount my tshirt I added a short sleeve shirt over the top and BOOM – new outfit.

I now layer lots, using the differnt layers to help me disguise my size and give me flexibility and the confidence that if things get too hot, i’ve got multiple layers to remove before I hit skin!!

There are some layering rules I use however…

  • All layers should be a different length. Adding layers of the same length will make you look bigger.
  • Use layers to disguise you hangover, weather that’s a tank top, a waistcoat or a jacket
  • Use colour clashes/patterns/checks/stripes with plain to make the layers show. the last thing you want to do is layer with the same colour as this cancels out the effect
  • Make sure your bottoms – be they jeans, trousers shorts etc – work with the outfit up top. layers will make your lower half look smaller so make sure your bottoms are big enough to make the outfit work

In conclusion

Dressing for your size isn’t about wearing clothes that make you feel old or frumpy, but it is about making sure that your clthes flatter your size and shape whilst making you feel good.

More and more stores, including Debenhams and Marks and Spencer, now stock larger sizes that won’t break the bank so you can actually try things on but if you are stuck with mail order don’t be afraid to send thing back if they don’t fit.

Let the mirror be you friend. I am not good with mirrors but force myself when I’m trying clothes on to be really honest and can only do that with the help of the mirror. 

Lastly whatever your style, however you dress, make your look your own and be FLABULOUS!!!


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