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When Are We Going To Talk About Size Diversity In Menswear?

Fashion
Illustration by Lindsay Hattrick

Brands need to realize the plus-size men’s market is waiting

Walking out of my first New York Fashion Week show, I finally, for the first time, understood what Miranda Priestly meant when she said, “Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.” It took a front row seat at a runway show, but, suddenly, I understand the glamour of it all. And yet once my adrenaline high wore off and my attention began to drift from that stunning yellow Carlos Campos suit, I was left with the same question that crosses my mind whenever I think about fashion, Where were all the plus-size men?

This is not just a high-end fashion problem. This past May, in preparation for my first trip to Paris, I embarked on what should have been a simple shopping session. On my to-buy list were four items: slim fit white jeans, slim fit light washed jeans, a floral printed shirt, and a gray patterned pant. Determined, I went through almost every menswear store at my local mall in upstate New York—from H&M to Zara to Banana Republic—only to find that nearly no store had options in my size. The Gap, for instance, had a beautiful selection of ripped light wash jeans on sale. The largest size, however, was a 36, which equates to a size large. No matter how hard I tried, my 38/40-inch waist was not squeezing into those. So after two hours of searching and groaning, I left with a blue floral print shirt from Old Navy (in a size XXL, which is one size up from my usual, since many of their clothes run small) and a sour taste in my mouth.

That experience is a familiar one to all plus-size people, though it is rare to hear plus-size men speak about it, probably because of the shame factor: We’re viewed as slobs. And yet, by refusing to offer us adequate clothing options, we are not even given the opportunity to prove that judgment wrong. After my experience in May, frustrated with my lack of options, I launched Hard at #Werk, a plus-size menswear and lifestyle blog that is focused on filling this fashion industry void. 

And it was through the launch of this blog that I found myself at New York Men's Fashion Week, front row at the Carlos Campos show. As I took my seat, I found myself closely observing the fashion icons that stood before me; all these recognizable men in suits, in one-pieces, in designer coats, in suspenders and high-waisted shorts—it was a dream come true. And while I did notice a handful of plus-size men around me (I counted five from where I was sitting, but likely missed some from the commotion and room arrangement), and was very thankful to Campos’ team for inviting them, it was clear that I was in the minority. That’s not to say that I felt inferior or judged by the skinny, fit fashionistas walking amongst me (my outfit was clean and simple, so I felt confident in that), but it was hard to avoid noticing that the body diversity level was low. 

The show was mesmerizing; Campos is an incredible designer, and who doesn't love a full-on yellow suit? But as I Instagrammed each model strutting past me, I knew instantly that there wouldn’t be anyone above a size small or medium walking down that runway. And frankly, I knew that it would be that way for almost the entire run of NYFWM. 

Historically, there hasn't been much body diversity shown during runway shows. And yet that is slowly starting to change. In February at NYFWM, there were a select few plus-size models included on the runway, the most notable being for a collection by ASOS. And while this is progress, as is ASOS’ big and tall line which runs up to a 6XL, there was no show entirely devoted to designing for the fashion-forward, plus-size male. Things are slightly better when it comes to NYFW: Women's, where it’s expected that several designers will include at least some plus-size women in their shows; a rising number, in fact, take the opportunity to embrace this, including trailblazer Christian Siriano. While there is still a really long way to go, body positivity has begun to flourish in women’s fashion, but can’t seem to take root in the world of menswear. 

Off the runway as well, plus-size women are finally in their rightfully deserved spotlight, with multitudes of designer clothing lines available to flatter many body types. They've also been appearing with much more regularity in mainstream media publications, including NYLON, with Tess Holliday recently commanding attention on the recent cover of Self. There’s certainly work to be done, especially when it comes to creating inventive, forward-thinking clothing for plus women that they haven’t seen hundreds of times before, but it’s clear that the women’s fashion industry is taking strides to increase diverse body inclusion—even if for no other reason than that they have realized that plus-size women have disposable incomes which they want to spend on clothes too. 

But menswear and men's media still has a long way to go. Take a look through recent issues of GQ or Esquire, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find an overweight man. As with women, slim men are the ones who are awarded the opportunity to be fashion-forward and stylish, plus-size men or those who usually fall anywhere above a size small or medium are left with the scraps. We’re given Walmart T-shirts, even when we want Balenciaga sweaters and Gucci coats. 

Perhaps one of the reasons that plus-size men are still ignored when it comes to fashion is because an interest in clothes is still viewed as gendered and "feminine." But considering that statistics from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases show that 3 out of 4 American men are classified as overweight or obese, it's pretty difficult to believe that none of them are interested in looking as stylish as possible. 

It must be acknowledged that there are a handful of options available to the plus-size man. ASOS has created a section entirely devoted to big and tall men, as have a number of other retailers. Brands like Destination XL and MVP Collections are doing their best to provide men not only with clothing that fits but clothing that is also stylish. They’ve tapped into a deep problem that retailers who often market to overweight men don’t realize: We don’t just need clothing, we need the same stylish, trendy options that skinny men have. 

A quick Instagram scroll through the follower counts and engagement rates of the few plus-size male influencers we have—from Kelvin Davis to Michael-Anthony Spearman—show clearly how many wannabe plus-size fashionistas are ready to join the conversation. 

The market is there. The money is ready to be made. The men are waiting to be dressed. So which designer will be the first to take the lead? 

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube www.youtube.com

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Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

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Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale youtu.be

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

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Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.

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