Nikki’s Inbox: Big Guys = Bolder Look, Better Style

I notice you give style tips and I love it, but I wonder if you have some tips for bigger guys. Not all of the Asian guys are thin like those models on this site.

It would help me so much if you can help me with picking up a new style. I get from a lot of girls that my style is bad – one of the reasons they might not date me.

I have a bulky/chubby build. I do a lot of push-ups, so I’m bigger than an average Korean/Chinese guy. My normal style is a black T-shirt and jeans. Sometimes a shirt and pants with some nice shoes (formal/casual). But I’m looking for something new/fresh.

Hope you can help with a somewhat bigger guy because I don’t know what suits me! Many thanks!

Leon, 28/The Netherlands


Hey there, Leon. I definitely agree with you that not everyone has the build of a model. This is why I always ask readers to give more information about their body dimensions, style preferences and personalities. We’re all built differently and uniquely.

An Honest Evaluation

While I firmly believe that first impressions play a big role, I also believe that it’s better to look past those outward appearances and really get to know the person. Leon, you said girls say they might not date you because of your style. So be realistic and objective about your appearance. Are your clothes always rumpled? Are you wearing the right size and fit for your build? How about your hygiene? Are your shoes dirty? Do you wear the same things practically every day? How do you approach people? These are all hard and easy questions that you can ask yourself and your closest friends. Ask them to be honest and remember that this is all because you want to improve yourself. The first step is always the most difficult but once you get it done, you’re on your way!

TOMONARI : Bay Go Mall : Sneaker photo by Ginny

Fit & Size are Always Important

For the likes of us who were not born with picture-perfect measurements, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of buying and wearing clothes in the sizes we aspire for (like two sizes too small) or the sizes that we hope will hide our multitude of sins. I’m guilty of still doing that sometimes.

For your favored black T-shirt and jeans outfit, do they fit you well or do they sag in unsightly places? There’s nothing more unflattering than a pair of saggy jeans or a T-shirt that desperately needs replacement because it’s all faded and has holes. What to do? Get your body measurements with the help of a friend (or your mom) and a tape measure, or get fitted at the store you frequent. It might be that the V-neck tees you like so much make your neck look thicker or that the style of your jeans is making you look disproportional to your upper half.

Bruce Banner transforming into The Hulk from “The Avengers” by Marvel Studios

Try a Layered Look Using Colors

Pairing contrasting colors such as brights with neutrals instantly adds distinction to your outfit. Use two T-shirts of similar textures and weights but different colors, such as red and white. Wear them both and roll up the sleeves a little to show off the inner layer. Voila! Your plain tee-and-jeans now look different and certainly warrant a little more attention. You can use the same tactic by choosing tops (shirts, T-shirts or even sweatshirts) with such contrasting details, e.g., differently colored sleeves like those on raglan tees, patches or insets on the shoulders, pockets or even the button placket. It’s your choice whether to make it subtle or bold upfront.

PANMAX : Smallman : STYLEMAN : PANMAX

Choose & Wear the “Good Stuff” the Right Way

Note that “good stuff” doesn’t always mean designer labels or high prices. Once you have clothes that fit you in all the right places and you feel and look great in, do justice to these pieces by wearing them the right way like actually buttoning your long-sleeved shirts and tucking them in your pants occasionally. People will respond to you differently if you wear your clothes differently.

PANMAX : PANMAX : PANMAX

With jeans, dark-rinse ones are the way to go, minus the rips, the bleaching and all other distracting details. If you’re bulky, you’ll need less distractions and more streamlining. Dark jeans also work well with almost everything so having 2 or 3 pairs in the right length and size will stand you in good stead. Wear a belt if needed to avoid sagging and most especially if you tuck your T-shirt or shirt.

PANMAX : PANMAX : PANMAX

For your tees and shirts, try colors other than black to begin with. For button-downs, rolling the sleeves just below your elbow immediately makes your outfit look more casual and relaxed. Choose smaller patterns – such as checks instead of lumberjack plaid, pinstripes instead of rugby stripes – to avoid visually adding more bulk to your frame.

STYLEMAN : Seoul Homme : PANMAX : MODSLOOK

Smaller Details Matter

Complement your new and fresh look with the right accessories. Time to ditch the basketball shoes for some polished white leather sneakers or perhaps mocs and chukkas. Instead of wearing baseball caps, rotate them with fedoras and newsboy caps. A metallic-tone watch and a leather satchel or messenger bag look more classy than the usual canvas backpack and toy watch.

Green Banana : YIDESIMPLE : Red Violin

You may or may not like all of my suggestions but I do suggest you try what you think will work for you. You just might be surprised!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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