I’ve been feeling a little guilty about the fact that I haven’t really sent out any love or acknowledgement to those big, beautiful men out there. I suppose this is because stereotypically, men are considered the more confident, less body-obsessed sex. When thinking about my own male friends, I can’t say this cliché hasn’t been proven time and time again. One guy here and there might wish he were a bit more muscular, sometimes a bit heavier if he is as skinny as a teeny bopper, or contrastingly perhaps wish to have a tid-bit less belly fat. Overall, though, I can count the amount of male acquaintances that truly want to change the way they look on one hand, whereas for women I would need a couple extra limbs to even begin keeping track.
As we all know, clichés are never as true as they seem. I could be thoroughly wrong, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that men are most likely equally (well, maybe a smidge less) concerned with body image as ladies are – the difference being that they don’t vocalize it as much… and let’s face it, a vast majority of women have no qualms voicing their irrational, often misplaced body insecurities. Because the pro-plus movement has begun, and so many plus-size women are coming out and doing things like blogging or modeling, it’s gotten me thinking about whether fat acceptance is largely geared toward and spearheaded by curvy chicks who are coming out of the fat girl closet. The more I think about it, the more I realize that yes…women are the predominant sex currently embracing the possession of pudge. However, this isn’t to say men may be starting to catch up…or, more accurately, that women want men to catch up.
Mandy Misle, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design in Los Angeles, has launched a big&tall men’s online retail store. Though big&tall shops have existed for ages, the clothes sold there are usually what you’d see someone in the 80th decade of their life wearing. But Misle’s store, HB Clothing, does just the opposite. The goal: turn large lads into badass dressers. Mandy’s tagline is “style for real men,” and as the founder and president, she’s selling everything from hipster flannel to leather jackets to closely fitted tee shirts in sizes L-6XL. Personally, I find that pretty awesome!
A plus-size gal herself, Mandy has basically admitted feeling a kindred-ness with large men. My guess is she probably struggled finding clothes that she actually liked due to her linebacker-esque shoulders and wide arms (as described by Teresa Novellino of Upstart Business Journal) – though now, hopefully, all the launches of plus-size female retailers will help her out a bit. As she told Novellino, “I realized that the lack in the market really isn’t for plus-size women, it’s for big-and-tall men.” So she did something about it. And while no one can know how successful HB Clothing will be, I for one will be crossing my fingers and transmitting positive wishes toward her company. By the looks of it, though, HB is a place of all big men – the hipster, the leather-lover, the hip/hop chic, the jock, and maybe even the band geek.