Shaquille O’Neal, former Los Angeles Laker and supersized analyst of Inside the NBA, recently partnered with Peerless Clothing to launch a line for other big and tall guys. The Shaquille O’Neal Collection, available at Macy’s, offers sport coats and suit separates that are ideal for a buff guy who may need a bigger jacket to cover his broad shoulders and a smaller trouser to fit his trim waist.
While Shaq’s stature and build came in handy on the court, his 7-foot-1, 325-pound frame presented fashion challenges when he wasn’t playing ball. “It was impossible for me to find clothing off the rack. I had to get all my clothing custom made,” explains O’Neal. “I wanted to create affordable, accessible, and fresh designs I could wear on air, in a business meeting, or to a nice restaurant.”
In creating his collection, Shaq learned a lot about crafting a perfectly tailored suit for bigger guys like himself. And he’s sharing his newfound expertise—below, O’Neal and Suzanne Anderson, Peerless Clothing’s creative director, share common big-and tall-clothing challenges and solutions for finding the right fit.
The Challenge: My jacket doesn’t fit right in the shoulders.
The Fix: “Jackets can be a challenge because big and tall guys are usually big or tall, not both, which throws off the fit,” explains O’Neal. You know the size is right if “the seam sits right on top of the shoulder, without drooping on to the arms or pulling tight across the back,” adds Anderson.
The Challenge: My jacket feels tight around the middle.
The Fix: While shopping for a new jacket, button it up and look for visual cues of a good fit: “You shouldn’t see any pulling at the waist, underarm, chest, or back. If you do, consider sizing up,” advises Anderson.
The Challenge: My shirt always comes untucked.
The Fix: Because big and tall men typically have large torsos, their shirttails often come untucked when they sit or bend over. “Your shirt should be long enough that is hits your thigh, mid-boxer,” says O’Neal. “This provides enough fabric and flexibility so you won’t come undone.”
The Challenge: The length of my pants is just…wrong.
The Fix: If you’re going for a classic look, your pants should hit the top of your shoe with a one-inch break. “If you’re going for a more fashion-forward look, a shorter length or even a cuff is fair game,” says Anderson. “Just tie your look together with a smart pair of socks to ensure the length looks purposeful.”
The Challenge: I’m not sure how my vest should fit.
The Fix: Weather you’re rocking a vest as a stand-alone piece or as part of an ensemble, you should feel and look comfortable. It shouldn’t be so tight that it feels like a straightjacket or so loose that it hangs off your body like an apron, notes O’Neal. Length is also key: If you can see your shirt sticking out between your belt and the bottom of your vest, it’s not long enough, says Anderson. The vest should fully cover your waistband.
The Challenge: My sleeves are never the right length.
The Fix: For the best possible fit, buy shirts with a numbered neck and sleeve length. “When you buy traditional sizes, like large or extra-large, you’re getting a garment with average proportions,” explains Anderson. “The neck may fit but the sleeves could be too short or long, and vice versa. A shirt should hit at the base of the wrist, just below the wrist bone, and the jacket sleeve should end a half-inch above that.”
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