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Weight Gain, Menswear, and What To Do When Your Wardrobe Does Not Fit Anymore

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Blue suit with a white shirt and red tie

When you gain weight, it can affect different parts of your wardrobe negatively. Shirt sleeves start feeling short, collars get tight and pants cannot be buttoned or fastened. Do not worry. There are a few things that can be done besides buying a new wardrobe. Here is the scoop on weight gain, menswear and what your next steps should be to do something about it.

Dress Shirts – Men’s dress shirts are tailored to accommodate today’s man with bigger stomachs. Fitted or tailored shirts will stop fitting if you gain weight. When you gain weight, it may happen in the shoulders and the neck. Sleeves will start feeling short and you will not be able to button the top button of your shirts.

When your collar gets tight, move the collar button ½ inch or use a collar button extender. You can pay a tailor to sew in a new collar, if the shirt is plain white. A new collar can be made from your shirt’s shirt tails if there is enough material available. Sleeve lengths can be increased by attaching longer cuffs, but if they are too long, it will look unsightly. Shirts can be let out to allow for bigger stomach. There is rarely enough material to use for altering to accommodate changes in size. It most likely is time to buy some new shirts if the shirt cannot be tailored to fit better.

Sport Jackets and Suit Jackets – Jackets have the most give when it comes to someone putting on weight. Jackets usually have 2 or more sections where extra fabric can be let out to accommodate weight gain. Check to see if there is excess fabric available before hiring a tailor to do suit alterations. Plus, there are limitations on what can be tailored due to balanced proportions. Jacket shoulders normally cannot be let out, but the back of a jacket and the sleeves can be tailored. When a guy gains weight and increases a couple of sizes, there’s still hope for the ability to do some tailoring on a jacket and achieve benefit, but past those amounts, it is time to buy a new jacket or new suits. Consider the front length of the jacket. If belly becomes too big, the jacket will raise and not be wearable. It will look odd and unnatural.

Trousers – Trouser tailoring is restricted by two things, the amount of extra material in the back pocket and where the back pockets are sewn into the pants. Many professional clothiers will make pants with 2 or more inches of fabric to allow for altering needs down the road due to weight gain. Most trousers made in a clothing factory are not made this way because they are keeping fabric costs down to make more money. Do not spend a ton of money on pants if your weight is going up and down. If you are having trousers made by a clothier, have them leave off the back pockets to give room to let the pants out if you gain weight. If you are a big guy, wear trousers using suspenders. They will be more comfortable, and you will look better.

Shoes – Shoes are not considered when it comes to gaining weight normally. But once your feet begin to swell a bit, your feet hurt, and your shoes stop fitting. When you gain weight, your shoes will wear out sooner and your feet will get bigger. When these issues arise, you might need to visit a shoe cobbler to have your shoes stretched.

So, there are strategies you can employ when you gain weight to adjust how your menswear fits, but if you gain too much weight, it is most likely time to buy a new set of menswear.

sewing machine needle and foot

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