What is Big and Tall Clothing?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Big and tall clothing usually refers to men’s clothes as opposed to women’s plus size clothing. There has always been a market for clothes for men and women that may have be taller or have a larger waist and chest size than average. With most people purchasing clothes “off the rack” instead of having them specifically tailored, this market has only grown.

Big and tall stores carry underwear in larger sizes.
Big and tall stores carry underwear in larger sizes.

There is some distinction between clothes that are big and tall and those that are merely labeled tall. While many men’s pants come in a variety of inseam lengths and waist sizes, which can help to accommodate taller men, numerous shirts are cut to fit men of a certain height range. Taller men or those with long waists may find that an appropriately sized shirt is not long enough to wear comfortably. Therefore some companies make “tall” sized tops for men, that aren’t necessarily larger in size through the waist or the chest.

Big and tall clothing often eliminates the need for custom tailoring.
Big and tall clothing often eliminates the need for custom tailoring.

Yet some men are taller and may also need more room in the waist and chest too, which has led to numerous companies producing big and tall clothes for men. There are clothing manufacturing companies and retailers that are specific to these needs. Some department store brands sell big and tall sizes under the brand names they carry.

It may be easier to find much larger sizes at stores or Internet sites specifically devoted to big and tall clothing. Size range, though this varies, is usually more plentiful and may help accommodate men who are a height or weight much more than average. Selection and variety is typically better in stores devoted to big and tall sizes and may even accommodate special types of clothing for work like scrubs.

Stores and websites that carry these sizes of clothing may have additional attraction. They may carry larger sized shoes, underwear in larger sizes, and accessories like hats and gloves in sizes that are hard to find elsewhere. Many stores have numerous brand names and can carry sizes up to 10x, which may accommodate up to a 78-80 inch (198.12-203.2 cm) waist and an 82-84 inch (208.28-213.36) chest. Sizes around the neck and in general length of garments are also increased, though it should be noted that each brand may have its own size chart with slight variations.

Some men do note that big and tall clothing may be more expensive than clothing made for “regular” sizes. This is sometimes the case, just as plus size clothes for women often cost more too. With careful shopping, especially during sales, price difference can be negligible.

Men with a larger than average waist size may find clothing that fits well at a store that specializes in big and tall items.
Men with a larger than average waist size may find clothing that fits well at a store that specializes in big and tall items.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I'm 6'2" and 265 pounds, with a athletic build. I have really wide shoulders, thin waist, big butt, big legs and really wide hips. Representing my problem with clothes is the fact that I wear regular large shirts, and most fit great, but some dress shirts, even XL ones, do not fit my shoulders and arms, which are really big from powerlifting and football. My waist is 38, but I need to wear 44 waist pants because 38-42 fits around my waist but are so tight around my quads, calves and butt that you can see every cut. I guess I need to go to a tailor or something but it's a pain in the butt.


I am not giant, but have a really hard time finding clothes. At 6'1 and 247 pounds, I have a 40" waist and a 52" jacket size with a 6'7 wingspan and quite thick legs. I have to go XXL or XXXL at least for shirts to fit my shoulders and chest but by that size, they are usually much too long and huge like a skirt around my waist. Very unflattering.

For pants, I can barely squeeze into many that are the right size in the waist because my legs are too big so I have to go larger in the waist to fit on my legs and the pants are droopy and frumpy around my butt. Every now and then I find a lucky, special piece of clothing that fits properly and doesn't look silly, but ever since I stopped growing, clothes shopping is very, very frustrating. I went to a big and tall store and they had large sizes but I had the same problems with the fit. What the heck is a guy a little on the heavy side but also with a strong frame supposed to wear?


Does anyone know where I can find big and tall hunting clothing? I used to have a nice set of hunting fatigues, but they are worn and in need of replacement. I am about 6'6" and about a 44 waist. I need something that is functional, warm, and adequate for fall hunting in Vermont. I live in a small state so my retail options are limited. If you could direct me to a good online retailer, I would appreciate it.


@parmnparsley- I feel your pain. I am an odd size for big and tall clothing. I find that things are made either for the tall and lanky, or for the shorter and plump. I fall somewhere in the middle, so I can never find a size that fits.

For example, the inseam may be long enough, but the waist will max out one size below my waist size. Either I find a pair of pants that are long enough, but too tight, or pants that fit right, but make me look like I am about to forge a small stream. It is a wonder my wife does not understand why I hate to go clothes shopping.

When I shop for big and tall mens clothing, I tend to buy multiples of what I find just in case I ruin an outfit and cannot find a store that carries a ready replacement.


I have to say that as a tall man, I am often frustrated when I go into a big and tall clothing store. I am about 6'9" tall, but have extremely long arms and a large neck. Everything that I buy is almost always tailored (except jeans and tee shirts). Finding dress shirts is almost impossible because I have a 41" sleeve and when I do find shirts long enough, they are very baggy because they are about 60 inches around at the chest or waist.

Sometimes I wonder how these clothing companies come out with big and tall clothing sizes because they are essentially normally sized clothes that are just multiplied by a certain ratio at every measurement. I do not think that the designers understand that just because someone is a foot taller than average does not mean they are a foot wider. There should be more distinction between clothing for big people, tall people and both. Not every big and tall person has the same body type.

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