“My name is Alan and I am overweight!”
Last week I was shocked when someone said to me, “Alan, you are always well dressed and so professional looking.” It really took me aback. I certainly don’t see myself that way.
But I DO see myself as a professional who has a responsibility to myself and employers (when I wasn’t self employed) to present a professional image. Too often I see people with my same problem in funeral service who look absolutely terrible. So here are some lessons I have learned on the way.
Lesson 1: You will have to spend more on your work clothing than thinner people. Joseph Banks isn’t going to work for you. I am just below the upper size limit at Brooks Brothers. It costs more but it makes a difference in how clothes hang on me.
Lesson 2: It may be embarrassing but big men’s stores “get me” and are very helpful.
Lesson 3: We can’t wear pleated pants because they blouse out and look like jodhpurs.
Lesson 4: We can’t wear suspenders because they frame the problem and make us look much much worse.
Lesson 5: When we wear a tie our shirt collars should be the non button straight type that have a normal spread. Button downs on a fat man wearing a tie will blouse out too much.
Lesson 6: When we go business casual it is the opposite. We need to wear button down collars so they won’t spread out and look sloppy.
Lesson 7: If you are over 16 collar size get extra long ties. The end of your tie should come to your belt line even if you can’t see it.
Lesson 8: Wear suit coats that button and keep them buttoned when you stand. The better the quality of the cloth the better it will “hang.” Never go cheap. If you are bigger than a 48 chest go custom made.
Lesson 9: Your shirt collar size should allow your forefinger and middle finger to be inserted between your neck and the shirt. Rule of Thumb: a shirt collar should fit well enough to remain buttoned all day without discomfort but not so large that it looks too big.
Lesson 10: Buy shirts with your specific arm length. Outlet store sizes of 34 / 35 are always 35, for instance, and will show too much cuff when you have your coat on.
Lesson 11: Never wear a shirt that is small enough to pull on the buttons it just exaggerates the problem. A custom made shirt is only about $30 more than a Brooks Brothers shirt and lasts longer.
Lesson 12: Wear comfortable shoes with laces that will take a shine. Women especially notice how a man takes care of his shoes and will immediately correlate run down, unshined shoes with poor hygiene and slovenliness.
Lesson 13: Tuck your undershirt into your underpants it will give you a smoother look to your shirt.
Lesson 14: If you wear non – iron shirts iron them anyway.
Lesson 15: Bow – Ties. I love them but they are a no – no unless your first name is Ronald and your last starts with M and you like french fries
Lesson 16: Don’t wear loud clothing that draws attention to your body…see lesson 15
Lesson 17: If you wear eyeglasses find frames that reduce the size of your face instead of accentuate it.