An Intriguing Proposal
At first, I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or offended.
On the one hand, it was a pleasant surprise to have a clothing label contact me and ask me about wearing and advertising some of their catalogue for them.
If you’ve been reading my site long, you’ll have picked up two things about me:
- I don’t take a lot of photos of myself;
- I have pretty awful fashion sense.
Looking into the brand farther, I was even more flattered to find that many of their existing advocates are professional rugby players.
Little old me being asked to advocate alongside people who get paid to be near perfect physical specimens? Don’t mind if I do!
On the other hand, the fact the brand contacting me was Johnny Bigg, a ‘plus size’ label, had me rushing to the bathroom scales to double check.
The fact the brand was for ‘plus-sized gentlemen’ had me rushing to the bathroom scales…
So, was I flattered to be thought important enough to advertise clothes? Or offended that somebody assumed I was somebody who shopped in the charitably named ‘big and tall’ section?
In the end, I decided that XL probably qualifies me as a plus-sized guy, and I can’t exactly be unhappy about being in the same weight class as Oscar Forman of the Illawarra Hawks, and the likes of Kane Douglas and the Faingaa twins from the Wallabies.
I can’t exactly be unhappy about being in the same weight class as professional basketballers and rugby players.
The Johnny Bigg Experience
As a guy who has always struggled a bit with a beer belly and broad shoulders, it can sometimes be frustrating shopping in ‘normal stores’ to find styles that suit my frame.
I’ve never been a guy who can just go in, grab something off the rack, and walk out.
Clothes shopping for me is often an agonising, sweaty, soul-destroying experience in which I am forced to confront every physical flaw in my body.
Standing in front of that tiny mirror in those cramped dressing rooms is tantamount to torture for me, and it’s a big part of the reason that I still own and wear clothes I bought 2, 3, or even 5 or 6 years ago.
While stores for larger gentlemen are obviously not a new thing, many stores seem to equate being larger with being happy to wear the bland shit your father wears. It’s all tent-sized button up shirts, ugly tan slacks, and council worker chic.
As if getting laid as a bigger guy wasn’t hard enough already – looking like you raided the op-shop for your outfit is essentially a vow of chastity.
Johnny Bigg, a part of the popular Tarocash label, aims to “recognise the desire to be well dressed” among men with larger frames. Ranging from the relatively svelte XL to the heftier end of the scale at 8XL, Johnny Bigg’s outfits emphasize style without making you feel like an imposter.
How do I know this? They let me try their clothes for free!
Yes, the team at Johnny Bigg were kind enough to send me a few outfits of my choosing to road test and share the experience.
No, that doesn’t mean I’ve been paid to say I like something I don’t. I’m not Alan Jones.
In all, I was sent five pieces of clothing:
- A pair of Dixson stretch jeans which I wear often;
- The Acton Gusset boots that I may never take off;
- A comfy Espen long-sleeved shirt with an oddly placed nipple zipper;
- A button up top I’ve yet to have a real excuse to wear in 38C Nanjing heat;
- The stylish Bomber jacket that I can’t wait to have more excuses to wear.
Everything I’ve tried has not only been a comfortable fit and drawn plenty of compliments from those who know me as ‘that dude always in shorts, thongs, and a Skyrim t-shirt’.
My only regret has been the fact that it’s all been winter wear, which has been at odds with another sweltering Nanjing summer. Most of my new clothes won’t get a real run until winter rolls around in a few months’ time.
The Male Modeling Experience
Part of our arrangement was that I’d share some photos of my new attire on Instagram, which would mean subjecting myself to wearing winter clothes in the Nanjing heat and subjecting myself to being photographed.
Still, ever the professional, I bought my friend Doreen lunch and had her snap some photos of me in various outfits – pausing in between shots to mop liberal amounts of sweat from my brow and inhale my brunch.
It has been a fun experience, though.
I’m not somebody who is used to being complimented on my appearance. It’s certainly been an ego-boosting experience to not only have nice clothes that feel comfortable, but to have people comment on the way they look on me.
While Mum is always quick to tell me I’m handsome, I’m beginning to suspect she’s a tad biased.
Johnny Bigg may be pricier than the big and tall section at Lowes or Woolworths, but their catalogue has far more clothing that I’d feel comfortable buying and wearing.
They’re even having their end of season sale at the moment, so if you want to grab some clothes yourself – they’re 70% off at the moment.
But what does this have to do with travel?
Don’t be an idiot.
You can’t travel naked.