ASOS is introducing a “Plus Size” men’s section to its website and bringing trendy, cool clothing to a segment that is criminally underserved.
Not only has ASOS introduced larger options for its core line, up to an XXXXL, but it’s also brought in 20 other brands with extended sizes, including Burton, Barney’s, Duke, Noose and Monkey, and Wrangler. The line covers basics from jeans and button-ups to tees; but in typical ASOS fashion, the lines are also full of trends, as much as the so-called “straight sizes,” with souvenir jackets, bombers, camo shirts, and camo — everything, really.
“Sick” isn’t a word often used to describe plus-size clothing, especially for men. Old Navy offers a good selection of basic items all the way up to XXL, but the selection is limited to the things we still think of office wear — button-up shirts (a lot of button-up shirts) khakis, jeans, and T-shirts. The traditional Big & Tall shops aren’t necessarily fashion-friendly, either. Meanwhile, H&M has a section for “extended sizes” on its website, but the largest items only come in XXL. For the type of on-trend clothing the retailer is known for, it doesn’t look like anyone can touch ASOS in this space.
“It's a pretty big game changer for plus-size and it’s a big step forward for men's clothing in general,” says Solomon (who also advises that customers go a size up when shopping the ASOS-brand items — hey, that’s fast fashion for you).
That lack of trendiness filters down from the fashion industry, where plus-size men are so underserved. When I ask Solomon if he feels the men’s industry is doing right by its plus-size customers, he flat-out says no. “It’s not doing anything to accommodate body diversity,” he says. “Men's clothing specifically is so behind. It's not anywhere near where the women's are.”
While there are niche brands that offer clothing tailored specifically for plus-size men, it matters when a retailer the size of ASOS gets in on the fight. “I feel like there's a little bit more of a platform for us to stand on and say people are listening and if you other brands don't start to pick up, you're going to get left by the wayside,” Solomon says. “Big brands like ASOS are starting to catch on and realize this is a huge market.”
And on a more human and immediate level, ASOS is giving plus-size men clothing that’s specifically made for them as well as representation in an industry that can make them feel invisible. Solomon says that just having these sizes represented can be comforting for someone who is struggling with their body image.