My 12th birthday party was the social event of the season! My mother prepared her usual “too much-too many” barbecue – too much food, too many people! Aunt Sallie baked one of her famous pound cakes with caramel icing. My grandfather had the ribs smoking on the grill. Family and friends from school and church came to the home I shared with my parents and sister, and I was pumped to host them. As a child, birthday parties were one of the few moments when I was the center of attention, and I was excited to be celebrated! More than anything, I was eager for people to see my new Nike fit that I wore that day. A few weeks before my party, my great-grandmother took me to Bacon’s Department Store (a Louisville, KY staple for over 100 years; now defunct) and allowed me to pick out whatever I wanted. I pulled together a dope, all white Nike tennis ensemble – white tennis shorts, white socks, all white low top tennis shoes, and a Nike polo. Every item sported a small black Nike swoosh logo. I felt sooooooooo fly, fresh, and dope wearing head to toe all white Nike.
I recently recreated a modern version of my 12 year old birthday look with an all white Nike spring outfit. Contrary to popular belief, pulling this together is not that easy for a plus sized man. When I was twelve, my sizes were easily available at every major department store. In 2020, most department stores have big and tall sections, but many don’t include Nike or other trendy/popular brands. I have to shop the regular Nike department, and they tend to stop at 2XL, maybe 3X (but that’s a stretch). Even the actual Nike store in my midwest neck of the woods rarely has larger sizes. If they do, it’s a random 3x or 4x in one thing with nothing to match it. I don’t understand why it is so hard to buy larger sizes, ESPECIALLY when the brand makes them! Why don’t stores see the importance of offering sizes for people who aren’t little/average? It is disheartening to be constantly rejected by clothes racks- it’s like the store’s saying “your ass is too damn big for our stuff.”
Furthermore, NOOOOOO big person ever wants to ask, “Do you have this in a BIG size?” It’s bad enough to be rejected silently by the lack of sizes in the store, but the ultimate embarrassment is having to actually hear a person say, “Nah bruh, we don’t carry/have that size.” In the rare occasion that I am bold/brave enough to ask for larger sizes, I either do it quietly on the low or make a grand joke out of it. Something like … “Hey I know y’all don’t have anything to fit my big ass.” An effort to laugh at myself before anyone else has a chance to do it. The ultimate rejection.
I ain’t skinny! And I ain’t been skinny in a really long time! After I gained weight in college, I spent years using clothes to hide my belly, man boobs, and other unwanted jiggly lumps, clumps, and bumps on my tall thick frame. When I was younger, I loved the color red because I was a huge fan of the University of Louisville. Sadly, once I became a student there I never wanted to wear it for fear of looking like the Kool-aid man.
I’m grateful my confidence and fashion sense have evolved! This monochromatic look is classic and fresh and eye catching. For years I tried to wear clothes that would say to the world, “Don’t look my way.” When a big dude is bold enough and confident enough to dress in one color from head to toe, he is saying to the world, “LOOK AT ME, DAMMIT!”
Where to Shop: Hooded T-shirt from Eastbay. Club Joggers From Eastbay. Air Force 1 Shoes from Nike. Rainbow Band Watch from Michael Kors. (9) Bracelets from Yatamu. Black Square Glasses from Zenni. White Glasses from Zenni. Flip Glasses From Amazon. Total look: $581.89