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Jan 10, 2024

Men come in different sizes, but why does fashion seem not to care?

In the current landscape, body positivity commands widespread attention, drawing interest from global brands and individuals. Fast fashion and luxury sectors acknowledge the significance of plus-size beauty in their businesses, granting women the freedom to shop without size concerns. Despite advancements in fostering diversity and body positivity for women, the same cannot be affirmed for men. 

James Corbin champions fashion’s diversity challenge. He is prominently featured in HUNGER 29’s fashion editorial ‘Brotherhood,’ spotlighting plus-sized male models


The Patriarchal Roots of the Men’s Size Inclusivity Issue

The lag in men’s inclusivity is driven by social beauty standards. Fashion brands historically favour unrealistically slim, teenage boy-like models, perpetuating an idealised and narrow portrayal of the male body.

During the Men’s Fall-Winter 2023 fashion shows in Milan and Paris, the presence of plus-size men increased slightly but remained notably limited. A Vogue Business study uncovered that out of the 69 Men’s Fall/Winter 2023 fashion shows, only 8 showcased plus-size models. 

In the latest Spring-Summer 2024 fashion weeks, a positive shift emerged. Plus-sized male models graced the runways in Paris for KidSuper, LGN Louis Gabriel Nouchi, Doublet, and Marine Serre. These brands featured a few XXL sizes among their 30 to 50 total looks. Despite being a small fraction, it signifies a growing awareness in the industry. 

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Un post condiviso da Silvano Frere (@sl.vno)

Silvano Coltro walked the runway for Japanese brand Doublet and French brand Asquin during the latest men’s Paris Fashion Week in June 2023


The Impact of Underrepresentation and Language Choices on Self-Esteem

The absence of plus-size men on fashion runways and in advertising campaigns perpetuates the notion that only a specific body type is considered desirable and fashionable.

This exclusion not only affects the self-esteem and body image of men who do not conform to these standards but also conveys the damaging message that they are unworthy of inclusion in the fashion world.

Furthermore, recent research has revealed that some e-commerce platforms and articles describe plus-size men’s clothing using terms such as ‘tall’ and ‘big.’ This language reinforces negative stereotypes, implying that discussing or being plus-size is not only discouraged but also stigmatised. 

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Un post condiviso da Raul Samuel (@raulsamuel_official)

Model Raul Samuel is promoting body confidence for men on Instagram


Male Inclusivity: Tackling the Rocky Road Ahead

Labelling is not only insensitive but also contradicts the goal of fostering inclusivity. Additionally, it poses a significant challenge for menswear shoppers seeking size XL and above, struggling to find stylish and well-fitting clothes that reflect their style. These limited options force customers to settle for unflattering basics.

The lack of size inclusivity in men’s fashion demands immediate attention. The industry needs to promote inclusivity for plus-size men by challenging traditional patriarchal beauty norms and expanding clothing choices.

It is imperative for brands to champion size inclusivity, ensuring confidence and style are accessible to all individuals.


This article originally appeared in the first issue of Introspection magazine (Milan, June 2023), a school project created by Istituto Marangoni student Sophie Atro as its editor-in-chief, with her fellow Gabija Perstiniaviciute as its fashion director and author of this piece.



Gabija Perstiniaviciute
Fashion Management, Digital Communication and Media student, Milan