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Big and Tall Mens Style

Big & Tall Men Style: My Favorites From ASOS Plus Size Men’s Clothing Line

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Big & tall men just got a new shopping option via ASOS.

The brand recently released a plus size line for men, which is exciting because it means more style options for men of size.ASOS Kavah main image 3-6-17 1

In looking at the styles offered up by ASOS, they’re more modern and not traditional. I was pleasantly surprised because once I learned of the new line, I was skeptical of what the assortment would look like.DSC_0219

Often, when a brand creates clothing for men of size, the clothes aren’t designed from a modern perspective. It’s obvious that in the case of ASOS, the brand made a clear effort to offer men of size some of the same fashion choices as other men.

So I had to investigate this and see how the clothes really worked from a fit and quality perspective. Too often, new plus size male clothing collections do not live up to the hype. The clothes are boring and dull. However, that’s not the case with ASOS!ASOS Kavah main image 3-6-17 2

I was actually impressed with the collection. I could see myself wearing many of the styles. These are definitely styles my grandfather wouldn’t wear!DSC_0234DSC_0214In terms of sizing, ASOS offers up to a 4XL, which is music to my ears. I hate to use the word “trendy,” but ASOS is making a very strong bid to be a favorite for men of size. We not only want the representation, but we also would love the fashion diversity.DSC_0193

I will admit that I loved the selection of colors and sizes in the new line. Usually, with big and tall/plus male/brawn fashion brands, there is a uniform look. ASOS has made a valid attempt to offer a range of styles to accommodate many different fashion aesthetics.DSC_0202

There are oversized garments available, as well as slim fitting shirts and joggers. I particularly am excited about their joggers. I plan to try a pair to rock this spring such as the ASOS Plus Skinny Joggers.7320483-1-oxfordtan

I have been looking for a pair of skinny joggers that don’t make my feet look bigger than they actually are. They’re perfect for those days where I want to wear a casual street style look. And at $28, I may buy a few pairs if the fit is on point.

Another piece from ASOS that I like is Skinny Tonic shirt. The color burgundy gives off a very regal feel. I may sound biased but burgundy is definitely a color that makes men look stylish. I also loved the Paisley print as well and plan to scoop that up next.DSC_0195 DSC_0209

I also tried a pair of shoes from ASOS that I really like. The Chelsea Boots in Burgundy Suede pair well with the Skinny Tonic shirt and these are shoes that I can wear with other styles too. They’re versatile and comfortable.DSC_0236

I am a huge fan of sweatshirts, but hooded sweatshirts are my absolute favorites. The Longline Sweatshirt is one of the pieces that I caught my attention.DSC_0466 DSC_0474

The sweatshirt is a great layering piece that I would wear in the winter under a puffer vest or by itself when it gets a little warmer but still a bit chilly. DSC_0482

I am excited to see what ASOS will provide for upcoming seasons. If you’re a man of size looking for more fashion options, you can check out ASOS plus size men’s clothing here. Until next time!

–KavahKavah footer image

Kavah is the editor in chief of gentlemenscurb.com, a Lifestyle Blog That Aims To Focus On Fashion And Fitness. We Promote Mental And Physical Wellness All While Looking Your Best.

Big and Tall Mens Style

Plus Size Menswear Guide Part 1

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Plus Size Menswear Guide Part 1

Over the last few years, the plus-size menswear fashion market has cemented its place in fashion.

In part, due to supply and demand, and even more importantly the rise of plus-size models and influencers who speak openly about the need for on-trend options.

PLUS Model Magazine is compiling a master list but in the meantime, we will be sharing snippets of the passionate brands we are adding to our preferred list.

Plus Size Menswear… where to shop this summer!

DXL Big & Tall
[SHOP]

DXL offers 250+ stores nationwide, a comprehensive website, and a convenient mobile App.

ASOS MEN

ASOS MEN
[SHOP]

ASOS Brands offers clothing in more than 30 sizes – and are committed to providing all sizes at the same price.

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KING SIZE
[SHOP]

King Size has been specializing in big and tall clothing for more than 60 years.

HARDADDY
[SHOP]

HARDADDY offers shirts in various sizes and quality, and the passionate prints are inspired by the outstanding natural beauty Hawaii.

JACAMO
[SHOP]

Jacamo launched in 2007 with the aim to provide every man with a wardrobe he can count on and wear with pride.

BADRHINO
[SHOP]

BadRhino, believes every man, regardless of size, deserves to look and feel their best, and that’s why they offer a wide range of sizes and styles to cater to all body types.

JCPENNEY Big & Tall
[SHOP]

KOHL’S
[SHOP]

Kohl’s is a leading omnichannel retailer with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states.

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BOOHOO PLUS & TALL
[SHOP]

BOOHOO offers a men’s plus size clothing range is a collection of fashionable clothing designed for big and tall men.

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Big and Tall Mens Style

Plus Size Is Extra Sexy at Fat Trunk Jeans

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Plus Size Is Extra Sexy at Fat Trunk Jeans - 2

Plus Size Is Extra Sexy at Fat Trunk Jeans…

Fat Trunk Jeans… One of the conversations we are not having enough of is “PLUS SIZE CLOTHING FOR MEN, WHY AREN’T WE EXPANDING THE FASHION INDUSTRY FOR THEM AS WELL?”

This is why we were so happy to hear about Fat Trunk Jeans.

#1 The name!
We don’t shy away from our community and we love that they are not either.

#2 They created a product that is on par with the rest of the fashion industry.
They are not handing scraps over to plus sized men.

#3 It is our duty to support the industry and their growth.
Let’s do THIS!

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Plus Size Is Extra Sexy at Fat Trunk Jeans

Here’s a little about Fat Trunk Jeans:

  • Fat Trunk’s Extra Sexy Pattern is the first of its kind Off-the-rack, Tailor fit, stretch denim for plus size individuals.
  • They use a unique blend of cotton, spandex, and polyester to create stretch denim that looks and feels amazing — But will also maintain its shape over time.
  • For the launch, they will be offering sizes 38 – 60 with a 33” inseam in our original indigo blue.
  • Currently, they are planning on selling the jeans at $110 per pair, but that isn’t set in stone yet — for Kickstarter there will be savings, on additional merchandise included in the campaign tears.
  • These jeans will be available through Kickstarter starting on October 9th — signup on the website to stay in the know at www.fattrunkjeans.com
Fat Trunk Jeans

These are a MUST HAVE for plus-sized men because the pattern was designed for them!

”I think there’s been a lot of forward movement for plus-sized fashion in the last 5 years, but the focus has primarily been for plus-sized women, and I hope Fat Trunk is able to help spark more of a fire for plus-sized men’s fashion.” Will Perry

We feel the same, we all deserve great options and we want to rally the industry in supporting Fat Trunk Jeans.

Help Fat Trunk Jeans on their launch. Join their Kickstarter campaign here:

Visit Online:

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Big and Tall Mens Style

Why 2019 Was Such An Incredible Year For Big and Tall Men

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Why 2019 Was Such An Incredible Year For Big and Tall Men

Big and tall men continued to get more representation in 2019 and we’re not just talking clothing.

2019 was a big year for big and tall men. After years of plus size men asking, “What about us?” when it came to the extended sizes fashion market, their voices have finally been heard. 

Opening Image, Fullbeauty

Zack Miko, the first big and tall model signed to IMG’s Brawn division in 2016, had an amazing 2019, paving the way for a new wave of larger male models to emerge on the scene. 

These models may not have six-pack abs or chiseled bodies but they represent the everyday man, who comes in many shapes, heights and sizes. 

According to the NPD Group, a third of American men identify as either big, tall or big and tall, representing 10% of the U.S. menswear business.

While in the past, the industry thought thinner “perfect-looking” models were aspirational, the models we see today are inspirational. They’re inspiring men to love themselves as they are, while seeing how the clothing will actually fit on a larger body.

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In 2016, Euromonitor predicted that menswear would contribute $39.7 billion in sales to the global apparel market. And with that, the need for larger models increased as well. 

Three years later, Miko has become a supermodel in his division, having been the first plus-size male model to work with an array of major brands such as Nordstrom, Target, Gap and DXL. 

And he’s not alone at IMG. The agency now has 7 models on their roster and are currently looking for more models to join its Brawn division. 

UK-based Bridge Models launched their own men’s division the same year IMG scooped up Miko. They now have added models such as actor Daniel Franzese (of the film “Mean Girls”), influencer Kelvin Davis of Notoriously Dapper and model Scott Bayliss to their board.

Bridge Models Director Charlotte Griffiths recently told The Guardian:

“We were talking a lot about how important it was to have women of a range of shapes and sizes and of different ethnicities, and I remember some people saying it was hypocrisy just to focus on diversity for women.

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[The men’s market] has been around about three years and the women’s market has been around for 30 years. It’s really interesting to see that the demand is now 50/50 for us as an agency.”

Evidence of that demand was clear this year, with top agency Wilhelmina partnering with JC Penney on a big & tall model search for Shaquille O’Neal’s new menswear line with the retailer.

ASOS expanded on its men’s plus size range with not only its own in-house brand but also tapping brands such as Fila, Lacosse, Nike, Puma and Polo Ralph Lauren to offer larger sizes for men. Puma, for example, offers up to a size 6XL via ASOS. 

Photo, ASOS

DXL (Destination XL), which has been a key player in the big and tall menswear sector, offers major brands such as Brooks Brothers, Michael Kors, Columbia, Nautica and Vineyard Vines in sizes up to 6XL, while using visibly plus male models on their website.

Mark Albert, Vice-president of Creative at DXL told The Cut:

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“The whole big-and-tall arena as far as models go — it seems to have made a turn in the last three years. We’ve used IMG for several years on a regular-size basis because they didn’t offer any Brawn sizing. It was refreshing when they started playing in that field.”

With more big and tall models on the scene, there has been an increase in male influencers as well. 

Just a few years ago, there were just a few of them such as Syed Sohail of The Prep Guy, Michael-Anthony Spearman of The Big Fashion Guy, Kavah King of Gentlemen’s Curb and Troy Solomon of A Bear Named Troy

Kavah King

Photo: Kirkland Hawes

Now with those veteran bloggers/influencers transitioned into other more prominent roles within the industry such as styling, acting and modeling, this has paved the way for others to come into the influencing space, which has become so diverse. 

Chubstr, a media outlet devoted to big and tall/plus-size men that launched in 2010, and its founder Bruce Sturgell, have seen firsthand how much the menswear sector has grown in the last decade with itself evolving from a style destination to now a key lifestyle resource.  

To accommodate that growth, Sturgell launched the Heavy Conversation Podcast in June 2018, where he and Bear Skn co-owner Jody Koenig discuss the issues many plus size people deal with daily. 

Sturgell has an essay in the new book The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce about creating your own community and has also modeled for major brands this year, including campaigns alongside Miko. 

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He told us:

“When I started Chubstr almost 10 years ago, I hoped to see better representation of plus size men in marketing, media, and popular culture. And I’ve seen so much change over the last decade. 

One of the biggest things I’ve seen, especially this year, is big & tall brands featuring plus-size male models with different body types. I’ve personally modeled for Bonobos, KingSize and DXL this year, and I’m a short and wide guy – not who you’d typically see in advertising campaigns and storefront windows across the country. It’s amazing to see someone like you reflected in media and marketing. 2019 has been a step in the right direction for men’s body-positive representation.”

With websites such as XL Tribe and Big Man Culture now on the scene, as well as movements like Men of Size and So Classic Gents Fashion XL that highlight plus size men’s style, there’s not only more clothing options and models but also places and communities online that big and tall men have access to.

So what’s next for Miko and his fellow big and tall male models in 2020?

Miko told The Cut this summer:

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“Even for how much we’re working, there’s still no luxury brands who have even thought about using us.”

Surprise, surprise. He ends the year with a campaign with Dolce & Gabbana Man, where they now offer up to an Italian size 58, which translates to a size XXL in US sizing.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6LyZM9oAtV/

While some may feel that offering up to a size XXL is not a big move on their part, it’s a step in the right direction. Luxury brands are now paying attention and we’re certain Miko and other big and tall models will be ready to work, when they come a-knocking. [divider] . [/divider]

What menswear brands would you like to see offer larger sizes? What do you think about the growth in big and tall men modeling? Follow us on social media and let us know: @plusmodelmagFacebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

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#MyPlusJourney

Ryan Sheldon #myplusjourney

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Ryan Sheldon

This month’s cover, Ryan Sheldon, is not just a model but is an eating disorder and body image activist as well.

It wasn’t until I spoke to Ryan Sheldon during our #myplusjourney that I realized how much I didn’t know about how MEN feel about their bodies and how eating disorders are affecting so many of us both young and older alike. 

Ryan Sheldon #myplusjourney - PLUS Model Magazine, November 2019

Maddy: We often don’t talk about topics such as body image, eating disorders (ED) and self-confidence among men. In speaking with you, I realized there is so much we should be doing to support and bring awareness. Can you share with us your journey through your particular eating disorder?

Ryan Sheldon: I can remember as a child, hating my body. At one point, everything about my body, I hated. I was on my first diet at the age of 12, Weight Watchers, my mom encouraged it.

“The National Eating Disorders Association reports that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting and that 20-25% of those individuals develop eating disorders.”

The love/hate relationship I had with food and my negative body image felt normal to me. In fact, I thought most people felt the same way as I did about their bodies and about food.

When I turned 16, I decided to lose weight. I spent the next two years reducing my calorie and sugar intake and journaled everything I ate. My food habits with good intentions consumed me. The fixations on my weight, food intake and body image became my obsessions.

When I entered college and moved away from home, I was free from the scrutiny of my mother who watched and commented on every piece of food I put in my mouth.

I knew she loved me very much and just wanted what was best for me but over the years, I developed a shameful attitude towards eating. At college, I lost weight when everyone else gained the “Freshman 15” but after my weight went down, it went up, down, and then up again. I was caught in a vicious cycle of bingeing, then restricting, followed by overexercising.

Many of my eating rituals were done in secrecy.

For example, I would go to dinner at a friend’s house and after we ate, I would go to the bathroom to call in a food order that I’d pick up and eat on my way home. I hid my actions because I thought my friends would say, “How can you be hungry, we just ate dinner”. The reality is that ordering food was not related to my hunger but it had everything to do with a voice in my head, this overwhelming anxiety if I didn’t order that food. My inner voice was like a bully, it kept reminding me of how worthless I was and bingeing was a way to calm that voice.

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I got into a relationship with someone who had an eating disorder who also bullied me. I got tired of hearing, “Ryan, why don’t you have a 6 pack like my last boyfriend did”. At the time I thought this was acceptable, I thought I deserved to be body shamed, probably due to my low self-esteem.

During this time I went to my primary care doctor and she told me I had to lose weight, she prescribed diet pills but they didn’t work because my bingeing had nothing to do with my hunger. I continued to binge.

There’s a misconception that people who struggle with Binge Eating Disorder just eat a lot but that’s not totally true, I was consumed by the thought of food, I would actually wake up in the middle of the night and open the refrigerator just to look at the food and go back to bed.

Since the diet pills didn’t work and I was so desperate to stop my bingeing that I would take sleeping pills during the day so that I wouldn’t binge. I went to my doctor 30 days later and jumped on that dreaded scale and she congratulated me on my weight loss, take into mind the amount of weight I lost should’ve taken me 3-4 months to lose.

My eating disorder consumed me. I had to quit my job, I was going into debt, and I was isolating myself from my friends. No one knew what I was going through. I think people don’t fully grasp how eating disorders can take over your life. I was obsessed with the scale, I would weigh myself 18 times a day until I had to throw it out. At one point I covered all of my mirrors because I hated to look at myself in the mirror.

plus model - myplusjourney-2

I was diagnosed with my eating disorder in 2015 and I think it’s fair to say that I thought the diagnosis was the cure but that wasn’t the case.

I actually brought the words “Eating Disorder” to my therapist at the time because it was something that was never talked about. My therapist knew of the issues I had with my body, weight, and my dieting but having an eating disorder never became a topic of conversation until I brought it to his attention. Why is that? Is it because I’m a man? Is it because when you look at me, you can’t tell I have an eating disorder? Well, most people don’t wear their eating disorders.

After I received a diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder I got the opportunity to travel the country and share my story, however I felt like a fraud because I was going around preaching how “I’m better” but that wasn’t the case yet. In fact, I was in the thick of my eating disorder, probably the sickest I have ever been and no one knew it.

I reached a point where I couldn’t go on like this anymore. I went to my doctor and broke-down and pleaded that I needed help. So my therapist worked with me to find the best treatment options for me.

Getting help was the most life-changing thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve met some of my closest friends within the eating disorder community who not only accept me for me but also understand everything that I’ve been through and am going through. There is comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Because of this community, I have finally been able to come to terms with who I am and own it. I never thought that coming to terms with my eating disorder and getting help would bring so much peace and acceptance into my life.

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We need more people from all communities to talk about their struggles with their bodies and disordered eating. In turn, we need doctors to be more aware and ask better questions to their patients. A lot of times my doctor would ask, “How’s your appetite” or “How are you eating habits”, to which I would always answer “Fine” because I didn’t know there was anything wrong with me. I never in a million years would’ve thought I was struggling with an eating disorder until a friend brought up their concerns for me.

Now I’m not perfect, I’ve been in recovery since 2016, I am a NEDA ambassador, I have a platform where I share my journey but I still have my moments where I revert back to old habits but the difference is, is now when I see it happening I know exactly what to do, and for me that is reaching out to my support group.

I reached a point where I accepted my body in every way and I wanted to celebrate it, that’s why I decided to pursue a career in modeling.I’m so proud of the work I put into myself, I finally started believing in me and started to love myself, that has been life-changing. This is possible for everyone, for me it started by changing the dialogue in my head. Finding a manager who truly understands my journey, my path, and my vision has been incredible.

plus model - myplusjourney-3

Maddy: According to a report on the NEDA website: Subclinical eating disordered behaviors (including binge eating, purging, laxative abuse, and fasting for weight loss) are nearly as common among males as they are among females. This surprised me since we mostly hear stories who speak to women. For parents or families with young children what are the warning signs? And are there websites that offer help and/or information?

Ryan Sheldon: 30 million Americans are currently struggling with an eating disorder or will struggle with one in their lifetime and 10 million of those are men, that’s 1/3. Now, I believe that number is severely underrepresented due to the stigmas that surround mental health, specifically men and mental health. After all, eating disorders are mental health issues.

Eating disorders do not discriminate, they don’t care about your sexual orientation, your gender, religion, race, socioeconomic standing, and the list goes on.

As far as warning signs and symptoms, the best place to check is the NEDA website – warning signs and symptoms and NEDA has a great Parent Toolkit.

The best piece of advice that I can give parents who think their child may be struggling with an eating disorder is to speak to them like they are humans, and ask the right questions. I wish my mom would’ve asked me, “How are you doing” when she noticed my eating habits changing instead of being accusatory.

plus model - myplusjourney-4

Maddy: Can we talk about body image and self-confidence? In speaking with many plus-size male influencers, bloggers and models I’ve realized we all go through the very same things in this industry. How can we encourage self-esteem inside of an industry where self-confidence, popularity, and algorithms are very much part of the fabric of the industry?

Ryan Sheldon: Seeing more models from marginalized communities represent brands is a huge start. 10 years ago you never would’ve seen people from marginalized communities on the cover of magazines.

A lot of us focus on the number of likes we get on Instagram as some sort of success meter, the more likes you get, the more successful, popular, attractive you are but I avoid those success meters and thoughts even though it’s hard. You can usually tell within 10 minutes of posting something on Instagram how it’s going to “perform”, and the more revealing you are with your body, the better it performs, at least in my experience.

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Lately, on Instagram, I have seen a ton of guys shirtless showing off their bodies, whether they have a six-pack or not and they all get a ton of likes. That’s got me thinking…

“If I show my stomach on Instagram, maybe I will get more likes”.

I will most likely never be the guy who goes shirtless on Instagram, not that there’s anything wrong with it but I don’t think that to get my message across I need to do that. I have a voice and a powerful message so just by being true to who I am, I am getting “likes”!

More importantly, in doing all that I do, my hope is to positively impact at least one person through my work, which includes modeling, advocacy, and so much more. I want people to know that it is possible to simultaneously follow your dreams, be authentic, and not let people’s opinions get in the way and help others.

The more people from marginalized communities who are out there talking about their bodies and their struggles are what needs to happen for this to become a topic of conversation which is slowly happening!

Maddy: Let’s talk about body image on a personal level… reports state that body image can begin developing as early as the early teens for some children. In your experience, how early in your life did self-esteem and body image affect you?

Ryan Sheldon: I remember having issues with my body image from a young age, it first started with my hair and my acne, and then developed to issues with my muscles on my chest and calves, and then just became an overall issue.

I remember going to the pool as a kid – probably 10 years old and I would wear a shirt to go swimming. People would ask why I was wearing a shirt and I would respond with “I get sunburned easily”. This was the real beginning for me. Why did I care at the age of 10 what my body looked like? How was it possible that at such a young age I already had body image/self-esteem issues? Maybe it was because I was bullied in school for being fat, which there is nothing wrong with but at that age I didn’t understand why my body was the reason I was miserable in my school life.

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Maddy: How does self-esteem/body image tie in with eating disorders?

Ryan Sheldon: While body image and eating disorders don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand they often do, and that was the case in my situation. The goal for me was to be skinny at all costs, to have that cultural ideal body image, you know the ones you see on the cover of magazines, the ones with the 6 packs. Which is ironic considering I’m now on the cover of a magazine (surreal).

The media plays such a huge part in body image and eating disorders. As a society we are taught that to be successful, powerful, wealthy, worthy, and lovable we have to look a certain way and this is WRONG. The media needs to start showcasing people of all sizes from marginalized communities.

It wasn’t until I became truly comfortable in my body that I was able to get my eating disorder under control. You often hear the term “Body Positive” but I struggle with that because I can’t tell you that I love all of my body every day but I can sit here and say that I accept and embrace my body just as it is. At times do I wish I had a different body, of course, but I have reached a place where I fully embrace my body and my curves.

plus model - myplusjourney-5

Maddy: How did you turn the corner to wellness?

Ryan Sheldon: I was so sick of being sick, I was so tired of hating myself, that I asked for help. The reason I started my Instagram account was that when I was first diagnosed I went to google and typed in “Men with eating disorders” and nothing popped up, so I figured if I’m struggling then so many other men must be suffering in silence as well.

I mentioned earlier that I’m not perfect and it’s true that recovery isn’t linear. People often ask me what my rock bottom moment was that made me take this turn to seek help, the truth is, is that I’ve had several. My latest one was about a year ago – take in mind at this time I have been in recovery for over two years. I was dating someone who for the first time in my life made me feel sexy, and then I got cheated on and left for the other guy, who in my mind had a better body than me, that cultural ideal body that I speak about.

It was at this time that my eating disorder took an ugly turn and I picked up behaviors that I had never acted upon before. As soon as this happened I reached out to my support group and nipped it in the bud.

The reason I bring this up is that it’s so important to address that for me my eating disorder may always be a part of my life but because I asked for help I am now able to take action in a positive way when things like this happen.

Ryan's myplusjourney-7

Maddy: Can you talk to us about your work with NEDA and how you have turned your life experiences into bringing awareness to eating disorders?

Ryan Sheldon: My journey with NEDA started by me writing a blog post for them titled “Men Struggle, Too: My Journey with Binge Eating Disorder” . After I wrote this, things changed. I started doing more for NEDA, such as speaking at the NEDA/BEDA conference in 2017. One thing led to another and I was asked to become a NEDA Ambassador which in my mind is one of the highest honors. Not only do I have my own platform where I share some of the darkest moments of my life but I now am getting recognized for doing so by an organization that is near and dear to my heart.

I travel the country and share my story of struggling with an eating disorder and body dysmorphic disorder on behalf of NEDA. When I first started to do this I was (kind of) all over the place in terms of my journey and being vulnerable. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be received if I went out there and shared things like how my eating disorder was causing me to go into debt but, what happened was life-changing. When I started sharing my story that was most authentic to me I started to receive hundreds of messages from men and women thanking me for opening up about my struggles and then, in turn, sharing their struggles with their eating disorders.

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When you think of eating disorders, unfortunately, most people think of the stereotypical persona; white, thin, rich girl but this isn’t the case at all. 30 million Americans are currently struggling with an eating disorder or will struggle with one at some point in their life and 10 million of them are men, that’s 1/3! I believe this number is severely underrepresented due to all of the stigmas that are associated with men and eating disorders/mental illness.

Working with NEDA has not only been cathartic for me but it’s also educated me. Historically, you would not often see people from marginalized or underrepresented communities in the modeling industry and empowering this industry to start becoming truly inclusive is something I am very passionate about. While I can’t speak for communities that are more marginalized than me, I can speak from my own experience as I am an expert in my own experience.

There is an assumption that just because I have a platform and am a NEDA ambassador, I have it all figured out but that’s far from the truth, I’m not perfect. The one thing that I do have figured out though is that recovery is possible. Just because you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now doesn’t mean it’s not there, and just because you may take one step forward and two steps back don’t make you wrong, it makes you human.

We all have the ability to impact someone else’s life in a positive way just by sharing our story and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Vulnerability creates authenticity, and authenticity creates a connection.

Ryan's myplusjourney-8

Maddy: How has modeling impacted your body image and self-esteem?

Ryan Sheldon: When I first got signed to TRUE Model Management I was floored with excitement, I couldn’t believe that someone who has struggled with his body for most of his life was now going to be represented for that same body. Right after the excitement came this thought “Am I worthy of this?” followed by “Am I too fat?”. A couple of days after signing, I booked my first job with UNTUCKit and my fears were weirdly amplified.

On-set, I thought, “No one here is my size, why’s that?”. The industry is now starting to become more size-inclusive and maybe I was the start for them. After that shoot, I started getting more comfortable with the idea of being the “Big & Tall” model, and I never looked back. As a result of being on so many sets, I got used to changing in front of people, dancing in front of the camera, and being totally comfortable in my own skin. Now when I’m on set, I hold my head high, like a man on a mission and nothing can stop me!

Maddy: What are you up to now?

Ryan Sheldon: I am continuing my advocacy work as a NEDA Ambassador and I started a Facebook support group for men struggling with Eating Disorders and/or Body Image issues, you can request to join here. I am currently the resident body image expert with a weekly recurring segment on Loveline with Dr. Chris Donaghue (national radio). I am also working on a digital series called “States Of Perception: Body Image” – A digital series filmed across the USA, exploring what body image means to people in all 50 states. I am a Big and Tall / Brawn model represented by TRUE Model Management.

Someone recently asked me, “Ryan, if you had the opportunity to speak with your younger self, what would you say?”.

It took me a minute to process this because never in a million years would I have ever thought that as a kid who was so badly bullied in school for his acne, being overweight, his feminine characteristics, his dyslexia, and his quirky personality would ever have the opportunities that I’ve gotten. I was bullied to the point that I had to be homeschooled and that’s not right. If I had the opportunity to speak with my younger self I would say “Even though it seems like your dreams aren’t possible, even if it feels like you’re not worthy, they are and YOU are. If you put in the effort, life gets better even when you think it can’t”.

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It’s crazy how my classmates from high school, the ones who used to bully me, now message me and say “We just saw you on a Target ad”. I simply respond with a “Thank you”. It’s wild how life works out. You have a dream (being on the cover of a magazine was one of mine) and you continue to pursue that dream and fight through the rejection and just keep going and that is where you find success.

I feel extremely fortunate to be modeling and have an impactful career. I am energized to continue pursuing my dreams and having you all come along for the journey!

Maddy: A big heartfelt thank you to Ryan Sheldon for sharing his #myplusjourney with PLUS Model Readers #grateful

[divider] . [/divider]

Follow Ryan Sheldon on IG: @realryansheldon and TW @realryansheldon [divider]RESOURCES[/divider]

[divider]FOR BOOKINGS[/divider]

TRUE Model Management
IG @TRUEmodelmgt
Ryan Sheldon’s Portfolio [divider]PHOTO CREDITS[/divider]

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Kate Haus
katehaus.com
IG @khauschka and FB @khauschka

Stylist & Makeup
Robiat Balogun
robiatbalogun.com
IG @ririrabbit

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Big and Tall Mens Style

Is Instagram Deleting Fat Body Accounts? Ady Del Valle Shares His Story

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Ady Del Valle

Fashion Week is coming up in NYC and while the industry is getting ready to celebrate fashion, the plussize industry is still buzzing about wanting to see more inclusivity on and off the runway and on social media.

It was just a few years back that Ady Del Valle was discovered on social media and walked his first NYFW.

Today Ady shares his thoughts and his journey with PMM. 

Photo, Jose Pagan

You have to be one of the most adored people in our industry. What was your journey into the plus-size industry?

Thank you, and I adore everyone I have had the privilege to connect with on this journey.

My journey really just happened… an Indy big and tall designer who was showcasing in NYFW almost 4 years ago discovered me on Instagram. I thought it was a scam because I had never seen myself as a model, ever. Yes, I loved fashion all my life but I never saw myself as a model, because I was told by people and media fat people can’t be that.

I agreed and showed up to the show… I walked the show and the rest is history. Me walking, I think, is what people needed and were craving to see, to finally see someone of size that looks like the people that are overlooked. That opened the window to where I am today, I decided to ride that bull and take this journey. 

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Can you share your self-confidence journey?

My self-confidence journey to where I am today took me all my life and it’s still a journey I am on every day.

I was the quiet, chubby kid with barely any friends; my sister was my best friend and I had school friends, but just school.

I was very insecure with my body, especially in my teens. I would wear a jacket and sweats even in the summer to hide my body. I’d even bought male body girdles to keep my body and large chest from moving while I did my activities. I felt like I had to plan everything ahead in my head because of my size. I avoided going out with friends and family thinking I’d hold them back from fun or doing things because of my size.

As a young adult in my early 20s, it was a really dark and depressing time for me because I was battling with my insecurities and sexuality all at the same time; it was a tough, long and dark journey to who Ady is today, that not many people know.

One day about 5 years ago I had a moment of like, “Forget all this insecurity and hiding my body.” I forced myself to take up space as me, and just embrace Ady for who he was and is. It took time but every day I made sure I stuck to not hiding my body strategically; if people don’t like how I jiggle or how my curvier chest looks, that’s too bad, it’s me and it’s what makes Ady.

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I work on my self-love every day and do have my down days like anyone, I’m human. I shake it off and  keep it going, and surround myself with positive people that love me for me.

Photo, Teri Hofford

Let’s talk about representation in the plus size industry. In your opinion, where are we lacking and what could we be doing to push true diversity. 

Representation in the plus community has been improving little by little. We can do more and we should be seeing more body types and sizes represented. In my case, on the male side of things, it’s very stagnant. The inclusion of more body types and sizes is non-existent in ads, brands, and campaigns. The most frustrating part is they keep looking and assuming everyone is 6’5″ and looks like a basketball player or football player; you have to be masculine enough to pass and be accepted and we all don’t look like that – actually 80% of us don’t that shop these brands.

Brands don’t allow male models of average height and size to be included, to be a representation of those bodies and people overlooked.

 There’s a lot of work to be done but that has to come from the brands and designers; they are skipping and missing an audience that still wants to be seen and included.

A few months back I saw that your Instagram account was deleted. Can you tell us the events that led up to this and why you think it was taken down?

Yes, my Instagram account was abruptly deleted and it has been 2 months now. I was actually on a break at work, went to check my account and it was logged out. When I tried logging back in, I kept getting an error message, which turns out that my page was disabled/deleted.  

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A week prior I was waking up to my photos being removed/reported and it was specifically my body positive posts of me shirtless, by the pool or just in underwear. I didn’t pay any mind to it until it happened 3 more times the same week. It seems that’s the new Instagram algorithm system is set up to sense skin, including nipples, and it removed posts using a generic system that assumes a post by the amount of skin exposed.

Unfortunately, the  Instagram system kept assuming my body was female because of the curvature of my chest and dark nipples. So immediately the system is bias and discriminatory, assuming someone’s gender through a generic system, which is wrong. I should be able to post images as any male should or any person can at the beach, pool or even professional work without being targeted. I feel like I’m not supposed to post photos like everyone else because of how my body is shaped. 

Photo + Opening Photo, Silvana Denker

Social media, especially Instagram seems to be giving the body positive accounts a lot of grief. Do you believe those accounts are being targeted?

I do believe specific accounts are being targeted; it’s been a trend I’ve been noticing and following since they began shadow banning my posts a year ago and making my posts invisible and undiscoverable, as well as activity level dropping dramatically.

A lot of the accounts I’ve seen being targeted are accounts that are from LGBTQ+, People of color and Plus size; it feels like they want, or are trying, to silence us in an indirect way. It’s like telling us, you look that way and therefore we must delete you and silence you, your art and body. I’ve spoken to so many people and even publications that feel that way as well. We just have to keep speaking, fighting and just keep being us and post what we want, how we want.

As an influencer in the body-positive space, what do you feel is your responsibility to this generation and generations to come?

As an influencer and a person in this body-positive space, my responsibility is to live in my truth, that everything I do, every opportunity is to help open doors for that 16-year-old boy or girl and show them you can be this -and- do anything no matter what you look like, your size, age or gender.

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My goal is and always has been to motivate and hopefully not only inspire this generation and the next but even the ones who think it’s too late because of age; it’s never too late for anything.

My responsibility is also to always speak, always speak up for what’s wrong, and be the voice for those who think they don’t have one. I want to always use my platform and voice for good no matter if some may get bothered… my reasons will be for good and for what’s right, always. 

What does body positivity mean to you and how do you plan to expand your message into 2020?

What Body positivity means to me is me loving me as I am no matter my size, age, gender and disability. It means it’s ok to have your insecurities and down days, but working on loving you every day as you are at the moment. There is no wrong way to love; embrace and celebrate your body and you. 

I have been working on some cool stuff…

  • I have a book I contributed/Co-Authored called: The “Other” F Word Celebrating the Fat and Fierce – release date 9/24 in bookstores and online
  • I’ll be walking NYFW in my biggest show to date that kicks off NYFW for DapperQ x Devon 9/5.
  • For 2020 I plan on taking opportunities that will broaden my reach even more but will help me spread my message through different outlets beyond modeling. I want to be multifaceted and represent us in everything I do. I’m in the talks for some hopefully more mainstream opportunities, which would be awesome; I want to take on quality opportunities over the amount of opportunities. 

I’m excited for what’s to come, and embracing what comes my way. [divider] . [/divider]

Follow Ady on social media:

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Instagram @_adydelvalle
Facebook @Ady Del Valle

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Big and Tall Mens Style

Sabas on Rolling Into The Men’s Plus Size Fashion Industry

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In this issue we talk with Sabas about the Men’s Plus Size Fashion Industry… 

PMM: The Plus-size fashion industry has seen significant grown in men’s fashion. Can you tell us about brands that you feel are offering great options for plus size men? 

Men’s fashion truly is beginning to expand with the options, patterns, and accessibility in the commercial marketplace. Some of the forerunners of the Big & Tall fashion evolution for me are; The Winston Box, MVP, Destination XL, J. C. Penney and their lines with Shaq and Michael Strahan, Combat Gentlemen, Boohoo Man, ASOS, and MVP, to name a few that are really making a change in menswear.  In my opinion, these brands are not only leading the men’s fashion movement, but are constructing clothes specifically for men of size because our bodies are built different and it’s great to have companies invest in our needs on a commercial level. 

PMM:  Let’s chat representation, is there enough representation of “Plus-Size Bodies” in fashion? 

Honestly, no I do not think there is enough representation as a whole across the spectrum for men and women. However, there is an extreme disparity of representation of Big and Tall men visible in the industry. I know for a fact that there are a lot of Big & Tall men that are fashionable and confident but may not have the time or feel like the opportunity is worth it. Due to this, I work even harder to show men that it indeed is worth it and that you need to step up and show the world that we can lead fashion too. 

PMM:  How would you like to see the industry grow?

I want to see more collaboration between men because men know what men like in regards to our experiences and the aesthetics we like.  I think that there is enough room for everyone to take a part and grow the Big & Tall industry to the magnitude that women have done for plus-size fashion and events. More events need to be created for men by menwithin the Big & Tall community that truly caters and is curated for men so that we have a space to discuss what truly impacts us and how we want to make changes to how we are perceived.  

PMM:  What’s Next For You? 

With this up and coming season, I plan to push the envelope and continue to evolve my brand to becoming a household name when people think of Big & Tall men. I plan to expound on the areas of health & fitness, lifestyle, mentoring young fashionable kings, and continuing to challenge myself creatively in the realms of fashion. I feel that the door of opportunity is too vast to not take advantage of every area available to me. Finally, I plan to continue to stay focused and humble while remembering that my biggest competitor lays within myself; it’s always me versus me when it comes to success. 

[divider]PHOTO CREDITS[/divider]

Photography: IG @uly84photos 

Wardrobe: 

  • Skates, glasses, scarf @amazon @amazonfashion 
  • Shorts @winstonbox 
  • Jackets @adidas 
  • Socks @Adidas & @vans from @journeys
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