It sometimes seems like the world doesn’t expect fat guys to look good. Instead of being able to grab a high-quality dress shirt off the shelf, you’re left with cut-off tank tops and super baggy t-shirts.
Sure, those are great in the right situations but what about when you want to look really good!?
There are great dress shirts for fat guys and big dudes but you’re not going to find them on a shelf in a store near you. Instead, you’re going to have to do a little digging.
But don’t worry, I’ve already done the work, got rid of the duds and I’m only bringing you the best. We’re also going to go over everything you need to know about picking out the best dress shirt as a fat guy so you know what to look for if you do take your chance at your local mall.
If you just want to skip ahead and see what made the list, you can check out our favorite options here:
- Best Overall: Marquis Men’s Long Sleeve Big & Tall Size Dress Shirt
- Best Sizing Options: Luxe Microfiber Dress Shirt
- Best French Cuff Dress Shirt On A Budget: Alimens & Gentle Dress Shirt (Cufflink Included)
- Best 100% Cotton Dress Shirt: Buttoned Down Supima Cotton Dress Shirt
- Best Patterned Dress Shirt: Buttoned Down 100% Cotton Pattern Dress Shirt
- Best With Traditional Sizing: Port Authority Easy Care Men Dress Shirts
- Best Formal French Cuff Dress Shirt: Steven Land 100% Cotton French Cuff
Now let’s get into it!
What (Exactly) Is A Dress Shirt?
Okay, I know that you got here from Google and you typed in something like “best dress shirt for big bodacious men” or something like that…so you probably know what a dress shirt is already.
But the problem with fashion is that it’s often all about nuance which means there are some very subtle distinctions that can make a shirt suddenly no longer qualify as a dress shirt.
I also want to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start reading the rest of the article so let’s make sure we’re 100% on the same page with what we’re defining as a dress shirt.
Here’s our working definition of a dress shirt:
A dress shirt has a full set of buttons on the front, a collar, and long sleeves with wrist cuffs. It’s traditionally made from cotton but we’re going to be flexible in the exact material types so that we can have a few more choices. Traditional colors for dress shirts are subtle and soft but we’re also going to include some louder styles too.
Pockets aren’t required though most dress shirts will have a single pocket. A proper dress shirt can be worn on its own or under a jacket.
Pretty simple, but now you know if you’re in the right spot. If you’re looking for something more casual but not as formal as a dress shirt, check out our favorite polo shirts for fat guys. Otherwise, stick with us.
What Should Fat Guys Look For In A Polo Shirt?
You might think that with a relatively standard definition there’s only so much you should look for in a dress shirt but as usual fat guys and big dudes need to make a few more considerations to set themselves up for success.
Let’s break down what you should look for and these are the same factors we looked at reviewing this list.
When it comes to collars, the big difference is between pointed collars and spread collars.
Pointed collars are exactly what they sound like and have a longer, pointier shaper that stretches downward. Spread collars have a wider shape that spread across your neckline.
While you might not think it makes much of a difference, the general fashionista consensus is that rounder faces (or in our case fatter faces) should wear a pointed collar since it will help elongate the face. Narrow faces will find that spread collars are better suited to their face for the opposite reason.
Fat guys can still have longer or narrow faces but most of the time we’re fighting against the roundness that a fatter face creates which means pointed collars are usually a good pick.
As always, we’re not trying to be something we’re not and instead, it’s just about looking your best.
There’s no real difference in comfort so if you’re not sure what to do go with I suggest fat guys stick with the pointed collar but I’ll have a little of both on this list.
You might be surprised to find just how many cuff styles are available. Depending on how you categorize different features, there are at least a dozen options between cuff shape, button placement, and cuff style.
But we’re going to keep things simple.
Most guys will find that a standard barrel cuff is the best option. Barrel cuffs, also sometimes called button cuffs, come ready to go with all the buttons you need. On the other hand, French Cuffs require cufflinks or cuff knots to close so there’s a little more to it.
If you’re buying a dress shirt for a tuxedo or other very formal event then French Cuffs are the way to go. But if you’re looking to rock the business casual look or just want to pick up a versatile dress shirt the barrel cuff is probably a better option.
Then there’s cuff sizing and bigger guys will want to go for cuffs with multiple button loops to give them more room. Of course, most dudes aren’t carrying their fat on their wrists but as a fat guy, you will have bigger wrists than others so you still want to leave some room.
I’m usually a big fan of cotton shirts for fat guys- whether it’s a dress shirt or a less formal polo shirt. Cotton is breathable which means less sweat and more comfort. I know not all fat guys have issues with sweating but I certainly do so it’s a constant struggle.
Not only is cotton usually more comfortable, but it’s also part of what gives a dress shirt its classic and somewhat formal look.
But it isn’t a requirement and polyester is another common fabric that works well for dress shirts.
However, I wouldn’t recommend a 100% polyester dress shirt since it just wouldn’t provide the formal or even semi-formal look you’d expect. Full polyester can work for clothing like tank tops since there’s less contact with your skin overall but when it comes to a long sleeve dress shirt it will often just be too itchy.
Still, there’s something to be said for a polyester and cotton blend that can work great for big dudes. You get some of the breathability of cotton, the lightness of polyester and these blends are usually easier on the budget too.
I’ve included several cotton and polyester blends on this list for that reason but if you do go the blended route, I suggest picking out a blend that has more cotton than polyester. That will ensure you get the lightness of polyester but the comfort of cotton all at a reasonable price point.
Tucked Vs Untucked
Most guys are going to be looking to tuck their dress shirts or at least have the option to do so.
Fat guys or men with big bellies will need to make sure their dress shirt has the required length to successfully tuck over your belly because a partially tucked dress shirt is a bad look.
This is also where things can get tricky.
If you go too big then you could end up with sleeves that are too long. Too short and you’re constantly worrying about whether your shirt is untucked. Because dress shirts are sized based on a sleeve length and neck size combination, you’ll usually be alright.
But if you’re a shorter fat guy, I recommend you check out either of the dress shirts on this list from Buttoned Down (like this one) which offer 6 different sleeve lengths so you don’t get stuck with a mismatch situation.
Pick the Right Fit
Dress shirts come in a variety of “fits” or styles that are different from the size. This is something you’ve seen in jeans before but also other pants like khakis or chinos and regardless of the garment, it can get pretty confusing.
When it comes to dress shirts, you usually have four options:
We can eliminate slim right out of the gate since these dress shirts just don’t make sense for big guys- at least in most cases.
Modern fit sounds good (after all the modern man is a little bigger, right) but it’s really just a slim fit hybrid. The arm holes will usually work for fat guys but the chest and waist will be too small for big bellies.
Athletic fit will usually work great for your upper body but it will leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the waist. These are dress shirts designed for big shoulders and biceps but not big bellies.
That leaves classic fit which is also the best choice for big guys. These dress shirts have more room in the arms holes along with other key areas like the waist and chest. You won’t find any slim or modern fit dress shirts on this list.
If you’re wearing your dress shirt under a jacket, you’re usually going to go for a plain white or light blue style. On the other hand, if you plan on wearing your dress shirt on it’s on then you can mix it up with patterns.
Now those aren’t hard and fast rules, but more like general guidelines.
I’ll be including several pattern choices to pick from including some stripes. I know, you’ve probably heard that fat guys can’t wear stripes but the fact is they can so you’ll see a few on this list.
The choice of a pocket or not is pretty simple…if you want to go for a more formal look then skip the pockets entirely.
For something in between, you can pick up a dress shirt with one pocket and a double pocket look is barely a dress shirt anymore since it’s lost its formal look for the most part.
Yep, dress shirts have pleats and you’ll find these on the back of the shirt.
These aren’t going to make a huge difference but pleats (whether single or double) will give you a little more range of motion. That’s a good thing for fat guys and while it won’t be a requirement to make the list, we’re generally going to prefer dress shirts with pleats that give us a little more room.
Dress Shirt Sizing For Fat Guys
Usually, when it comes to shirts we’re dealing with simple options: XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, etc.
When it comes to dress shirts, it’s rare to find brands that use the standard sizing you’re used to, and instead most will size based on neck and sleeve length.
For example, an 18 dress shirt is referring to an 18″ neck which will come in a variety of sleeve lengths. But it all starts with the neck sizing and runs in half-inch increments.
This can lead to some confusion when it comes to sizing since we’re not used to considering our neck size and how it related to a shirt. It can also lead to problems even getting your size in the first place since you will need some help to get a proper measurement.
Rather than trying to write out how to measure yourself, it’s much easier to check out a quick video and this one does a great job explaining the process but just know you will need second second of hands:
When it comes to the neck measurement, you’ll always want to add around an inch from your measurement to make sure the collar isn’t too tight. It’s much easier to tighten a collar than it is to fix a collar that’s too tight.
The measurement of the neck is what dictates the size of the entire dress shirt. In other words, the assumption is that a bigger neck will have a bigger belly and so dress shirts are sized appropriately.
To make things easier, I put together this rough estimate of how neck size will relate to traditional sizing. Again, this is a rough estimate so don’t take this to the bank or get upset if it’s a little off since sizing will vary by brand. It’s just to help you get an idea of what fat guys will need to look for in terms of neck size:
|17″ to 17.5″||XL|
|18″ to 18.5″||XXL|
|19″ to 19.5″||3XL|
|20″ to 20.5″||4XL|
|21″ to 21.5″||5XL|
Once you get past 22″ inch neck things become a little more unclear but in general, you’re in the 7XL to 8XL range at that neck size.
If you don’t want to deal with all this, I’ve added a dress shirt from Port Authority that uses traditional sizing which you can check out here. That dress shirt skips the neck and sleeve length protocol and just lets you pick from sizes up to 6XL.
Best Dress Shirts for Big Guys
Okay, now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about picking out the right dress shirt for fat guys let’s see what made the list starting with our best overall.
Best Overall: Marquis Men’s Long Sleeve Big & Tall Size Dress Shirt
This fat guy friendly dress shirt from Marquis is a bit of a hidden gem on Amazon with only a handful of reviews.
But it has everything we’re looking for from a great dress shirt for big guys.
For starters, it’s made from comfortable cotton and polyester blends that errs on the side of extra cotton. Too much polyester can leave a dress shirt feeling itchy and looking a little cheap. But too little polyester and you can expect a big price increase along with a much heavier shirt. I’ve found the 55/45 ratio to be a great balance.
When it comes to colors, you’ll find all the classics you’d expect from a dress shirt along with some more unique options like mustard and bright red.
The collar is pointed, which we’ve already discussed is a flattering option for fat faces, but not over the top in its design. Cuffs are also a simple button style that looks good without the hassle of dealing with cuff links.
For sizing, there are two length options for every neck size except the 24″ neck. Still, it’s rare to find any dress shirt that runs up to 24″ neck- especially one that looks this good.
There’s one single pocket and while that does decrease the formality of this dress shirt a bit, the pocket is subtle enough that it won’t be noticed under a jacket.
But what really makes this dress shirt stand out is the fact that it checks all the boxes in terms of what we’re looking for. It may not be the biggest or have the loudest styles but it’s a clear winner for the best overall and best all-around category.
You can check out all the colors and see the best price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Sizing Options: Luxe Microfiber Dress Shirt
- Neck size available up to 28
If your priority is sizing options then the Luxe Microfiber dress shirt is worth checking out. Maybe you have a whole crew of groomsmen of varying sizes and you need a dress shirt that will work for everyone.
Whatever the reason, this is one of the only ways you can find a 28″ neck without a tailor and while that doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit for fat guys it’s more than anything you’ll find off the shelf. Even better, Luxe is one of the few brands to also three offer sleeve length options with every size increment.
That means shorter fat guys don’t have to deal with extra long sleeves just to get a dress shirt that they can actually tuck in.
The downside here is that the shirt is made from 100% synthetic material. That means it’s going to be a lot lighter than most other dress shirts but it won’t have quite the same level of formal look that pure cotton or even a blend brings to the table.
The lack of a pocket helps and stylish cuffs make up for that but whether or not it’s a deal-breaker will really depend on the occasion you’re attending.
The color options are great but nothing to write home about. Again, the big selling point of this lightweight shirt is the sizing options. Between the long and easy-to-tuck length and the huge range of neck and sleeve combinations, it’s tough to beat when it comes to finding the right fit.
Of course, it also helps that this microfiber shirt is easy on the budget too!
You can check out all the colors, patterns, and the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best French Cuff Dress Shirt On A Budget: Alimens & Gentle French Cuff Dress Shirts
- Wide range of sizing up to a 22
This dress shirt could have easily taken the best overall spot but since not every big guy is going to be excited about French cuffs it needed to have its own section. Still, the folks at Alimens & Gentle send you the cuff links with the shirt so even that little hassle is removed.
The sizing is what really sets this dress shirt apart from the French cuff competition and not only do you have sizing options up to 22″ but you also have at least two sleeve length choices at every size. That means fat guys don’t have to worry about having extra-long sleeves just to get a dress shirt that fits.
Remember, a 22″ neck equates to a roughly 6XL. It’s not a perfect comparison or a substitute for measuring on your own but it does show us these shirts are ready for big dudes and big bellies.
You’ll also find more color choices than most dress shirts and some of the styles are a little wild- which is a good thing. I personally like the purple stripes with the bold white collar combo but you’re likely to find something that catches your eye with this many choices.
While French cuff dress shirts are usually considered the more formal (and therefore more expensive) option that isn’t true with the Alimens & Gentle shirts. These are easy on the budget and even more so when you consider that the cuff links come with the shirt.
The only potential downsides are that there’s a pocket present and a slight spread on this collar.
Not every guy will care about the pocket but it does take away from the overall formality. Still, the addition of the stylish French cuff mean that you can make this dress shirt work for just about any occasion.
As for the collar, it’s not an extreme spread collar but it doesn’t have the long point that we like to see to offset fatter, rounder faces.
I’m also a fan of the cotton and polyester blend that keeps this dress shirt comfortable while keeping the price down. With more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, I’m not the only one who’s a fan of this dress shirt.
You can read some of those reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best 100% Cotton Dress Shirt: Buttoned Down Supima Cotton Dress Shirt
- Neck size available up to 20
If you’re looking for a more formal look, the folks at Buttoned Down have you covered and their dress shirt is not only fat-friendly but also checks most of the boxes when it comes to that classic dress shirt look.
Their shirts are made from 100% cotton which not only feels great, but it also gives this dress shirt a more polished, classy, and formal style.
But we’re not just talking about any ol’ cotton here and these dress shirts are made from Supima cotton which is a higher quality fabric.
I know that sounds like pure marketing hype but according to the folks at Supima, this type of cotton represents ” less than 1% of cotton grown in the world. What makes Supima unique to other cottons is the extra-long staple fiber that gives the cotton its premium properties: Strength, Softness and Color retention.”
These shirts are comfortable and I don’t care if it’s Supima or not- any high-quality cotton will feel and look different.
You can up the formality even further by going pocketless and this line from Buttoned Down is one of the few dress shirts that give you the option right on the order page. It will come down to personal preference, but I’m a big fan of the pocketless look especially if you pick one of the brighter colored shirts.
Sizing is the only area that’s lacking and while they do offer up to 20″ neck size that may not be enough for some fat guys. But if you’re around a 3XL or 4XL these are a good starting point.
What they lack in overall size they make up for in sleeve length. These are one of the few dress shirts that offer six different sleeve lengths to pick from. That’s huge for fat guys that are shorter or taller since it allows you to get a better neck and sleeve sizing combination.
When it comes to colors, they offer all the classic light pastels you’d expect from a more formal dress shirt.
Overall, this dress shirt is not only 100% comfortable cotton but also one of the more formal options on this list. There are also more than 1,000 five-star reviews backing this shirt up which is always a good thing.
You can check out more reviews, all the colors, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Patterned Dress Shirt: Buttoned Down 100% Cotton Pattern Dress Shirt
- Neck size available up to 20
In the most formal situation, dress shirts are one solid color but if you’re looking to add a little more style to your business casual wardrobe, working in some patterns is a good way to go.
A patterned dress shirt also works well if you’re going for the untucked look. I can’t give you a hard and fast style rule there, but when I wear a solid white dress shirt it looks like I just got off work. In other words, that look never looks intentional while an untucked patterned shirt looks like it’s what I wore out of the house…in a good way!
But whatever your reason for a patterned dress shirt, this second option from the Buttoned Down brand makes a solid choice.
These patterned dress shirts are quite similar to the other pick in that they feature comfortable Supima cotton and great sizing options when it comes to length.
Once again, we don’t see anything beyond a 20″ neck (or around a 4XL) but we do see plenty of length options with 6 choices for every neck size.
But the real reason this shirt made the list is the patterns. You have 36 to pick from and my favorite is the classic light blue stripe dot but the grey stripe dot is good too. I guess I’m a big fan of stripes and dots!
Overall, it’s hard to go wrong here and these versatile patterns can work for just about any situation. There are also more 1,000 five-star reviews backing these shirts up and you can check them out, along with the latest price on Amazon, by clicking here.
Best With Traditional Sizing: Port Authority Easy Care Men Dress Shirts
- Sizing available up to 6XL with no measuring required
- Single pleat on the back allows for extra movement
- 32 colors to select from so you can buy a few if you like them
Most dress shirts require that you work within the neck and sleeve measuring system…which can be a real pain.
Not only do you need a second set of hands to get the measurements in the first place but even then it can feel strange picking out a dress shirt based on your neck. After all, I’m going to be more concerned about my belly than my neck when it comes to dress shirts!
Port Authority isn’t going to give you a belly measurement but their great looking dress shirts use more traditional sizing that we’re all used to. That means you don’t need to measure your neck and instead you can pick up a 6XL or whatever size you normally would.
You also have a whopping 32 colors to choose from so if you like the fit and option of using traditional sizing you also have plenty of color options to pick from.
When it comes to the actual dress shirt, these are a solid balance of quality and budget. The shirt is made from 55% cotton and 45% polyester so it’s lightweight and breathable without raising the price too much. Whenever we see a blend, I always prefer to see more natural cotton than synthetic polyester so we can consider that box checked.
I also like the large back pleat on this dress shirt. While it might not make a massive difference, it will help increase mobility and give the shirt a little extra space to move. When you’re dealing with a big belly, this can absolutely help make the shirt more comfortable and stay tucked.
You can check out all 32 colors, read more reviews and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Formal French Cuff Dress Shirt: Steven Land 100% Cotton French Cuff
So far we’ve looked at quite a few options that walk the line between formal and casual. But if you want a dress shirt that will work for fat guys and any formal event you can throw at it then this is it.
This dress shirt from Steven Land features classy French cuffs, classic vibrant dress shirt colors, and is made from 100% cotton. That’s everything you’d want to see from a formal-style dress shirt and even better it comes with big and tall sizing at an easy-on-the-budget price.
Sizing is up to 22″ and the shirt uses the classic fit cut that we’ve already established is the best pick for fat guys and big dudes.
The only downside is sleeve length and shorter guys may not be able to find the right sleeve length to match their neck size. If that’s your situation, scroll up and check out the two dress shirts from Buttoned Down that have half a dozen sleeve lengths to pick from.
But if the sleeves work for you, this stylish dress shirt is a great pick for the fashion-conscious fat guy. Just remember that you’ll need to pick up your French cuffs separately.
You can read more reviews, see all colors and check the best price on Amazon by clicking here.
We’ve covered everything you need to know about picking out the perfect fat-friendly dress shirt along with my favorites to make it easier.
Even with everything we’ve gone into here, one fact remains: dress shirts are one of the tougher garments for fat guys to find.
Most dress shirts use an older sizing system that doesn’t lend itself to bigger bodies. While we did include a shirt that offers traditional sizing, that’s not the norm which means fat guys are stuck measuring their necks to fit their bellies.
Still, this can work, and hopefully, you’ve seen enough options that work for your body.
I’d love to know which dress shirt you went with and what you think of it!