How to Dress for Your Height, According to an NBA Stylist

Courtney Mays, an NBA stylist, breaks down the six things to remember when shopping ‘big and tall’

deandre jordan big and tall mobile
DeAndre Jordan is a whopping 6'11" / Digital illustration by Michael Saintil/Getty Images

Line up all the famous men shaping fashion trends today and chances are the majority of them are going to stand well over six feet tall and have washboard abs. Thanks to stylists like Courtney Mays, NBA pros are beginning to dominate the style conversation. With clients like Chris Paul, Kevin Love and DeAndre Jordan, Mays has helped turn the arena tunnel into a new kind of runway—a place where you can spot the hottest sneakers, the most fly suits and the best bags in the game.

Because we know you want to look just as hot as an NBA guy, we’ve asked Mays to answer some of your style questions. Today she’s tackling the world of big-and-tall dressing, akin to her NBA clients’ stature.

The fashion world has not opened its proverbial arms to big and tall people. Especially men. This is a struggle that keeps most guys over 6-foot-3 wearing a 2X in sweatpants or resorting to dad jeans and plaid button-ups. With the convergence of sports and fashion, it is amazing that this is such an issue. But what does the non-multi-million-dollar athlete do in order to master the sartorial look of his smaller homies?

Here are six ways to nail fashion if you’re larger than the average joe:

1. Find a tailor.

This may be the answer to almost any fashion-related question. You can have tailoring done at your local dry cleaner or call the concierge at the most luxurious hotel in your area and ask if they have any recommendations for tailors. Whether my client is 5-foot-9 or seven feet, alterations are necessary. Almost nothing you buy off the rack is perfect! TAlthough stylists have impeccable taste and help to create the images of all your fave celebs [dusts off my shoulders], our illusion is that we partner with tailors to make your clothes fit properly. Anything can be altered—even your Old Navy jeans. Take the time and extra small investment to make your clothes fit you properly. Old Navy can look like Mr. Porter with the right alterations.

2. Shop off the rack.

So many of the guys I’ve worked with have been given this awful message that nothing in the store will fit them. It’s not true. Yes, Kevin Love may need made-to-measure suiting and outerwear because his limbs are long, but we shop retail spaces for knits and tees. Most often, the body is so boxy that we have to alter down to achieve a more modern, slim fit. Also, so many brands are designing oversized collections (Off-White, Helmut Lang, Balenciaga and Vetements to name a few) that you may walk out of the store with a medium. Stop looking at sizes. If it fits, it fits.

3. Look to smaller brands.

Seek out smaller brands that are beginning to explore the big-and-tall market. I’m a huge fan of Oublier, a Los Angeles–based company that has created a Rick Owens–esque collection of essentials like joggers, curved-hem tees, army jackets and drop-crotch shorts. The company is owned by a fellow tall guy, so he’s keen on fit and proper proportions and he understands the void in the market for cool clothes in larger and longer sizes. Waraire Boswell is another favorite. He has created clothing for many of the NBA greats and his tailoring is masterful. This is a bit of an investment, but a suit by Bos (who is 6-foot-5 himself) is a piece of ultimate luxury that will last you a lifetime.

4. Shop online.

Go digital. ASOS and Banana Republic online are your friends right now. ASOS has expanded its menswear collection to what the company is calling “plus,” which includes sizes up to 6X as well as longer inseams. Don’t expect super high quality in fabrication, but go here to find on-trend styles that most retailers do not make in extended sizes.

Banana Republic offers big and tall sizing online. This is a go-to site when looking for classic silhouettes and key essentials like the perfect gray tee or slim trouser. Both sites also have some great suit options.

5. Forget the label.

Let’s get rid of the phrase big and tall. For whatever reason, it has this outsider connotation. So what? You’re a 40 waist and not a 32, or your inseam is 36 and not 32.  That doesn’t make you less attractive or less fashionable. It may mean you have fewer options, but that’s not your fault. You’re a boss. Own it.

6. Buy unfinished hems.

Stylist’s trick: I often buy trousers with unfinished hems. That way I can adjust the length where I need it. Plus, a great trouser is the beginning of a cool look. Add a tee and you are street style–worthy. Add a sweater and you are smart casual.

Brands we’re loving

Brunello Cucinelli goes to a 3X, if not more. It is the epitome of luxury. Palm Angels created its infamous tracksuits in larger sizes. They are a favorite around the NBA. John Elliott partnered with Good Counsel to create some of its cult favorites in big-and-tall sizes. They have mastered the essential closet staples with denim, knits and the best white tee ever.

Incotex is a brand I love because not only does it have your classic navy, khaki or black trousers but also great glen plaids and bold colors. Good Counsel is really leading the pack in the startup space. You really cannot go wrong. The icing on the cake is Good Counsel’s newest venture: a subscription service that helps our big-and-tall crew develop their wardrobe and stay on trend.

And now, Courtney Mays’s style steal, fit and must-follow of the month...

The style steal...

Maison Labiche script tees are the perfect elevated answer to a graphic tee.

Maison Labiche Tees

Fit of the month...

Love this look because it is the epitome of everything DJ embodies off the court. It reflects his style sensibility and gives him a confident stride walking into the arena. Perfect mix of tailored pieces and distressed vintage.

Must follow...

Also, I’m completely and fully stalking this guy on IG: @thatmrwang. His style is crazy and gives me so many ideas on how to play with patterns and proportions.

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