Knowing Your Size – Featuring Marwan Helal

August 15th, 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, the average American man wears his clothes one or two sizes too large.

Another close friend, and longtime influencer on my personal style, Marwan Helal, has always understood the importance of a proper fit.


Marwan is 5’10″ 185 lbs – all muscle.

However, unlike most guys his size who think they’ve ““earned” a size Large or XLarge, Marwan knows better. For the most part, in American brands he wears a ““Slim Fit” size Small or Medium (Club Monaco and Polo Ralph Lauren, for example). He even has a couple pieces in his closet in size XSmall.

After all, if you work hard in the gym and are in good shape, you might as well look the part. Ill-fitting or baggy clothing will make you look younger, skinnier, and sloppier – while proper-fitting clothing allow you to look leaner, more mature and yes, even a little tougher.

  • Tortoiseshell wayfarers by Ray-Ban
  • S/S stripe shirt by Club Monaco
  • Cotton chinos by H&M
  • Navy suede driving shoes by Tods
  • Omar

    Marwan is the most handsome guy in street fashion.

  • Big Jon

    Marwan must really love those tan mocs.

    Anyway, this was very informative. I’ll remember this the next time I go shopping.

  • Anonymous

    What a great blog. There is so much information out there for women, but very little for larger size men. Especially when it comes to how to dress your shape to look your best. Men, no matter what their size look great when their clothes fit well.

  • Abe

    I’m a 6’3 athletic built guy that loves to wow my prospects with my business causal swag. However when shopping for a blazer or jacket I have a hard time finding something that fits my large shoulders and small waist. Not to mention I have a wingspan of about 6’8 (which makes my sleeves short) Is there any way to fix this or find a clothing line that will accommodate my fashion style?


  • Tall Mans Clothes

    I am glad to see this blog. I am giving thanks to this site for give such great information about Big and tall clothes shopping tips. This blog content such a great knowledge about Tall clothes.
    I would like to thanks to this site for shearing such amazing information. This site is awesome for tall men’s clothes information. I am also provides this type of service. This is such great information for me.
    Thanks a lot for this blog

  • AnotherJames

    I’m late to the game here but I wanted to say thanks for confirming what I’ve been suspectig recently. I’m 5’10″ and 169lbs with decent muscle tone. My GF is shocked and saddened that here boyfriend wears a med to sml sometimes. But once I throw the shirt on she admits that it looks not only like the correct fit but much more attractive than the larger draped shirts.

  • Adam

    Interesting article, but what about a guy who has that middle age man gut. Not a huge one, but it does stick out a bit. When I wear fitted clothes all it seems to do is emphasize my gut, but the rest fits nicely. Its a bit frustrating and while I would like to lose the “gut” thats not happening….any advice?

    • Zulhilmi Rahman

      Hi, Adam.

      Well, I’ve a brother that’s having exactly the same problem as you and what he does now is to layer with a dark vest, possibly that matches your pants to create a slim line between the top and the bottom part of your body.

      Avoid layering with lighter colors as it’ll will create a bigger illusion of your body.

      Hope this helps….


  • mens formal shirts

    ye, not many people care about measuring their exact size that makes them look odd sometimes.

  • Santos Gomide

    Supertech Componentes Eletrônicos. Obrigado e boa semana

  • Mandalayna

    I was surprised and kind of shocked to read that Marwan was the same height and only about 15/20 lbs. lighter than my s/o.

    The problem is twofold: 1) He has lost a great deal of weight (60 lbs) and is still in his XL mentality. I’m going to show him this blog post in hopes that he will be inspired to go smaller in size now.

    2) He’s naturally heavily muscled; he can’t afford made-to-order, so what shirts he buys over the counter either fit him in the shoulder but are too tight around the neck, or fit his neck but blouse out in the chest and shoulders.

    As he was the original nerd with (honest, not kidding) the button down shirt and pocket protector in high school, he’s not all that interested in fashion, but likes it when I point him in the right direction. I just found this blog today (8/31/10) so right off I’m getting some good ideas.

    If anyone has suggestions on the neck-size problem I’m open to ideas.

    • Sssshhhhh!

      slim/fitted shirts.

  • Trade Directory

    thanx… I’m looking for more trade directories for generate my clothing business accross the world.

    • suavestar

      Hi Tradedirectory

      Drop me an email, let’s talk. Im in South Africa, Johannesburg.

      Look forward to hearing from you.

  • Gayle Neighbors

    Super post! Your style is so much better compared to most other writers. Thank you for posting when you do, I will be sure to keep visiting!

  • Bryan


    I did recently begin refreshing my image/wardrobe, and when I first started I was a bit naive. I bought a few shirts that were mediums and on sale, thinking they would fit me (I am usually a medium). I wore them for a while just fine, but now that I have been becoming more aware and informed on how things should fit I am realizing they are just way too big for me.

    I recently bought my first 2 “small” sized shirts, from Gap, and they fit me just great. I am very happy with them, and although they aren’t fitted (just a hair boxy), since the size is more form fitting in itself due to being smaller than usual it actually looks quite good untailored.

    I’m glad to see that your friend is a small/medium, because I am between 5’9″ and 5’10″ and am currently on the very slim side as I trim fat, but I get a bit more bulky in the winter months as I do more lifting and heavy eating. I was afraid that my smaller sized clothes might not fit once I bulk up, but I am not as concerned about that anymore; there is no way I’ll ever get as “big” as your friend, at 205lb hehe.

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    Sunday, August 15, 2010 – 08:34 PM

  • DarinJ

    Awesome post, definitely some great information for those in that transition

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    Sunday, August 15, 2010 – 09:38 PM

  • cam

    This is a great point SB and one I think most of your readers surely follow. I simply wish it was a point that the rest of American men would understand. I can’t tell you how many times I get the “oh you must be gay” comment simply because I wear my clothes of the proper fit. It doesn’t help much that I don’t live in a “style forward” city such as NY where I’m sure this is less of an issue. Keep up the great work and maybe the other 90% of American men will catch on.

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    Sunday, August 15, 2010 – 09:40 PM

  • Kayvann

    this is something that i finally got a few years back. and i’ve spent the last two years almost completely changing out my wardrobe. I am 6’2″ and 215lbs. my problem is that my proportions don’t work for most designers. essentially I wear a 42L. that makes my a “large tall” in shirts. of course, the selection of “large tall” is pretty limited – especially in-store. i used to by XL because the sleeves would fit – but the chest/shoulders didn’t look good.

    now i take my time – try things on (even it it means ordering two of the same shirt in different sizes from an online retailer and returning one), and have no qualms having shirts altered.

    i’m SO glad that so many designers are moving back so SLIM being the norm!

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 12:23 AM

  • First Time Viewer

    I was just wondering what brand of shoes he’s wearing in pretty much all these photos. I was looking for a similar loafer/driving shoe and these seem perfect.


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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 12:52 AM

  • madeInitaly

    great blog, great choices, great tastes… very close to our italian standards. keep it coming….

    to the guy above me, these are some tod’s “gommino”. some of the best refined italian loafers out there.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 03:20 AM

  • VB

    Windsor escapee since ’98
    Unfortunately this is a an uphill battle trying to convince guys what size they are. The comment you get from most dudes for wearing ill fitting clothing is comfort, I always tell them to just wear a dress or a moo moo then, cause if you want to be comfortable and look like shit you might as well go all the way.

    Is this another of your Windsor crew ? Looks like Detroit taken from Dieppe in one of the backgroud pics. If so, good to see them stepping it up back home.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 07:59 AM

  • ColorFool

    Awesome Dan, just awesome!!!

    Those blue sued shoes look familiar.
    I cant recall where I have seen them before.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 09:38 AM

  • Nuseness

    SB — Love the features with your friends, but can we get the same info on the outfits that you give when you post pictures of yourself?

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 10:04 AM

  • J

    you should do a blog about big and tall …. its difficult finding that right fit . I.e – it’s hard finding the right fitting dress shirt – 6’2 210lbs.

    Sleeves could be perfect a perfect length , but the shirt appears ‘baggy’ when tucked in. Is tapering the shirts the only option?

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 10:10 AM

  • Freshness

    Didnt know you was down with ay-rabs.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 10:43 AM


    @ FRESHNESS – I resent the fact that I share the same root-word in my name as you after that stupid comment.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 11:07 AM


    Great post! I think it is very important that people take note of your friend’s measurements and the fact that he chooses Smalls and XS.

    I’m a fan of those brown driving loafers your friend is wearing. Can you provide us with some of the info on those shoes.


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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 11:10 AM

  • Vik

    hey Dan,

    am writing in from India, and this is a great post! all too often I see guys, even those in decent shape, look sloppy by wearing shirts that are way to big in size! it’s only now that the Indian market has started featuring slim fit shirts…

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 11:57 AM


    I’d love to know the brands and fit of the slacks/jeans he is wearing. Love the details like this in your posts, but missing it here.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 11:59 AM

  • Freshness

    Fresh2Death…why the hateration bro!!!

    All I said waz I did not know Dan was down with the ay-rabs…..That is not politically incorrecto hermano.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 12:49 PM

  • Dave J.

    What I always urge friends to do is to take more than one size of the same item into the dressing room. So many people think “oh, I wear a size L” and then they take a L shirt into the dressing room, and it basically fits, so they buy it. They don’t bother to also try the M, which might fit better. Really, you have try it on. There is so much disparity between brands–one brand’s M might be another’s S, and if you just buy the size you think you are, you’ll wear a lot of oversized stuff. Great piece, SB.

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    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 01:01 PM

  • Spiffydave

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    i agree completely. a slim fit is best. especially these days because having your pants/shirts a little shorter than normal looks good. there’s also nothing wrong with taking a shirt into the tailor to get the sides trimmed up. my favorite shirts are always those that i have gotten tailored for me.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 01:55 PM

  • CAS

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    Excellent post Dan!

    I used to think because of my height (6’2″) I needed to buy a Large or XL but because of my slim build I have found out by continually sizing down over the years that a small – in most cases – fits me best. Fit and proportion are the keys to looking great in your attire and just looks incredibly sloppy when a guy has a garment that is a size or two too big. For the bulkier guys out there or fellas whose proportions don’t exactly fall in line with most designers, I would suggest going to your local tailor or getting that shirt custom made. You spend a bit more money but it makes a world of a difference!

    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 02:40 PM

  • SB

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    Love the post, but also would like to know what Marwan is wearing, especially the driving loafs

    Thanks, keep it up.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 07:49 PM

  • LucaRubinacci

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    What jeans is your friend wearing in the bottom left pic? I’m diggin’ the wash.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 07:49 PM

  • JMRouse

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    Wow, the comment section on this one blew up fast.

    I tried finding it via Google, but I wrote Dan a while back about recommendations in finding Tall size clothing. Maybe he can repost the link. I’m 6’6″ and sizing down with long sleeve shirts is often not an option because of my height. JCrew, Gap, BR and even Polo all carry Tall sizes online. What I do is order them and if they don’t fit it’s easy enough to return the item at my local mall which has stores for all four brands. JCrew seems to have the slimmest cuts of these brands.

    If you are really slim, you can always take them in to a good tailor and have the clothes slimmed down even more. It ads cost, but is worth it in the long run to own a piece that fits you better.

    I know of some people who have been ordering clothing from one of the online MTM sites like Modern Tailor and have had luck. Was thinking about trying one of them at some point.

    Only other thing I have learned is if you are tall like me, when you do find something that fits you well and you like it, buy it. Your options are much more limited and you don’t want to miss out because you waited.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 10:06 PM

  • Steven I

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    I agree with JM Rouse…. Im 6″8 and athletic at 260lbs from my playing days in college.. the only that brand that fits me decently (due to my really long arms) is CK. I still have to get them tailored on the sides a bit even for a slim fit but its well worth it. Its all about fitting clothes.. they make you look slimmer and the women love it. :)

    Monday, August 16, 2010 – 11:45 PM

  • TO

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    (the big & tall link JMRouse was talking about)

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 01:00 AM

  • madeINitaly

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    since people keep asking about those LOAFERS:

    these are TOD’S “gommino” and they’re for sale at about 260 euros here in italy. if you’re into those type of shoes you can also have a look at prada’s “car shoe”, for the same price but lower stitching and suede quality. they come in every shade of colour and every type of leather.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 05:03 AM

  • Darraghd

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    Nice post. i like the guys trouser length and shoes especially.
    I work in retail in my home city of Dublin Ireland. I went on a shopping trip to New York two years ago.
    I couldnt believe how big, loose and unfitted the clothes are in New York, compared to back home. Fit is of utmost importance in this business but most shops have “slim” or ” skinny” fits in all shirts trousers jackets on this side of the atlantic.
    Anyway keep up the good work!

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 06:12 AM

  • JMRouse

    Steven I:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels the pain. lol




    I also saw a kick ass pair of blue suede drivers at Zara over the weekend. $80 and I am sure the quality is not that hot, but they looked fantastic.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 09:19 AM

  • Sabir P.

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    Great to see a post about fit using a guy that would typically be seen wearing grossly oversize shirts because he is muscular. The average American male is usually seen wearing clothes that are 1 to 2 size large than their actual fit to give the impression of looking bigger (it’s not working). As we can all tell if you are not actual an L or XL and you are wearing those sizes you will be swimming in the clothes. I am 5′ 9 and around 168lbs (former sprinter/jumper) with a pretty muscular builder. It took me a few years into college to realize I am not a huge guy and it’s not smart to dress like one. Most women love to see a man in some that is we tailored to their body so that they can see what you actually look like. Keep up the good work Dan.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 09:58 AM

  • Keithc2608

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    ‘Good Fit’ is something im just getting into and understanding, the only thing is it has left me with so many clothes that are a bad fit :(

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010 – 12:32 PM

  • Anonymous

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    Love the post SB, fit is definitely everything! You and your friends have great style.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 – 02:09 AM

  • Matt

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    YES! I’m so happy to see a post on proper fit. I’m a slim dude (6′ 135lbs), and even then I have shop clerks asking me if I’m a medium or a large. Hopefully guys will take this from this article: Clothes are meant to FIT your body, not hang off of it!

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 – 12:56 PM

  • Hans

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    I always see fit defined as not “too tight.” What exactly is tight? I understand it to the extreme. What does it mean when as has been stated on this site, the difference can be a matter of inches. Can you point me towards some photographs that show the subtle difference? Could you show us some pictures of yourself in the same pants/jeans/shirts, just in different sizes?
    Thanks for the great site.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 – 07:03 PM

  • Anonymous

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    In earlier post you wrote about Shawl Cardigans needed to be a size bigger. just wanted to point that out. /10_Midrange_Game_%28Part_V%29__The_Chunky_Shawl_Cardigan.html

    Saturday, August 21, 2010 – 01:45 AM

  • Thatguy

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    start making videos SB and post them on Youtube… you’lll be a hit

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 – 12:36 AM

  • Vintage Whistles

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    I would suggest if buying online its best to take a note of all your measurements and store them. That way you can refer to them easily, saves doing it every time you wish to make a purchase.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 – 06:00 AM