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We all know what defines a bear; big, beefy, hairy, bearded and masculine. But what defines a bear’s style? Do the clothes make the man? Are you trapped in the same old flannel shirt, tank top or t-shirt with some stale quote like ‘Bear With Me’? Well gents, it’s time you stepped out of your cotton comfort zones and took some chances with your clothing. Let’s get out of our collective ruts and start modernizing our wardrobes. We are calling on you to be Modern Bears. Let’s get busy!
“I’ve tried to update my clothes, but I can’t find anything that fits”, is the reality to a frustrating challenge for many of us; shopping. I myself am 6′ and 235 pounds and I got to the point where I hated going to the mall. I just couldn’t find anything that fit. Granted, you can find occasional 2X and 3X sizes, but it’s more common than not that retailers usually stock sizes S-M-L-XL. And if you want to dress in designer fashions, forget it. Labels like Gucci, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana don’t even make sizes above XL. Those bitches!
The task of finding fashion forward clothing is next to impossible at most brick-and-mortar stores. Grrrrrr! But never fear my brothers. There are contemporary fashions to be found online at many clothing etailers. We are here to help you navigate through some of the best webstores and style sites for the bear community.
One of my favorite places to shop online is at Zappos.com. This fabulous retailer started out exclusively selling shoes but as they became more and more popular, they decided to branch out into clothing. Zappos became popular because they offer free shipping BOTH WAYS. This is especially helpful for us plus-sized men as there really is no risk. Order what you like in the sizes you need, try them on at home, and if they don’t fit – ship them back for free. What I like best about this website is that they offer designs from top fashion houses like Hugo Boss, 7 Diamonds and True Religion in sizes up to 4XL. You’ll never find offerings in these sizes at regular department stores.
Another relatively new website for bigger men is DestinationXL.com. This is the site from well known retailers Casual Male and Rochester Big and Tall. If it’s BIG sizes you are looking for, this is the place. DestinationXL offers waist sizes up to 66 and shirts up to 7XL. DXL has offerings from leading designers such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Robert Graham and Brooks Brothers as well as their own private label brand. The clothes here tend to be a little less expensive than Zappos but they have less of a selection. It’s a site definitely worth checking out.
Amazon.com has recently entered into the clothing business. Although not as easy to navigate, Amazon does offer a pretty good selection of plus-sized clothes. Their Big and Tall section offers a variety of choices, but there is far less designer offerings. If you have Amazon Prime (their $99 per year free shipping service) then they are a great choice for the basics; underwear, socks and other essentials. Just don’t expect much style here.
Still not sure what your style is? Then check out Chubstr.com. Not only does Chubstr sell some amazing fashions, they offer advice on styling, trends and popular topics for the big man community. You can find articles on clothing design, news on what’s hot and much more. This site is a great resource if you’re trying to find the style that fits you best. Another great site for tips on how to be stylin’ is The Art Of Manliness. It’s really fun and interesting to discover how to feel sophisticated and manly at the same time. Check it out.
The reality is that we all feel good in comfy old jeans and a t-shirt. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a casual wardrobe. But casual isn’t always appropriate. Hopefully after taking a look as some of these websites, you’ll be encouraged to take a few risks and try something new. And shopping in the comfort of your own home without the frustration and tedium of scouring stores only to find smaller sizes is easier now thanks to the web. So pull out your laptops, tablets or smart phones and start exploring. It’s time to step out in style!
Meet our Bearnamic Duo, George and Scott! These two talented designers have melded a successful career and relationship together. We get the scoop from them on how they make it all work…
How did you guys meet?
“It was actually quite romantic, a bit like some sappy, romantic comedy movie… A frosty New England night, as snow drifted deeply with the strong December winds; It glistened like scattered diamonds amid the winter moon’s glow…George’s car was stuck in a snow bank, Scott happened by with his truck and the rest is history!”
How long have you been together?
“We are in our 25th year together! Most of that time (at least 20 years, has been spent working side by side ,day & night, 24/7, 365…well you get the idea!) We are the design team that make up the brand Spathose. Our work transcends the realm of ordinary style by forging fine art with fashion, thus conceiving more than an accessory; we have given rise to organic wearable sculpture with an industrial edge.”
Was it love at first sight or did it take a few dates?
“There was definitely an immediate connection, but we both were a bit cautious in the beginning. After our third date though, we were inseparable!”
If you are cohabiting, how long did you date before you lived together?
“It didn’t take long at all, within a month and we knew that we wanted to spend as much time with each other as possible. Since that time, we have not spent more than a few days apart! In the beginning, we both had regular jobs but soon realized that we wanted to work together at our own business.”
What is it about your mate that attracted you so much?
George: “For me the eyes are truly that window into the soul, I looked deeply into his intense eyes and I immediately felt this attachment, I felt safe. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was brutally good looking with an amazing body!”
Scott: “The first time we met, I felt as though time stood still, I was captured in a moment that I never wanted to end. My heart started to race and felt as though it was being gripped by a vice on the verge of exploding… He captivated me is so many ways, his charming smile, adorable rosy cheeks that glistened from the snow, the bluest eyes that melted my heart, but what really clenched it all for me was beyond that physical attraction, it was his wit and ability to make me laugh…”
Do you have common interests?
“Our passion has always centered on the arts in some manner. Our first business together was faux finishing, back when we lived in the Philadelphia area. We also enjoyed home renovations and that quickly turned that into a business. Upon our move to Saint Petersburg FL 11 years ago, we decided to focus entirely on purchasing run down properties in blighted areas to remodel and turn them into income properties. Since the real estate crash, being ever resilient, we had to re-invent ourselves once again. That is how we started our present business and brand, Spathose.
Do you each have an interest that the other has none in?
“That’s the dilemma of being business and life partners, it’s tricky to be able to have separate lives! This was a struggle early on as our identities were merged into one. We were never thought of as individuals, but as a single entity. Both having strong personalities, we found that challenging to be reduced to this homogenized, collective version of ourselves. Understandably, being part of a brand, it’s essential to promote as a team and since have found that delicate balance to insure our own distinctive personae are not swallowed by the whole!”
What’s the secret to your successful relationship?
“In this internet fueled, new, next, now, built for planned obsolescence era of today, it seems that relationships have become disposable. The famous quote “For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice” might have very well been written specifically about human interactions. Not to say that every day has to be a struggle, but be prepared to truly live the word compromise! Something as wonderful and rewarding as a long term relationship is worth the hard work that goes with it! Communication is key! Also Laugh, laugh everyday…there is always love when there is laughter!”
Any advice for a dating couple?
“Never define your relationship on someone else’s views, values, or morals; it can be destructive.
You are the only one that knows your true feelings.
Create a friendship bond that grows beyond the physicality and the bedroom.
Never try to stagnate the other person from their journey in life.
MOST OF ALL, TRY YOUR BEST TO LISTEN!”
Thee Photo Ninja
Rossie Newson Photography
Downtown Carol Photography
“The definitive populuxe film. This Jam Handy produced, Chevrolet sponsored technicolor movie, was designed to get the American public ready for the 1959 Chevy Impala. Just a decade earlier, car companies were producing one model, and you kept it as long as you could. Now, there were options, and colors, and and you wanted the new model every year. Some may call this propaganda. Hell, it was made by Chevrolet, did you NOT think there would be cars in it. GM’s agenda in no way detracts from the mid-century magic in this film. This is straight up vintage eye porn. If you’re into atomic age design and mid-century minimalism, then this is your Citizen Kane.” – ZarakPhoto