Big Facts

With a can’t miss sartorial style to match a can’t miss smile, Michael Anthony Spearman has established himself as one of the go-to men’s voices in the Big and Tall community. He shares with us his style influences, some style advice, and takes on the challenge of representation in the industry. He’s out to make a big impression in menswear, period.

Words by Good Counsel

Portraits by Justin Bridges

Any good legend has a good origin story, tell us a little bit about your background.

My parents met here in Bronx but I was raised in Detroit. So I think those influences, you know, Motownall that good stuff—it’s about what’s in your blood. My mother told me, “You need to stop worrying about wearing other people’s names and wear your own name.” Something about that just clicked. I said, “Okay.” I want to wear my own name.

Have you always been into men’s fashion? Where did the passion for it come from?

I want to wear just what I like, what I feel. Since I was a kid, I was always into matching. So I think that my eye for style was always there. In college, I was preparing to join a fraternity. You had to dress up for the interview. So I said, let me dress up, let me get real fly. The whole day, I received nothing but compliments. I decided from that point on to keep it up, to keep putting in that extra emphasis and effort into my personal style.

If you could describe your style in a few words, what would that be?

My style is urban, preppy. The preppy-ness comes from just the structure, the classic looks. Being born in the Bronx, raised in Detroit. That’s where the urban comes from. That’s a part of me. So there is that kind of edge that you get. Coordinating, color blocking; I think I draw all of my inspiration from my surroundings—my community.

You tailor your own clothes, does that run in the family? 

I was  first enrolled at a small HBCU in Oklahoma, Langston University. I ended up transferring and applied everywhere…Parsons, FIT—anywhere you can imagine. The only school I heard back from was from Wayne State University in Detroit, for their fashion design program. I went ahead and completed my degree in fashion design.

There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with, not only being one of the first but one of the only Detroit Big and Tall style influencers that has approached tailored clothing in this way. Can you speak to that?

I just let inspired people inspire me, period. What can I do to make fashion less about me, less about the pride of it all—what can I do to make fashion purposeful? When I started The Big Fashion Guy, I didn’t find anyone that I could relate to style-wise. I wasn’t represented by the people that I saw.

What are some of those questions that you get the most from guys who follow you?

The question I get asked most often is, where do I shop? When I tell people that I shop everywhere, they are shocked. I think men are lazy by default when it comes this. They don’t want to go shopping. They don’t want to dig through. Don’t get complacent, don’t get lazy. Don’t settle.

What do you think it is about you that built trust between you and your audience?

I mean, I’m in their shoes as well. I understand the frustration of not being able to find anything. You walk out, you can’t imagine that feeling of, I can’t find anything but I’m looking for A, B, and C. I want what’s in, what’s trendy, what’s stylish. I come from a compassionate place. I know where you’re from, I know how you’re feeling. 

What are some challenges that you have despite your success? 

Being taken as seriously as other influencers. Big and Tall is still a pain point. There is to me, a general feeling that there isn’t a need for us. We’re still the afterthought… the small Big and Tall section in the back. 

Women’s plus size has accelerated and matured more than the men’s. What do you think are the challenges for the men and why that same growth hasn’t happened yet for guys? What’s your role in that? 

Any other fashion blogger, you see ten of them together, you see the similarities, you see the aesthetics, you see the quality too. You see the style sense that is there. You take a Big and Tall guy, there’s a lot of us, too. Too many to ignore. The plus-size community is completely out there. I love them. We’re from the same community.

What’s one major style must for guys right now?

Definitely wear your pants at your belly button. No matter the size of your stomach, wearing them there will make you look a lot slimmer. I get a lot of guys who combat that, honestly. When you try to hide the fact that you’re big, you’re making yourself look even bigger. Also, tucking your shirt in, that creates a nice clean look most of the time. I know that’s a little old school, but it helps give a nice clean presentation. Stay calm, cool and collected.

Is there anything in the last couple of years in which you surprised yourself? 

Last year was my first time wearing ripped jeans... I distressed them myself. I’m definitely going to do more distressed pieces, more relaxed fits—jogging pants in public. Branching out of structured-ness and pairing it with something more relaxed. 

Aside from fashion, what other things are you into?

I ballroom dance. It helps me be accountable. I don’t get mad if I can’t find a certain size. Maybe I need to do something about that too. I want to promote a healthy lifestyle. You can be big, and healthy. 

How did you get into ballroom dancing? 

That’s a Detroit thing! But I just went one night and it was good exercise. I loved it. I’ve been doing it for a couple years now. Took a little salsa class here, a little tango class there. It’s cool. 

What excites you about Good Counsel for you and for the community? 

Of course, the clothes are impeccable. It’s good to know that we Big and Tall guys have a high-end product available to us. I would definitely invest. Quality and longevity—you have to put more towards it. I look forward to being a part of that. 

What’s some good counsel you’ve received or given? 

Live big, dress big, and leave a big impression.