When you’re a big or tall guy, it can be difficult to find clothes that fit properly. Even more difficult: finding clothes in your size that you actually want to wear! That’s where Daniel Franzese — star of Mean Girls, the HBO series Girls and the YouTube series “Shit Italian Moms Say” — has decided to step in and start righting the wrongs of the fashion industry. The Winston Box, of which Franzese is the Co-Owner and Creative Director, is an easy solution for guys who need more options in the wardrobe department.
We sat down with Franzese to discuss his latest business venture, announced earlier this year. As someone who’s tapped in to the world of men’s fashion and style, you’ll be seeing more of him on our site, as he aims to keep us updated on up-and-coming style trends.
But what exactly is The Winston Box, and how does it work? Here’s a crash course:
1. The Winston Box is a subscription clothing service for big and tall guys.
Right now Winston Box is the only clothing club with a label of its own catering to big and tall guys. The process is rather simple: First you create an online profile, indicating your preferred sizes, styles and colors. From there, Winston Box does all the work — they handpick two to four surprise items from their signature label, chosen based on your preferences, and send them directly to you each month. The Winston Box is $75 per month, and subscribers are able to cancel at any time.
In his role at The Winston Box, Franzese has a hand in designing each article of clothing.
“Sometimes I’m in Peru hand-picking fabrics, and other times I’m going through samples here in the U.S.,” Franzese tells us. “As creative director I oversee all design and styles, and I personally try on each sample to make sure the quality and fit meets the standards of a club I would belong to. Not only do the clothes look great on our guys, but they’re so comfortable. Winston is drastically changing how the man of size looks and feels, and our members are loving it.”
2. The phrase “plus-size” is so … extra.
“We own ‘plus-size’ and ‘big and tall,’ but our preferred method of discussing our stature is ‘above average,'” says Franzese. “The CDC says the average waist for a man is around 40 inches. Most designers cut off sizing right around a 38, and that’s where we begin.”
Sizes for The Winston Box label run from 1XL to 6XL in tops, 42–64 in the waist and 27–38 in the inseam.
3. The Winston Box creates clothing and accessories previously unavailable for big guys.
The wardrobe of a stylish man is a diverse one, and The Winston Box has stepped in to create articles of clothing that haven’t typically been made for bigger guys — pieces like sleeveless hoodies, denim and bomber jackets, henleys, joggers, cardigans, linen pants and stretch tapered denim.
As for the manufacturing process, one need look no further than South America.
Franzese tells us, “We manufacture all of our garments in Peru, mainly because it’s famous worldwide for its Pima Cotton trade. It’s so soft and luxurious that many designers — Rag and Bone, Theory, John Varvatos, Hilfiger, Jack Threads — have been making pieces out of Pima for years and charging a small fortune because of its quality and feel. Not only do those labels not make our sizes, but most extended sizes come with an additional up-charge. Now we can bring this great fabric to subscribers for a fraction of the cost.”
4. The Winston Box thinks you’re damn handsome — and tells you so.
Every label loves the idea of standing out among the rest by incorporating a twist into its designs, and for The Winston Box you’ll see that in the “affirmation tags” on every article of clothing.
“We had some mislabeled sweaters at one point,” says Franzese, “and since they were going to be relabeled we decided to add ‘Hey Handsome’ to the label. Now all our clothes have a tag inside that tell you something about how awesome we think you are. These clothes are not just made to fit you; they’re made for you, with you specifically in mind.”
5. Winston Box wants you to see people like you in its ad campaigns.
The typical big and tall guy doesn’t see himself reflected in the ad campaigns of mainstream labels, but that’s another thing Franzese and The Winston Box is looking to correct.
The current campaign of The Winston Box is as diverse as it gets, in terms of using models of varying shapes, sizes — and even gender. Queer people of course come in all sizes, and many who identify as female or gender-nonconforming also really love this label.
You may also recognize Brawn Model Zach Miko in the current campaign. Woof!
“We want you to be able to see yourself in our ads,” Franzese says. “We at Winston have a fierce commitment to diversity.”