10 Questions With: Chubstr.com Founder Bruce Sturgell
Bruce Sturgell might want to consider a second career as a trend forecaster (or maybe psychic?). He founded Chubstr in 2010, literal years before the men's #bodypositive movement began to take hold on Instagram.
I sat down with Bruce to chat life and big & tall fashion (yes, those two things are different).
What is your favorite part of being big and/or tall?
I like being able to subvert people's expectations. There's this idea that being fat means you're lazy, slobbish and generally careless. I like pushing back against preconceived notions through my actions and my style. Personally, it's great being big. I feel substantial. I can be a jungle gym for my kids and I can snuggle with my wife. I'm always warm - it comes in handy living in a cold, wet place like Portland, OR. I love being big, and I love the way I look.
What is the hardest part of being big and/or tall?
Fitting in, culturally and physically. Mainstream culture teaches us that being bigger means being a lesser person, who doesn't deserve dignity. Sometimes getting people to move past that outdated idea is difficult.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I'd want something versatile, but able to hold up against whatever I decide to do in a given day. I'd probably go for something with a workwear vibe - my British Millerain cotton waxed jacket, a denim shirt, and some Levi's 541's because of that sweet, sweet stretch. Stretch fabric integrated into jeans has been a game changer for guys with thick thighs. I'd probably opt for my Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots.
What's one fashion item every guy should own?
I think every guy should have something that classes up their look a bit. As a culture, we're less dressy than we were a few decades ago, and while that's fine, it's nice to have some versatility in your looks. A well-fitting blazer can be paired with a button down, or jeans, or even a t-shirt if you want to go more casual. This can make it seem like you've put some thought into your look.
What are your go-to stores or sites for clothes?
Man, I don't have a go-to right now. It's fun getting clothes from different stores, so I shake it up a bit. I'm a fan of Asos, Large Lad Clothing, DXL's more modern offerings, and JCRT. There's a larger, growing list of brands I'm into, but these are the ones that I've been wearing or focused on recently.
What do you wish retailers would do differently?
I want to see more plus size models of a variety of body types represented on retailer websites and in their marketing campaigns. Consumers want to see people who look like them wearing the clothes that these retailers are trying to market to them. When they do see this, they buy the stuff. That has been the case with photo shoots we do at Chubstr since the beginning. I want to see large retailers incorporating short and round guys with the traditional big and tall guys - show us more diversity across the board!
What does being "body positive" mean to you?
It means understanding that all bodies are great, that people with bodies that fall outside of the mainstream are as valuable as those inside it. It means affording dignity to everyone, regardless of their size and shape, and understanding that your worth is not tied to your body size.
What is your biggest style regret?
In 4th or 5th grade, I thought I could rock some parachute pants. I absolutely could not, and realized this about 20 minutes before I was supposed to wear them during a talent show at which I was planning to sing Faith No More's "Epic". I came to my senses and totally bailed.
Who are your style icons?
I'm a fan of people who show versatility in their style. Josh Homme is an inspiration because he can pull off cool and casual looks, but he can also slide into a suit or tuxedo and look great. He has this swagger and style and he knows how to incorporate that into his look. I get a lot of style inspiration from Chubstr readers. We get a ton of photo submissions - people who just want to share their own personal style. It's so cool seeing the outfits people put together, because it pushes me to go out there and create new looks of my own.