Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big and Tall in Brazil

Next weekend is the big Brazil Game Show gamers’ convention at the SulAmerica convention center in Rio. I’ve been their English translation guy and US business etiquette consultant these past few months.

Next weekend I will be at the convention speaking English with foreign trade executives in the VIP lounge. My secret job is to sell contracts for next year’s show. We’ll see how well I can pull off speaking “gamer” speak with guys who are a bit rusty with actual human-to-human in-person interactions. (OK, so the execs are not those guys...)

I have to rent a suit. Over the past nearly three years we’ve been in Brazil I think I have worn long pants less than 10 times (not even for Tonico’s 7-Day mass). My feet are most always in flip flops or sandals. Dress shoes? Maybe six times. Wearing a suit is a distant memory. Let’s face it, I did not move to Brazil to wear suits.

So today Luiz and I went to a few clothing rental outlets (shout out to Danielle) to see what the deal was. As you can imagine, the women’s wear floor at one place had seemingly hundreds of colorful dresses of every description. The men’s floor? Not so much. Suits: black, blue, darker blue, grey, darker grey and camel (referred to as beige, how exciting). Girls have all the fun.

So I pushed the limits of what sizes they carry and picked out a plain black suit (not a tuxedo, these will be T-shirt or Polo shirt wearing tourist executives playing in Rio – I already think a suit is too much, but the boss insists). Black is supposed to be slimming, but I don’t think that applies once you exceed a certain size.

It pays to shop around. One place (big company with stores in about 10 cities in Brazil) was prepared to rent me the suit for two days for R$250, plus R$40 for the shoes, R$30 for the shirt, R$20 for the tie. A cool R$340 for the lot.

Another place – same stuff: R$100. Same stuff.

It seems pretty clear to me that the Brazilian market has not yet adapted to the “Big & Tall” crowd. The tailoring was off, for sure. But it is what it is.

I’ll take my camera and report back later from the convention.


Ray Adkins said...


Are they adjusting/tayloring the suit to your exact mesurements?

Jim said...

Ray - yeah, they are going to adjust here and there as they can, but the problem is my barrigão. The jackets are constructed as if all parts of the body grow larger at the same rate, so a jacket that closes properly at my waist has Joan Collins shoulder pads bigger than some Carnaval fantasias.

To fit my shoulders, the waist does not close. To fit me properly they would have to reconstruct the shoulders of a larger jacket, not just take things in or let things out...

Again, if they had a "Big & Tall" section in their closet, things would be made differently.

So I'm going with shoulders that fit and a nice tie so leaving the jacket open works just fine.

Ray Adkins said...

I hear you.
Cool, all the best at the Convention, it sounds like an exciting opportunity.