These days, fashion seems to operate with one tenet in mind: the bigger the suit, the better. But long before Demna brought baggy couture to Balenciaga and Bella Hadid made oversized sexy, one man carried the outsize trend on his slouchy, awkward shoulders. That man is Nathan Fielder.
I jest, sorta. Given the recent premiere of Fielder's genius new series, The Rehearsal, it's only fitting that we, as a society, reckon with the comedian's boundary-pushing work, including the moment that put Big Suits™ on the contemporary pop culture map.
You probably remember it — season four, episode four of Nathan for You, Fielder's Comedy Central show that ran from 2013 to 2017, begins with the funnyman stressing over his upcoming appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. He doesn't want to come off as boring, so he sets out to concoct an entertaining anecdote to recount during his segment.
Eventually, he engineers a tale with the perfect set-up, plot twist, and comedic payoff.
On his way to a wedding, Fielder takes the wrong luggage at the airport. The bag he grabs contains a suit many sizes too large, which he is forced to wear to the nuptials. On his way there, he discovers a baggy of white powder in the pocket. In a twist of timing, he's pulled over by a cop, who finds the illicit-looking substance. Fielder contacts the suit's original owner, who reveals that the powder is actually his mother's ashes.
Fielder, being Fielder, isn’t content to just tell the story. With the help of some very patient producers, he makes this unlikely series of events actually take place — which is how the above image of Fielder in a comically large jacket and pants came to be.
At the time, Fielder and his Big Suit looked pretty goofy. The still of the comedian, looking absolutely ridiculous in his unwieldy 'fit, quickly became a meme.
Keep in mind, this was well before Justin Bieber wore a Big Suit to the Grammys in January. This was before his wife, Hailey, began incorporating the oversized look in her sartorial wheelhouse. It was before Robert Pattinson took a Big Suit for a whirl to The Batman premiere in February. And it was before Kid Cudi followed suit (literally), debuting a baggy Louis Vuitton number at the 2022 Oscars.
Now, thanks to Balenciaga's penchant for drape-y tailoring and luxurification of "lowbrow" style (take the label’s Crocs collab, for example), three sizes too big is actually the perfect fit.
So the next time you're extolling the virtues of the perfect Big Suit, don't forget: we used to laugh at that sort of thing! Funny how that works, huh?