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I'm watching the original Arrested Development seasons for the first time. Michael Bluth wears very large suits, which I know was the style at the time but I'm unsure if they're supposed to be coded as ill-fitting or if they're actually nice suits for back then.

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    Aside. The "ill fitted suit" is a less common trope. Check out the 2003 movie "The Cooler" starring William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. If I recall, the director commentary on the DVD mentions how the main character's suits gets better fitted as he progresses throughout the film.
    – selbie
    Jun 16 at 9:15
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    Shows what I know about suits, because in all the pictures I can find his suits look perfectly fine.
    – Omegacron
    Jun 16 at 22:01
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    @Omega Yeah, most pictures online look OK but there's some real baggy suits in the first season. I'll have to take a screenshot next time I watch Jun 17 at 7:50
  • I seem to recall Jim Carrey's character in Liar, Liar also having a rather large suit, at least to my modern eyes.
    – Arthur
    Jun 17 at 20:17

1 Answer 1

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I noticed this, too, and I always thought it was a deliberate nod to two major story facts:

  1. Michael is trying to do his dad's job
  2. the Bluth Company and family are in dire financial straits

I always felt like the first was the most important. The theory here would not be that Michael's suits are hand-me-downs or cheap, but that the costuming subtly conjures the idea of a kid wearing his dad's office clothing but trying to be taken seriously. The first three seasons are heavily concerned with Michael's efforts to succeed his father, and all the resistance and difficulty he faces doing that. Putting him in clothing that's just slightly too big for him keeps that theme in our minds, and helps us see Michael the way his parents and siblings see him.

The other fact makes for a less interesting explanation: Michael can't afford to have his suits tailored and so is wearing off-the-rack. The first season especially does make a point to show that Michael is frugal to a fault.

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    Also makes a him a foil to his brother's ̶$̶3̶0̶0̶0̶ ̶$̶4̶0̶0̶0̶ ̶$̶5̶0̶0̶0̶ $6300 suit.
    – StuperUser
    Jun 16 at 10:20
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    @StuperUser COME ON!
    – Patrice
    Jun 16 at 21:39
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    @StuperUser it's one suit Michael, what can i cost $6300?
    – Tristan
    Jun 17 at 10:51

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