It’s quite an incredible feat to build a muscular body. It takes hard work in the gym consistently over time, and sticking to your diet. But staying in shape does have a few drawbacks. While they’re few and far between, one in particular is finding clothes that fit.
These days modern menswear is formulated for a slender male that has slim to no muscular development. At least no more than that which is naturally achieved by just having the right parents. Even though it may require more work than our scrawny counterparts, by the end of this article you’re going to have all the tools necessary to dress that brawn like a superhero.
Before we get into the meat of the matter let’s cover a few guidelines to make the shopping experience as straightforward as a workout.
You Want Your Clothes to “Hug” Your Body
It’s all about creating a slim silhouette. What attraction research has identified as the ideal male body is one of broad shoulders and taut waist. Essentially the goal is to outline the shape of your body with clothing.
Try Sizing Down
Most men wear clothes that are too big for them. Sizing down may be a quick fix to a fit issue. Try a medium if you typically wear large.
The Tailor Is Your Best Friend
Short of getting custom clothing, befriending a great tailor is going to give you a huge bang for your buck. Develop a relationship with your tailor. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.
Find Your Brand
Each brand is tailored to a specific look or body type. You can often tell by the type of models they use for advertising. Two mainstream brands that are tailored for fit men are Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.
For the average gym-goer most of don’t have to suit up more than once a week, maybe even once a month. If this is the case casual wear is going to be where you place the biggest emphasis on your wardrobe.
Focus on plain basic shirts and t-shirts with minimal propaganda. Most brands have specific fits for all there shirts. Experiment with all fits but in general you can stay away from relaxed fits.
- J Crew: Slim/ Regular Fit Shirts
- Nordstrom: Rag & Bone Henleys, BOSS V-Neck, Urban Camo Brigade U-Neck Shirts
- Zara: Deluxe Luxury Cotton Shirts
- Macys: Calvin Klein Slim Fit Shirts, Calvin Klein Classic Fit Shirts, Ralph Lauren Standard/Slim-Fit Shirts, Calvin Klein V-Necks
- Hugh & Crye: Athletic Fit Shirts
- H&M: Premium Cotton Shirts, Long/Short Sleeved Easy Iron Shirts, V-Neck T-Shirts
- American Apparel: Thermal Long Sleeve Henley, V-Neck T-Shirts
- Old Navy: T-Shirts, Slim-Fit Shirts
- Gap: Linen- Cotton Shirts, Wrinkle Resistant Shirts
- Macy’s: Calvin Klein Core Long Sleeve Shirt, Calvin Klein Reverse Slub Henley
Finding pants is easily the biggest issue among muscled men. Especially with the trend favoring skinny guys most companies are making pants accordingly. However it’s just a matter of looking in the right places, as well as seeking the right fits.
As I said before to goal is outline your body via clothing. We want to strike a blend between tapered fit, slim-fit, and straight cut pants. These 3 fits are straight or tapered at the knee, which contributes to your silhouette.
When there’s a flare at the knee like boot-cut jeans this actually makes you appear short and bulky. contributes to your silhouette.
- Nordstrom: Nudie Jeans Straight Alf Jeans, 7 For All Mankind Relaxed/Austyn Jeans, Hudson Relaxed Straight/Athletic Fit Jeans
- Macy’s: Denim & Supply Straight Fit Davis Jean
- Banana Republic: Dawson Relaxed Cotton Chino, Emerson Vintage Straight Chino
- J Crew: Jogger Pant In Cotton, Classic/Relaxed Fit Pants
- Gap: The Khaki Relaxed Chinos
- Macy’s: Levi’s 501 Original Fit Jeans, Levi’s 541 Athletic Fit Jeans
- H&M: Tapered Low Jeans, Relaxed Low Jeans, Tapered Chinos
- ASOS: Levi’s Better Chinos Straight Fit Fallen Rock, Cheap Monday Jeans Dropped Tapered Fit Destination
Shorts are a different beast entirely. I too used to just buy a big baggy pair of cargo shorts and call it good. Now shorts have come a long way. While it’s not so much “don’t buy cargos” it’s more, “break up the bulk.” They’re great alternatives like tailored fit shorts.
You want to strike a balance with the inseam. You don’t want the inseam far past your knee or barely covering your upper thigh. Each extreme has its downsides. You want to shoot for an inseam right above the knee. This will elongate the legs giving you better proportion.
- J Crew: Side-Panel Sweatshort, 9″ Stanton Short In Crosshatch Irish Cotton-Linen
- Nordstrom: ‘Key Grip’ Relaxed Fit Cargo Shorts
- American Apparel: French Terry Jersey Shorts
- Gap: Solid Beach Shorts, Lived-in flat front shorts
- H&M: Cotton Shorts, Chino Shorts
- ASOS: ASOS Chino Shorts In Mid Length
Outerwear is classified as hoodies, jackets, sport coats, blazers, and more. Good outerwear just seals the deal on all things style. It can real complete an outfit and take it from zero to hero. Isn’t it impossible to not look cool in a leather jacket?
As with most upper body apparel the obvious problem areas are chest and shoulders. Here are some off the rack items that will require very little extra effort.
- Express: Leather Biker System Jacket, Nep Knit Crew Neck Sweater
- ASOS: Leather Herrington
- Banana Republic: Heathered Sweater Jacket, Modern Slim Taupe Cotton Utility Blazer
- American Apparel: Tri-Blend Hoodie
- H&M: Jersey Blazer, Hooded Top, Leather Jackets
- Nordstrom: Threads For Thought Trim Fit Hoodie
Casual wear is pretty straightforward for muscular men. However, trouble can rise to the surface when it’s time to suit up. They’re a few issues muscular men run into when buying a suit:
- Jackets are tight in the chest/shoulders.
- Well fitting trousers are difficult to find.
- Shirts are too small in the shoulders.
Visiting a tailor and knowing exactly what to buy can solve all three of these issues.
Short of spending thousands of dollars on a custom suit there’re some great off the rack options, as many brands are starting to catch on that fit men also want to dress well too.
If you’re really pushing the limits of your maximum muscular potential but don’t want to spend the money on a custom suit, your best bet is size up and take it to a tailor.
- J Crew: Crosby Suit In Italian Cotton
- Nordstrom: Peter Millar Classic Fit Plaid Wool Suit, Hart Schaffner Marx ‘New York’ Classic Fit Wool Suit
- Zara: Comfortable Suit
- H&M: Regular Fit Blazer/ Regular Fit Suit Pants, Linen Blazer/ Linen Suit Pants
The conservative nature of a dress shirt makes it a pretty easy shopping experience. The only problem area you need to worry about is the typical snug feeling in the chest and shoulders. There’re a handful of brands that make athletic fit dress shirts. When in doubt try classic fit, slim fit, or athletic fit.
- J Crew: Crosby Shirt In White,
- Macy’s: Calvin Klein Solid Dress Shirt, Calvin Klein Steel Dress Shirt
- Hugh & Crye: First Secretary Athletic Fit Shirt
Men of all shapes and sizes can be hesitant about upgrading their style and this is equally true for men who are fit and muscular. For the amount of time and dedication you put into your training and diet you should show it off by wearing well fitting and flattering clothes.
Try new things, experiment with new looks, and don’t be afraid to ask for real advice on how you’re looking. How you dress communicates to your environment how you feel and believe about yourself.
You wouldn’t take financial advice from a guy wearing rags and no teeth would you? Those who look the part command respect from peers and colleagues.
You now have some solid ideas about where to find the right pieces at the right places. If you would like to get some masculine outfit ideas featuring the clothes in this article click here.