There are plenty of resources available which teach guys how to dress a tall, short, plump or skinny body type. Interestingly enough, however, there aren’t many articles talking about how to dress a muscular body. Well-built guys are presented with a unique set of fitting issues which an average body may never experience. Being something of a fitness enthusiast and always seeking to look my sharpest, I’ve had my fair share of difficulties in trying to improve my style. I’ll be the first to admit that it is hard to find clothes that fit a more muscular body.
The problem is that our bodies just don’t have the same physical proportions as the Average Joe. Our chests are too broad and our waists are too narrow. Not to mention our larger than average thighs, which make finding a pair of pants that fit a true expedition! To make matters worse, I’ve noticed that most men’s style blogs hardly ever cover style for the well-built man. I’ve seen plenty of information provided for men of different statures – like how a shorter or taller man should dress – or shapes – for instance how a thinner or stockier man should dress – but hardly ever any advice is given on how a muscular man should dress.
So if you are in the same boat as me, read on my fine fellow. Below are four simple tips that should help you tremendously on your style journey.
Tip #1: Size Down
One of the first pieces of advice given to men looking to improve their style is to pay particular attention to fit. In most cases, men are advised to size down since most of the clothing they wear is at least 1-2 sizes too big.
This advice is no different for men with a more muscular build. I can tell you from my experience that this was a hard concept for me to understand at first. I was a typical gym rat who was used to wearing baggy t-shirts and sweatpants in the gym and had it ingrained in my mind that I was a size ‘Large’ in most men’s clothing. Don’t be fooled by ‘vanity sizing’ – a phenomenon in which clothing of a certain physical size is given a much smaller nominal size (i.e. those 34 inch pants you are wearing are likely 1-2 inches larger in actual size). Vanity sizing is due to the obesity epidemic in full swing in the U.S. and has definitely gotten out of hand. Companies are now attempting to accommodate their consumers by making garments physically larger while keeping the nominal sizes static. This presumably satisfies the wearer’s wishes to feel thin and attractive.
This is great for the average person’s ego but terrible for your style. That’s why you should treat labels as just a guideline. For some brands, you may be able to wear a size Large, while for others you might need to size down to a medium or even a small. That’s why you shouldn’t get too wrapped up in nominal sizes. The important thing is to try stuff on in multiple sizes and find a fit that flatters your physique the most.
Tip #2: Find a Tailor
Unfortunately, as a muscular man, sizing down won’t solve all of your fitting issues. That’s why you will need to develop a relationship with a good tailor. The problem is that clothing today is manufactured on an industrial scale and items are mass-produced based on the average dimensions of the consumer.
This means that men who spend even a modest amount of time in the gym will find that most clothes do not flatter their physiques at all. They are either too loose or too tight in the wrong areas. Having a good tailor can solve this problem rather easily.
For example, one of the most common problems men with more muscular physiques have is finding a pair of pants that fit through the seat and thigh. If you have spent your time wisely in the squat rack you know that most slim/straight cut pants will never make it past your thighs. In this case, I have always opted for larger cut pants and had them tailored to perfection. A prime example is a pair of Levi’s 501s. I found that this particular cut fit my glutes and quads perfectly but were too loose around the waist and below the knee. So after purchasing them, I took them to the tailor and had the waist taken in and the leg opening slimmed just below the knee. At the end of the day, I found myself with an awesome pair of jeans that fit really well.
Of course, pants aren’t the only garments that tailors can work on. A good tailor can make a world of difference in the fit of your suits, blazers, shirts and outer-wear. That’s why, as a well-built man, developing a relationship with a trusted tailor must be a priority.
Tip #3: Avoid anything “skinny”
Over the past several years there has been a resurgence of all things “skinny” in men’s style. I think a lot of this has to do with the popularity of Mad Men – a television show set in the 60s when skinny ties and slim lapels were all the rage.
As fashionable as this look has now become, I think muscular men do themselves a huge disservice by indulging in this trend. In my opinion, these types of garments end up looking anemic on well-built men.
Sure, if you are a tall, lean individual, then skinny jeans, skinny ties, and chopped blazers will more than likely flatter your physique. However, if you are carrying an appreciable amount of muscle mass, then “skinny” garments will look as if you had just mugged a fifth grader for his clothes. Instead, I suggest you opt for standard width ties and lapels. These traditional sizes will flatter your physique the most because they will balance well with your overall proportions. Not only that, but “skinny” anything is just another trend that will eventually cycle out of men’s style. It is better to avoid these fashion detours and stick with classic men’s style.
Tip #4: Find your favourite brand
I’m a typical guy in that I don’t like to shop for clothes. In my ideal world, I would just go to the mall to get the item(s) that I need and then leave.
Unfortunately, the reality is that I have to try on several different brands and sizes of garments to find the one(s) that fit me the best. That’s why when I find something that fits me well, I try to buy multiple items in different colors and styles. For example, I mentioned above that I own a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans. In fact, this is the only brand and style of jeans that I own. That’s because these are the only jeans that fit well at a price point that is more than reasonable.
This makes shopping for jeans immensely easier for me because I know exactly what I need to get. I do the same thing with other garments such as shirts and chinos. I know the brands that fit me best and I turn to them routinely for my style needs. It’s sort of like finding a well in the middle of the desert. These brands become my trusted resource and make my life that much easier by cutting down the amount of time I spend hunting around in the mall.
So if you haven’t already found your favorite brands, spend a bit of time up front and do your research. It will make your life a lot easier in the long run. As an added benefit, that extra time you save from shopping for clothes can be spent in the gym, which is truly a win-win situation if you ask me!
A lot of men today are hesitant to change their personal style and this is no different for the more physically fit among us. We don’t like change. We’re afraid of what our family, friends, or significant others might say. Plus, it’s just too easy to throw on some sweatpants, a hoody, and a pair of sneakers and call it a day. But what’s the point of spending all of those hours in the gym if you are just going to hide all of your hard work underneath a layer of baggy clothes? That’s why I hope that these four simple tips will help you on your style journey so that you can get the most out of your hard-earned physique!
You stay classy.