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How to Dress for Muscle

By Adam Sinicki | Bodybuilding | Rating:

A lot of people are keen to build muscle and bulk up because they think it will help them to look better, feel more confident and have more success with the opposite sex. All these things are true.

But while almost every guy looks better with a bit of muscle (and a lot of women do as well), it’s also true that you have to work what you’ve got. Building muscle isn’t enough to look amazing on its own then – you also need to know how to flaunt it.

And that means knowing what to wear in order to make your muscle look really good and to maximize the impact that your physique can have on people who see you passing by. So the question is: how do you dress for muscle?

The Challenges

Unfortunately, while muscle objectively looks good on most guys, it’s also somewhat complicated when it comes to what you wear.

Sure, having a ripped six pack is always going to impress – but no one will know you have a ripped six pack if it’s always hidden underneath your shirt.

And if you also have massive pecs, then this can actually cause your clothes to hang strangely – a t-shirt or shirt can hang ‘off’ of your chest and this can end up making you look as though you’ve got a large stomach. It’s actually quite ironic!

There are other problems here too. One is that dressing for muscle means hunting around to try and find clothes that fit.

Some Tips That Will Help

With all that in mind then, let’s look at some tips that can help you to get around these problems and dress to show off those guns and wings…

Go Down a Size

A lot of very muscular guys are shy to wear tight-fitting clothes in case they look like they’re ‘showing off’ or in case they end up looking overly stuffed and ridiculous.

But if you wear lose fitting clothes, then it will actually look much worse and you’ll be faced with the aforementioned ‘hanging’ problem.

While it might be daunting at first then, it’s often a good idea to get a size smaller than you think you need when you’re buying clothes as a bulky guy. Try it out at a changing room near you – you’ve got nothing to lose and if you don’t like it, you can always go back to your old style.

Get Fitted Clothes

Better yet, look out for fitted clothes. Fitted clothes are different from tight clothes because they adhere to the contours of your body – as opposed to just squeezing you in every spot. If you can find properly fitted clothes, then you’ll look fantastic no matter what shape you are.

You can buy fitted shirts in stores and online and this will be a good starting point. As mentioned previously though, you are statistically now a ‘weird shape’ so you may find that clothes aren’t always stocked in your size specifically. In this case, looking online will often help you out as that way you can select from a much wider range of options.

Before you do that, make sure that you know your exact measurements. If you’re an actual bodybuilder, then no doubt these are stats that you’re very familiar with already. For regular gym rats too though, this is worth finding out. Get your chest size, your collar, your waist, your arm length and your leg length. Now look for websites that will let you enter as much of this information as possible and you should be able to order your clothes exactly to specification.

And if that doesn’t work out? Then you need to find yourself a tailor. This is crucial if you’re going to a wedding and you need a fitted suit but in fact you’ll likely find that once you’ve tried a tailored outfit you won’t want to go back – there’s nothing stopping you from getting your t-shirts tailored, your shirts and everything else for that matter!

Create Balance

While some guys might think that ‘looking like Johnny Bravo’ sounds awesome… it isn’t. We all know how important it is not to skip leg day and if you have a massively bulky upper body with broad shoulders and a huge chest, you need to have legs to match or you’ll risk looking weird.

Unfortunately though, even if you do bulk your legs up, they will still tend to look relatively small compared with your upper body. The solution then is to try and create balance by using trousers that are a little more loosely fitted or that have a slight flare. This creates more symmetry and overall it makes you look like you’re more proportioned.

Tuck Your Shirt In

Really important for any guy who works out to a large extent is to tuck in shirts. Again, this is partly to prevent them from hanging off your pecs.

Add Verticality

A risk when you’re very bulky is that it can make you look squat – and this is especially true if you’re not naturally very tall.

To avoid this problem, you can try using your clothes to create more of an illusion of height. One way to do this is of course to make yourself a little higher – in other words to wear shoes that have a very slight heel. Another option is to add some vertical lines to your clothes. These draw the eye up and down and in turn that makes you look slimmer and not as wide. And if you’re massive, it will just make you look even more massive. Which is a good thing.

Use Black and White Cleverly

Remember: black is slimming. And the reverse is also true – white can make you look bigger.

Thus, when you want to make yourself blend in among the measly humans, you can try wearing a black top that will remove some of your bulges and make you appear to take up less space. Conversely, if you’re feeling good and you want to show off your hard-earned gains, try wearing a white top that will make your upper half look even broader.

Showing Some Muscle…

If you want the world to know that you’ve been working out, then a white top is one useful tool. Another is to get tops with short sleeves – and these sleeves ideally want to stop just after the end of your shoulder to really show off the maximum arm-size. Make sure those sleeves are somewhat tight too – you want to create the illusion that your arms are about to burst out of them!

Another useful tool is a deep v-neck. This will show off a bit of that ‘pec cleavage’ you’ve been developing on the bench press.

Obviously the vest-top is a reliable favorite for guys who want to look swole but if you want to rock this with a bit of class, then you can try wearing it under an open shirt – and preferably a denim shirt. This is a great look because you look mainly covered and not like you’re ‘trying too hard’ but the world can see that underneath the shirt, you’re packing heat!

The Rule of One

For business casual and other occasions that aren’t ‘BBQ on the beach’ though, you want to avoid the vest top and instead go for something a little more demur. Show off too much skin and you’ll look desperate for attention so instead, pick one part of your body you want to show off and make that your ‘feature’. Just like women need to choose between cleavage or bum, gym bros need to choose between cleavage and gun!





Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics. He lives in London, England with his girlfriend and in his spare time he enjoys climbing, travelling, playing games, reading comics and eating sandwiches. Circle Adam on Google+! 

View all articles by Adam Sinicki

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