Making yourself more attractive isn’t just a hack to pick up women. It’s a signal to the world of your level of self-respect and how they should treat you.
Whether you like it or not, how you dress also dictates what other people are willing to believe about you. Clothing choices denote symbols of class, personal taste, earning potential, maturity, fitness level, etc.
The problem is, most men never learn how to dress appropriately. So you might find yourself copying your favorite celeb or letting your significant other choose.
Men that are very tall, have extra-large body types and limbs, or are muscular are the worst at dressing. This is largely due to the fact that most department store clothes simply aren’t made for you.
If you keep a gym lifestyle, you might find yourself living in gym clothes simply because they are more comfortable for you. And that means basketball shorts, baggy tees, and hoodies for most men.
Outside of gym clothes, it means ill-fitting shirts and pants you’ll inevitably split at the seams.
In this guide, you’ll discover the fundamentals of how to dress when you’re muscular.
Get something that fits
The easiest step you can take on the journey to dressing your muscular body is simply knowing your body type and measurements. You’ve probably heard of the body-typing system of somatotypes. This typing was pioneered by Dr. William Sheldon, a psychologist and physician.1
Sheldon claimed that there are three main body types that also influence your behavior. While body typing has been widely accepted, the behavioral aspect has been disputed.
The three body types are endomorph (rounded and soft), mesomorph (square and muscular), and ectomorph (thin). Knowing your body type, especially for bodybuilders, will help you find clothing styles that flatter your muscular physique.
Secondarily, knowing your measurements will help you find clothes that actually fit your body. A tailor or seamstress can readily tell you these measurements, usually for free or low cost.
Measurements you should know:
- Collar at the base of your neck
- Chest at the widest part
- Inner and outer leg
- Arm length measured from the collar down the outside of the arm to the wrist
- Natural waistline
Buy clothing with intention
Capsule wardrobes are wardrobes where every piece fits together. You maximize the number of outfits you have that are great for many occasions. You also save money in the long run. This isn’t a new concept by any means but you’ll see it talked about more with women’s clothing.
A capsule wardrobe works best with a theme or color family. They help you invest more in quality clothing that lasts without feeling like you have to buy everything you see in men’s fashion magazines. If you’re a beginner, stick to the basics. Mixing elaborate colors, patterns and textures can quickly have you looking more foolish than fly.
Colloquial advice says that muscular dudes shouldn’t wear bright colors. It can draw attention to your already attention-grabbing physique, making you look too try-hard. But the key to choosing the right colors for you is to ensure it matches your skin tone and other wardrobe pieces. This is a principle I learned from Tanner Guzy. Now my wardrobe isn’t full of colors that are “safe” but they still fit my style without being tacky.
In the beginning, though, you may need to choose neutrals or neutrals with small patterns. You can pair these with dark and light bottoms that go with dress shirts and casual shirts alike.
Go brand loyal
The retail business dictates that clothing be standardized to the average body type and size. This saves money on production but hinders your search for flattering attire. Your best bet is to find a clothing brand that makes clothing specifically for muscular men.
Before I started dressing with intention, I wore baggy shirts and oversized, acid-wash jeans. You couldn’t tell me I didn’t look good. But then I found Tanner Guzy’s course Dress Like a Man and it changed the way I approached dressing.
Tanner is a men’s style coach that has a three-principal approach to finding the perfect fit for bigger guys:
- Aesthetic - The role of contrast, color, shape, pattern, proportion, etc
- Communication - The silent conversation your style has with others about you
- Self-perception - The way you view yourself and how your way of dress reflects it
Invest in tapered shirts
Muscular men typically have broad shoulders. It’s not uncommon to Incredible-Hulk your nice shirts when they don’t fit well. This can make you want to avoid button-downs altogether. But polos, dress shirts, and t-shirts can fit well if you know what to look for.
Your shirts should be wide in the chest and sleek at the waist. The taper provides visual contrast and highlights your strong upper body.
Read my No BS guide to be a more attractive guy to learn exactly how your shirts should fit. Because women overwhelmingly choose guys with muscular physiques,2 I also talk a lot about how attractiveness is more than just about the clothes you wear.
Choose pants with thigh room
Large hamstrings and quads are terrorists for slim-fit jeans. If you get them on they either don’t fit your waist or get shredded in the process. This leaves men with muscular bodies wearing ridiculously baggy pants.
—Think Mase and Diddy in the 90s. No amount of acid wash and ripped-up stylizing can hide ill-fitting pants.
Like tapered shirts, you have to get your pants just right for your unique body shape. Go for pants that fit snug in the thighs and waist without a belt. You can’t wear the same things as skinny guys so skip the skinny jeans. Your pants should also stop right at your shoes without bunching. Any more and they’re too long.
Go for stretchy fabric
Stretchy fabric is more forgiving when it comes to muscle contour. It gives you the ideal athletic fit and you don’t have to feel like you’re suffocating in your clothes. Plus, excess fabric can make you look sloppy. But I’d be careful. You can quickly look like you’re thirst-trapping with your muscles or simply trying too hard.
If sophisticated and functional design is what you’re going for, choose a fabric that has some stretch. Stay away from things that are mostly spandex, shiny, or look like compression shirts. Also, you want to be careful with dense fabrics like you find in sweaters and blazers. Bulky fabric can make you look more fat than muscular. Choose a lighter material that moves easily.
Get a tailor
I used to think you had to have a ton of money to dress nicely.
I was wrong. I just didn’t know the secrets of better-fitting clothing.
What you find on the market are clothes that fit some places but not others. Or it fits your neck and chest but balloons out at the waist. Or it tapers at the waist but you’re bursting your chest buttons before noon.
Getting a tailor sounds like a huge expense but if you’re choosing the right pieces, it’s worth the investment. Plus, depending on where you live, there’s an inexpensive tailor on every corner, often combined with a dry cleaner.
You should expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $35 to have a shirt tailored depending on your location. Purchase quality clothing pieces and have them tailored. They’ll last you longer and you’ll enjoy them more.
The waists of your shirts and pants are easier/less expensive to alter than shoulders or thighs. You want to select pieces you like that fit in the neck, chest, shoulders, and thighs.
Dressing a muscular body can feel like an elaborate game of Tetris. With these style tips, you can walk into a store with more confidence and avoid that feeling of defeat in the dressing room.
How to dress when you’re muscular:
- Know your measurements
- Buy clothing that matches your other clothing
- Try multiple pieces from one brand
- Invest in tapered shirts
- Give your thighs room to breath
- Buy stretchy fabric but avoid bulky or shiny
- Visit your neighborhood tailor/seamstress
How you dress says a lot about you but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Read my articles on how to be more likable and how to stop caring what other people think for more tips. You can drastically change your life in a matter of 6 months if you work at it.
Dress like a man
Conquer mediocrity, kill complacency, feel better about yourself, and show up better to the rest of the world by learning how to dress intentionally.
If you’ve decided you’re sick of not dressing like the man you know you are, that you’re tired of people not taking you seriously before you even have the chance to open your mouth, that you’re done dressing like an overgrown child, this program is for you.Learn more here
Bernard, T. J.. “William Sheldon.” Encyclopedia Britannica, November 15, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Sheldon. ↩
Sell Aaron, Lukazsweski Aaron W. and Townsley Michael 2017Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractivenessProc. R. Soc. B.2842017181920171819 http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.1819 ↩