You work hard in the gym to build muscles and sculpt your physique. But once you get to a certain point, it can be difficult to find proper fitting shirts, especially dress shirts. You probably need some extra space for your muscular arms and shoulders, but you don’t need all the extra space in the waist area. Ill-fitting dress shirts can be uncomfortably tight, have too much extra fabric leaving you looking sloppy, or even both at the same time
Proper fitting clothes are essential if you want to look professional and confident. And when you look your best, you feel your best. If you’re a bodybuilder or have a more muscular build and have trouble finding comfortable dress shirts, this guide is for you. Check out these great options and learn more about what to look for when shopping for your perfect dress shirt.
3 Absolute Best Dress Shirts for Body Builders
Body builders have a lot of definition and a very shapely figure. Finding comfortable, flattering shirts can be difficult, especially if you have a really muscular back, shoulders, arms and neck. Here are some dress shirt options that will be perfect for your very muscular figure.
This pale blue dress shirt is ultra flexible and a stylish, flattering cut. It’s made from sturdy, breathable 100% cotton, that holds up even after countless washes and is easy to iron so you can keep it looking crisp. The fabric itself features a Herringbone Weave pattern that is both subtle and classy. It also has soft pink accents on the last button and in the collar lining to give it just the right amount of edge, while still keeping it professional.
- Includes metal collar stays to keep the collar looking crisp and sharp
- No excessive fabric or billowing
- Semi-spread collar
Made from luxurious Italian fabric, the Commuter Dress Shirt is the perfect mix of style and function. It’s lightweight and features moisture wicking technology that makes it great for layering or wearing alone. Four-way stretch means that it’s comfortable and maintains a flattering shape, while giving you extra room where you might need it. Don’t stress about taking this dress shirt to the dry cleaner because it is machine washable and quick drying.It also naturally releases and resists wrinkles so you stay looking sharp.
- Hidden button collar keeps the collar flat and tidy
- Breathable material keeps you cool
- A variety of color and pattern choices
The AlfaTech Dress Shirt by Alfani gives you both style and comfort. Two-way stretch fabric and athletic cut allows for extra room in the chest and arms and moisture wicking keeps you cool and dry. The lightweight material is flexible and breezy while still looking formal and professional. It’s machine washable and made with wrinkle resistant fabric making this shirt easy to care for and requires very little effort on your part to keep it looking sharp.
- Narrow waist profile and tapered arm holes for flattering fit
- Spread stretch collar
- Five different color options
2 Best Dress Shirts for Muscular Guys
Just because you aren’t a body builder, doesn’t mean that you don’t have problems finding well-fitting dress shirt. If you like to work on your upper body, you know that a lot of shirts can be pretty ill-fitting. Check out these dress shirts that are perfect for muscular builds.
This dress shirt features a slim cut waist, with broad shoulders and tapered sleeves to make to provide a flattering and comfortable fit for muscular guys. The cotton/polyester blend material is machine washable for low maintenance care. As a part of a two-piece set, this dress shirt also comes with a solid color tie to make the perfect pair.
- No dry cleaning required - 100% machine washable
- Stylish point collar design
- Trendy, bold multi-gingham print
This is an athletic cut dress shirt with a bold print for a contemporary look. It’s made from lightweight, breathable material with two-way stretch that keeps you cool and comfortable all day long. Moisture wicking fabric ensures that you stay fresh and dry, so you can avoid embarrassing sweat stains. You’ll be looking sharp and professional with the stretch spread collar and classy button cuffs.
- 100% machine washable
- Stretchy material retains shape and provides extra flexibility
- Quick drying and moisture wicking
What is an Athletic Fit?
If you have trouble finding clothes that aren’t baggy in some spots and/or very tight in others, you might need to look for pieces labeled “athletic cut”. If this cut is right for you, it could save you from constant discomfort, restricted movements, and looking sloppy from having too much extra fabric in places.
To better understand what exactly an athletic fit is, it helps to understand what an athletic build is. Just because you work out regularly doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll fit into the category of athletic build or need athletic fit. Most often an athletic build is considered to be someone with a slim (though you don't need a 6-pack), narrow waist and broad, muscular shoulders - much like Channing Tatum:
To accommodate the proportions of the athletic build, the athletic fit shirts are going to make room for well developed muscles while keeping a slim profile in the waist area. Some will also feature tapered sleeves that make room for muscular arms while staying fitted around the wrist. This creates a flattering silhouette. It also makes sure that there aren’t any areas that are tight and uncomfortable or loose and baggy.
What to Look For
You might have considered getting custom tailored shirts, but those can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you want to do that for every dress shirt. There are plenty of options for you out there when it comes to dress shirts - you just have to know what to look for.
Before making any decisions, there are a few different things that you should really look for in a shirt to ensure that you’re picking one that will be both comfortable and functional for all day wear.
Room in the Chest
You want the shirt to be fitted and flattering but not too tight on your chest. If you don’t have enough room in the chest area of your dress shirt you won’t be able to use your full range of motion and you’ll end up feeling very restricted and possible even claustrophobic.
You might even accidentally rip a seam if you’re not careful. The average chest measurements for muscular/athletic guys is about 40in, so if you’re of average height and weight, that might be a good starting place as far as sizing.
Try on the shirt test it out. If there’s any pulling in the buttons when you’re arms are down to your sides, it’s tight.You can also be sure there’s enough room by moving arms in every direction: side to side, up and down, out in front, etc.
If you can comfortably do this without feeling any major resistance, you’re in the clear. Be sure to check that the armpits aren’t too tight either.
Whether you like to tuck in your dress shirts or not, you should get one that will give you both options. You want it long enough to tuck smoothly into your pants, but not too long that it will look baggy if you decide to leave it untucked. Not to mention, a shirt that’s too long can end up making your look unproportional and even a bit short.
Whenever you shirt is buttoned up and untucked, ideally the tail will hit just below your back pants pockets. To make sure the shirt isn’t too big, it you should be able to easily raise your arms up all the way above your head with it pulling too much or coming untucked.
Enough Room in the Collar and Neck
Depending on what areas of your upper body you focus on, you might carry a lot of muscle around your neck area. You should be able to comfortable close the collar of your dress shirt typically between 15 to 17 inches is a good range to start with.
Check to see if you can fit two fingers in the collar comfortably without too much resistance or extra room, this will let you know if the collar is a perfect fit.
It’s also important to keep in mind whether you’ll be wearing a tie or with you like to button your shirt all the way up to the top you don’t need to be as precise with the neck/collar measurements.
A bit of stretchiness in your dress shirt will provide you with extra room to move around. It’s also very helpful if your muscle mass tends to fluctuate. Some dress shirts will have two-way stretch and some have four-way stretch. The more stretch, the more flexibility and movement you’ll have in all directions.
When deciding how important stretch is to you in dress shirt, also consider how much you’ll be moving around in your dress shirt. For instance, it you mostly work stationary at a desk, it might not be as important to you as it would be for someone who has a more active job. However, don’t rely completely on your shirt’s ability to stretch. It’s still essential to select the right size and measurements when picking a shirt.
Slim, Fitted Waist
Being an athletic body type, if you got a regular cut shirt that comfortably fit your upper body, you’d more than likely have a lot of excess fabric hanging around your waist area. This can leave you looking sloppy, bulky and wrinkly. The shirt to have a clean smooth line that contours your body shade and doesn’t billow out when you tuck in the shirt.
Breathable & Moisture Wicking Material
You already sweat enough in the gym, you don’t want to be sweating all day in the office too. Unsightly sweat stains can be embarrassing, so try to find dress shirts that are made from lightweight, breathable material. This will allow air to flow freely through the fabric and cool you down.
Moisture wicking technology is helpful incase you do start to break a sweat so that the sweat doesn’t stick to you and it is able to dry before soaking through the shirt. If the shirt is machine washable, moisture wicking technology will also help promote quick drying to save you some time in the dryer.
Sleeve Length & Arm Holes
You want to fill out the sleeves without bulging out or having too much extra fabric hanging down. Look for a shirt with a higher armhole, which will likely have a more tapered sleeve to allow room for muscles at the top and stay fitted down to your wrists. Ideally the cuff will hit you at the base of your thumb. Although when it comes to sleeve length, you do have a bit more freedom depending on your own preferences.
Athletic Fit vs Slim Fit Dress Shirts
Just like with women’s clothing, there are different styles and fits available in men’s clothing. This makes it so much easier for men to know exactly what their looking for in order to find the best fitting clothes for their specific body types. Two popular fits when it comes to dress shirts are slim fit and athletic fit. But what’s the difference between the two?
With men becoming increasingly interested in building muscle, the athletic fit style has become more common in most clothing retailers. It is designed to be form fitting, but still allows for extra room in the upper part of the shirt around the chest, shoulders and arms. They typically have darts sewn into the back to help bring in the fabric to prevent a baggy waist.
Slim fit dress shirts are designed to be fitted close to the body. They can be very slimming and flattering on the right body type, but on more muscular frames, the slim fit can be very tight and restricting. This is because the cut tapers down the midsection to the waist. They are also more fitted through the arms.
Another thing to note about slim fit shirts is that they often have little to no stretch in their material. This is another thing that makes them not ideal for muscular, athletic builds, especially if you primarily focus on working out the muscles in your upper body.
Choosing Your Muscular Style
Not all muscular/athletic builds are the same. There a few different common shapes that muscular people tend it to be. When shopping for clothes, knowing your specific body type is going to help you better identify which type clothing is going to be the most flattering and comfortable for you.
Here are some of the common types of athletic body shapes:
A triangular athletic body type is one that is larger and more muscular on their lower body. Depending on their preferred type of exercise or sport they likely mostly use the muscles in the lower body, so they’re top half will be average size. This type of body shape might not have as much trouble finding proper fitting dress shirts, but will likely have a harder time when shopping for pants and trousers.
This is the body type that will most benefit from the athletic fit dress shirts. They are the type that focus their workouts mostly on their top half. They will have a larger upper body, such as a broad chest and arms, and a slimmer waist. This body type is also commonly referred to as a mesomorph.
Someone who is muscular all over their body won’t have as much of a contrast in size on different areas of their body, creating a more square/rectangle shape. If this is you, finding clothes, in general, might be tougher, Although depending on your size, you might be able to comfortably wear a slim fit dress shirt.
You work hard to stay in shape and deserve to look your best in all of your clothes, especially your professional ones. Once you start to become more muscular you’ll realize how important a proper fitting dress shirt is when it comes to look stylish and professional. If you have a broader upper body, a lot of traditional style shirts might be too constricting and not have the right cut to fit your body shape.
As more and more people begin focusing on their health and bodies, brands are realizing the need for more size and shape options to accommodate everyone. This guide will help you know what to look for while shopping so you can find the perfect dress shirt and feeling confident.
Dressing for your body type can be tricky. But these tips and suggestions should help make it easier so you can save your energy for the gym.