5 Best Dress Shirts for Athletic Build Men | Shirts for Muscular Guys

best dress shirts for athletic build

Updated by Ben Chuang

The best male physiques require the best athletic fit dress shirts, which are shirts that fit you properly in all the right areas. 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 a proper fitting dress shirt, especially an athletic fit dress shirt. 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. The average dress shirt that you grab off the rack probably won't fit you exactly right.

A poorly-fitting dress shirt can be uncomfortably tight and have too much extra fabric leaving you looking sloppy, or even both at the same time.

You’re likely a man who wants to find the best athletic fit dress shirt so you can look your best. And when you look your best, you feel your best. This guide is for the muscular guys who are struggling to find a proper fitting shirt. Check out the best button down shirts for men and learn more about what to look for when shopping for your perfect athletic fit dress shirt.


Our Recommended Best Athletic Fit Dress Shirts

Fit guys have a lot of muscle definition and specific proportions. Finding a comfortable, flattering dress shirt can be difficult, especially if you have a really muscular back, shoulders, arms and neck. Here are some of the best athletic fit dress shirts that will be perfect for muscular guys.


1. Nimble Made - The Crescent - [Overall Best Athletic Fit Dress Shirt]


Approved by fitness trainers & slim athletic guys like Jeremy Sry

Nimble Made - The Crescent Dress Shirt

(Fitness Trainer Jeremy Sry • Height: 5'8" • Weight: 160 lb • Wears Size N3)


This white dress shirt is a classic fitted dress shirt with a stylish, flattering cut for muscular guys. 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 broadcloth weave is the perfect semi-formal fabric for business casual environment and for v shaped body types. It also has soft blue accents on the last button and in the spread collar lining to give it just the right amount of edge, while still keeping it professional.

Nimble Made has a collection of dress shirts in their unique slim fit that is sized by height and weight for a more proportional approach to a slimmer fit. This brand is the ideal for those muscular guys looking for an athletic fit.

This men's dress shirt is great for those with a slim waist and is one of the best athletic fit dress shirt in 2023.


  • Slim fit dress shirt sized by height and weight (BMI)
  • Tapered waist
  • Trimmed measurements across the chest and back
  • No tailoring needed
  • Free shipping, exchanges, returns
  • Favored by fitness trainers like Jeremy Sry


2. The Irena - Blue Athletic Fit Dress Shirt

Elevate your ensemble with the slim fit design of this blue collared shirt, meticulously crafted to cater to athletic builds. Constructed from premium 100% cotton, this dress shirt combines elegance and flexibility effortlessly. 

This comfortable dress shirt embraces timeless elegance while catering specifically to muscular guys who value an athletic fit. This athletic fit dress shirt accommodates your physique, ensuring a flattering silhouette that effortlessly complements your active lifestyle. Step confidently into any setting, knowing you're dressed to impress with a touch of athletic sophistication.


  • Trimmed measurements across the chest and shoulders
  • Ready to wear off-the-rack
  • Versatile blue dress shirt color 
  • Breathable 100% cotton fabric

3. The Yin - Non-Iron & Four Way Stretch Fabric


Engineered from a high-quality blend of nylon and spandex, the performance fabric of this non iron dress shirt offers remarkable benefits. Experience unrestricted movement with its four way stretch fabric, ensuring you stay comfortable and at ease throughout the day.

Bid farewell to worries about sweat, as the anti-sweat technology keeps you feeling fresh and confident. Additionally, this non-iron dress shirt saves you time and effort, maintaining a crisp appearance effortlessly.

This is one of the best black slim fit shirts for muscular guys seeking an athletic fit. Its slim cut complements an active body, making it an ideal choice for individuals looking to combine fashion with movement. Elevate your wardrobe with this remarkable dress shirt that harmonizes form and function flawlessly.


  • Athletic fit
  • Four way stretch
  • Non-iron performance fabric
  • Versatile for business casual and semi-formal attire



4. Dark Navy Gingham Checked Fitted Shirt - The Abacus

This dress shirt is one of the best dress shirts for muscular guys because it features a slim-cut waist with broad shoulders and tapered sleeves to provide a flattering and comfortable fit.

This gingham patterned comfortable dress shirt is not just a fashion statement, but a statement of your commitment to an athletic fit for muscular guys. This well fitted shirt harmonizes with your physique, offering a flattering silhouette that complements your fitness lifestyle.


  • Perfect sleeve length
  • No dry cleaning required; 100% machine washable
  • Stylish spread collar design
  • Trendy, bold gingham fabric

5. Blue Dress Shirt for Athletic Build - The Waterbend

best dress shirts for musuclar guys

When it comes to the best dress shirts for muscular guys, add this solid blue athletic fit dress shirts to the list. It’s made from lightweight, breathable material with 100% cotton durability that keeps you cool and comfortable all day long.

This slim blue dress shirt seamlessly merges classic appeal with contemporary functionality for muscular guys, making it a must-have addition to your collection of best dress shirts for athletic builds.


  • 100% machine washable
  • Easy-iron and steam
  • Machine washable and hang dry. 

What Does Athletic Fit Mean?

If you have trouble finding a comfortable dress shirt that isn’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 dress shirts. 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.

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 and makes for a comfortable dress shirt. 

What to Look For in Athletic-Fit Dress Shirts

You might have considered getting a custom tailored dress shirt, but those can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you want to get a tailored fit for every dress shirt. There are plenty of options for you out there when it comes to men's 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 dress shirt to ensure that you’re picking one that will be both comfortable and functional for all day wear.


Room in the Chest

Muscular guys want the best dress 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 possibly even claustrophobic.

You might even accidentally rip a seam if you’re not careful with your tailored fit. 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 dress shirt and test it out. If there’s any pulling in the buttons when your arms are down to your sides, it’s tight and you may need a tailored fit. 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. 


Proper Length

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 dress shirt that’s too long can end up making your look disproportional and even a bit short.  

Whenever your dress shirt is buttoned up and untucked, ideally the tail will hit just below your back pants pockets. To make sure the dress shirt isn’t too big, you should be able to easily raise your arms up all the way above your head without 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 comfortably close the collar of your dress shirt typically between 15 to 17 inches is a good range to start with. Check to see if your shirt has a hidden button down collar or a spread collar. 

Dress Shirt with Sufficient Room in the Collar & Neck

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 if you like to button your dress 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 will have a 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 a dress shirt, also consider how much you’ll be moving around in your dress shirt. For instance, if 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 dress shirt. 


Slim, Fitted Waist

Being an athletic body type, if you got a regular cut dress shirt that comfortably fits 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 dress shirt is supposed to have a clean smooth line that contours your body shade and doesn’t billow out when you tuck in the dress 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 a dress shirt made from lightweight, breathable material. This will allow air to flow freely through the fabric and cool you down. 

Moisture-wicking technology is helpful in case 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 they're 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?


Athletic Fit

With men becoming increasingly interested in building muscle, the athletic fit dress shirt 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

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 The Best Dress Shirts for Muscular Guys

Not all muscular/athletic builds are the same. There are a few different common shapes that muscular people tend to be. It’s important to know your specific body type when choosing the best dress shirts for athletic-build guys because knowing your specific body type is going to help you better identify which type of clothing is going to be the most flattering and comfortable for you.


Here are some of the common types of athletic body shapes:



triangle fit

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 their 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. 


Inverted Triangle

inverted triangle fitThis is the body type that will most benefit from the athletic fit dress shirts. They are the type that focuses 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. 




square/rectangle fit

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, a slim-fit design might make for a comfortable 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 properly fitting dress shirt is when it comes to looking stylish and professional. If you have a broader upper body, the average dress shirt 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 best dress shirt and feel confident, rather than picking up an average dress shirt that doesn't fit well.

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. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about the 5 best athletic fit dress shirts of 2023!


Frequently Asked Questions About Dress Shirts for Athletic Build

What does athletic fit dress shirt mean?

An athletic fit dress shirt is the best dress shirt for individuals with a more muscular build, providing extra room in the shoulders, chest, and arms while maintaining a narrower waist.

Is athletic fit tighter?

Yes, an athletic fit dress shirt is slightly tighter in the areas like shoulders, chest, and arms to accommodate a more muscular physique.

What is athletic fit in mens dress shirts?

Athletic fit in men's dress shirts refers to a tailored design that offers more room in upper body areas while maintaining a slimmer waist, suited for those with an athletic or muscular build.

What is the difference between fitted and athletic fit dress shirts?

The difference between fitted and athletic fit dress shirts lies in the fit profile. Fitted shirts generally follow the body's contours closely, while athletic fit shirts are specifically tailored to accommodate both muscular upper body and a slimmer waist. Try both to find the best dress shirt for your body type. 


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