NOTE: By Athletic I mean a possessing a few general qualities that makes finding clothes that fit fairly hard: Broad shoulders, A large “drop” (I.e. chest to waist ratio), and large thighs and butt compared to waist. These different attributes will of course vary, depending on your chosen athletic activity, which is why much of the advice below is directional rather than “do X”.
- Starting from the bottom up Wear shoes with “heft” to them. You probably have big quads and so you don’t want your bottom half to appear too carrot-like. Work
inspired boots, “Blucher” dress shoes
i.e. dress shoes with open lacing , chunkier (though still simple) sneakers, etc. Of course, this is highly dependent upon your foot size, so it might be less important if you’ve got big feet to match your big quads.
- Slim Straight, Slim tapered, or pseudo-skinny jeans all work if your legs aren’t majorly developed, depending on how much taper you can handle. Examples of Slim straight jeans are Levi’s 514
or The Naked and Famous Slim Guy
. Examples of the Slim/Tapered cut are the Levi’s 508/521
or a sized-up version of the Naked and Famous Skinny Guy
(I’ve had good luck with these). By “pseudo-skinny” i’m speaking of jeans with a sharp taper that have a “carrot fit.” Naked and Famous Weird Guy
is the prototypical example, but some dudes have had success with APC Petite standards
and Levi’s 511
sized to fit their quads.
- However, if your legs are massive then ignore the above. You want a looser fit, though still, you’ll want some taper. Levi’s 501’s
(STF guide here ) are the general go-to suggestion, though Levi’s has a new fit called the 562 (loose taper)
that will probably also work for you.
- Another note on choosing jeans Don’t worry about a super tight fit in the waist/top block. Your quads are probably your biggest limitation for ‘slim” jeans and you know what, that’s okay. I’m of the opinion that dudes with big legs don’t need as slim a fit in the top block as a skinnier guy, as keeping your jeans sitting at your waist and having a little bit of room in the waist band is a lot more flattering, especially with your shirt tucked in. Think about the way cowboys
wear their jeans. I’m of the opinion that it looks pretty good, but that’s me.
- If you’re wearing a belt (and you should) get one that’s thick. Not much to be said on this front–like your shoes, you want to avoid accessories that are too slim.
- So about your shirts. In terms of button front shirts, Make sure they fit in the shoulders, then get them tailored. Especially if you have a big drop, most OTR shirts are not going to really work for you. Embrace it as a fact of life, and then find a tailor. Investing $7-12 a shirt will make you look so much better. And, given that you’re going to be altering your clothes go for quality over quantity. Instead of buying thin shirts from from H&M or Urban Outfitters, buy clothes that will will hold up to multiple wears, like thick Oxfords from J.crew or Brooks Brothers, for example. Of course, if you have money and really want to kick it up a notch, Go for Made to Measure shirts. Nothing will fit better.
- Speaking of cowboy style, don’t be afraid to tuck your shirts in. Your wider shoulders are going to necessitate a larger shirt, and if you’re not super tall, you may end up with shirts with tails that go below your crotch. Given that dressing well is all about proportion, tuck that shit in. This is where having a loose top block in your jeans will be nice, because having a bit of room around your waist will reduce the blousing you get when tucking in your shirt, especially when compared to skin-tight jeans. (it should be noted that even with tailoring, blousing still happens, and it’s futile to expect this kind of fit
as GQ pins the shit out of all of their shirts.).
- As for t-shirts Go with what makes you comfortable. If you’re comfortable with things on the tighter side, go for it. H&M and express make shirts with a bit of stretch to them. If you think that’s a little gauche that’s okay too–Alternative apparel and Mossimo (from target) make shirts with a nice taper in the body, allowing you to size up a bit. Personally, I’d take a day, go to the mall, get t-shirts from bunch of stores, buying them at your general size (remember they shrink in the wash, ask the sales person how much), seeing which one you like the best, and then waiting for a sale and then stocking up (all mall stores have tons of sales so this shouldn’t be hard). Nothing is better than having a nice t-shirt that flatters your body, so take the time and invest the cash to find the right one.
- Polo shirts will hug you arms and make your biceps look huge which is awesome. Again, I’d recommend finding ones that work right for your personal preferences and stocking up, but really, any “slim fit” polo will look good on you. You can also get them slimmed by a tailor, which, if you own a few already, may be preferable to buying new.
- Knitwear If you’re on the taller side and can go with something chunky and slouchy, and like that look, go for it. If you’re of shorter/medium height or going for a slim look, your main option is find sweaters with side-seams and get them slimmed the same way you would a shirt. You need to find a tailor that does knits to do it, but it’s totally possible; more information here . Lands End Canvas sweaters have side-seams, though I’m not sure about other brands.
- Outerwear is very much up to your preference. Again, if you’re not super tall, sizing up on outerwear to fit your shoulders can make it too long, and so cropped styles like Double riders
and Peacoats are flattering on a built guy. Avoid puffy coats, because you’ve already got enough bulk. A lot of outerwear can also be slimmed to your taste, though it’s more expensive than tailoring a jacket. I’d say go either a cropped style or a regular style that you’ve gotten slimmed.
- Many of these casual tips can be applied to more formal clothing. You probably won’t find suit jackets that fit off the rack, but a tailor can take a suit in on the sides to make it fit the line of your body. If you can, try and go for a natural, less padded shoulder and avoid super-slim lapel. You can also take suit pants to a tailor to get them slimmed. Don’t wear super skinny ties, but rather go for “slim” (3″) to “normal (3.5”). MTM or tailored dress shirts to fit your frame are good to invest in, but, depending on how conservative your office is, don’t go overboard with slimness. If you’re having trouble finding shirts that fit your neck, buy a size up and get them slimmed, or invest in collar extenders which will usually give you an extra half inch. Again, open-laced dress shoes will usually be chunkier, and will help balance out your larger upper body.
- Finally, keep it simple. Avoid excessive decoration or accessorization, as your muscles are already an accessory in themselves. Being built and going fairly far in one stylistic direction (hipster, prep, whatever) often reads as gay. This, of course, is great if you are gay or don’t care whether or not people think you’re gay but I’m guessing that most of MFA’s readers are straight and want to avoid spreading confusion, so I figure it should be noted.