June 20, 2023 7 min read

Clothes for athletes and men who frequent the gym have changed a lot over the last decade; what was popular five or ten years ago would look horribly out of date today, especially among those who take pride in their bodies.

Because of this, we’ve seen new cuts and styles crop up all over the place, one of which is the muscle fit.

This low-cut, open vest is a common sight in gyms across the world, yet no-one seems to know how to wear them properly. Are muscle shirts supposed to be tight or are they meant to hang loosely around your arms and chest?

If you’ve found yourself wondering about this, and if you’re looking for a muscle shirt of your own, you’re in the right place. We’ll unpack everything you need to know about wearing these garments properly to accentuate your style.

We’ve also got a recommendation for a great muscle shirt for you that we’re sure you won’t struggle with.

What this article covers:

The Ideal Muscle Shirt Fit

Muscle shirts, also known as fitted t-shirts or athletic fit shirts, are designed to complement and enhance a muscular and athletic physique. They should hug the contours of the body without restricting movement or comfort, meaning they should be form-fitting but not skin-tight.

is muscle shirt supposed to be tight

So if you want to know if muscle shirts should be tight, you’re not asking the right questions. Muscle shirts have the same criteria as how a T-shirt should fit: they should contour around your body without constricting it.

If it’s too tight or too loose, you’re not wearing the right size.

This is the key feature you should be looking for if you want to find out what size fitted shirt you are.

Here's how a muscle shirt should ideally fit:

Chest & Shoulders

The shirt should fit comfortably around the chest and shoulders without feeling tight or restrictive. You should be able to move freely, and there should be no strains or pulls when you flex or stretch.


Muscle shirts are designed to taper down to fit narrower at the waist. This cut emphasizes the 'V' shape many athletic men possess. The shirt should sit close to the body but shouldn't squeeze or feel tight.


The sleeves of a muscle shirt should comfortably hug your arms, showcasing your bicep and tricep muscles. However, they shouldn't be so tight as to dig into your skin or restrict your arm movements.

You can find out what size muscle shirt to wear by simply considering all of these factors and consulting a size chart.

  muscle shirts supposed to be tight

The Balance Between Snug and Too Tight

While muscle shirts are meant to be more fitted than a traditional t-shirt, it's essential to strike a balance between a snug fit and a shirt that's too tight. A shirt that's too tight can restrict movement, feel uncomfortable, and even distort the shape of your muscles. 

TAILORED ATHLETE's Essential T-Shirts, for example, are designed with this balance in mind. They are made with a blend of cotton and elastane to provide a comfortable stretch that moves with you, giving the snug fit desired in a muscle shirt without being overly tight.

A well-fitted muscle shirt will accentuate your physique without compromising on comfort. You should feel confident and unrestricted in your movements, whether you're lifting weights at the gym or just going about your daily routine. The shirt should enhance your physique, not limit it.

What You Need to Know About Muscle Shirts

So we know what to look for with a muscle shirt that fits properly, but what is it that makes them look wrong sometimes?

What’s important is to consider what muscle shirts are supposed to do, which is to keep you comfortable while not hiding your physique behind a wall of fabric that makes you look like every other schlub out there.

By dispelling some common muscle shirt myths, we can better understand why they fit they way they do.

  are athlete shirts supposed to be tight

Muscle Shirts Aren’t Meant to be Extremely Tight

One common misconception is that muscle shirts should be extremely tight, almost like a second skin, to showcase your muscular physique. 

This is definitely the wrong way to go about it. While TAILORED ATHLETE’s muscle shirts highlight your muscle definition and body shape, making them extremely tight is going to lead to unintended consequences.

Not only can it restrict movement, but it can also lead to discomfort and it’s not going to look good. 

Think of a marshmallow tied up with string. The fabric is going to cut into places it shouldn’t, causing you to bulge and making you look misshapen.

TAILORED ATHLETE's muscle shirts are designed to be form-fitting, but not restrictive. What’s more, we achieve a perfect range of motion thanks to our premium 4-way stretch fabric that allows you to move freely without stretching or tearing the fabric.

Finding Balance Between Comfort and Style

Another misconception about muscle shirts is that you have to sacrifice comfort in order to highlight your muscles effectively. While this might be true with inferior brands, TAILORED ATHLETE’s clothes are completely different. 

The key to a great muscle shirt is finding the right balance between highlighting the wearer's physique and ensuring comfort.

 are muscle athlete shirts supposed to be tight

All of our clothes are designed to address this balance directly. They’re made with a blend of high-quality materials that allow for a comfortable stretch, which provides a snug, flattering fit without compromising on comfort. 

The design considers the natural movements of the body, ensuring that the shirts are comfortable to wear during a variety of activities.

Moreover, a well-fitted muscle shirt should enhance the natural 'V' shape of an athletic figure, with a tighter fit around the chest and shoulders, and tapering in at the waist. This fit should not only emphasize the wearer's muscles but also allow for freedom of movement and all-day comfort.

In essence, a good muscle shirt should both feel good and look good, highlighting the wearer's physique without causing discomfort or restriction of movement.

It’s More than Just the Fit

Okay, so we know how a muscle shirt is supposed to fit and whether it’s supposed to be tight or not, but is it really worth going through all the effort to find the perfect size? Well, we wouldn’t have written this article if we didn’t think so.

 is muscle athlete shirt supposed to be tight

By finding the right size fitted shirt for you, you get more than just a good piece of clothing. Properly-fitting clothes have both physical and mental benefits.

90% Confidence

Beyond the physical benefits, wearing a properly fitted muscle shirt can also have significant psychological benefits. A muscle shirt that fits well and enhances your physique can greatly boost your self-esteem and confidence. It's a garment that celebrates your hard work and dedication to fitness, showing off your muscular build in the best possible way.

Wearing clothing that fits well and compliments your body shape can change the way you perceive yourself, leading to increased body satisfaction. 

When you feel good in what you're wearing, it naturally improves your mood and confidence, influencing how you interact with others and carry yourself.

TAILORED ATHLETE muscle shirts are designed to highlight the best features of your athletic build, helping muscular men and athletes feel more confident and comfortable in their own skin. 

Our focus on a specific body type, often overlooked in mainstream fashion, can bring about a sense of inclusion and improved self-image for those who may have struggled with finding clothes that fit and flatter their muscular physique.

Let’s Dance

Wearing a muscle shirt that is correctly fitted provides numerous physical benefits. 

Firstly, it ensures freedom of movement. Muscle shirts, especially those from TAILORED ATHLETE, are designed with an athletic build in mind. 

They accommodate broader shoulders, muscular chests and arms, while providing a snug fit around the waist. This design allows for natural, unrestricted movement, whether you're in the gym lifting weights or going about your day-to-day activities.

is athlete shirt supposed to be tight

The comfort provided by a properly fitted muscle shirt cannot be overstated. 

When a shirt is too tight, it can be restrictive and uncomfortable, potentially digging into the skin or squeezing in unwanted areas. On the other hand, a shirt that is too loose may not provide the support needed and could become a hindrance during physical activities. 

A well-fitted muscle shirt, like those provided by TAILORED ATHLETE, offers a balance - comfortable enough for all-day wear while still offering the support and flexibility needed during physical activity.


Enough with the runaround, let’s get to what you’re here to see: a muscle shirt that will make you look as great as you feel. 

You’ve put in the time and hard work at the gym, and you need clothing that takes advantage of that, which is exactly what our High Neck T-Shirt in Slate Blue is for.

It takes extra confidence to pull off a high-neck T-shirt, but if you’ve got the body to do it, it’s well worth the effort.

 athlete shirts supposed to be tight

The soft color makes you less intimidating, but it’s still interesting enough to draw attention to your frame.

The detailing around the arms and hems are the exact kinds of little details that help you stand out without people being able to say why. You’re big enough as is, you don’t need to do anything flamboyant or attention-grabbing to stand out.

Designed with our True Muscle Fit, it’s cut perfectly to keep you feeling comfortable without sacrificing on looks.

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