December 22, 2022 8 min read

If you’re looking for the best dress shirts for athletic build body types, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve created a guide so that you know exactly what to look for in a shirt, and we’ve made some suggestions on specific shirts you can add to your daily rotation. 

We understand that as an athlete, you probably struggle to find shirts that fit you perfectly. Maybe the torso of that one shirt you love is perfect, but your upper arms are just about popping the seams open. Or the shirt that fits your upper arms nicely is so loose around your torso that you look like a square.

TAILORED ATHLETE has set out to solve this problem for athletes. We’re athletes ourselves, and we understand the pain that comes with shopping for clothing that fits your body correctly. 

Our clothes are designed around the muscular structure of your body and are made with comfort in mind. 

Before we get too far into telling you about our great options, though, let’s go over why regular cuts don’t work for you, and what you should be looking for in a shirt.

Once you’re armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to pick the best style for your specific athletic body shape.

What this article covers:

Athletic Body Types

The typical athletic body is quite muscular. It has a smaller body fat percentage than a non-athletic body type, and isn’t very curvy. 

best muscle fit dress shirts

This body type comes naturally for some people, although the muscles need to be worked for. If you’re reading this, we know you’ve worked hard for those muscles and you want to show them off. 

Let’s gain a deeper understanding of your body shape.

Typically, the athletic body type is slender and toned. This is due to the low body fat percentage you have, which contributes to the problem of regular clothing not fitting you very well when combined with your larger-than-usual muscles.

People with your body type typically have larger upper arms than most other people. You also have broader shoulders due to those muscles being worked in the gym, and your pecs make your chest larger in size.

This brings us to our next question: why don’t regular shirts work for the athletic build?

Whether you’re looking for something formal or just a shirt to wear on a night out, TAILORED ATHLETE has the best dress shirts for bodybuilders and athletes. We’re confident that you’ll find something great in our extensive collection.

Why Don’t Regular Shirts Work For Athletic Build?

best dress shirt for athletic build

As we’ve already mentioned, traditional clothing isn’t made to fit your body type. As an athlete, you’re going to be wider in some places and narrower in others. Your shape is more lean and muscular than the average man, which are attributes regular clothing isn’t made to accommodate.

Regular shirts have a torso section that is way too wide for your body type. You likely have an inverted triangle body shape, which means that your shoulders are wider than your hips, and your midline is narrower than normal.

The fabric traditionally used for shirts also doesn’t work for athletes. Most regular shirts are made up of a large percentage of polyester. This material doesn’t move easily with the body, and it can feel quite itchy on the skin.

It’s also not very breathable. We know that as an athlete, you move around a lot. You enjoy moving your body, even if you’re not in the gym. As a result, you need shirts that are made from breathable material and are easy to move around in them. They need to have some stretch.

Let’s go over some other details you need from a shirt as an athlete.

What to Look for in a Shirt

We know you’re able to determine when a shirt doesn’t fit you properly. But where does that leave you when it comes to knowing what’s going to look good on your body?

We’ll take you through the most important aspects of a shirt that can be make or break in terms of fitting well. More than that, you’ll want your shirt to look tailored and smart, especially since we’re talking about dress shirts here.

Length of Shirt

best dress shirt brand for athletic build

In terms of the length of a dress shirt, it’s important that it’s not too short. 

Dress shirts are fairly formal - that is, you’re likely to wear them to work or a formal dinner. This means there are certain expectations that the shirt should conform to, in order to be considered a proper dress shirt.

We know that having an athletic body means it’s even harder to find a dress shirt that meets these expectations. You choose a certain size based on one part of your body, and suddenly the shirt is too long.

So how long should the shirt be? 

Shirt Tail

First, we’ll go over the shirt tail. This is the lower back part of your dress shirt. It typically has a rounded cut and hem, making it easy to tuck into pants. This cut also allows the shirt to look decent when it isn’t tucked in. 

For men, this part of the shirt should sit about two inches below your waistline. This means there’s adequate material for the shirt to be tucked in comfortably. 

You don’t want the shirt to be too short. When you sit down, it’ll pop out. This doesn’t look or feel good. 

Shirt Front

The front of the shirt is a different story. It shouldn’t be as long. The chances of it popping out when you sit down are lower because you naturally arch your back over when you sit. This means there isn’t much tug on that material.

This side of your shirt can be between one and two inches. This is adequate to ensure your shirt stays tucked in when you reach up. After all, we know you’re a bit of a busybody and we want your clothing to work for you.

best dress clothes for athletic build

This extra fabric also allows for the shirt to look and feel comfortable. You wouldn’t want to tuck your shirt in, and have it feel too tight. This can restrict your movement, how much you can eat, and even your breathing. That’s why it’s so important for a shirt to be long enough.

Some Stretch in the Fabric

On the topic of comfort, your shirt should really have some stretch in it. This will assist with things like your shirt not popping out of your pants when you stretch, because the material will be moving with your body.

It will also give you some breathing room - literally and figuratively. If you’re one of those people who enjoy the tighter look and feel, this will be especially important. The stretch in the fabric will allow you to wear a super tight-fitting shirt, without hindering your ability to move, breathe, or eat. 

TAILORED ATHLETE’s shirts are all made using premium 4-way stretch fabric which moves with your body throughout the day.

This is one of the many features that makes our True Muscle Fit athletic dress shirts different from fitted shirts, which can make you look stuffed into your clothing.

Feel of the Fabric

The feel of the fabric is important when it comes to choosing a dress shirt. 

If you’re going to be wearing it to an office, that means you’ll be wearing your dress shirt all day. You have important things to do. The last thing you want is to feel itchy and uncomfortable. 

The best men’s athletic fit dress shirts are made with soft materials. We have some great options, including our Bamboo Dress Shirt made from 30% bamboo fibers. It’s ultra-soft, and you won't be disappointed!

best athletic dress shirts

These are made with our True Muscle Fit, which we designed especially for athletes. This design was made with the input of 1,000s of people with a body type just like yours, so you don’t have to size up or down.

Fabric Breathability

It’s important for your dress shirt to be made of breathable fabric. If you’re going to be wearing it all day, you’re going to be moving around. That means you’re going to be getting a bit sweaty.

Breathable fabric allows the moisture from your skin to evaporate, instead of pooling up underneath the fabric. This means you won’t feel dirty a few hours into your day and avoids leaving any pit stains that are both unsightly and smelly. 

You’ll be feeling fresh, thanks to the constant airflow between the fibers of your shirt.

The breathable fabric also assists in temperature control. The flow of air means you won’t be overheating in your shirt by midday. It also ensures you don’t lose body heat, so don’t worry about feeling cold due in the winter, so you won’t ave to layer up just to survive the cold.

Adequate Space for Your Muscles

This is arguably the most important aspect of a shirt for athletes! We know it’s a pain point when buying clothing. You can never find the right size, and always land up sacrificing a tailored look to find a shirt that fits over your biceps and shoulders.

A dress shirt needs to have adequate space for your muscles so that you can look presentable and feel confident in your clothing. This is what the best athletic button-down shirts offer.

It Fits Just Right

All of these aspects amount to a shirt fitting just right. You don’t end up with a collar that’s too loose or too tight, nor do you end up with that boxy look caused by needing to size up once or twice to accommodate for muscles.

Our long sleeve athletic fit shirts are made with only the best quality materials, ensuring breathability and freedom of movement at all times. It’s really important to us that your shirt moves with you, and doesn’t restrict you.

These shirts are made in our muscle fit, meaning they allow for broader shoulders and chests without feeling like they’re going to fall apart at the seams. They’re also made with extra space in the arm area; both upper and lower. 

This is so that you don’t need to guess which size might fit you. Whatever regular size you’d choose is your size in our store. If you’re feeling confused, though, you can use our sizing chart which is optimized for our shirts. 

What Can I Pair My Shirt With?

We’ve got you covered! We make men’s athletic-fit dress pants as well because we know that buying pants is difficult when you’re muscular.

best dress shirts for muscular men

Our trousers are designed with the same Performance 4-way stretch fabric as our shirts to fit your physique. They’re a form-flattering fit for all athletes, and as an added bonus, they’re super comfortable.


Whether you’re looking for something to keep you looking fresh at the office or something more snazzy for a night out, TAILORED ATHLETE has you covered. We hope we’ve given you what you need to upgrade your wardrobe with clothes specifically designed to highlight your physique.

Say goodbye to split seams and baggy pants. Finally, you can get clothes that make you look as good as you feel.

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