December 22, 2022 6 min read

Many people work hard to achieve a muscular physique. Some do it for health, others to feel better about themselves, and some people just want to look good. 

When choosing a shirt, there are certain factors you should look for that can make you look more muscular. So, what shirts make you look muscular?

In this article, we’ll discuss what the best color, fabric, cut, length, and pattern are to make you look muscular.

What this article covers:

How to Look Muscular in a Shirt

If you’ve put the hours in at the gym, you know how difficult it is to find shirts that accentuate your body properly and don’t end up making you look like the marshmallow man from the end of Ghostbusters.

Here’s everything you should look out for when shopping for shirts to look your best and show off your muscles.

The Color

how to look muscular in shirt

Black and darker tones tend to be slimming whereas lighter colors can make you look slightly larger, stronger, and bulkier. 

The best option is to wear light blues and light browns. This is because they broaden your frame and show off your abs and torso. Because the coloring shows subtle shadows, it’s a perfect option if you’ve got washboard abs and want to show them off. 

White fitted shirts paired with pants in lighter shades are great if you’re an inverted triangle shape since the brighter color draws more attention to the top half of your body.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, our Essential Dress Shirt in White is a great option for an attention-grabbing, but not flashy, piece for your wardrobe.

shirts that make you look muscular

The Fabric

Heavier fabrics add bulk, which can be a good thing if you’re trying to show off your muscles. However, you don’t want to go with something too bulky that could potentially hide your muscles. Instead, it’s important to find a middle-ground.

The fabrics used in TAILORED ATHLETE’s garments are perfect for this. Our Performance Fabrics are moisture-wicking and breathable, allowing you to stay comfortable in your fit. They’re the perfect blend of 80% microfiber, 17% cotton, and 3% elastane.

The Shirt Cut

Choose clothing that makes your stomach look smaller and narrower than your shoulders. Tapered shirts and pants can help you achieve this by clinging to the most flattering parts of your body.

The shirt’s “cut” is simply the shape or pattern the cloth is cut in. For muscular men, you need to look for an athletic-fit option to avoid excess fabric or unflattering creases in your clothes. 

TAILORED ATHLETE caters specifically to athletic builds and body types. Our True Muscle Fit shirts allow for a broad chest, shoulders, and arms but taper at the waist for a perfect fit to highlight all your hard work. 

Our True Muscle Fit shirts are made from unique 4-way stretch fabric that allows you to move freely without having to worry they’re going to split at the seams. They’re anti-wrinkle, quick drying, and machine washable, so they look great and are easy to maintain. 

These true Muscle Fit Shirts work well with a pair of men's athletic-fit jeans. This is the perfect combination for a muscular-looking physique.

how to look muscular in the shirt

Finding the Fit

A good-fitting shirt is essential for a well-put-together outfit. 

So, how should dress shirts fit? It’s important to select the right size and shape to look your best. Avoid loose-fitting clothes as these don’t accentuate your muscles and can make it look like you don’t know what the inside of a gym looks like. 

There’s a difference between how different types of shirts should fit. For example, while you should be looking for the same factors around the chest and shoulders, a button-down shirt should fit differently from how a short sleeve shirt fits around the collar.

While you shouldn’t wear loose clothing, you don’t want something too tight either. Clothing that’s too tight can make you look strangled and causes a lot of unsightly creases, especially in areas with more muscles. Shoulders, arms, and chests are the main culprits in this area. 

The Shirt Sleeves

Shirt sleeves can do a lot to show off your muscles, and there’s a lot you can do with them to enhance certain effects. For example, there are a few different ways you can wear a long-sleeve dress shirt depending on the aesthetic you’re going for.

If it’s too hot to wear full sleeves, you can roll the fabric up to your elbows. The folds accentuate your forearms and are a great way of drawing attention to that area.

shirts that make you look muscular

Sleeve length differs significantly between brands. If you have defined, muscular arms, then your shirt sleeve should end just above the indentation in your elbow. If the shirt fits properly, this will show off your forearms without covering them and accentuate your upper arms behind the fabric.

If your sleeves are any shorter than this then you risk looking a bit too confident. Any longer, and the shirt will start to hide your arms behind loose fabric.

The Shoulders

Getting a shirt that fits around the shoulders is if you have a wider chest. You want the line where the sleeve attaches to the body of the shirt to be where your arm meets your torso.

The line should be in the indentation between your shoulder and the shoulder-blades.

However, there’s an exception to this rule. When you have broader shoulders, pushing the line outward by an inch can sometimes solve fitting issues.

Make sure that your sleeve line is in that range and that it’s comfortable. If the shoulder seam is falling onto your triceps, then the shirt is too large.

Getting your shoulder fit right plays a crucial role in getting your dress shirt collar to fit.

The Shirt Length

what shirts make you look more muscular

We often don’t think of how a shirt can also affect how muscular your lower body looks, but it’s vitally important. 

Your shirt should end where the back pockets on your pants start. That gives enough length to keep your stomach covered when reaching up, but it’s short enough to balance the look and show to people that you know how to dress properly.

It’s common, especially for more muscular men, to find a shirt that fits around the shoulders but ends up too long.

This makes your torso look longer and shortens your legs, which throws your proportions off. So make sure your shirt ends right around mid-fly.

The Shirt Pattern

Common knowledge is that vertical stripes make you look taller and horizontal stripes make you look bulkier. While there’s some truth in this, it’s a bit more nuanced.

Horizontal stripes can add more breadth to your shoulders and chest, which can highlight your muscles. However, if the pattern is too busy or if it’s just not a good match for your body type, it can make you loose definition, giving you more of a dad-bod.

While vertical stripes tend to be slimming, for bulkier men, they add the illusion of height which can balance out your look, especially if you’re on the shorter side.

We’ve got a great selection of striped T-shirts and dress shirts to choose from, so you’re sure to find something to suit your style.

 how you can look more muscular in shirt


Putting effort into getting your body looking good is, sadly, only half the battle. While you might look good out of your clothes, you want to look good in them too.

Thankfully, with TAILORED ATHLETE, that’s no longer a challenge. We hope we’ve helped guide you through the intricacies of choosing a shirt that makes you and your muscles look great.

No matter which cut you go for, with TAILORED ATHLETE, you’re sure to find essential shirts that fit.

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