A man with an athletic body type faces a unique challenge when buying suits. The majority of fashion designers are hell bent on creating styles that cater to slimmer men. On the other hand, you also have vanity sizing, which is common practice among fashion labels. Essentially, off-the-rack suits and clothing manufactured for the masses will not be made with the athletically built man in mind. That means that you will have to put just as much effort into dressing well as you do in the gym.
Get It Tailor Made
An essential primer for the muscle- bound man is to get your suits tailor made. Even if you do manage to find an off-the-rack suit that fit you well, having a tailor alter it is still recommended. Opt for custom made-to-measure or bespoke suits for threads that accentuate your physique. You’ll also get your money’s worth in terms of fabric quality, personalization and the trained eye of a seasoned tailor.
In tailoring speak, ‘the drop’ refers to the difference between chest and waist circumference. If you have an athletic build, most off-the rack suits will not accommodate for the disparity. Getting a tailored fit is the perfect way to craft a suit which hugs your chest naturally without being too tight or loose at the waist.
Go for Smaller Shoulder Padding
Worked hard on bringing up those cannonball delts? You should pay special attention to how your suit fits around the shoulders. Since you already possess well-developed shoulders, you won’t need much extra padding to accentuate them. Your tailor will leave just enough so that the shape of the jacket holds well.
Slim, peak and notch lapels are beautiful and have their place. Athletic guys, however, need to be more selective with lapel choices than the average Joe. If you’ve got a broad chest and barrel shaped torso, regular lapels are your best bet. You want to embrace your physique’s width and girth – slim lapels will look out of proportion with your upper torso and back. While you’re at it, leave those skinny ties behind (or donate them). You’re going to need broader ties to match with your new-found lapel widths.
If you’ve got that superhero V-Taper going on, it’s even more vital to make a suit that brings out your enviable proportions. This where the experience of a good tailor is ever so handy – have him or her carefully take in the waist of your jacket. You don’t want too much waist suppression though, as the jacket should taper at the waist without being too tight or boxy. Your jacket shouldn’t be too tight in the chest, waist or legs – they won’t hang right and will crease frequently.
Bonus tip: wearing a vest is a marvelous way to subtly show off your V-taper and waist to hip ratio.
If You Haven’t Skipped Leg Day
Proud of your monster squats and deadlifts? Then you already know that any trousers or chinos in the slim category are not making it down those thighs no matter how taut your waist is. Men with larger, athletic thighs should size up and have their tailors make alterations at the waist and from the knee down.
The main aspect of a shirt that you should keep an eye on is how well it fits around your neck and across your shoulders. Here’s a litmus test for a good fit: you should be able to place your index finger comfortably in the space between your neck and the collar of the shirt. If there’s excess tightness or puckering of the material across your chest, shoulders or back, have the shirt altered. Then again, having your shirt custom made from scratch is an easy way to mitigate all these factors in the first place. Arrange multiple fittings with your tailor – remove just a touch of that extra fabric so that it looks fantastic but still allows you to be comfortable when you sit down.
If you’ve been busting it in the gym to build an aesthetically pleasing body, wearing the right suit is just going to show off your hard work even more. It’s time to ignore fads and focus on what looks good on your particular build. Follow the tips above and you’re well on your way to owning a suit that is as impressive as your physique.