6 Clothing Tricks That Make You Look More Muscular

What’s the point of all that hard work at the gym if you can’t show it off a little? Your muscles are one of your best accessories and an essential part of your look, so why not dress to maximize the look of them tastefully? Whether you have bulging biceps or some toned definition, here are six ways to maximize the muscle you have.

1. Think about the V-shape

A man who looks muscular in his clothing

It’s like the male equivalent of the hourglass shape women go for. | iStock.com

So much of what we know is an illusion, especially when it comes to the way we dress. We know we can look taller by simply adding a little bit of a heel to our shoes, and if you wear the right clothing, you can also make yourself seem wider and more muscular. As a general rule, when you go to the gym to “buff up,” it usually means that you’re trying to make your shoulders seem wider and your waist more narrow — this is known as the “V-shape” that most men who work out strive for. This V-shape rule is one to follow when you’re buying clothes. Looking for clothes that enhance your shoulders and make your waist look small will give off the illusion that you’re more muscular than you really are. It’s easy to get this look by choosing the right clothing.

2. Observe the seams of your clothing

suits hanging in a closet

Suit seams are particularly important. | iStock.com

As you’re finding clothing items that fit you and allow for the V-shape you’re coveting, it’s important to consider where the seams of your clothing fall while you’re wearing them. Look in the mirror, and see where your shirt’s seams line up. If the seams fall below your shoulders, not only does the shirt look like it doesn’t fit you, but you’ll look like you’re not big enough to wear the shirt, says Brian Boye, Men’s Health’s executive fashion director. Make sure your seams lie squarely on or just above the shoulders for the perfect fit — or the open portion of the “V.”

3. The key is in the fit

muscular looking man

Your clothes should properly fit you. | iStock.com

One of the most important ways to sport the illusion of muscles is to find the perfect fit: Try tapered shirts, jackets, and a well-fitting top. Make sure to avoid anything that is too loose or too tight, as it will only accentuate a scrawny frame if you have one. Many stores give shoppers the option of purchasing slim-fitting shirts — that’s what you’re going for here.

Another fantastic way to beef up your appearance and optically broaden your shoulders as you seek to covet the V-shape is by wearing suits and jackets with discreet shoulder pads. This is important to note: You should not be trying to relive the ’80s. Also, they should be discreet, because if you wear bulkier shoulder pads they tend to have the opposite effect and make your shoulders look smaller than they actually are.

4. Wear white

man in white with tattoos

Yes, really wear white. | Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

It’s well-known that black makes you look slender; however, the opposite holds true for white, which will make you look bigger. In that case, since you’re looking to beef up your frame, try wearing as many fitted white shirts and tees as you can to make your trunk seem beefier. On the flip side, if you feel like you can’t quite give up your black or darker colored shirt, try pairing your darker shirts with a lighter shade on the bottom. The darker hue stretching across your chest, in contrast to your lighter bottom, will create the illusion of more muscle.

5. Try different patterns and textures

a stylish man

Don’t be scared to experiment with new patterns. | iStock.com

As vertical stripes tend to make you look taller, the opposite is true for horizontal stripes, which make your body seem wider. Your shoulders will appear broader, and you’ll simultaneously give the impression of a beefier look. Opt for patterns that cross your frame, not ones that are up and down, Boye says in a Men’s Health article. In addition to trying horizontal stripe patterns, opt for fabrics with texture, which can help both your torso and your legs look a little more buffed up.

6. Have good posture and confidence

man in a navy suit for an interview

Confidence is the secret ingredient. | iStock.com

Not only can you boost your stature with good posture, but you can look more muscular by exuding confidence. It’s all about the package deal.