7 Types of Clothes That Make a Man Look More Muscular

Looking muscular takes time and a lot of consistent hard work at the gym and in the kitchen. If you’re a beginner lifter (or want to look muscular without stepping foot in a gym), then it’s time to turn to your closet. Certain clothes can give the illusion that you’re rocking bulging biceps, making them musts if you want to look like you have muscles. Here are seven types of clothing that can make you look like you spend hours in the gym (don’t worry, we won’t tell).

1. Horizontally striped shirts

young man wearing stripped t-shirt and smilling

Horizontally striped shirts | iStock.com

While vertical stripes tend to make you look taller, the opposite is true for horizontal stripes, which will make you look wider and thus give the impression that you’re buff. Your shoulders will appear broader, as they normally would if you had a couple of extra pounds of muscle on you. In addition to vertical stripes, opt for patterns that cross your frame, not ones that run up and down, Brian Boye, Men’s Health’s executive fashion director, says in an article.

Bonus tip: If you want to beef up your legs a bit, opt for textured pants that can boost your torso and legs to total-buff status. Opt for a pair of corduroy pants. We also suggest a nice pair of textured and refined brown tweed trousers, and for summer, a pair of linen pants will work perfectly.

2. Crew and turtleneck shirts

Source: iStock

Turtlenecks make you look muscular | iStock.com

When choosing shirts, opt for ones in wool and other rich fabrics and knits. Crewneck and turtleneck T-shirts and sweaters are a better choice than V-necks for people who are skinny because the silhouette creates the illusion of a buff figure.

3. White shirts

man showing back and front of white T-shirt

White shirts | iStock.com

While black slims you, white, in general, will make you look bigger and buffer because it gives the illusion of a wider shoulder, says AskMen. In that case, whenever you can, try wearing fitted (note: not tight) white shirts and tees to make your trunk look like you’ve worked hard to pack on that bulk. On the flip side, if you feel like you can’t quite give up your black or darker colored shirts, 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.

4. Shirts with expert seams

clothes shopping

Mind those seams | iStock.com

When it comes to any of the shirts you wear, it’s important to check and see where your shirt’s seams line up on your shoulders. If they trickle right below the shoulder, then it will it look like you’re not quite big enough to fill out your shirt, Boye says. However, if you find that your shirt seams lie squarely on or just above your shoulders, you’ll look broader. That perfect alignment of your shirt on your shoulder allows for the optical “V-shape”  illusion, meaning it looks like you have broader shoulders and a narrow waist.

5. Tapered shirts and jackets

Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

Tapered jackets are your friends | Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

Tapered shirts and jackets are pieces that narrow your middle and do a lot to help give you that buffed up V-shape. Since these pieces optically broaden your shoulders, they’re the perfect (not to mention easiest) way to exude that figure you desire.

6. Jackets with small shoulder pads


A jacket | iStock.com

Another fantastic way to beef up your appearance and broaden your shoulders is by wearing suits and jackets with discreet shoulder pads. This is important to note: You should not be trying to re-live 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.

7. Lower-waisted jeans

Source: iStock

Find the right fit | iStock.com

Wearing a pair of lower-waisted jeans is a great way to accentuate a smaller waistline, which will bring out the width in your shoulders (or the clothing that’s meant to broaden them). It’s all about that illusion.