How To Buy Clothing That Suits the Athletic Body Type

The challenges, solutions, and benefits of dressing well as an athlete.

Athletes come in a wide range of sizes, and finding proper clothes to accommodate these body types can be challenging.

This article will thoroughly look into the challenges athletes face when looking for clothes, but also offer essential pieces of advice and knowledge to best assist in this difficult process.

Introduction to Dressing the Athlete

Tom Brady in a suitAlthough we sports fans rarely see our favorite athletes off the field and out of uniform, the truth remains that appearance off the field is extremely important to an athlete.

With the right appearance an athlete will portray the status which he spends his life trying to attain: professionalism.

To look professional is to look confident, stylish, mature, and charismatic, and when these factors are realized and utilized correctly by an athlete, a certain aura will surround him, allowing an indistinguishable charisma to radiate from his appearance.

Though the end result of dressing well is undeniably beneficial, the process in which an athlete must go through to attain that perfect look can be very difficult. As we all know, athletes come in all shapes and sizes.

From 7’0″ basketball players to 300 lb. football players, the range of body types is endless. With that being said, a certain problem is presented for those athletes who have a different body build than the average Joe.

Your average department store may not be the best place to go, but options such as customized clothing will help greatly in the search for proper fitting clothes.

The Athletic Fit

Athletes pride themselves on their physical abilities, so much so that they tone and shape their bodies in specific ways to help compliment those abilities. Football lineman, for instance, need every pound of weight they can gain to give them leverage on the line.

Hockey players tend to have extremely powerful lower bodies, which their leg size will often display. Basketball players can range anywhere from a sub-6’0″ guard to a center whose height exceed 7 feet. With this in mind, proper fit can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Here are some tips on how to get the right fit.

Men’s Dress Shirts

Finding a proper fitting dress shirt can be a difficult task. There are many different measurements when it comes to the dress shirt: collar, cuff, sleeve, shirts length, etc.

Men's dress shirtEven the nicest fabric or color will look bad if it doesn’t fit right, so make sure yours fits correctly!! A dress shirt will shrink to its proper size after 4 or 5 washes.

Dress Shirt Collar:

If you can barely breathe when you have your top button buttoned, it’s probably time for a new shirt.

Men's dress shirt collarWhen trying shirts on, test by seeing if 2 fingers can fit in-between your collar and your neck before you wash it. After you wash it, you should be able to fit one finger in-between. If you can’t, it’s too tight.


Sleeves should extend to where your wrist meets your hand. The cuff at the end of the sleeve should cover your wrist and stop at about the base of your thumb.

Men's dress shirt cuffYou want it to be tight enough to stay on the wrist (and not slide up and down your arm) but not so tight that your hand is purple after 5 minutes! Also, when coordinating your shirt with a jacket, you want to make sure that 1/4 – 1/2 inch o f cuff shows.

Men’s Trousers

For athletes who are very tall, or who have large legs, the right pair of men’s trousers can be hard to find, but when they do find them, the trousers can do a whole lot to accentuate an entire ensemble. It’s important to remember that trousers should follow the natural contours of the body.

This can be especially beneficial to athletes with very long legs. For proper fit, you want to start by wearing the trousers on your waist, NOT the hips. Waist-worn trousers will emphasize the smallness of the waist area.

If you wear them on the hips, they’ll bulge out and the hips will draw attention to themselves, rather than the thinner waist area. Also, wearing trousers on the waist will make you look thinner, as well as make your legs looks longer.

The crotch of the pants should be fit so they’re as high as they can be while still being comfortable. If you can to have definition throughout your legs, this is important.

The higher the crotch, the longer your leg will look, but of course comfort is the most important part, so having a nice balance between these components is essential. The pockets should lie flat on the hips when the trousers are pulled up to rest around the waist.

Trousers have always been cut in two styles:

1) Plain Front Trousers

Men's trousers - plain front
2) Pleated Front Trousers

Men's trousers - pleated front

Pleated-front cut trousers have always been the dressier cut. Pleats were originally designed to combine comfort and function. The hips will widen naturally when sitting, allowing one to sit more comfortably. If going with pleats, know that they should not open while standing.

Men’s Suit and Sport Jackets

The proper jacket has the ability to tie an entire outfit together. On the other hand, the wrong jacket can potentially ruin an entire outfit. Getting the right-fitting jacket is an essential part of a complete, professional look.

The types of jackets one can choose from vary greatly, and it really depends on how dressy or casual you want to look. For a more casual look, you’ll want to lean more towards a Sports Jacket. However, if you’re going for a more professional, sophisticated look, other jackets would be better.

Double-Breasted Jacket for men

Double-Breasted Jacket

The double-breasted jacket is much dressier than a single breasted jacket. In the 1930’s, the double-breasted suit was the major style, but single-breasted suits overtook them because they were easier to produce and less expensive.

Men Dressing for Professionalism

or the athlete looking to put together a wardrobe for his off-the-field activities, the simple concept of professionalism is all you’ll need to worry about. Develop a style for yourself and simply utilize it professionally.

When you’ve developed this style, you’ll be able to effectively shop, and you can greatly take advantage of custom clothing which is carefully crafted and tailored to your exact measurements. All athletes strive for excellence on the field of play, but this desire should not end when the game is over.

To completely fulfill your quest for professional, this same mindset must be carried when you’re away from the game. By dressing well, you take the first step towards excellence by asserting yourself as confident, stylish, and – most importantly – focus on making yourself the best you can possibly be.