We all know muscular women look great naked, but finding the right clothing to flatter our physiques can be tricky. Some styles can make us look blocky. This is because most clothing is designed for the masses: skinny, average, or plus-sized people. The guidelines below can help make clothes shopping for a muscular build simple.
*** This page updates regularly to keep up with changing trends. ***
Rule 1. Accentuate your shoulders and arms with form-fitting, shoulder-flattering, and/or sloping necklines
Rule 2. Not so tight — look for breezy and/or halter-style tops over skin-tight styles
Look for tops that compliment an athletic build. The neckline should not broaden the upper body. It should be fitted, flowy, or the neckline should be cut in a way the shows off muscles and does not smooth over them, which can broaden the body. Extra tip: Also, avoid stripes that go across the body. Horizontal stripes can create the illusion of broadness.
Rule 3. Feel free to dress up. Don’t be afraid of (stretchy) long sleeves, and you can’t go wrong with strapless
Stick with V-necks and straps that rest close to the neck. This creates the illusion of a longer torso and makes muscles pop!
For well-developed glutes, a form-fitting dress can look beautiful and impressive. A skirt or dress that falls just above the knee can look just as flattering.
I don’t recommend going too short or too tight. Short and/or tight skirts and dresses can be cute on a skinny girl, but a muscular girl is often more of an eyeful and may draw more attention than desired. The choice is up to you.
Rule 4. When it comes to pants, accentuate your shapely legs and look for fitted, stretchable styles; also try roomy styles
The best-fitting work pants I’ve ever purchased:
Everyday stretch pants and flowy pants, all colors
Check out Pac Sun for jeans designed for an athletic build. Many of my jeans and shorts are from the Bullhead line at Pac Sun.
Sports tops, tanks, and pants
Triangle-shaped tops with straps are close to your neck and not directly on your shoulders flatter muscular traps and shoulders. Racerbacks also flatter an athletic upper body.
Exercise pants are easy to buy
because they’re already stretchable!
Summary of what NOT to wear:
For tops and blouses, stay away from wide straps that sit directly on your shoulders. Wide straps or the placement of straps far from the center of the body often create a blocky appearance. For bottoms, stay away from restricting materials. Tight clothing with limited stretchability or elasticity restrict healthy blood circulation — something a fit woman should care about. Unless your skinny jeans are stretchable, consider staying clear of them.
Take the above four simple rules and rule the clothing aisles and your closet. If you have some tips of your own, please share them with me. Fit women and girls have to help each other on our respective fitness journeys.
I want your feedback. How can this article be improved?
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Article initially published on May 4, 2015 - Updated and republished on May 4, 2018
MEET SYLVIA PETRO — THE BROKE, FIT SINGLE MOM: As an athlete of over 16 years and a broke single mom for most of that time, I created this site to aid not only broke single parents to a life of fitness, but anyone who believes the road to fitness requires a lot of cash or time. In reality, the road to fitness is paved with knowledge and firm principles; informing readers about mastering both of those building blocks is my goal.