Clothing for Muscular Women – 4 Simple Rules

I was inspired to write this article after having an emotional experience with clothes. I have a history of ripping pants and long sleeved shirts, and not finding the right jeans for my body. I usually laugh at this. It’s kind of a source of pride; knowing I’ve grown enough muscle to bust out of clothes made for average girls. But what made me pursue figuring out what looks best on my body, was when my mom bought me a dress that I looked just horrible in. I looked like a square. It was a great dress. I would have loved to wear it, but the straps sat on my shoulders in a way that made me look wide. I never wore the dress again after trying it on. Thus, my search for flattering clothes for my muscular physique began.

Me and my ripped clothing.

We all know that muscular women look great naked, but, if you’re a muscular woman, finding the right clothing to look your best and flatter your physique can be tricky. Some styles can make us look blocky. This is because clothing is designed for the masses: skinny, average or plus size. There’s no Lane Byrant answer for muscular women. The good news is that the secret is in shapes — the cut of the top, dress or pants you buy. Below are four simple guidelines to make shopping for clothing 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

Look for tops that compliment your upper body. The neckline should not broaden your upper body. It should be fitted, flowy or the neckline should be cut in a way the shows off your muscles instead of smoothing over them. This broadens the body. Also, avoid stripes that go across the body.

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A peek-a-boo neckline works great for muscular shoulders – click to enlarge
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Click to buy or browse @ Amazon

Rule 3. Feel free to dress up and don’t be afraid of (stretchy) long sleeves

Stick with V-necks and straps close to your neck, and your muscles will pop in long-sleeve tops.


Muscles will pop in this sweater – click to enlarge

Grecian neckline – click to enlarge
Scoop neck – click to enlarge


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and Yoga On Demand–yoga videos
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Also read A cautionary tale from a Female Ex-Steroid User

You can’t go wrong with strapless. If you have nice glutes, a form-fitting long dress or short dress/skirt is good. Just don’t go too short. Short skirts/dresses can be flattering on a skinny girl, but you’re more of an eyeful when you’re muscular. Stay away from mini skirts unless you want everyone staring at you.

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Rule 4. When it comes to pants, accentuate your shapely legs and look for fitted and stretchable styles; also try roomy styles


Stretchable skinny jeans

Everyday stretch pants, all colors

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Also check out Pac Sun for jeans designed for an athletic build. Most of my jeans and shorts are from the Bullhead line at Pac Sun.

Sports tops and tanks, and pants

Get triangle-shaped tops where the straps are close to your neck, and not directly on your shoulders. Racerbacks are good.


Featured Gym Bra
Featured sports top: Affitnity One Shoulder Sports Bra Top

Sporty pants are the easiest to buy because they are already stretchable. It’s up to you what designs best flatter you.

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What NOT to wear:

Stay away from wide straps that go right on your shoulders (as opposed to closer to the neck or a sloping neckline). This creates a wide, blocky appearance. For bottoms, stay away from restricting materials. This not only will be difficult to fit in and move around in, but it’s also bad for good blood circulation; something a fit woman should care about.

Work Out Letter Printed Sport Suit 2 Piece Set




Clothing shape -- don't work well with muscles

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6 thoughts on “Clothing for Muscular Women – 4 Simple Rules

  1. Wonderful article, thank you! My legs are growing due to ,uncle growth and am struggling at finding dress pants. Any suggestions?

    1. Thanks for reading the article. I hope it helps you with shopping. For dress pants, it’s about a roomy but flattering fit, or, if your job is more casual, stretchy and fitted pants can work well.

  2. Thank you! its so good to see ANYONE approach this topic realistically. I need more info tho, I’m terrible at fashion, and with muscle to boot i find I’m looking at pictures of me like WTF!!! its annoying because you work so hard to look hot and you should be able to wear whatever you like! lol 100% agree with short skirts, and add to the bucket, short jump suits, cut at the weirdest level it can look like your thighs are hulk like 🙁 Im going to start researching lots.

  3. I am a 19 year old girl and have a
    Breakdown every time I go shopping as getting clothes to fit and not rip over my lats Is impossible. My mom sent me this link. Reassuring to know I’m not on this journey alone. The search for work clothes continues. Thanks for your help x

    1. Hi, Meg. I’m so happy I could help, and it’s awesome that your mother researched this issue for you. Just remember that everyone has issues finding the best clothing styles for their body. I learned this from watching What Not to Wear when I was a teen, like you. : ) Never feel bad about your athletic build. Just find what shapes work best for you, and from then on, shopping will be a lot easier. Online shopping really helps with narrowing down styles and shapes.

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