The last few decades (specifically, the 80s and the 90s) were a nightmare for athletic men in terms of fashion.
Everyone was clad in neon colors and polyester, or in frumpy tracksuits and shapeless windbreakers. It’s as if people thought that a buff body gave them a pass to commit fashion blunders without owning up to their consequences.
But thankfully, we are now ushering in a new era where sportsmen and athletes can be mistaken for fashion connoisseurs. Some of the most well-dressed men in the world are athletes (case in point: David Beckham, Dwayne Wade, and Tom Brady), blessing the world with their great athleticism and even greater fashion sense. This is a trend that we really would want to see develop in the next couple of years. Steve Reeves set the standard back in the late 50’s and early 60’s. His physique was classic and so was his fashion style. Wouldn’t it be great to go back to this style?
A built, athletic body is a body that definitely should be shown off. Show off what you have, but don’t pick clothes that detract or cheapen your style. One of the reasons bodybuilding has had a hard time earning the public’s respect is because of the many fashion mistakes that we’ve collectively made such as:
- Boat neck tops
- Baggie clown pants
- Spandex shorts
- Ronald McDonald gym footwear (otomix ankle high shoes for example)
- String tank tops
- Short blue jean cut-offs
- And others
I’ve made all of these mistakes and more but as I look back, I can’t help but appreciate the sense of style that guys like Steve Reeves had. That classic, crisp style will never leave you laughing at yourself and will instantly make you feel like a million bucks!
If you’re a man with a muscular, athletic build, here are a few fashion pointers to help you revamp your wardrobe.
Most of the time, miniature “muscle” t-shirts just won’t cut it. An ill-fitting t-shirt that is a few too sizes too small looks silly- you’re better of walking around shirtless instead. Since most bodybuilders have broad shoulders with a tapered small waist, they need to find a t-shirt that can accommodate the width of their shoulders as well as show off their slim waistline. Though they may have a reputation as a hipster brand, American Apparel has a Tri-Blend Short Sleeve Track Shirt that is specifically designed for men with athletic frames.
For jeans, it’s important to find a pair that has a lot of room in the leg area (since most athletes have large thigh and calf muscles). Classic Levi’s straight jeans are a great option.
If you’re going for a semi-casual look, check how the clothing (e.g. polo shirts, sweaters, button ups) falls on your torso. You want something that can subtly show off your musculature, but not make you look too “boxy.” Choose pieces made from thinner fabric, and try to make sure that the material does not balloon away from your waist (which can make you look fat). The item should taper down to your midsection.
Finding a well-fitting dress shirt can be a hard task. You’re best bet would be going to a professional tailor, but if you can’t, here are a few pointers.
1. If you can’t breathe while the top button of the shirt is buttoned up, then the shirt is too small.
2. Make sure that you can at least fit two fingers between your collar and your neck.
3. The cuffs should be tight so that it’s not slipping while it’s fastened, though not too tight that it cuts off all circulation to your hand.
4. For trousers, make sure that the crotch fits high enough for you to comfortably move around in. A high crotch also accentuates the length of your legs.
For footwear, Doc Martens are timeless and will always be in style.
It’s important to take care of yourself, build your body and enjoy great health. It’s also important for us to appreciate a timeless sense of style in the vein of past greats like Steve Reeves. Make a statement with your body – make a statement with your fashion, too.