The Basics of Dressing an Athletic Build

For an athletic build, fashion is the ultimate beast.

EJ Manuel in The Flex-Seam Tee Shirt by REINGE.

EJ Manuel in The Flex-Seam Tee Shirt by REINGE.

Kevin Flammia, Founder and CEO of REINGE, explained to Men’s Health that athletes often “have that V-shaped torso,” which makes it challenging to find something that fits without resorting to custom. 

As one of NYC Tech’s “35 to Watch in 2016,” we are fusing data and design to accommodate the guys who have never been able to buy clothes off the rack. Our Design Assistant, Johnny King, reveals the four key components to nailing fit and style.

1. The Shoulders

“If the shoulders aren’t right, it can be very noticeable on a guy with an athletic build, especially if his shoulders are a prominent feature,” explains King. Generally speaking, the seam at the top of the sleeve should align with the pointiest part of a bare shoulder. Keep in mind that this fit can vary depending on the desired look, but if the shoulders are too dropped or too high, movement will be restricted. And trust us, we know that athletes value movement. When it comes to jackets and blazers, it’s important to have something that is structured just enough around the body. You don’t want to wear them excessively oversized, but do allow enough room for layering. “Jackets should have that in-between fit or style that can be worn alone or layered over a hoodie,” says King.

2. The Sleeves

The second fashion offense is wearing a long-sleeved shirt with sleeves that don’t reach the wrist. Because ill-fitting sleeves are very noticeable on long limbs, King advises you to test this length before purchasing. Stand with your hands along your sides; the sleeves should rest slightly beyond the edge of the wrist, where the base of the hand begins to expand. 

3. The Length

Once you’ve checked off the shoulders and the sleeves, consider the overall length. As long as you keep the aforementioned outerwear properties standard, you can play with length to achieve a particular style. Traditional blazers should fall low on the hip, but a for a more modern feel, King suggests you try a cropped blazer. Something longer adds sophistication. 

4. The Pants

Like blazers, pant length depends on the type of pant and the occasion. For example, joggers have a ribbed cuff around the ankle, where the fabric should puddle to demonstrate the relaxed quality. You may also want your more structured casual pants, such as jeans or chinos, to have this extra length for rolling up. On the other hand, traditional trousers should typically end just above the ankle. And if you’re not sure whether to go with a skinny cut or more of a wide leg, play it cool with a slim and tapered pant; it’s generally flattering on an athletic figure. King explains that one challenge physically fit guys often find with pants is in the calf area. “These guys have slim, tapered legs, but their calf muscles are extremely developed,” he said. At REINGE, this is taken into account from the beginning with the pattern design. 

Whether you’re repping modern edge or conservative class, business casual or weekend chill, know what fits your frame.