muscle fit shirt

Muscle Fit vs Slim Fit Shirts – What’s the Difference?

Long gone are the days when men only had one fitting option for dress shirts, although here at Tapered we specialise in muscle fit shirts. The reality is that men appreciate different types of fit. Having more options leads to a greater choice for styles.

Yet, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the range of options for shirts. Here is an explanation of the difference between two similar (but very different) fitting options – muscle fit shirt vs slim fit.

Slim Fit Shirts

A slim fit shirt is exactly what it says it is – slim fitting. They’re designed to fit close to the body, usually by tapering the cut through the midsection and waist. However, this also results in there being very little room in the upper body, something that will come as a hindrance to those with a more muscular build.

A slim fit shirt is also more tailored (fitted) around the arms than standard fitting shirts, but can surprisingly be very baggy around the waist.

One of the most notable issues with a slim fit shirt is the fact that there’s usually no stretch to the material, so they’re either going to be a very tight fitted shirt or too baggy; there’s unfortunately no middle ground.

In short, slim fitting shirts are ideal for those who are just that – slim – but they’re definitely not the best choice for those with a more athletic build.

tapered fit shirt in navy by Tapered Menswear

The problem with the slim fit body is that if the wearer wants to look their best, the shirts will probably still require tailoring. Slim fit shirts offer a greater allowance around the arms, chest, and waist than a tailored fit shirt.

They are designed to cater to a wider market than tailored fit shirts, which are ultimately targeted at a more niche audience.

muscle fit vs slim fit infographic showing differences between the shirt two fits

Muscle/Athletic Fit Shirts

Muscle fit shirts have soared in popularity over recent years, unsurprisingly in relation to the increase in fitness, and are now found in most major retailers. Check out our collection of muscle fit shirts right here.

What is a muscle fit shirt? A muscle fit shirt is still cut quite close to the body, but the material is designed with a slight bit of stretch to it, which results in more freedom of movement. This results in slightly more room for the upper body, but will often be a very tight fit on most athletic builds.

How Should a Muscle Fit Shirt Fit? 

A muscle fit shirt should fit close in the chest and shoulders while tapering down in the waist. Are muscle shirts supposed to be tight? Let's break down each area for how a muscle fit shirt should fit:


Muscle fit shirts should fit comfortably around the chest. It will feel snug but not too tight where the buttons create a gape at the front.

If the buttons start to pull the shirt is too tight. Your chest should fill out the shirt in a way that the chest shape is clearly visible under the fabric.


The seam where the shirt sleeve attaches to the body should be close to the top of the shoulder. If the seam is across the top of the arm it is either too big or poorly fit. If the seam is closer to the top of the collar bone it is too tight.


Typically, muscle fit long sleeve shirts have a high armhole that is cut closer into the armpit.

This design allows for the sleeve to follow the shape of the arm without loose fabric sagging around it. Similar to the chest the arms should fill out the sleeves of the shirt without any excess fabric around the biceps.


A muscle fit shirt should taper in from the chest to the waist following the contours of the physique. This creates a clean silhouette with no excess fabric bunching around the waist.

A good muscle fit shirt should have two vertical back darts sewn in to allow for a sharper fit around the lower back and waist.

However, a muscle fit shirt is typically cut exactly the same in the arms as a slim fit shirt, which means there’s generally not enough comfort where it matters. After all, most athletic builds have large arms, and these can often be difficult to accommodate in any kind of close fitting shirt

The other drawback of muscle fit shirts is that they’re still very baggy around the waist, which results in a less fitted look.

This bagginess around the waist is something most athletic builds will want to avoid, particularly if they favour a closer fit elsewhere in the shirt.
















Are Muscle Fit Shirts Tight?

Muscle fit smart shirts are tighter than other fits of shirt, particularly slim fit. Similar to a skinny fit. But they should not be too tight, they're designed for a muscular body so want to be finely fitted but not skin hugging.

What Does Muscle Fit Clothes Mean?

Exactly the same as muscle fit shirts, muscle fit clothes are garments designed specifically to accentuate a muscular physique.

Carefully tailored to provide a snug fit around the arms, chest, and shoulders while tapering at the waist, these clothes highlight an athletic build.

Standard sizing problems often encountered by individuals with muscular bodies are addressed, resulting in a stylish and well-fitted look that celebrates one's physical efforts.

Does Muscle Fit Look Good?

Muscle fit shirts are designed to contour to the shape of a muscular body. Showcasing the V taper physique that bodybuilders have worked hard on obtaining. So for muscular guys, crossfitters and bodybuilders muscle fit shirts are ideal.

Can Muscular Guys Wear Slim-Fit Shirts?

Muscular guys can wear slim fit shirts, but the fit wont be right. It's likely to be baggy around arms and waist as slim fit shirts are designed for a wider range of body shapes.

Also the majority of slim fit shirts are made from 100% cotton, meaning they do not contain any stretch. So not only will it be an inferior fit, it will also be uncomfortable. 

Should Skinny Guys Wear Muscle Fit?

Skinny guys can wear muscle fit, but if you are self concious of your slender physique then muscle fit will flatter this in the wrong way. It will highlight your body more, which is why its designed for guys that want to flaunt what they've got.

With that being said if you prefer fitted clothing and you are skinny then you certainly can opt for muscle fit.

What is a Muscle Shirt?

A muscle shirt is a tight fitting, sleeveless T-Shirt which serves the same purpose as a muscle fit shirt, to show off the wearers physique.

But don't get these two confused as they are both very different garments! Check out muscle fit shirts here.

What Size Should I Get For a Muscle Shirt?

As a muscle shirt is simply a sleeveless t-shirt, you can choose a size you would usually wear in a t-shirt. Not having sleeves means that if you have larger arms you can potentially size down as it wont be too tight around the biceps.

With this being said don't choose too small as it will look too tight and throw off your proportions.


What is a Muscle Dress Shirt?

Tailored to hug the upper body, a Muscle Dress Shirt showcases the chest, shoulders, and arms while tapering more at the waist. It is a shirt style designed with the bodybuilder or athletic physique in mind.

High-quality materials are utilized in its construction to ensure comfort and durability. Individuals with a muscular build, who often struggle with standard shirts fitting too loosely or tightly in certain areas, find this design ideal.

What is a Muscle Fit T-Shirt

Just as a muscle fit dress shirt does, a muscle fit T-shirt offers a specific design intended to enhance and shape the physique of your body. Your muscles are accentuated by the shirt's strategic tightness around the chest, shoulders, and arms.

Although it's designed to be form-fitting, it doesn't constrict or squeeze as tightly as a compression t-shirt would. Instead, the body's form is subtly outlined and flattered.

What Does Muscle Fit Mean on T-shirts?

The muscle fit tee aims to offer a more tailored or streamlined look, the muscle fit T-shirt is specifically designed for those with a muscular or athletic build.

However, those of a different body type might find this style less comfortable, as restrictions could be felt due to the shirt's tight fit in certain areas.

TAPERED Fit Shirts

So now we know the difference with muscle fit vs slim fit. Finding a muscle fit button down shirt that fits muscular body types can be very difficult.

After all, most people with a muscular build want a shirt to be both fitted and comfortable, a combination that until recently was almost impossible to find.



With the introduction of TAPERED fit shirts however, men now have the option for shirts that are fitted, but have enough stretch to provide comfort for all day wear in comparison to slim fit. A perfect fit for a V taper physique.

So why not show off all that hard work in the gym with a TAPERED fit shirt, and be comfortable as well as fashionable?

Check out our best seller here.

shop the best muscle fit button down shirts

Our TAPERED fit has been developed by leading Tailors and industry experts to provide you with a revolutionary fit, you won’t ever need to take your shirt to a tailor again or give lots of different measurements.

Perfect for those seeking a muscular fit, or bespoke tailoring - ready to wear! The best shirts for a muscular build. Our Tapered collection also includes muscle fit short sleeve shirtsmuscle fit t-shirts and muscle fit polos.



Our revolutionary cut provides a 10" drop from chest to waist.

Fully fitted in chest and shoulders whilst tapering sharply down, giving a tailored look. No more bagginess in the waist.


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Enhanced Darts

Expertly tailored darts at the back, for the perfect fit.

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Stretch Cotton

Super soft, breathable and allows complete freedom of movement.

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Perfect for the office. 

With our non obtrusive logo stitched subtly on the wrist makes our TAPERED Fit Shirt ideal for formal occasions.

Tapered Fit Shirts are the true solution to your shirt fitting problem. If you want a shirt that fits your body like it should, check out or best selling shirt here 

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