There are a lot of great menswear companies making high quality clothes to fit most guys and most budgets. There are even niche markets for the XXXL guy, and a very small gentleman can probably do quite well in the J.Crew kids shop. Perhaps unexpectedly, one guy who has been overlooked is the athlete. Most clothes off the rack are either made for the average American male (i.e., skinny shoulders and an expanding waistline) or the “in-shape” guy (essentially his waist is not larger than his chest). This leaves Athletic Guy looking like Bruce Banner in transition or wearing slouchy clothes to work. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though: these ten brands make excellent clothing that flatters and athletic build, and we’ve picked out some staples for your wardrobe.
Initially inspired by urban cycling, Outlier provides a more technical spin on business casual basics with fabrics and cuts made to move with you, resulting in clothes that easily transition from the office to a bike and back again. Cut like a classic chino, the Futureworks have a little more thigh room than other Outlier pants, great for those of us who aren’t afraid of the squat rack. They’re sewn from Outlier’s new F. Cloth, which is a flexible synthetic canvas that’s been DWR coated making them both abrasion- and water-resistant, easily shedding a little rain or that 5 o’clock beer you spilled on yourself. Combine a gusseted crotch and the two-way stretch of F. Cloth, and the Futureworks provide as much freedom of movement as the NSA allows.
Since we’re not the only fans of the Futureworks, the first run has sold out, but should be restocked soon. If you’re jonesing for some great pants in the interim, another Outlier favorite of ours is the New OG, which is also cut like a Chino, with a slightly slimmer thigh.
5EP Tapered Jean
While modern technical dungarees are awesome, they needn’t completely replace a good pair of dark, raw denim in your closet. But most high-end denim is made for broomstick legs. 5EP makes jeans using a unique Japanese selvedge denim available in single wash or raw (we recommend going for the raw). They’re a classic 5-pocket jean with chain-stitched hems, riveted and bar-tacked stress points, and a zippered fly. The higher rise and a roomier seat and thigh are perfect for an athletic guy, while the tapered lower leg won’t swallow your shoes. All of this for a very reasonable $150 earns our enthusiastic nod of approval. 5EP doesn’t have an e-commerce site, so check out their Facebook page for contact and ordering details.
Taylor Stitch Daybreak Spring Plaid Jack
Co-founded by an ex-athlete, all of Taylor Stitch’s cuts — button downs, t-shirts, pants — take into account a guy who loves the gym. While buying shirting off the rack can often be a futile task, Taylor Stitch’s clothes fit true to size and provide ample room in the shoulders and chest with a tailored fit through the torso. The Daybreak Spring Plaid Jack is single needle-stitched with French seams, double-stitched buttons and buttonholes, and has no pleats for easy ironing. Made from ultra-soft Portuguese woven poplin, it’s the perfect shirt to start Spring right. All of Taylor Stitch’s shirts are made in short runs in California and sell out quick, so if you want the Daybreak (or any other shirt that catches your eye), strike quickly.
Ledbury Brewer Mock Sweater
Ledbury’s shirting fits well in both classic and slim fit, and their Brewer Mock Sweater made from superfine merino wool is one of our favorites; its merino is so soft that people are going to want to touch you (making it a good second date choice). Its unique look is a winning cross between a henley and a military service sweater, with a mock collar and horn button front. Worn over a t-shirt or a button up it will easily transition from work to weekend.
American Apparel Tri-Blend Short Sleeve Track Shirt
American Apparel may be a staple of hipsters everywhere, but their t-shirts are cut true to size, a rarity these days. Of all their ts (and there’s a lot of them), the best is their Tri-Blend Short Sleeve Track Shirt. Modeled after old school gym t-shirts, the Tri-Blend Track shirts are a blend of cotton, polyester and rayon; the sum of those parts is the softest, most comfortable t-shirts we’ve worn. Their cut takes cues from their athletic pedigree with more room in the arms, chest, and shoulders, while still tapering through the torso.
Bonobos Thursday Khakis
Bonobos began with the mission to create a better fitting pant for guys who actually have a lower body. Their straight legged Thursday Khakis are perfect for a business casual office or a casual date. They’re made from Bonobos Weekday Warrior cotton so you never have to worry about ironing; just tumble dry and hang them up for a well-pressed look.
Chubbies Sport Utility Shorts The Blue Ridges
Chubbies is hell-bent on thigh liberation, a goal they pursue with reckless abandon and a healthy dose of wit. With a shorter inseam short, Chubbies are perfect for the athletic guy: they give you room to move and show off your Van Damme quadriceps. Their Sport Utility Shorts are perfect for getting outside for some serious outdoor action. Spacious pockets in front and back can store the essentials and a super soft stone washed canvas means they’re comfortable.
Onia Calder 7.5″
For the athletic guy, the beach is the place to show off just a little. Onia is passionate about putting a modern and technical twist on classic swimwear style. Fine fabrics, nickel hardware, metal-tipped drawstrings, and an included water wallet all speak to Onia’s focus on the details. The Calder is their original swim trunk, based off the cut of a well-tailored chino and built with the construction of fine dress pants. We like that it has a flattering cut while still maintaining a generous leg opening for larger legs. It’s available in 19 different patterns (we recommend sticking to solids) so your options abound.
Triple Aught Design Praetorian Hoodie
Triple Aught’s clothing line draws heavily on the brand’s tactical roots. Pockets and hook-and-loop patches abound — but the best part is that their clothes are cut for warrior athletes. Base, mid, and outer layers seamlessly integrate and easily fit under a backpack. The Praetorian merino wool hoodie leans more towards urban friendly than tactical with a zippered chest pocket, thumb loops on the sleeves, and reinforced elbows. Go for the Loden Green and be happy that its wool provides a superior warmth-to-weight ratio than cotton.
MeUndies produces the best fitting and most comfortable underwear we’ve come across, and they do it for less money that most name brands. They offer a brief and boxer brief in addition to the trunk; all three are made from buttery soft micro modal cotton.