How To Show Off Your Gym Body Without Actually Showing Off

Loose clothes are your friend here
15:00, 23 Dec 2019

Let the pecs speak for themselves. 

So, the thing to remember is this: everyone can see your muscles. They don’t really need that much help. The trap for those of us who work out is to assume those biceps need motorcycle outriders and baton-flinging cheerleaders. But next year will be about moving beyond the blatant, tacky display of beefcake towards sly, ingenious hints that say less, “check out the guns!” and more, “What, me? Muscular?” A set of shoulders, tight abs and a powerful chest are all more endearing if people feel they are discovering these gems for themselves. 

Loose clothes are your friend here. Buy tee shirts that will hang around your physique rather than cling to every abdominal crease. Jeans should cover the leg without looking as though they may self-shred if you run for a bus. Even though you have spent hours deadlifting a floor-shaking collection of 25kg plates, it’s better to dress as if the muscles appeared as a result of your work at the orphanage and you haven’t noticed them because of all that spare time on the screenplay. 

Jackets – we say, use the classic windcheater – these hang around the shoulders and look like you just aren’t sure why everyone is so impressed with your upper body. However, they won’t completely hide you like a puffer or parka might.

Baracuta G9 £360

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Ralph Lauren Water-Resistant Wind-breaker £129.50-£181.30

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Zara Pique Bomber £49.99 

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Avoid athleisure for anything beyond the most casual outings as something based on work out clothing will literally look like you’re about to hit the gym. Beneath the jacket we advise a heavy, cotton tee-shirt, lighter fabrics or tight polo shirts will look try-hard and seem like you’re carrying a tub of Mega-Maxi-Big-Man-Blast protein powder around with you. Over that, a thin, dark, jumper that reveals just a little of the tee-shirt beneath. This will keep your shape coming through and avoid the shivering we mentioned earlier.

J. Crew Garment Dyed Slub Cotton Crew Neck Tee Shirt £33

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Uniqlo Men Premium Lambswool Crew Neck Jumper £29.90 

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YMC Charcoal grey/rust everyman stripe tunic £195


Reiss Carnsdale Textured Crew Neck Jumper £45 (sale price)

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Jeans but not skinny jeans. You want to have great thighs, but you don’t necessarily want to be known as “The Thigh Guy”. Relaxed cuts still give those quads a chance to shine. 

Edwin ED-39 blue unwashed £140 

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Levi’s 502 regular taper £95 


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APC New Standard Indigo £170


But of course, all this subtlety may not be to your taste. If you want a look that’s more spray-on but still has a hint of sophistication, go to Sunspel and John Smedley – their finer fabrics will tell the story of every rep. (But resist the pub, one-arm, press up demonstration)

John Smedley Lundy Crew Neck Pullover Charcoal £155

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Sunspel Men’s Sea Island Cotton Knit Long Sleeve £215

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