A Gym Vests Guide for men: How to (not) be a douchebag

A recent study revealed that 27% of Japanese women feel disappointed when they see their boyfriend in a bathing suit for the first time. One went as far as saying “When I saw his stomach flab, my seemingly eternal love disappeared in a heartbeat.” Ouch.

Many things have been said about women feeling pressure to adhere to certain unrealistic expectations of what their bodies should look like, and while they, by far, get the shorter end of the stick in this matter, guys feel the pressure too. If you don’t believe me, ask the poor boyfriend of the woman above. It is no wonder why we sometimes get a little looney about the way our bodies look.

And if it wasn’t enough pressure already, gyms have become a social spot, a place for people to catch up with friends, network and even meet a possible romantic partner. Yikes. And all you wanted was just to sweat a little on the treadmill and maybe lift a couple of weights.

Like the magnificent peacock who uses his feathers to attract mating partners, personalised sports clothes are now used to the same effects at sports centres — and sometimes to disastrous consequences. One of these trademark garments for men to wear at the gym is the vest. Due to their sleeveless nature, it allows for better movement and transpiration. A no-brainer when we have to work out. But some may argue that it can be taken it a bit too far.

In this post, we’ll go over the different points every man should keep in mind when donning one at the gym. 


Recommended grooming before putting on a vest

Since vests tend to show off more skin than other garments, there are certain grooming etiquette rules that should be followed in order to have a respectable appearance — yes, even at the gym.


Body hair can be a sensitive subject — pun intended. Some people are fans, while others prefer the “less is more” rule. Keep in mind the body parts you’ll be showing and reflect if you’re comfortable with them or not. If you’re not sure, you can always ask a trustworthy friend. In my personal experience, women tend to give better advice on these kinds of subjects. As a general rule, unless you’re into the completely bare look (go you), you should only get rid of the “excess.” This means armpit hair that is extremely long or body hair that grows in unusual parts like shoulders.


Wear deodorant. Always. If you’re wearing a gym vest or not, ALWAYS wear deodorant. Stay away from highly scented ones as they may annoy your gym buddies. 


Appropriate vests for each body type

In order to look your best, you need to select garments that accentuate your attributes and hide those that are less flattering. Vests are nowhere near as complex as suits so there is not a lot to remember here.

Be careful with horizontal stripes and colour blocks

Depending on where they are positioned, stripes and colour blocks can be very flattering or the exact opposite. As a general rule, avoid horizontal lines or patterns that are positioned on your belly as it will only make it look bigger. Even if you have a six-pack, a poorly placed pattern can make you look wider. Not the best look. For a more complimentary visual, choose garments that highlight your chest as it will give you a triangle shaped figure which is very flattering for men. 

Too tight never looks good on anyone

If we learned something (if anything) from Schumacher’s Batman films is that a too physically correct suit can make people uncomfortable. The general opinion is that even if one has Hugh Jackman’s chest, Ryan Gosling’s arms and Blake Jenner’s abs… where was I going with this? — oh right, just stay away from tops that are too tight. Personally speaking, I don’t mind the eventual Batnipple, but I do have to touch upon what most people think. This is not only for aesthetic reasons, it’s been proven that clothes that are too tight may constrict movement and even breathe.

The thinner the arms, the wider the straps should be

It is self-explanatory, but there is an unwritten rule that says that the thinner your arms are, then the wider the straps of your vest should be. This is to keep “balance” in your upper body if you will.



Not all vests are created equal, check out different fabric properties to select the right one for you:


It might be a matter of personal taste, but vests made out of 100% cotton tend to look better than synthetic ones. The problem with cotton is that it absorbs water very easily making it unsuitable for long training. Before you know, you’ll be soaking in your own sweat, and I know this from experience, this is not a good look — or smell for that matter.   

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Man-made fabrics like spandex and lycra are a blessing for sportswear due to their breathability, ability to stretch and durability. Just stay away from bright colours to avoid looking like a Power Ranger.


Types of Vests

Let’s take a look at the different types of vests so you can buy the most appropriate one for your workouts.

Muscle tanks

As the name implies, with thin straps and wide armholes, these are designed to show off more skin than usual. These garments are not for those who feel uncomfortable with showing skin.


Worn by the likes of Justin Bieber and his crew, these vests can go anywhere from just below the crotch to all the way down to the knees. Trendy as they might be, they’re not recommended for the gym as they might get tangled with equipment.


It differs from the one above because the size is bigger overall, not just when it comes to length. It grows horizontally as well as vertically.


Avoid those that are too tight, as we already mentioned they don’t look good on anyone and in the worse case scenario may even restrict your breath and movement.

Made by yourself

The coolest and cheapest vest is the one you can make at home. Just cut the sleeves off your regular T-shirt and you’re good to go. It will not only show how crafty you are but also that you care about the way you look.


There are no rules! 

For someone who just spent a reasonable amount of time doing research on gym vests and writing a guide on how to wear them, it might be completely idiotic to announce that the work I just did is completely useless, but I’m going to do it anyway because YOLO.

At the end of the day, when it comes to fashion, there really are no rules. You will find endless pages of content about how to dress according to your body shape, skin colour, zodiac sign and what not — these are just opinions. Fashion is about expressing yourself and if you feel like wearing a thin straps top with the Ninja Turtles printed on it because it brings you joy then go ahead. You do you. 

Is there anything you would like to add to the Gym vests conversation? Then, please leave us a comment below or via any of our social media networks. In the meantime, keep reading the Printsome Blog for more awesome content.

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