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 even said, ‘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 mad about the way our bodies look.
And if that wasn’t enough pressure already, we have to add the fact that gyms are becoming trendy places to hang out. A hub for people to catch up with friends, network and even meet a possible romantic partner. Yikes! And all you wanted was to sweat a little.
Due to this reason, sportswear is not just for performance anymore — heck, they even gave it a new name, athleisure. Joggers, shorts and sweatshirts are among the hottest items right now. But let us not forget the trademark garment, the vest. Due to their sleeveless nature, it allows for better movement and transpiration. A no-brainer for a workout. Yet, as simple as they may be, there are certain rules to be followed when wearing one.
In this post, we’ll go over the different points every man should keep in mind when wearing one at the gym. Whether you’re in your bulking phase or just (finally) checking off that new year’s resolution, over here you’ll find some useful tips.
- Part 1: Best Gym Vests for Each Body Type
- Part 2: Fabrics
- Part 3: Types of Gym Vests for Men
- Part 4: Recommended Grooming
- Part 5: You do You
Part 1: What’s the Best Gym Vest for my 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 not complicated so these tips will be pretty straightforward.
Be careful with horizontal stripes and colour blocks
Depending on where they are positioned, stripes and colour blocks can be very favourable or the exact opposite. Avoid horizontal lines or patterns that are positioned on your belly as it will only make it look bigger. They can even make someone like Tom Daley look wider. Not the best look.
For a more complimentary visual, choose garments that highlight your chest as it will give you a pleasing triangle-shaped torso.
Too tight never looked good on anyone
If we learned something (if anything) from Schumacher’s Batman films is that tight rubber suits can make people feel uncomfortable. Personally speaking, I don’t mind the eventual Batnipple but I do have to voice what most people think.
The general opinion is that even if one has Ryan Gosling’s photoshopped chest, abs, arms… where was I going with this? — oh right, just stay away from tops that are too tight.
At the same time, you don’t want to pick something that’s too loose as it might get tangled in gym equipment. Pick something that hugs your body but doesn’t squeeze it. This is not only for aesthetic reasons, it’s been proven that clothes that are too tight may constrict blood flow and even cause cellulite (yes, men can suffer from cellulite as well).
The thinner the arms, the wider the straps should be
The rule says that the thinner your arms are, then the wider the straps of your vest should be. This is to keep ‘balance,’ if you will.
Part 2: Fabrics
Not all vests are created equal, check out different fabric properties to select the right one for you:
Vests made out of 100% cotton look nice but they have a problem and that is that they absorb water very easily, making them unsuitable for long training sessions. Before you know it, you’ll be soaked in your own sweat — and I know this from experience.
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.
If you want to learn about the different types of synthetic fabrics and which ones are better suited for different activities, check out the blog post we wrote on ‘How to choose a performance T-shirt.’
Part 3: Types of Gym Vests for Men
Let’s take a look at the different types of vests so you can buy the most appropriate one for your workouts. Who knows? Finding the right one might just be the motivation some need to go to the gym.
As the name implies, with wide straps and tight armholes, these vests are designed to allow for better movement when weight lifting. It doesn’t matter if you just started bulking and haven’t reached your ideal weight yet, these garments will fit anyone. Muscle tank by ASOS.
Racer Back and Wide Arm Holes
These garments are not for those uncomfortable with showing skin. Vest by ASOS.
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 you might step on it while doing your best pre-workout squats. Longline vest by ASOS.
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. Oversized vest by Reclaimed Vintage.
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 movement and breathing capabilities. Slim vest by Adidas.
When exercising, some might enjoy gym vests with slogans to keep them motivated. That’s completely acceptable as long as you don’t cross the line to douchiness levels. Printed vest by boohooMAN.
Part 4: Recommended Grooming
Since vests tend to show off more skin than other garments, there are certain grooming 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 not fans, while others prefer to go au naturel. As a general rule, unless you’re into the completely bare look (go you), you should only get rid of the ‘excess.’ This means hair that is unusually long or those that grow in unusual places.
Keep in mind the body parts that you’ll be showing and question if they’re ready for an audience or not. If you’re not sure, you can always ask a trustworthy friend. For more information, you can check out Fashionbeans article on manscaping which goes into detail on how to deal with every kind of hair.
Wear deodorant. Always. If you’re wearing a vest or not, ALWAYS wear deodorant. Stay away from highly scented ones as they may annoy your gym mates.
Part 5: You Do You
For someone who just spent a reasonable amount of time doing research on gym vests for men and writing a guide on how to wear them, it might be completely counter-productive to announce that everything I just said is irrelevant but I’m going to do it anyway because YOLO.
At the end of the day, when it comes to clothes, 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.
The best gym vest is the one you feel comfortable in. You do you.
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