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1. Study the Seams
Check where your shirt’s seams line up on your shoulders. If they trickle right below, then it’ll look like you aren’t big enough to fill out your shirt, says Brian Boye, Men’s Health’s executive fashion director.
But if the seams lie squarely on or just above your shoulders, they’ll look broader. “People will assume you’re so big that not even your shirt can contain you,” he says.
2. Find the Perfect Fit
A well-fitting shirt will accentuate your biceps and chest, but there’s a big difference between snug and skin-tight, says Boye. “Choose the size that hugs your arms and shoulders, but not your mid section.”
Go with a cotton T-shirt with a 1- to 5-percent stretch. Shirts in this range don’t wrinkle as much, and cling to your frame more than all-cotton tees, Boye says. He recommends the Pima Stretch Crew from Banana Republic or the Stretch T-shirt from HM.
3. Pick a Strategic Pattern
You know that horizontal stripes make you look wider, and vertical stripes make you look taller. So if your goal is to appear bigger, pick patterns that stretch across your frame, rather than up and down, says Boye.
Find shirts with a darker color on top and a lighter shade on the bottom. The dark hue stretching across your chest and shoulders will create the illusion of more muscle, he says.