Shopping as a tall skinny guy is tough, the world isn’t cut out for ectomorphs.
Adding muscle to the factor only limits the options many tall skinny men have when shopping.
It’s a fact that most mass produced clothing for men is designed and manufactured in a way to maximize profits.
This means that cuts are made not to look good on a certain body type but instead look “ok” on all body types.
Fortunately for us, there are still a few big brands out there that make clothes that suit a taller, longer, athletic body-type. So say goodbye to your parachute-looking t-shirts and welcome to the world of good-fitting clothing.
Best Store Brands for Skinny Athletic Guys
The fewer customizations a company makes with their shirts/pants the more money they save.
Factories may only charge another fraction of a sent per variation however when multiplied by tens of thousands variety becomes expensive.
This is why nothing you ever get from big name brands at JC Penny or Kohls ever seems to fit “right”: because they’re focused on volume and efficiency and not catering to a specific shopper type or body-shape demographic.
For example, a “large” t-shirt is designed for a large American man. This means tall and probably round around the waist as well.
So, if you’re 6’2 and get a large plain white t-shirt but you’re a lean body type it will end up fitting length-wise just fine but more like a parachute circumference-wise.
Essentially, if you have an ectomorph body type then buying clothes off the shelf from big-box retailers that fit well is pretty much impossible.
All is not completely lost however, as in recent years there have been some European brands to open up shop in America that provide some alternatives to Kohls and JC Penny.
We have experimented with hundreds of different clothing manufacturers and have identified the top 4 widely-available clothiers for tall skinny “ectomorphic” body types.
- Best Slim Fit Jeans: Express Hyperstretch Skinny
- Best Summer Tank & Shorts: H&M
- Best Slim Business Casual: Banana Republic
- Best Slim Formal/High Fashion: Zara Man
- Best Slim Cut Workout Clothes: Rhone (see “Best Activewear Brands“)
We’ve shopped at all of these stores and continue to do so on a regular basis. For reader reference, this author is 6’2 weighing about 186 with a decent amount of lean muscle mass.
The following are stores that can be found at most major metropolitan malls or shopping centers, so you can actually go there and try things on vs ordering online blindly. All of the brands below offer daily-living and office-friendly styles.
For a complete round-up of gym-friendly athletic wear (workout shorts, joggers, tops) then read this “best workout clothes for skinny guys” post.
So, if you want to be a baller, a shot caller, then these are the brands available at your local mall that you should check out:
Best Casual/Daily Cheap Option: H&M
Pros: Regularly feature new designs, have a great recycle/donation discount program
Cons: Fit/cut can vary widely along with material quality
Like most of the 4 clothiers on this list H&M falls into the “fast fashion” category.
This means they aren’t fashion setters but instead jump on trends as soon as big expensive brands establish them and produce variations at a much more affordable price.
So while that Louis Vuitton scarf may look dope you can bet H&M will have something that looks just as good for 1,000% less.
Large at H&M doesn’t mean “fat”. This means string beans have a much larger variety to choose their wardrobe from.
Whether it be regular v-neck t-shirts for summer or close fitting knit cardigans for fall/winter H&M lines, both the Basics and the seasonal lines, offer good fitting options for people looking for tall and form fitting cuts.
The King of Affordable Daily Staples
H&M is number one on this list because they have stores everywhere, look awesome and offer prices that just can’t be beat.
No, they won’t blow your friends away by looking like clones of runway fashion labels, but for daily staples like summer shorts, distressed denim, t-shirts and casual button-ups, they can’t be beat at the axis of affordability and style.
The only downside to H&M is the fact that it is technically “fast fashion”, which means the quality may not always be top notch.
From personal experience, it’s hard to keep a pair of H&M jeans beyond 2 years of solid use, and sweaters get a bit stretched out/ragged after a few years as well.
If you are looking for a little more longevity, especially in things that take heavy daily abuse like denim/jeans, then consider Express Mens. While a little more pricy than H&M in the denim department, the quality is definitely worth the extra penny.
Similarly, when it comes to tops, even something as simple as a t-shirt seems hard to get right with H&M with two different colors sometimes fitting differently which can be quite frustrating.
For this reason, it’s important to remember with H&M you have to try everything on because sizing/cut is not consistent at all.
Still, if budget is your primary concern and you have the patience to sift through a lot of lower quality/ill-fitting things, there are cheap gems to be found at H&M for tall skinny men.
Best Office/Work Friendly Option: Banana Republic
Pros: Lot of office Friendly business-casual options
Cons: Not a lot of nights out/streetwear oriented options
Before you roll your eyes at the name that you’re middle aged uncle loves so much heat us out a bit.
Yes, Banana Republic’s styles aren’t as young and hip as what you’ll find at H&M. This is because Banana Republics target demographic is a bit older and a bit richer than H&M’s.
However, while H&M offers a huge variety of clothes for daily living, night-life and casual-business Banana Republic is up to their ears in good fitting business-formal attire.
Business-Casual Kept Affordable
Business pants, sweaters and cardigans and jackets from Banana Republic all are top of their class in terms of professionalism and class. The styling at Banana Republic is PERFECT for the office as it is classy without being overly flashy like Zara for example.
Even though they are owned by GAP because they are their “premium label” the cuts are a bit more refined and thus the fit for tall athletic body types is much better than GAP itself.
Banana Republic provides options for the working ectomorph that H&M sometimes can’t provide.
While the price may be a bit prohibitive, it’s worth checking out next time you need to get a coat for the office, it’s worth the extra price as it will last.
Banana Republic isn’t #1 because of their high price point, but it’s on our list because of the quality of the materials used, the craftsmanship in the sewing/composition, and the generally up-to-date fashion trends they espouse. Keep your eyes open for sales, especially via their online store.
Streetwear Friendly Option: Uniqlo Men
Pros: High quality, subtle timeless designs
Cons: Cuts can sometimes be tailored more for mesomorph body types but are still slimmer than many American brands like GAP or Old Navy
Uniqlo is like the Japanese equivalent of H&M. Just like their cars and electronics Japanese don’t’ f*ck around when it comes to clothes either.
With up-to-date styles at insanely affordable prices Uniqlo always has what you need, whether it be for lounging around the home or going into the office.
If Gap and H&M had a baby, and that baby was born and raised in Tokyo, then you’d have Uniqlo. They have the very understated urban “daily essentials” styling of H&M but with the quality found at places like GAP, if not better.
Japanese King of Fast Fashion Quality
Since Uniqlo is Japanese and Japan is not full of fat asses the cut of their clothes are probably the slimmest out there and thus perfect for tall/lean body types.
Japanese have plenty of tall people don’t worry, you’ll have no problem finding 34+ length jeans here.
Some of the best Uniqlo find are their stretch jeans and their cool/dry t-shirts. Uniqlo was one of the first international clothing retailers to offer stretch jeans for men.
Women have been wearing stretch jeans for years and for good reason, they’re comfy as f*ck.
We’re not in middle school anymore. Say goodbye to your Jnco’s and embrace form fitting clothes because women sure do.
Uniqlo plain cool/dry t-shirts are cheap, come in a variety of colors and are offered in both crew and v-neck. The material is light and dries sweat insanely fast.
This editor has several of these t-shirts and has worn them for 3+ years and they still look good. Excellent bang for your buck.
So, if you’re traveling to Asia anytime soon or just one of the coast consider hitting up a Uniqlo for a shopping spree because you won’t find a better harmony of quality, style and pricing.
Best Going Out/High-End Fashion Option: Zara Man
Pros: High-end fashion at an affordable price, still relatively “fresh” in most American cities
Cons: Quality can vary, lot of offerings can be quite “shouty” in their colors/patterns
Yes, we realize Zara is not exactly “high high fashion” as they aren’t a real designer label like Gucci or Prada. They do however emulate the styling of big fashion houses and are at the forefront of taking runway inspired looks (that you could never afford) and transposing them into a more affordable iteration.
In this way everyone can class it up, even if you’re on a budget.
Zara is similar to Banana Republic in they are at the leading edge in terms of style, offering and even trend setting with sometimes outright crazy fashion.
That’s what makes Zara interesting, you’ll always see something a bit over the top, something you’d wear to a night-club or cocaine binge and nowhere else.
High-Fashion Inspired Clothes at Affordable Price Points
Their suits can be either flamboyant or conservative but with a nice cut. The picture to the right was taken in Zara dressing room.
The suite was quite large which made room for more upper body bulk, although the pants were a little tight.
Thankfully Zara has plenty of more “conservative” options to choose from. Zara is a fast fashion retailer from Spain and targets a slightly higher end fashion than Uniqlo and H&M.
While Uniqlo and H&M might be considered mid-upper/mid range fashion Zara hits the mid-range to high-end spectrum of design and style.
The selection for form fitting pants, shirts and button up shirts is endless. If Banana Republic is the go-to for the office then Zara is the go-to for the lounge bar or night club.
Prices are extremely reasonable, in line with H&M, which is awesome for what you get.
Downsides to Zara include the fact that sometimes their cut is just a bit too slim.
For a 6’2 ectomorph with an athletic build at 200 pounds it is sometimes difficult to find pants that don’t constrict in the quad area or shirts that aren’t stretched too tightly across the chest area.
Another downside to Zara is the lack of retail shops across America. Bountiful in Asia and Europe you may have to travel a bit to get your Zara fix. If you do we guarantee it will be well worth it.
So there you have it, 4 relatively affordable clothing retailers that offer a nice balance of style and fit, especially for the taller lankier gentlemen out there.
I’m looking for shirts (tops) for my 15 year old…he’s 6’ 1” – 6’2” & 190? … need more casual graphic t’s & hoodies
I don’t really wanna pay top $ on stuff he may still outgrow
Hi Tina! I used to buy all my tshirts at Target for a while, their in-house brand Mossimo. They were plain, no graphics, but came in a variety of colors and were well fitted for my longer torso without being baggy. I believe Target has rebranded the Mossimo line so you may have to do some digging, but yeah, check Target out.
Just wanted to throw our name out there for any readers, we have the best t-shirts for tall skinny guys that you can find!
Oh yeah, you can find our shirts at https://www.tallslimtees.com
I wish your shirts where of a better material. The fabric is terrible. The fit is great.
Do you have dress shirts for guys with really long arms, but skinny neck (15.5 neck; 36 arms)?
Hi Regina! Best company making dress shirts for guys with long arms and skinny necks would be Zara in my opinion.
Tara Marshall Johnson
My husband is a very similar size 15.5″ , 36/37 on a dress shirt. We have also had luck with nordstroms…hit their semi annual mens sale and you can get a good deal on dress shirts.
I would recommend Topman, RiverIsland, Next and New Look as those stores provide clothing with XS, XXS, XXXS sizes. As out of my own experience there are cases when a standard “Small” size is too big, especially when it comes to tops and jackets.
I use the MTailor app for my 6’6″ son who is 180 lbs for all of his dressy shirts.
For business wear take a good look at Express. For cheaper untailored suits look at Combat Gent.
My 14 yr son is 6’3″ and 155 lbs, well portioned, big boned and muscled but has a slightly longer crouch to waist ratio with big hip bones. All pants sit lower on his hip bones. Any suggestions for pants or t-shirts that are thin through the body?
It’s tough these days because so many pants brands are doing low-rise, which can be tough. I would check out Express’s Skinny cut jeans with Hyperstretch technology. Don’t worry, the “skinny” line is not their tightest, so he won’t look like a punk rock star, they fit well in the hip and thigh but have some extra space in the knee and calf area. Being “hyperstretch” they contain a good amount of elastic so they fit snug but in a comfortable way. Express can be pricey but if you sign up to their newsletter they regularly have big discounts, like all the time. And no, I’m not employed by them 🙂
Thanks for the article!
I just went to the outlet mall yesterday and hit 15 stores, bought stuff at 1, Lucky. I recommend their jeans and some shirts for skinny-strong guys. I’m 6’1”, 165, minimal body fat, I work out and exercise regularly.
Tees are the biggest thing, as you mentioned- finding one that allows room for muscular shoulders and also stays snug below the chest.
My favorite pair of jeans these days are also a pair of Lucky’s I picked up randomly at the mall on sale. I think you’re on to something with their cut for skinny-strong guys..nice thigh space but still a nice taper at the ankle, at least my pair. I’m 6/2 170 as I write this comment. Also, if you’re still looking for a good fitting t-shirt that will last, I recently have discovered Gettees. Made in the USA, heavy-duty cotton and the cuts are PERFECT. (for me at least, I don’t have the broadest shoulder bone structure but am relatively barrel chested so M’s are usually too tight in the chest and L’s are usually too billowy around the waist. Gettees fit is roomy up top but doesn’t parachute out at the bottom making for a pretty pleasing silhouette in my opinion)