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How To Style Padded Shoulder T Shirts


Hello Ladies, We all are probably staring at these padded shoulder tshirts also known as muscle tees and wondering how to even wear them, or do they even look good on us. So in this post, I wanted to share some styling tips and how you can find your perfect t shirt.

Now, this style of t shirts are not new in 2021, they have been available everywhere last year, but it almost took a year for them to get to the American apparel industry which in itself. I don’t know if you feel this way as well. It seems like American brands do take sometime to incorporate any new trends, and it was the same with these padded shoulder Tshirts. But the great part is that its still in trend in 2021 and there are plenty of options available so you don’t have to buy from shady websites like me. Hahaha!

Benefits of Wearing a Padded Shoulder T shirt

This was my exact thought when I initially ordered a pair of tan padded shoulder tshirt from Mango last fall. I was wondering why would anyone want to wear them. Ofcourse they look amazing on everyone on Instagram, but as a practical kind of a person who prefers functional dressing, I was worried that it will be a bit to much for me.

But after wearing them for a while now, I can say, I was terribly wrong. This is probably because I am not too quick on trying out any new trends. Anyways, let me list down the top benefits of wearing them:

They are like Blazers but in the form of Tshirts

This is absolutely the biggest factor why I was drawn to them. I naturally also have a bit of a wider shoulder, but I always prefer Blazers over Cardigans or any other kind of jackets is because of the shoulder padding which instantly creates a structured and sophisticated look on anyone. And these Tshirts are doing exactly that. I believe because of 2020 with a lot of us working from home, wearing blazers felt like a bit too much, and this is a genius way of adding a structured yet comfortable style.

They make your waist look small

Yup. because of the shape and style of the Tshirt, they create a V shape for anyone upper body if you tuck in your Tshirt, and hence you get a more slender waistline compared to regular Tshirts. This is yet another amazing reason, I wear them a lot because of my straight figure.

You can get away with Sleeveless T shirts

Most Muscle tees are sleeveless because the sleeves are stitched in a way that the sleeves are tucked under hence creating a sleeveless style without looking like it. Most shoulder pads protrude outside a bit and hence they dont look like sleeveless Tshirts.

You look more polished

These Tshirts naturally make anyone look more polished compared to a basic T shirt which often makes you look slouchy or extremely relaxed. But they are still T shirts, so they have the perfect combination of comfort and style.

How to Find the Best Padded Shoulder T shirt

There a lot of American brands that are selling muscle tees, but I wanted to share some tips on how you can find your perfect fit and how to find a good quality T shirt:

Pay Attention to See Through Material

While a bit of see through is fine, but if the shoulder pads are visible outside of the Tshirt, I would try to steer clear of those. Since most of these Muscle tees have an actual shoulder pad stitched, if the T shirt is made out of light weight material, they will become visible and look really cheap. If you want to wear light weight Tshirts with shoulder pads, go for darker colors which would look way better than lighter ones.

Check the Fit of the T shirt

You cannot wear a fully fitted Tshirt in this style because of the shoulder protrusion. If the Tshirt is body hugging, with the shoulder pads, it will look more like an armor instead of a casual Tshirt. Most of these Tshirts are more straight style. If you are in doubt, try sizing up. It will always work.

Check the Position of the shoulder pads

The best way to check if the muscle tee works for you or not is by the position of the shoulder pad. If the shoulder pad is not protruding a little bit out then that is not the correct fit for you. The idea of the shoulder pads is not to give you hump on your shoulders but its to create a sharp structured line of your shoulder that creates a powerful look.

Don’t Go for Cropped Style T shirts

I haven’t seen any straight cropped Tshirts with shoulder padding, but in general if the Tshirt is too short to tuck in, then you should not wear it. These muscle tees look the best when tucked in and they look really frumpy otherwise.

Best Ways To Style Padded Shoulder T shirts

There are so many ways, and pretty much any way to wear them as long as you can tuck them in a create a waistline. This is the reason this makes for a great option for women who have straight figure. I also want to share some really and easy everyday styles where you can incorporate these muscle tees and look chic and still be comfortable.

Sometimes, when we look at a trend, it does feel a bit intimidating and my hope is that in the blog, I can make it easier for all of you.

Wear it with Pleated Skirts

Pleated skirts are like the most common midi skirts we all own, but often underestimated. I have always valued and treasure a good pleated skirt, because they are really versatile and look good with everything. Moreover if you are straight figured like me, you will also agree with the power of a pleated skirt. They instantly create a slender waistline that I so need. So its obvious to pair a Padded Shoulder Tshirt with them to create that perfect hourglass shape. 

Just changing the color combination, you can also create and elevated yet comfortable date night with this combination that will be perfect for summer time.

Wear it with Jeans

Another effortless and smart casual way of styling these Muscle Tees is with Jeans that have Pleated Front. There are two awesome option of styling them, you can pick straight leg jeans or even slouchy jeans, both of which actually help you with creating a proportionate shape compared to looking more broader on the waist. 

I also love wearing them with wide leg jeans which have become my new favorites these days. Each of these jeans styles are way more flattering compared to skinny jeans.

Wear It With Linen Pants

Now that summer is around the corner, linen pants are way more comfortable to wear than denim. I want to share an outfit that I wore on my vacation to Mexico where I styled padded shoulder Tshirt with Wide Leg linen pants with paper bag waist. Because of the wide leg, the power shoulders don’t look as over powering, in fact they compliment it. 

The paperbag waist style chinches the waist and again creates an hourglass shape.

Wear it with Flowy Mini Skirts

Again another flattering way to style them are with cotton skirts that look chic and yet create that shape which looks more flattering without making the shoulder pads the entire focal point of the outfit. 

While there is nothing wrong in doing that, I feel that an outfit should always be cohesive and not just one piece in the outfit. This took me sometime to understand but I think I am finally getting it.

Wear it with Wider Leg Shorts

For all of us shorts lover, there is also a way to style these padded shoulder t shirt. Longer shorts would look way more flattering and put together with them compared to really short shorts. If you are like me who loves longer shorts,  the pairing them with muscle tee is a great way of creating a modern and sophisticated look for summer. You can pair a blck muscle tee with the shorts and create a night time look as well.

Hope this post was helpful in figuring out some easy ways you can style muscle Tees or Padded Shoulder Tees. I am also working on an outfit post, so stay tuned for that. Till then Happy Summer my lovely friends!


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About Suchi

A Techie turned Fashion blogger, I have been in your shoes. I have gone from looking like I was trying to fit into my teen clothes, to now a stylist and blogger known to be classy and elevated style. I can help you look your best without spending too much time, effort and money into your wardrobe. 

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