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Regular Fit vs. Athletic Fit: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to picking the cut of a particular clothing item that looks best on you, one of the most common dilemmas you may face is whether to go for a regular fit or an athletic fit. Well, one thing is for sure: Choosing what cut of T-shirts, jeans, shirts, or you name it suits you the most depends on the shape of your body, your personal style, as well as what type of event you need it for.

So, if you often have a hard time deciding whether it’s the regular fit or athletic fit that flatters your figure the best, keep reading as in this article, I’ll present the basic features that make them different and thus help you resolve the regular fit vs athletic fit dilemma once and for all. So, let’s begin.

Key Takeaways

  • The major difference between regular fit and athletic fit is that the former can suit various body types as it includes a larger amount of fabric in certain areas, whereas the latter fits your body tightly and it’s best for people with athletic bodies.
  • What distinguishes regular-fit from athletic-fit garments is the cut, how comfortable they are, how they’re designed in the shoulders, chest, waist, and leg, and what body type they’re designed for.
  • Regular-fit clothes give you a neat, loose appearance and provide you with comfort. Athletic-fit clothes provide you with comfort too but they’re closely fitted to your body and follow its natural shape.

Regular Fit vs. Athletic Fit

Before I start explaining in what ways regular fit and athletic fit differ, let me just emphasize the most basic difference between them. What distinguishes regular-fit garments from athletic-fit ones is that the regular fit doesn’t fit your body tightly and is made of extra fabric in certain areas, which gives them a loose, relaxed appearance. On the other hand, athletic-fit garments are closely fitted to your body and don’t give you that loose, baggy appearance that regular-fit clothing items can give you.

Features That Make Them Differentiate

Now, let’s see what features make these types of fit differ:


All the other differences between regular-fit and athletic-fit clothes can actually be attributed to the cut, i.e., the way they’re shaped.

What characterizes regular-fit garments is that they’re made to fit everyone regardless of their type of body. For instance, regular-fit T-shirts, jackets, and shirts usually have large armholes, relaxed and straight sleeves, broad shoulders, straight seams, and extra material in the chest and waist. And when it comes to regular-fit pants and jeans, these have straight seams and are loose in the seat and wide in the area above the knee.

One disadvantage of regular-cut clothing items is that they may not appear as stylish or fashionable as, let’s say, athletic-fit clothes. However, they are very comfortable to wear, allow you to move easily, and give you a nice neat appearance.

On the other hand, athletic-fit garments fit your body closely and provide you with comfort at the same time. Unlike regular-fit clothes, these are made to fit people with athletic bodies. For example, athletic-fit shirts and T-shirts are tight but they provide enough room at the bottom of the garment and in the sleeves. They also have armholes that are positioned lower and a slim waist.

Also, make sure you check out the blog that includes the alternatives to t-shirts.

And when it comes to athletic-fit jeans and pants, they usually have a narrow leg opening and more room in the area above the knee, in the hips, and in the seat. They’re most commonly made of denim, be it regular or stretch.


Regular cut shirts, T-shirts, and jackets provide more comfort and room in the chest, which gives you a neat, loose appearance.

On the other hand, athletic-cut shirts lay closely on your body and follow the natural curves in your upper body while providing you with comfort at the same time.

Leg Opening

Regular-fit jeans and pants tend to have a wide leg opening and straight seams.

On the other hand, athletic-fit jeans tend to be narrower in the area between your knee and ankle and end with a small, narrow leg opening, which shows your leg shape perfectly.


Regular-fit garments are usually designed with extra fabric around the waist area, which provides you with more comfort compared to the athletic fit. So, if your waist size is larger, this is the type of jeans and pants you should consider adding to your wardrobe.

So, as you might have already guessed, the waist of athletic-fit garments is tight.  So, if you prefer wearing jackets, T-shirts, or shirts that fit you closely at the waist, or perhaps you have a slim waist but wide or muscular legs, this is the ideal cut of jeans and pants for you.


Undeniably, both regular-fit and athletic-fit clothes provide you with comfort. However, if you prefer wearing shirts, jackets, or T-shirts that provide more comfort in the area around the waist and in the shoulders, or perhaps if you don’t like wearing trousers or jeans that are tight in the area above the knee, then the regular fit is ideal for you.

But if you’re the type of person that wants to wear clothes that provide you with comfort and make you appear trendy at the same time, in this case, you should add more athletic-fit garments to your wardrobe.

Body Type

As I already said at the beginning of this article, choosing what cut of clothes looks attractive on you is greatly determined by the shape of your body.

If you have a round body shape or if you simply like wearing garments that can provide you with more comfort in the shoulders, waist, and chest, you should go for regular-fit clothes as such clothes are wide in the waist and have broad shoulders.

Similarly, if you have muscular or wide thighs or if you simply prefer wearing pants with straight seams on the legs, regular-fit jeans and pants are the type of clothes you should go for.

However, if you have a muscular upper body and want to wear shirts or T-shirts that will show those muscles by fitting you tightly but also you’ll feel comfortable and move freely in, then forget about the regular fit and go for athletic-fit shirts. However, in case your arm size is larger, then this type of fit may not be right for you as it won’t provide you with comfort in that area.

Similarly, athletic-fit jeans and pants are the type of clothes you should wear if you have curved legs or big, wide thighs as they’re made of elastic fabric and are roomy in the thigh and seat area, which makes them quite comfortable to wear.

Also, make sure you check out the regular fit vs. relaxed fit blog.

Final Verdict

So, that’s about it. I tried my best to present the basic features of regular-fit and athletic-fit garments and explain how they differ. I hope that the differences explained above will help you choose the fit that flatters your body the most.

Anyway, all I can say is that if you prefer wearing clothes that give you a neat, loose appearance, go for regular fit, whereas if you’re more into clothes that are well snug, then athletic-cut garments are the perfect choice for you.