Dressing For Your Body: Muscular Legs (Frequently Overlooked Fashion Issues)


Ever feel like those magazine fashion specials on dressing for your body don’ t really apply to your personal issues?  Yeah, me too.   I’ve decided to take on the (oh so heavy) burden of tackling some of these specifics myself – you’re welcome!


When you are athletic and have very muscular legs – especially in the calf area – it can be very difficult to dress as fashionably as you would like.  I am genetically predisposed to have large calves and also work out almost every day.  As a result, I have not only thicker legs but a lot of muscle, which is harder to squeeze into certain legwear.  It makes it nearly impossible to wear such current clothing staples as skinny jeans and knee-high boots.


Here are some tips for you if you have this problem too:


If you just must wear skinny jeans,

  • Pick some with stretch in them.
  • Try to find straight-leg versions.  They are more forgiving to curvy thighs and calves.
  • Usually those that fit in the legs will be too large in the butt and/or waist.  I have a big ole booty too, so my biggest problem is gapping at the waistband.  If they only gap slightly, you can wear a longer shirt or a belt to hide it.  If there is a large difference, you are just going to look weird.
  • Skinnies are always more flattering with boots pulled over them or bunched slightly at the ankle with heels.  The heels will create a slimming look and the boots help camouflage larger calves.


Speaking of boots,

  • I absolutely cannot zip up almost all pairs of normal knee-high boots, which really sucks.  Who doesn’t love a cute boot?  My calves are almost 2 inches wider than the average knee-high boot shaft.
  • You can shop for boots tailored specifically to those with larger calves, but they are usually “plus size”, which means they end up being too large in the ankle and buckling in an unflattering manner.  Just because I have large calves doesn’t mean I have cankles!
  • If you don’t find stretchy boots too tacky, they usually fit better.  I happen to strongly dislike them, but it is one of few options in this department.
  • Some styles are easier to fit to thick calves, such as riding boots , slouchy boots, and shorter boots that stop before the widest part of the calf.  Keep in mind, however, that these short boots can be unflattering to the rest of the leg.
  • Unfortunately, cute heeled boots are often too tight.
  • You might try a half-size up in the hopes that the boot shaft is a little larger – it should still fit in the foot with socks on.


There are flattering ways to dress and hide or minimize muscular legs:

  • Wide leg pants and bootcut or flared jeans
  • Long skirts and maxi-dresses
  • Shorter skirts or dresses that hit either above the knees or below the widest part of the calf
  • Skin-tone heels
  • Dark tights with matching shoes – this creates a long and lean visual line
  • Long yoga pants or wider leg workout pants
  • Shorts with looser leg openings
  • Any pant that skims the leg without clinging
  • Heels always lengthen, under pants or on their own


Bottom line – be proud of your muscle!  I have struggled with the feeling that I had “fat legs” my whole life.  Just because Hollywood makes us all feel like we should be standing on little toothpicks does not make it true, practical, or actually attractive.  Own your shape and love yourself!

Happy Shopping!

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Amy Horton

I am an actress, writer, and human living in Los Angeles. I'm very honest, and I have a big heart and an adventurous spirit. Writing for DirtyAndThirty.com is my favorite activity. :-)


  1. I you there, I know swimmers that have trouble with strapless dresses because their shoulders are so broad from swimming, I totally feel you. I might be alone in this view but I think athletic is sexy.

  2. Irena says:

    Yeah, I share the same feature of yours.. :) I am waiting eagerly that skinny pants trend to be gone.. 😀 The straight leg pants (or boot cut) are the best for my legs. A heavier fabric leggings look great too no workout look). Large pants make me square looking..

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. All I can say is yeah, whoever came up with idea for skinny jeans needs their head to be examined. There are certain things that need to breath :)

  4. LA_Steve says:

    I hate girls with muscular/fat legs unless I’m drunk and banging her in the dark!

    • Claudia says:

      Why, do you have chicken legs?

      • Adam says:

        I’m assuming it probably has something to do with his chicken legs. He must be insecure about it. I love them muscular, filled out, and shapely legs some women have. I hate that I always have to hear some women saying “I want skinny legs. I wish mine were thin like yours.” Why exactly people think small, flabby legs look good, is beyond me. That’s like a guy saying “Man, you got such little arms, I wish mine were as skinny as yours.”

        I guess I blame the media for brainwashing society.

      • bb says:

        And a little dick?

      • Mikhail says:

        I’m guessing then you must have muscular legs ……if so …..I LOVE YOU!

      • lj says:

        Well I hate guys who cant keep their mouth shut and their dick under control

      • Chris says:

        It’s because he is to ashamed of his mini carrot. Men who are scared woman will make fun of their small dicks make sure they are drunk first and, then they will feel the girl is large in certain areas because, he is comparing to his small dick. The girls he may be able to bring home are only trannys because, he is nasty and, has no concept of conversation.

    • anon says:

      well i just love calves. there are lots of man that like it. i wish more girls would exercise their calves.

    • John ruiz says:

      Wow how rude. Not gonna judge you but don’t judge me for loving the thick thighs of athletic women!!!!

  5. Trunks says:

    Cheers for that. Definitely struggling with dressing my strong and fit legs and ass. No subcutaneous fat and yet they still look terrifying when on display. Must, not, wear, yoga pants, to work…

  6. The Good Guy says:

    Ladies don’t listen to LA Steve, he’s obviously a douche. No real man wants a woman with skinny legs. The thicker your calves are, the sexier. No two ways about it!

  7. Aaron says:

    Muscular legs on a woman is so sexy, everytime a girl walks past with thick muscled legs it is the biggest turn on, as oppose to skinny bony legs

  8. I am a dancer and of course we have muscular legs and I always run into trouble when it comes to finding the perfect fitting jeans or a skirt that doesn’t clash with the way my calfs look. Shoes are another disaster, but oh how I wish I could wear all the cute boots. Thanks for sharing your advice!
    Yasmine xx

  9. Trish says:

    Tnx for the tips. I’m also having problems with my calves. They’re toooo huuuugeee. almost as big/wide as my thighs. To make things worse, I’m really short. 4’11” and i’m almost 20. Broad shouldered and has big arm muscles. Sometimes I accept that that’s just part of who I am. But sometimes, i still can’t quite come in terms with my body.

  10. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I get tired of trying jeans that don’t fit my legs. I mean, c’mon! I have a 28 inch waist! I fit into them… but my legs don’t… anyways, thanks again! Will be getting some straight leg skinnies! :)

  11. Leo says:

    Off topic: girls with muscular legs and calves drive me absolutely crazy!

  12. Sarah says:

    I’m on the taller side but my legs although are muscular are fat! I’m a size 9 and around 5’7″-5’8″ help?? :(

  13. Sarah says:

    If you get real leather boots they can be stretched with some sort of steam contraction at western stores e.g. places that sell cowboy boot(which just so happen to look great on muscular legs).

  14. Brent says:

    Not sure why you’d want to minimize or hide muscular legs. They are the sexiest part of the female body!

  15. Kristen says:

    Also check with your local cobbler, many of them can add an elastic gusset to a pair of boots to make them manageable for athletic calves.

  16. Joslyn says:

    There’s a great website for knee high boots for wider calves. I also have very athletic legs and discovered this company called Duo (now named Ted and Muffy) for boots when I lived in London; they are not as expensive as custom made boots, and they fit nicely at the ankles. http://www.tedandmuffy.com/us/ Check it out.

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