Friday, January 10, 2014

Fashion Friday: Classy Workout Clothes

Once Jan.1st hits the gyms become packed, people buy a brand new pair of running shoes to kick off the start of a new program and no new workout commitment would be complete without the introduction of some new workout gear. There's something about the investment of all that newness (although not essential) that makes one feel ready to tackle their fitness goals. You might as well look good while sculpting a brand new body, right?

A classy woman puts her best effort into all that she does including how she presents herself to the world in her daily work life, time spent out on the town, at home as well as in the gym. While it's not essential to have a new workout wardrobe (and in some cases these may be items that don't fit into your current budget), it is essential to look put together instead of frumpy using what you already own. Too many times I've seen women working out in what appears to be their man's sweats. They look to be about 2 sizes too big (perhaps an attempt to hide the weight they wish to shed) not realizing that this makes them look larger than they actually are not to mention sloppy and as if they have no sense of pride in their appearance. I personally don't even own any of the aforementioned "sweats" always opting for more form-fitting fitness attire which allows me to focus on and see the muscle group I'm working.

Depending on how often you plan to work out, it's important to have the right amount of workout gear, because after a super sweaty session, everything needs to go straight into the washing machine, re-wearing is not an option even if you only lifted weights and don't "feel" sticky and sweaty. Gym clothing is notorious for breeding bacteria and you don't want that against your skin as it can cause irritation, breakouts and infections not to mention that it's just plain gross, so it's best to take it off as soon as possible, get showered and into clean clothing.

If you're planning to work out 3-5x per week and wash laundry fairly regularly you can get away with purchasing less workout gear.

Essential Workout Gear:

(2) pairs of full length yoga pants for cooler weather
(1) pair of capri length yoga pants for warmer weather
(2) pairs of running shorts for summertime runs and cardio workouts
(1) pair of quality running shoes that properly fit the shape of your foot and arch
(3) t-shirts that are slightly body skimming but not tight
(2) tank tops-perfect for summer or a super-sweaty cardio session
(1) black sport skirt for tennis, running and more. (the ruffled/tiered options are really playful and pretty)
(3) sports bras that properly fit your bust and keep you supported while wicking moisture away
(1) black zip up long-sleeved collared workout jacket
(5) pairs of white ankle length gym socks (or no-show gym socks)
(2) hair bands/(1) package of hair elastics and a few clips or bobby pins to hold stray hairs in place

What to Look for in Your Workout Gear:

1. Comfort-I prefer soft fabrics that are breathable. This is a must-have for socks and underwear, and for that reason mine are always cotton. However, most workout gear is made of performance fabrics which are man-made and provide a lot of stretch. Have fun with it and choose an array of fun colors for tops and the basics of dark gray, black and navy for bottoms. I always choose tops that cover my bust area well so that if I'm bending over, my lady bits aren't visible (a good sports bra will help with this too). Likewise, pants need to sit up high enough that underwear aren't seen and your bottom is fully covered when you bend over.

2. Stretch-An essential part of workout gear is the "stretch" factor. When performing yoga moves, stretching or running, it's essential that the fabric move with you easily with you. The good news is most workout clothing these days has stretch built in.

3. Moisture-Wicking-It's important to wear clothing that will wick away moisture during a workout. Performance fabrics and natural bamboo are great examples of this, bamboo is actually anti-bacterial also. Performance/Technical fabrics do a great job of keeping you dry by pulling sweat away from your body and not holding it there as some natural fabrics do, helping to keep you warm also.

4. Stylish-When I go to the gym I certainly am not dressing to impress others but looking good just makes you feel good. Who wants to wear workout gear from the 80's when there are so many comfortable and beautiful options today? I typically keep my bottoms darker and go for a punch of color such as hot pink on top.

5. Seamless Undergarments-Whether you opt to wear thongs or full coverage panties, make sure they are seamless, cotton is best as it is breathable. Just as with a beautiful dress or great pair of pants, nothing ruins an outfit faster than visible panty lines. There are so many options these days that this should never be an issue.

Workout gear can range in price. What I recommend spending the money on is properly fitting workout bras and bottoms such as yoga pants. The cheaper ones don't always fit as well, often fade quickly and don't offer an array of lengths. I love LuLuLemon for yoga bottoms, they also happen to give your tush a little lift which makes you feel great. Zella is another great brand, they feel so great you can live in them at home-so comfy! The material doesn't fade and they last far longer than the other brands I've tried. For sports bras, I love Victoria's Secret sport, Champion for Target and I've been known to find some great tops and bras from discount retailers like TJMaxx, Marshall's and the like, even some on the clearance racks. Lately, I'm loving the workout options from Nordstrom online because they offer free shipping and free returns too if  something doesn't fit-less time driving and shopping, more time for working out!

Below are some of my current favorite workout pieces, if you're in the market for some new apparel, these will help you put together a new workout wardrobe of quality. If your budget is tight, evaluate what you currently own and use the best of what you've got. As you're able to, add in the items you're lacking over time as finances permit until you have a more complete workout wardrobe. I would focus on bottoms, bras and running shoes first. You can always get away without having fancy moisture-wicking socks, t-shirts and tanks, you can use what you have there instead.

If you cannot afford a gym membership or simply find it more feasible to workout from home to a DVD given time constraints or balancing a schedule with kids, I highly recommend ballet barre, yoga and anything by Jillian Michael's.

The great part about wearing more ladylike, classy workout clothing is that if you must run an errand on the way to the gym you won't mind being seen. You can use this gear for all of your outdoor needs too such as light hiking, trail walking, jogging, running etc.What are some of your favorite brands of workout gear?

Thanks for Reading!


*image sources: all Nordstrom


  1. Dear Karla, great post! I agree with you wholeheartedly, that it is important to wear proper workout clothes. However, I'd just like to point out that cotton is not the best choice. First of all it does not wick moisture to move it away from your body, it soaks up the sweat but it stays there, only to make you feel wet. Any proper workout clothes or winter base layer should not be cotton for that reason. A lot of times things feel like cotton but they are most likely made of polyester, modal, luon or other technical fabric or sometimes cotton blended with the above mentioned. Also cotton fabrics lose their looks and color by being exposed to sweat and constant washing. I love cotton too but prefer blends or technical fabrics for working out. I am glad you mentioned Victoria's Secret for sports bras because not many people know they carry them and I can say that theirs are the best as far as support, looks and shaping. I also like Lulu Lemon like you (not their prices though), Nike and I also have a few great inexpensive tanks and tops from JC Penney or Target.

    1. Thank you, Evelyn! :) You are absolutely right about the fabrics! Cotton is a must for socks and underwear as they are breathable but for the actual workout wear, synthetic fabrics do a great job of wicking away moisture and help to keep you dry, which is especially important outdoors. Most of what I wear is a performance fabric. I totally agree that cotton loses it's shape and color, such great points to consider, especially for items that are being washed over and over. I do still wear cotton t-shirts or tanks at times, but it's typically on a day that I'm not sweating as much, or I know I'm coming straight home from a run in my neighborhood on a hot, FL day and I can immediately get out of those clothes.

  2. I find it's best to wear wool socks - no matter the season to wick the sweat away and they keep my feet from getting too many blisters. I love SmartWool! You hit it with Zella and shopping at Nordstrom - that's my go-to. But for sports bras/tanks I love Athleta. Adorable and well-made.

    And I agree that you don't need that many of an item. I've been losing weight and have to replace mine for a smaller size. But the larger sport tops will be good for yoga or other low-impact activities. They also stretch after a while and aren't as supportive. Follow the washing instructions and DON'T use fabric softener on technical fabrics - it breaks them down. If you're going to spend the money on something take care of it properly.

    1. Great tips, Lourenda! Yes, absolutely no fabric softener with technical fabrics! I forgot about that tip as we stopped using it years ago. I use vinegar instead which actually takes the build up off of clothes rather than contribute to it. My hubby is sensitive to scents and that alleviated the problem with laundry. It's important to adjust clothing sizes too as you mentioned as weight is lost so things fit properly. Wool is a great suggestion, it does wick away moisture. I like Athleta too for sports bras, they have some great gear.

  3. Ladies, speaking about a sports tradeshow I discovered an interesting product. It is called SportSuds and it is a residue-free, complete odor removal detergent. It is best to use on workout clothes as it removes all residue that built up by sweat, skin flakes and detergent residue, to make sure the fabrics work as intended and also removes stubborn odors. Eco-friendly too. Check it out at if you are interested. I don't know if it works, but got a sample and want to try it :)

    1. Awesome suggestion, Evelyn, thank you. I took a peek at the website, I love the fact that it's non-toxic and even grey water safe. :) I'll have to see if I can write them for a free sample. Funny enough, their location is an hour away from where I used to live back home in the Toronto area. I love supporting Canadian companies!

  4. Hello,
    Workout clothes help you to prepare to work up a sweat in the gym or at home. The most obvious benefits of wearing form-fitting workout clothes is that it is easier to track weight loss when you start out wearing clothes that hug your body.Thanks!

  5. I am simply joining the gym again after some years! ( I typically work out at home) And I fixated on what to wear!! lol So senseless... I love workout clothing though...and have a bundle. Now I need to put them to use!! ;)

    1. Enjoy your time back in the gym! It's definitely a different atmosphere, I tend to personally be more motivated working next to other people sweating too. ;)

  6. I want to start gym because day by day I Got Fat!!!!
    I have more comfortable gym clothes and hope that I overcome myself.

  7. I'm all for some tank top arms! Thanks - I can't wait to try this workout. And thanks for linking up to the Be.
    mens tank top

  8. Truly super stylish and among the best workout clothes I have ever seen! For my hot yoga classes, need such a trendy pair of leggings and jersey. Loved the stylish collection at and will buy one of them soon.

  9. That's a great review. Workout clothes are like an investment for me. Besides the right pieces also last you quite long. I recently bought sports bra online from the New Balance India website.


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