Some of us strongly believe in function over form when it comes to workout wear. But there’s no reason you can’t have both. In fact, many people find shopping for attractive and fashionable workout outfits to be highly motivating when starting a new exercise regime.
There are several things to think about when it comes to shopping for exercise gear. To start with, you need to consider what kind of workouts you will be engaged in. If you’re just starting out, you might be keeping it simple with low-intensity exercises such as walking or stair climbing. In which case, you’d want something breathable that can handle perspiration. Your footwear should be stable, lightweight, and supportive. You may want some compression if you struggle with preexisting conditions, to help with circulation and support joints. But, in general, you can choose almost anything you like the look of for low-impact activities like walking. Yoga wear is a popular choice.
Most other activities require more specialized gear. Joggers will want outfits that reduce chafing, provide coverage to personal preferences, don’t bind or bunch, and are highly breathable and sweat-wicking. While jogging is considered one of the more accessible types of workouts and is one of the easiest to get started with, getting the right outfit for jogging really makes a difference.
If you feel comfortable and attractive in your workout wear, you’re more likely to get out on the trail or track. Opt for close-fitting, flexible shorts or leggings to avoid binding around the knees or tripping hazards below the calf. Short, skirt-style accents are popular for those uncomfortable with the fit and add some cute flair to more pedestrian styles. Aim for a length that falls mid-thigh to avoid bunching between the legs.
The fit of underwear becomes quite important, as you don’t want the distraction or discomfort of chafing or traveling underwear distracting from your workout. Some bottoms come with built-in underwear or choose from a selection of women’s underwear with technical fabric built for performance.
Sports tops come with a great deal of variation. Women with larger busts will appreciate double-reinforced sports bras with built-in compression to avoid too much movement, while those on the opposite end of the spectrum may find it most pleasant to opt for technical tops with built-in support. Consider local climate and time of year, as well as style when picking out sports shirts or jackets. For some, a sports bra alone offers the best breathability and comfort. For others, layered or mesh shirts offer excellent breathability, and stylized patterns can add visual appeal and a streamlined appearance. Again, for higher intensity exercise, you won’t want too much fabric moving around and bunching. But for colder and wetter climates, you may want to opt for a jacket with venting.
Other types of sports come with their own gear needs. Yoga practitioners gravitate toward flexible, soft fabrics, and the greater culture around the exercise tends to favor natural and organic fabrics over synthetics. Lifters and circuit trainers often opt for wrist wraps and stabilizing wear to support and strengthen joints. While simple white tape is traditional, cute tape patterns and colored wraps are available to personalize your look.
You do need to take your type of exercise activity into account, but there are other factors to consider. Your personal sense of style can be captured in most exercise wear, from trim black to floral and fluid. Current trends are pushing pastels to the forefront, but florals and sporty neons are evergreens. Feminine to androgynous styles are available for every workout.
The fabric is another area to consider. You might have a personal preference for natural, eco-friendly organic, or vegan fabrics only. Technical fabrics offer many advantages, including compression, anti-bacterial, anti-odor, and moisture-wicking properties, or anti-chafing, compression and support benefits. Merino wool is a surprisingly popular choice in exercise wear. Integrating copper threads is a high-tech addition that contributes to functional and health benefits. Some brands specialize in specific types of fabrics and cater to an audience that prefers certain features.
Different types of exercise or sport come with internal norms that may or may not cross over to the broader culture. For instance, the padded seat of bike shorts is a must for road bikers but is also a distinctive look that is currently enjoying a cultural moment at the forefront of style.
You’ll look your best when you’re comfortable and appropriately equipped for your workout. Choose the perfect pieces based on function and personal sense of style.