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

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