1/ LAAIN stretch knit jacquard cycling shorts | $160 at Net-a-Porter
2/ Bodyism lily printed sports bra | $80 at Net-a-Porter
3/ Nike Air Pegasus shoe | $85 at Net-a-Porter
4/ Live the Process floral print leggings | $136 at Net-a-Porter
5/ Nike Run the Earth tank | $30 at Net-a-Porter
6/ Live the process satin paneled stretch jersey cape | $375 at Net-a-Porter
7/ Bodyism shiny leggings | $145 at Net-a-Porter
There’s been a lot written lately on Activewear as the new Denim & going from “Barre to Bar” without changing clothes. My thoughts on leggings as pants are pretty clear. No, they are not pants. But it seems I’m in the minority. And now, with the launch of Net-a-SPORTER (haha…clever…), stylish & chic activewear has gone luxury (and as usual, their styling is spot-on).
The last few years have certainly seen an increase in women wearing workout clothes outside of the gym, either after working out, or not working out at all. I haven’t always been a fan, but I’m coming around – I’ve never been one to judge women on their sartorial choices (except for wearing leggings as pants). And workout clothes definitely are comfortable; I dream of owning a yoga studio or something similar so I can legitimately wear those types of clothes all the time. But as it is, I enjoy wearing them for Pure Barre and that’s it. (my real clothes are pretty comfortable too…)
We’ve also seen the exponential rise of premium (expensive) exercise clothes & brands in the last couple of years, starting with Lululemon. I’ve sort of always been the type to spend money on exercise clothes though, because I want technical pieces that will last forever, and wick sweat away. I’ve never exercised in old t-shirts, or dingy sweatpants, I have dedicated pieces for exercise that don’t usually co-mingle with the rest of my closet. And I have never balked at paying big money for stylish, high-end pieces. Why should what I wear to exercise be any different than what I wear for the rest of my life??
And what makes them worth the higher price is that you CAN wear them outside the gym, and they look good, not grungy or so thin that everything shows.
The disconnect for me is actually going from class to running errands or whatever without changing clothes. I never did that, or thought I would do that until recently. Now that I have to drive quite a while to class and Trader Joe’s and Ulta is on my way home I have stopped in a few times wearing what I wore to Pure Barre, just making sure to have a long top over my leggings so my ASS is covered.
Here are some tips that I think make wearing exercise clothing as streetwear “work” better:
1. Choose opaque – seriously. This is what you generally get with higher-quality, made for exercise leggings. Not cotton leggings from Target.
2. Cover your ass – (with this longer-in-the-back top by Zella) your front is no joke either, especially if you sweat a lot, and DON’T buy technical leggings that wick it away from your crotch area. NO ONE wants to see that. Not even in class. (I actually have a grey heather pair of SoLow leggings that don’t do as good a job of that as I like, so I always wear a very long tank with them to class)
3. Wear a long top or wrap – love this long cardigan by Hard Tail
More resources for chic workout clothes:
Free People Movement – very Free People-ish if you know what I mean
Athleta – owned by Gap. Good, but not as “interesting” as other brands
Lululemon – quality seems to be all over the place. I have a few lululemon pieces that I like, but prefer other brands
SoLow – my go-to workout wear – love the styles & the quality. Made in the US, and usually on sale at Shopbop
Sweaty Betty – have several bottoms from here. LOVE everything.
Lucy – I have had several pairs of Lucy bottoms (they come in lengths). They are wonderful and lasted for 5+ years.
Shopbop – great selection of yoga/running clothes including Adidas by Stella McCartney and SoLow
Nordstrom – nice selections of Hard Tail, SoLow, Karma & Beyond Yoga
Net-a-Porter – great styling suggestions
James Perse – the Yosemite collection is amazing, and some on sale now, I don’t own any yet
See my old post on Yoga/Barre clothing for my favorite Pure Barre Clothing
What do you think? are you doing sportswear as streetwear? How much do you spend on athletic clothing? Any other resources to share?