Already Prettypoll: Workout Wear

Years ago, I wore wide-legged jersey pants and my husband’s discarded t-shirts to the gym. I didn’t want to spend money on clothes that would only get worn a couple of hours at a time and get soaked with sweat whenever in use, and didn’t really understand why anyone would.

Now I wear wicking tops and skirted capris, and actually feel happier and more comfortable in fitted togs than I did in my oversized ones. I don’t wear these clothes outside of the gym, but I see their value. They keep me cooler and drier, don’t bunch or wad when I move, and make me feel more stylish when I work out.

But still I respect both camps. Some people don’t like or feel comfortable in skin-tight gear, others have trouble finding workout clothes that fit. Some invest as much money in their gym attire as they do in their everyday wardrobes. Many fall somewhere in between.

How about you? Do you prefer specialty clothes for your workout wear, or stick to tees and shorts from your everyday wardrobe? What makes this route the right one for you?

*Athleta does petite, tall, and plus and GoActive has great plus options.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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13 Responses to “Already Prettypoll: Workout Wear”

  1. Diane Stenglein

    I’m all for gym clothes. I like sports tops and capris. I sweat a lot, so it’s helpful to have wicking where I can.

  2. Isa Mclaren

    When I was in regular dance exercise classes, I had a rotation of fitness gear outfits. A blown knee, weight changes, too much time later, and I’m back to working out at the gym in my apartment complex. But now I’m in shorts and T shirts. I’d like some fitness gear but money is tight and it’s not a high priority. For me, the outfit reminds me of my investment, not just of money but of time, spent improving myself.

  3. loubeelou

    I was at my most athletic self in high school in the late 90s, when boxer shorts and pajama pants seemed to be really common gymwear. I remember being at the Y in my mid/late 20s and realizing that that’s not what anyone was really wearing anymore! I’ve moved towards the capri-style leggings – but the key is that they have a drawstring! My weight tends to fluctuate AND those pants stretch out eventually and the drawstring gives them so much more utility. My tops still tend to be tees that have become too thread-bare for regular-life use and have been relegated to workout/sleepwear status. All that said, I work out at home frequently, which means I can happily do planks and squats in my bra/underwear!

  4. Ginger

    I don’t care for capri-length, I like either shorts/skorts or long pants.
    I’ll spend big on shoes but everything else can come from Target or Walmart.

  5. Lisa Wong

    “They keep me cooler and drier, don’t bunch or wad when I move, and make me feel more stylish when I work out.” Those are all the reasons I bought new workout wear this year. I’m all for functional and affordable though, so most of it comes from Old Navy, Gap when it’s on sale, and Joe Fresh.

  6. Natalie

    I wear close-fitting and wicking clothes when I’m running, but I favor bigger and looser fitting clothes at the gym, where I feel more self-consciously visible than I do jogging by.

  7. Brianne Archer

    I definitely have separate workout wear. It’s mostly from Old Navy and Target. I prefer long or capri leggings and tight t-shirts or tank tops. When I’m doing pilates or barre classes, it helps to have tighter fitting clothes so that the instructor can more easily critique my form. I really need to buy some new sports bras though, my old ones just don’t contain my postpartum/breastfeeding breasts.

    • what not

      Same here: Fitted workout clothes help me see if I’ve got the right form in the mirror during pilates.

  8. Mary

    Since my fitness activity of choice is belly dance classes, I have to go with fitted clothing–but I don’t use anything particularly expensive or special. Yoga pants in long or capri length, depending on the season, fitted t-shirts, bare feet.

  9. Ruth Slavid

    Wicking is good, and so are trousers/ capris that don’t fall down. Which is v difficult to predict when trying them on in a shop. Nothing worse than running or exercising and having to keep pulling your trousers up. Just bought some fabulous capris from a company called Crewroom but I suspect it is UK only. I have always worn loose bottoms for Pilates but am thinking of getting something snugger, because it annoys me when I raise my leg in the air while lying down and my trouser bottoms tumble to my knee. I wear old tee-shirts to Pilates but try to stick to the same ones. I find once I have worn one for that use a few times they never really appeal as ‘proper’ clothes again. I am sure we all agree on the need to spend money on sports bras and trainers. After that, the main concern is to be weatherproof. But some of us still find making ourselves exercise a struggle. The odd piece of new gear as a reward can help.

  10. Sam

    I use the gym at my work, so upon being hired my workout clothing went very quickly from old-and-baggy-and-cleavage-but-I-don’t-care to stylishly-form-fitting-yet-appropriately-covered.

    I’ve gotten way better about showing off my legs recently. If I didn’t see my coworkers in the gym, I’d totally get those cute booty shorts for weight lifting.

  11. Leah

    I was the same as you, I used to work out in ratty old t-shirts and really old basketball or soccer shorts. But they made me feel bad about myself and made me not want to work out. So I started buying buying nicer pieces, like fitted capris and cute tank tops and it makes me feel more excited (even slightly!) about working out and I feel more comfortable overall.

  12. Heidi/FranticButFab

    I wear yoga gear to yoga, but I can’t quite get on board with tights for running, so I have an odd combo of running wear shirts (love that wicking fabric) with either running skirts or looser athletic shorts on bottom. In winter I go old school with Adidas track pants. I also confess I bought a Calvin Klein Active tank top to wear as exercise gear but loved the fit and feel so much it’s gone in the regular wear rotation. Score one for “athleisure”!