We’ve successfully entered the new year, and historically, this is the time when many of us consider taking on new goals to get more active, get in shape, and take more charge of our health and wellness. Just as naturally, the retailers understand this and they’ll begin marketing towards people’s newfound interests in meeting their fitness goals. All of a sudden, you’ll see plenty of health and wellness goodies, strength training equipment and activewear of all types on sale. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the wide selection of products out there. How can one narrow down the options?
I love working out, so I suppose it’s only natural that I would love active apparel too! Here’s my true confession: I have enough activewear and sets to never have to repeat a gym outfit for at least 2 months! (I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed, but that’s my truth)…
Because there are lots of things to consider when looking for the right active apparel, I figured I’d put together this post to help you out and give you insight into MY thought process before I make a selection.
How Much Does it Cost?
Active wear comes in not only a variety of styles to choose from, but also, a variety of price points. You can literally find pieces for less than $10 and you can find pieces for over $100. The first step in my decision-making is deciding exactly how much I want to spend. I always set a hard stop or maximum amount I want to spend both on sports bras and on leggings. The general rule of thumb I have is to spend no more than $25 on sports bras and no more than $40 on leggings. For some folks, dropping triple digits on a pair of leggings is no big deal, but I set a budget on my activewear. Lots of times, I’ve been lucky to find high-end designer activewear for a fraction of the price through other third-party retailers such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Sierra, 6pm, Nordstrom Rack, Hautelook, Rue La La, and Poshmark. I’m not necessarily dedicated to one particular store or brand, as long as it fits my budget, I’m down for it!
Does It Look Cute?
No matter what we have on, nobody ever wants to go out looking bad. When I buy my activewear, I want it to be an extension of what I would normally wear any other time and at the very least, it needs to look good. I like things that are not only eye-catching while they’re on the clothing rack, but it needs to look good on me too. If not, it stays in the store.
How Does It Fit & Do I Feel Comfortable Wearing It During My Workout?
I’m a tall, curvy woman. My workouts are intense. I need my clothing to cover everything that I wouldn’t want my fellow gym members to see. That means, when I squat, my leggings need to stick to me… no selling crack over here! When I jump, my boobs need to remain in my bra… no nip slips or spillage allowed! Ladies, let me take you to a time when you thought it would be cool to wear the skimpiest of outfits or the shortest of miniskirts to an outing. You know, the type that if you moved just a bit, you spent the whole time at that outing pulling and adjusting your clothing to ensure that none of your unmentionables would make a guest appearance? Do you remember how uncomfortable you were the whole time you wore it? Do you remember how annoying it was to not be able to totally let loose and enjoy yourself simply because you were too self-conscious about your attire? Exactly… I cannot afford to feel that way in the gym while I’m training, otherwise my whole session is trashed. So when I purchase my active apparel, you better believe that I test them out by doing my deepest squats, my highest jumps… hell, I even twerk a little bit to test the fit and make sure that when I move, my leggings and sports bra will move with me – no matter where I go.
Does It Offer the Right Support for the Workout I’m Doing?
My workout sessions are almost always high-impact and involve heavy strength training. Because of this, when I choose my sports bras, I always make sure to double check the support level on my sports bras. It’s important to pay attention to the support level when purchasing a sports bra. Medium and high support sports bras are my go-to’s. I would never, because of the type of training I do, wear a light support sports bra because that would be the equivalent of me wearing a tank top. These ta-tas need to be held in place.
What Type of Material Is It Made of?
When I choose activewear, I look for pieces that offer a ton of compression, a ton of stretch, and moisture-wicking ability. My activewear needs to “fit me like a glove” and be flattering. I find the best success with polyester / spandex blends. Cotton active apparel is generally a no for me. It doesn’t give me the fit I need, and cotton, because of it’s absorbency, tends to hold moisture, and subsequently, odors.
Does It Suit My Personal Style?
When it’s all said and done, whenever you buy clothing, you have to be sure that the statement it makes is true to who you are. If I don’t like a particular color, I would not purchase active apparel in that color – even if it meets all of the other criteria I’ve specified. In general, when I buy clothes, I try to stay away from things that are too on trend or too much of a fad. I value longevity and versatility so that I can get more bang for my buck. I don’t like mesh paneled activewear so I don’t buy it. I don’t find single-strapped bras to be very practical so I tend to stay away from that as well. Do you love to wear things that are loud and colorful? Perhaps you could invest in pieces that are bold and attention-grabbing. Do you love to show off your legs? You might lean more towards shorts and capris instead of full length leggings. Do you have an amazing sock collection that you’d love to show off during your workout? You can wear them over your leggings to ensure that they get noticed. Your clothes and the way you dress are an extension of you. The same should apply to your activewear.
Buying activewear doesn’t have to be a daunting process, but if you consider the factors that I’ve mentioned, you’re sure to find pieces that you’re sure to love and that will last you a long time.