Hey friends! As a longtime fitness enthusiast and fashion lover, active wear is one of my favorite wardrobe staples.
Whether I’m heading to a workout class or running errands around town, I always like to be dressed in something stylish yet functional. Today I thought I’d share some of my top tips for rocking active wear with confidence and flair.
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Fabrics are Key
When shopping for activewear, pay attention to the fabric. Look for pieces made from moisture-wicking technical fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex blends. These will keep you cool, dry, and comfortable during sweaty workouts. Natural fibers like cotton tend to hold onto moisture, so they’re better for casual wear.
What fabrics are best for activewear?
- Nylon – Nylon is lightweight, stretchy, and quick-drying. It wicks moisture away from the body and resists shrinking. Common in leggings, shorts, and tops.
- Polyester – Polyester holds its shape well and is colorfast. It wicks moisture and dries quickly. Often blended with spandex for stretch. Used in shirts, shorts, and more.
- Spandex/Lycra/Elastane – Provides stretch and flexibility. Usually blended with nylon or polyester. Essential for yoga pants, compression gear, tight-fitting activewear.
- CoolMax and Thermolite – Both synthetic fabrics designed to wick moisture and regulate temperature. Great for gear worn in hot and cold weather.
- Merino Wool – Naturally moisture-wicking and temperature regulating. Soft against skin with limited odor retention. Found in some base layers and hiking socks.
- Supplex – A type of nylon fabric that is very durable and lightweight. Used a lot in athletic shorts and swimwear.
- Mesh – Lightweight mesh panels provide increased breathability and ventilation. Common in tops, shorts, even sneakers.
The ideal activewear fabric will wick sweat, dry quickly, offer stretch, and provide support and coverage during any type of workout or sport. Consider when and where you’ll wear pieces to choose the best textiles.
Active Wear – Mix and Match for Versatility
Build a versatile activewear wardrobe by choosing pieces in basic colors like black, gray, navy and white. This makes it easy to mix and match for different looks. A black legging can be worn with almost any top. A patterned sports bra pairs well with solid leggings. Get creative and have fun with layering different colors and textures as you get dressed.
Here are some places to find matching activewear sets and outfits:
- Activewear brand websites – Many brands like Lululemon, Alo Yoga, Athleta, and Gymshark sell coordinated leggings, bras, and tops designed to be mixed and matched into sets.
- Athletic apparel stores – Stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, and Modell’s carry major activewear brands that offer matching pieces. Shop their workout clothing sections.
- Department store athletic sections – Department stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dillard’s have activewear departments with matching sets.
- Online retailers – Websites like Amazon, Zappos, Eastbay, and 6pm sell a huge variety of activewear from top brands, including matching sets. Great for discounts.
- Fitness fashion bloggers/influencers – Follow social media fitness influencers who often showcase and link to coordinated activewear outfits.
- Athletic wear companies – Brands like Nike and Adidas sell apparel lines with matching designs, logos and colors.
- Workout clothing subscriptions – Services like Ellie, Splits59 and Paragon Fit send monthly athletic apparel that includes coordinated activewear.
- Discount/outlet stores – Check stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and Ross which get brand name activewear sets at discounted prices.
The key is to look for activewear pieces in the same print, color palette or design details to easily mix into cohesive looks. Sets take the guesswork out of building workout outfits!
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Flatter Your Figure
Find activewear silhouettes that flatter your unique shape. For curvy figures, look for leggings with a contoured waistband and bras with molded cups or removable padding. Tall girls should aim for leggings with a longer inseam and slim-cut tops. Petite ladies can avoid oversized shirts that drown them out. Seek out cropped lengths and fitted pieces instead.
What is the best activewear for my body type?
The best activewear for your body type will depend on your unique proportions and shape. Here are some tips:
- Pear shape – Look for leggings with a wide, high-rise waistband to cinch the waist. Avoid super loose or baggy tops. Opt for fitted tops that balance the bottom half.
- Apple shape – Choose leggings with compression that slim and smooth the tummy and thighs. V-neck tops and cross-back bras create a longer, leaner silhouette.
- Hourglass – Go for leggings with side pockets and details to accentuate curves. Scoop neck bras and tops complement an hourglass shape. Avoid boxy cuts.
- Athletic/muscular build – Stretchy leggings with side ankle zips allow them to easily be slipped on over larger thighs and calves. Racerback tank tops show off strong shoulders and arms.
- Tall/long torso – Look for leggings with an extended inseam and tops with extra length for full coverage. Longline sports bras prevent exposed midriffs.
- Petite – Ankle length leggings and cropped tops keep you covered as you move. Curve-hugging fabrics like compression gear work for petite frames.
- Plus size – Seek out brands offering an extensive range of sizes. Look for tummy control fabrics, adjustable waistbands, and supportive bras for larger busts.
Focus on finding activewear in stretchy, supportive fabrics that fit your body’s proportions. Well-fitting pieces will both flatter your shape and allow ease of movement.
Which brands have inclusive and body positive active wear?
- Girlfriend Collective – Sizes XXS-6XL, using recycled materials, transparent about sizing
- Fabletics – Sizes XXS-4X, campaigns feature diverse models, mix & match outfits
- Outdoor Voices – Sizes XXS-3X, focuses on doing activity you love vs needing to look a certain way
- P.E Nation – Sizes XS-XL, bold colors/prints, diversity of models, “made to move” messaging
- Beyond Yoga – Sizes XS-3X, body positive campaigns, adjustable fabrics
- Athleta – Extended plus size range, adaptive fabrics, pride collection, diverse models
- TomboyX – Size charts include AFAB & AMAB measurements, gender-neutral style
- Reebok – Sizes 0-20, bold and vibrant designs/collabs, emphasizes inclusivity
- Strong Athletic – Extended plus sizes, functional minimalist style, gender-free sizing
- FLUX – Sizes 0-26, innovative prints and fabrics, trans and disabled models
- Year Of Ours – Size XS-XXXL, boutique fashion-forward style, body positive mission
Look for brands that offer an inclusive range of sizes, feature diverse models in their campaigns, and emphasize wearing activewear in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Make a Statement
While basic activewear staples are must-haves, don’t be afraid to make a statement with bolder pieces too. Bright colors, fun prints and details like mesh cutouts or strappy backs can add eye-catching flair. Statement socks and sneakers also pull a look together.
Where can I find stylish activewear pieces?
- Athleta – This athletic brand is known for incorporating sleek, feminine details into their workout clothes. Great for versatile pieces that transition from gym to street.
- Outdoor Voices – Features fun pops of color and eye-catching prints on quality performance fabrics. Known for a sporty yet stylish aesthetic.
- Fabletics – Offers mix and match workout outfits in both solids and bold patterns that can be dressed up or down.
- Lululemon – Blends athletic functionality with flattering cuts and colors in their activewear. More boutique-style than sporty.
- Alo Yoga – Luxe, chic activewear with glossy fabrics and elements like mesh cutouts and strappy back details.
- Michi – Sleek, fashion-inspired leggings, bras, jackets and more. Often incorporates mesh, ruching and high necklines.
- Carbon38 – Elevated basics and more daring active pieces with leather-like fabrics, mesh insets, and snakeskin prints.
- Bandier – A multi-brand retailer carrying stylish finds from Athleta, Zella, Le Ore, and beyond. A fashion girl’s activewear dream.
- GapFit – Affordable mixes of solids and prints in a flattering, casual-chic athletic style.
The key is looking for performance wear brands that also focus on making pieces that look and feel special beyond the gym. The options above balance fit, function and fashionable flair.
Accessorize the Look
Add some signature style with activewear-friendly accessories. Big statement earrings and oversized sunglasses look great for outdoor workouts. Baseball caps, headbands and hair ties keep hair under control. And don’t forget the bag – a roomy tote or a hands-free crossbody is perfect for carrying gear and essentials.
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Active Wear – Comfort is Key
No matter how cute your activewear is, comfort should always be the top priority. Make sure pieces fit well and allow free range of motion. Adjust straps, waists and lengths as needed. Stretchy fabrics with compression or seamless constructions prevent chafing. Consider padding for high-impact support. Don’t be afraid to test pieces out with some practice stretches and squats!
What is the most comfortable activewear for working out?
The most comfortable activewear for working out will depend a bit on your personal preferences and the type of exercise you do, but here are some of the key features to look for:
- Stretchy, lightweight fabrics – Look for nylon, polyester, and spandex blends that have plenty of stretch and won’t restrict your movement. Lightweight fabrics help reduce sweat.
- Compression fit – Leggings, tops, etc with a compression fit feel like a second skin providing muscle support and stability as you move. Great for high intensity exercise.
- Seamless construction – Activewear without seams reduces rubbing, chafing and skin irritation during repetitive motions. Look for seamless leggings and bras.
- Moisture-wicking – Fabrics that wick sweat away from your skin and towards the surface will keep you cool and dry. Modal, Coolmax, and Dri-FIT offer moisture management.
- Wide waistbands – A thick, wide waistband on leggings will stay put without digging into your skin. Especially important for curvy body types.
- Racerback bras – Bras with a racerback design reduce pressure on the shoulders while still delivering support for comfortable wear.
- Adjustable straps – Tops and bras with adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit for your shoulders and torso length.
- Breathable mesh – Mesh paneling, especially along the back, adds ventilation so you don’t overheat in key sweat zones.
Prioritize activewear labeled with terms like “comfort”, “freedom of motion” and “stretch” for the most comfortable fit during any and all workouts. Everyone’s comfort needs differ slightly, so try out different fabrics and styles to see what you prefer.
So there you have it – my top tips for looking cute, feeling comfy and staying active in style. Let me know if you have any other favorite activewear tips or brands I should try! Now go get your sweat on in something fab.