If you’re like me, you’ve probably been working out in the same old clothes, free t-shirts, old sweatpants…you know the uniform! When I first started my workout journey, in order to make the process of getting to the gym as easy as possible, I didn’t fuss over what I was wearing, as long as I matched and the outfit was clean, it was a go! I actually kept wearing the same clothes, even after losing 50+ pounds, just tying them as the became to big. There was no reason for this other than being lazy, and as I began to enjoy and look forward to my time in the gym, I wanted to also step up my style! I slowly began building my workout wardrobe and realized that looking nice, feeling good in the clothes, helped me to feel and perform better during my workouts! I also began to use the purchase of new workout clothes or equipment as a reward to my wellness goals, vs rewarding myself with food or cheat days. For example, when I hit 300 miles run in my new running journey, I bought myself a new pair of Nike tennis shoes for working out!
Three things I consider when I’m purchasing new active gear:
1. Quality: Will it the stand the test of time? Well at least the test of my workouts? Too often have a gotten less expensive items and I am often reminded, “buy cheap, buy twice”, I had to replace items that either fell apart at the seams or didn’t last past 1 wash. I like to read reviews to help with this or buy familiar brands/from familiar stores.
2. Cost: Not to contradict looking for great quality, I also am mindful of costs as I will be sweating in these items, so I prefer to not break the bank. I shop during sales, I use coupons, I shop on sites like Amazon, etc. to make sure that I am getting a great deal!
3. Fit: “Does it pass the squat test?” The squat test is exactly what it sounds like, when you get into a squat position or any position with extreme bending and lower body movement, do the pants stay in place? Also, is the item comfortable? What is the material? If it’s a sports bra, is it built for high impact vs medium vs low? I stick to high impact as I do a lot of HIIT workouts!
So, with all of these qualifications, where do I shop? See below for 11 recco’s for purchasing your activewear sets:
- NIKE: one of my favorite brands, Nike is a well known and well respected brand in the fitness industry, most of our favorite athletes train in Nike, so if it’s good enough for Serena Williams, it’s good enough for me! I love Nike’s sports bras, the Nike PRO line, and their various tops! In my opinion, the quality of the shoes have gone down when compared to price increases, but these remain my go-to shoe brand! I typically shop for Nike items at my local Nike store, my favorite place-the Nike outlet which offers deep discounts, or at retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods!
Amazon: I am sure everyone who’s on social media has heard about the Amazon tik tok leggings, but even before this new craze, Amazon was one of my go-to sites for finding workout gear! From sports bras, to workout pants to cute active tops, Amazon has a lot of stylish workout gear at a range of prices depending on your budget! Just search “workout gear for women (or men)” or “workout tights”, etc. I’ve gotten outfits for $23 USD or separates for under $10USD thanks to Amazon!
TJX Companies (TjMaxx & Marshalls): You can really get some “steals” shopping in TjMaxx or Marshalls, from name brand workout clothes to designer-less fab styles, all for great prices! I’ve actually been shopping less at these stores due to the covid-19 pandemic and loving amazon and Fabletics at the moment, but you can always find a cute pair of 90 degree leggings for $12.99 USD or so in one of these stores!
Fabletics: Despite their subscription service, which might be a turnoff for some, Fabletics has really cute and quality workout gear! I purchased a few workout pants and tops from them a few year’s ago and it remains of my favorites. Recently, I did another haul and am super excited to workout in my new stylish gear! New members qualify for 2/$24 USD leggings + discounts on other products like tops and sports bras and they have options for both men and women! If you are worried about the subscription service, know that monthly you can opt to skip the month and you won’t be charged, or if you forget to opt out, you’ll be given a credit toward your next purchase. (Alternative is to cancel your membership). Head to their website HERE for more details and information.
Shein: I understand that there has been so much controversy around this company, in addition to the harms of fast fashion on our environment, but I’d be dishonest if I didn’t mention a few of the items I’ve purchased from this site! If you’re looking to avoid fast fashion, definitely check out Fabletics or Amazon for similar styles and colors as seen on Shein for comparable prices! I always read through reviews before purchasing anything from this site and $100’s of dollars later, I’ve never been disappointed with any of my purchases or shipping time.
Dick’s Sporting Goods : Their slogan, “every season starts at Dick’s” is so accurate, I find myself, at the beginning of every season, updating my wardrobe and Dick’s is one the stores I will pop in to for new hoodies/sweatshirts during fall and winter and then in the summer heading in for new tees and tanks! Dick’s carries all of the top brands from Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Calia for example! They often have sales or deals available so be sure to sign up for their email list to be alerted!
Gym Shark: For a while, I feel like this brand was the latest and greatest as tons of women rushed to grab a “gym shark” outfit, and understandably considering the looks and quality. A pair of leggings will run you $55USD on average but the quality commands the price as you’ll have these items as staples in your active-wear closet, as long as you take good care of your garments.
Nordstrom: If you’re a frequent shopper, you’ll want to put those “nordy bucks” to good use…but even if you aren’t, you can still get some goodies (click HERE for more information on Nordstrom’s Rewards Program). Nordstrom carries a range of brands, but one the standouts is Zelle, Nordstrom’s brand that can be compared to Lululemon! Leggings can range from $35USD -$75USD, in addition to sports bras and tees!
Athleta: If you didn’t know, Athleta is owned by Gap Inc, making high quality workout clothes exclusively for women. The quality warrants the higher price tag, but I often like to wait until they mark their items on clearance before making any purchases. Gap also owns Old Navy, who sells more affordable, yet jut as fashionable with good quality, activewear. Old Navy is another store that I will wait until a decent sale (like their semi-annual sale) before purchasing!
Target: Okay, hear me out, similar to Amazon fashion, Target has a lot to offer and for not a lot of money! Target’s All in Motion and JoyLab brands, amongst the other brands carried, offer affordable dupes to some of your high end favs like Lululemon.
Asos : I tend to get items that will be low impact workouts or activities like hiking, but know that Asos carries brands like Reebok, Puma and Nike and carries a wide range of sizes!
Place’s on my list to order from:
Mezam Apparel: Afro-Athleisure Fashion Brand
Dressed in Joy: Statement making athleisure
Other fitness related brands I’m currently loving:
Fit With Curves: Heavy Resistance Band
Note: This list will be updates as I find more retailers or small-owned businesses to shop with for activewear. I am always taking suggestions of new places to check out, so please drop any reccos in the comments below.