You wear activewear to go to the store, to hang out with friends and perhaps even to head into the office — so what are you supposed to wear to the gym? Activewear has become so comfortable and stylish that it is appropriate to wear almost anywhere. Yet, when activewear is your default outfit for so much of your life, you might not relish the idea of wearing your favorite pieces during a serious sweat session.
Fortunately, you don’t have to. Here are a few ideas for keeping your day-to-day activewear separate from the clothes you wear to work out.
Look at the Fabrics and Fits of Your Activewear
Activewear comes in a wide variety of fabrics, from ribbed cotton to shiny synthetics. While you might choose the fabrics that look the best when it comes to the activewear you put on for your everyday life, for the gym, you need to wear fabrics that will perform well during your workout. Generally, this means you want fabrics that will wick sweat and other moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and preventing chafing. Additionally, you probably want your workout clothes to breathe, which will help your body maintain a stable internal temperature and prevent overheating that could put your health at risk. You do not want fabrics that will restrict your movement, but you also do not want fabrics that will become loose over time, which could be distracting and dangerous during your workout. Finally, you should probably prioritize fabrics that are resistant to odors and bacteria.
Some of the best activewear materials for working out in include:
- Bamboo fiber. Made from natural fibers, bamboo activewear checks every box, and additionally, it is made sustainably from renewable resources.
- Nylon. One of the first-ever synthetic fibers remains one of the best, appropriate for any type of workout in any season.
Some of the materials to reserve for non-workout activewear include:
- Spandex. Though spandex became a popular workout material in the late 1900s, the truth is that it is not appropriately moisture-wicking or breathable, and it easily loses its stretch and shape.
- Cotton. Cotton holds moisture against the skin, so it is one of the worst fabric choices for working out in. However, cotton is exceedingly cute, so it makes for excellent everyday-wear.
In addition to the fabric, you should pay close attention to how your activewear fits. It should go without saying that there are many activewear styles that are not well-suited to working out in. For example, tube, halter and one-shoulder tops generally will not provide enough support during high-impact, high-intensity exercise. Likewise, flairs and wide-leg bottoms will likely be burdensome during workouts, as they will prevent easy movement of your legs. You can buy activewear that follows trends, but you probably do not want to wear these pieces to the gym. Instead, standard workout styles, like tight leggings and a strong sports bra, are best.
Work Out in Your Outdated Activewear
Activewear trends come and go, sometimes faster than other fashion cycles. More likely than not, you have more than a few activewear pieces that are no longer in style, which means you would be loath to wear them on errands or to the office. Fortunately, it matters much less what you look like while you are working out. Regardless of whether you exercise in a gym around others or at home in solitude, you can put on your older, more outdated activewear without feeling insecure about your stylishness. Then, you can replace those pieces in your wardrobe with new women’s activewear in the current trends.
Learn How to Clean Your Activewear
Unless you have an unlimited activewear budget, you need to be careful how you clean your activewear. Because of their unique properties, activewear fabrics can degrade quickly if they are not properly cared for; they can develop lasting stains and odors, and they can lose their stretch and shape, making them overall uncomfortable and unsightly. Here are a few steps to help you keep up your activewear:
- Presoak. To prevent the buildup of stains and odors, soak your activewear in a sink or tub of cold water and white vinegar, mixed four-to-one, for about 30 minutes before washing.
- Wash inside-out. Because most of the grime is located inside the clothes, turn activewear inside-out before placing in the washing machine.
- Set the washing machine. Run a gentle cycle with cold water, which will reduce damage to the fibers of your athleticwear.
- Air dry. If you do not have a clothesline, lay your athleticwear flat to dry on a rack or counter. You may use a dryer on the lowest heat setting possible, but you might notice damage over time.
Activewear is life — so you need to choose your activewear carefully and care for it properly. With the right fabrics and fit, you will feel great wearing your activewear inside and outside the gym.