For any active person, lots of athletic clothes are a must. Finding the right kind of clothes, though, can be underratedly difficult. Often if you love your workout clothes, you’ll love your workouts just as much. I mean, clearly the best part of exercising is looking good doing it! (Ah, that is, like, half true.)
That being said, no piece of clothing is worth feeling uncomfortable. Below are my thought processes with each item of apparel, and usually it depends on the type of activity I am doing. Despite all this, do not forget that at the end of the day, it is all about what works for YOU, not what works for someone else.
I like to think of athletic tops in two groups, which are the dry-fit ones and then the cotton tees. Dry-fit is perfect for hot summer days; they help a ton with sweating, keeping you cool, and drying fast. Good places to get these are Athleta, Lucy, and Lululemon. I wear cotton tees on cooler days, especially when I just want something looser. Color matters, too, as some colors show off sweat stains exponentially more. Colors such as navy and white won’t show as easily compared to, say, gray.
If you’re exercising in heat, wearing light colors is the best choice. White will reflect the heat and keeps you cooler compared to black, which absorbs the heat and therefore keeps you warmer. Lastly, when it comes to short sleeves vs. tank tops, do what you like best. Covering shoulders is a good idea for sun protection, but tank tops can be great on those unbelievably hot days.
Ah, athletic shorts are wonderful in so many ways; the key to finding the right pair is simply choosing the styles (and brand) you like best. For example, I specifically like shorts with waists I don’t have to fold over a bunch of times. My preference for brands are Gap Body, Athleta, and Lululemon. You can literally wearing athletic shorts on a Saturday to do errands, etc.
Another option is to wear a skirt, especially if you are not a fan of shorts. Tennis skirts are easy to move in and also super flattering. My favorite is white from Athleta. 3/4 leggings are also an option; good ones are from Lululemon and Nordstrom, too.
To put it simply, sports bras should be comfortable. I didn’t realize this until quite late because I never liked how tight they felt against my body, but at the same time I did know people who lounged wearing sports bras. It was not until later that I found out my reasoning because not liking them was because I wasn’t looking for the right fit. Some good places to look are Brooks, Lululemon, Athleta, Under Armour, and Lucy.
For me, “styling” my hair before a workout entails throwing it up in a [godawful] ponytail at 6:00 in the morning. Even when I exercise later in the day, I still just throw my hair up. My main goal is to get my hair out of my face, and I occasionally wear a headband to facilitate this. I love the Ivivva and Lululemon ones. Another useful hairstyle is two french braids.
It is so, so important to have good shoes. I cannot stress this enough. My coach tells us, as runners, that we need to get new shoes once a year; shoes wear out after a few seasons. You can definitely feel the difference between an old and new pair of shoes.
There are specialized running stores where you can walk in, and the employees literally pick out the best shoes for you based upon how your feet move when you walk. It’s kind of amazing that way. My last pair were Saucony, and my new ones now are New Balance. I also have a pair of Nikes, but I don’t wear them to run since they don’t have as good support.