Basic, High-Quality Workout Clothes for the (Not) Basic, High-Quality Woman
When it comes to fitness, I don’t care what you say — gear is motivating. And I mean, it makes sense. When you’re partaking in exercise or fitness or working out or whatever you want to call it, 9 times out of 10, you’re doing it to look better so you feel better about how you look. So why not feel good about how you look while doing it?
Did any of that make sense?
Basically, the right piece of athletic wear can make or break an entire workout. I know this holds especially true for fashion-forward ladies like myself. Call it shallow or ridiculous, but I can lay out a workout outfit the night before I’m supposed to get up for a class, wake up, remember what I laid out to wear, and be like “Ew. Fuck it. I’m not going.” Insane? Yes. More than likely something a lot of you do, too? Yes. Try and sit here and tell me that getting new workout clothes doesn’t make you want to get decked out and go walk your local walking/biking trail or stretch your booty in a yoga class to show off your gear. TRY IT. I DARE YOU.
My point is — what you wear to workout matters. Maybe not all, but a lot. If you don’t feel cool, comfortable, and ready to kick ass, you won’t. Over the years, I feel like I’ve tried every fitness brand under the sun. I’m always intrigued by the bells and whistles brands offer in terms of tank tops and cool shorts and dope sneakers, but when I look back at all the money I’ve wasted on workout clothes I’ve worn once and never again, it makes me ill. I tried Nike. I tried adidas. I obviously tried lululemon. But I gotta tell ya — I’ve never fallen in love with any of them. They never felt like “me,” even if their sole purpose is for me to sweat in, on, and around and not cater to my identity. I noticed I was consistently being pulled toward a much more minimalist approach to workout clothes. Simple. Straightforward. Dare I say…plain? Thusly why the top three brands I now stick to (literally and figuratively) (gross) when it comes to exercise are Outdoor Voices, GAP, and Girlfriend Collective.
These three brands have individually proven to me that they fit me the best, make me feel the best, and help me perform my best. All three are very minimal, and that’s the way I like it — I don’t need all the bells and whistles. I just need comfortable, good quality stuff with reasonable price points, and I’ll be on my way via a nice, steady powerwalk.
Oh and before I share all my picks with you guys, I’m gonna do the unthinkable and share my measurements with you so you can more safely order offline: 5’4”, currently 147ish (down 5 pounds from low carb this past month and gonna keep going!), 32DDD, muscular legs, typically a 4 or 6/S or M, and usually always a small in workout bottoms and medium in tops.
I like tanks, don’t get me wrong. But with the KP on my arms and how smelly my pits tend to get, I lean more toward actual t-shirts when it comes to working out. That said, the only tank I’ve ever really gravitated toward are the Breathe ones by GAP (pictured on the far right). For t-shirts, though. Well. I’ve searched high and low for the perfect workout tee for YEARS and have found it in these two very similar styles from Girlfriend Collective and Outdoor Voices. Both are lightweight, semi-cropped, and breezy as can be. Also crew necks because bigger boobs + v-necks + working out = nah. I am obsessed with these tees — like want to throw away every tee that isn’t them and load up on only these obsessed.
And speaking of big boobs, the headache of finding a supportive enough sports bra is a never-ending nightmare. UNTIL NOW. The answer? HIGH NECKLINES. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this, but high necklines on a sports bra are IMPERATIVE for big boobies. To be transparent, the bra I love the most from OV is called the Key Bra and FOR SOME REASON, it’s not being made right now?! I literally just bought 4 colors in it a few months ago, and found out over the weekend that the production of it is on hold for now. Never fear, though, because their TechSweat Crop and Athena Crop are basically identical and just as amazing. Legitimately, I won’t wear any of my old bras anymore. GAP also makes a stellar high neckline sports bra. Bottom line: The high neckline is where it’s at. When you have titties, the less chance they have of bouncing up and assaulting you mid-workout the better, and the high neckline stops that dead in its tracks.
I’ve admitted how much I sweat from my crotch more times than I’d like to… admit. It’s the reason why I can basically only ever wear black workout bottoms (sometimes black and white or a SUPER colorful, bright pattern but never grey, white, or any other fun color). I found the first pair of shorts at OV over the weekend, and I am FUCKING. OBSESSED. To be clear, they are not a high-intensity short. They’re more of a taking the dog on a walk or running errands type of short, but my god — they are so insanely comfortable and HAVE POCKETS (ideal for dog walks when you have your phone in-tow). Love them. I also just got a pair of their new FreeForm shorts (green), and they’re like wearing butter but butter you can move and groove in. They also come up SUPER HIGH, which is tight for the girls that like to rock the sports bra minus the shirt look (which I did in pilates last week and felt so cool, but immediately put my shirt back on when class was over to pretend like it never happened). Something to note: They run super big. I took an XS and am usually a S in all workout bottoms.
The leggings are by Girlfriend Collective and are just so perfect? They come in 13 colors. Yes. 13. I got them for free when GC launched a few years ago, and they (plus their friends) are always heavy in my rotation. They’re my leggings I wash immediately after a workout so I can wear them again the very next day, and I’ll get really angry at myself when I forget to wash them. I also love their running shorts (pictured in the bottom right corner). All just super solid, straightforward basic bottoms.
It trips me the fuck out that so many girls don’t wear any sort of anything on their hair/head when they workout. Like, I literally can’t NOT wear something. The front of my head gets so insanely sweaty and disgusting, and I’m in awe that I seem to be the weird one always sporting a headband of sorts. Oh well — I AM WHAT I AM. I know I said earlier that lululemon doesn’t do it for me, and they don’t. However, theirs are the only headbands I own. They’re high quality and very thick, and any other brand I’ve dabbled in to keep my sopping wet curls out of my face has been an utter disappointment. If I’m not wearing a Lulu headband, I’m wearing my OV Doing Things hat because, duh. It’s the best hat AND you can actually wear sunglasses with it, without it getting all wonky (big plus). I love it so much.
Those are all the big hitters: bras, tops, bottoms, hair accessories. As for all the other stuff, I wear these Asics (which are ugly as sin, but the only shoe that helped correct my shin splint problem and are unfortunately super comfortable), I rock my FitBit Versa with a velcro strap because it’s the most comfortable and convenient in terms of sweating and showering, I use a waist leash to walk with Cece because there’s nothing like being hands-free on a dog walk, and I want this sweatshirt so fucking bad and will probably have already ordered it by the time you read this post.
I hope all this info has helped guide you in your approach to workout clothes. It really takes a village to find the best of the best, and I truly consider everything I’ve shared with you guys today the best in terms of comfort, style, and price point. Hit me up on the ‘gram if you buy anything and LURVE it. Or even if you hate it. I wanna know either way.
Happy working out!