As a fitness professional, I pretty much live in gym clothes and half my wardrobe space is dominated by sets of leggings, sports bras, crop tops and shorts. Gym clothing has greatly stepped up its game over the last few years with influences from high street fashion inspiring halter and asymmetric cuts, panelling, zips, cut-outs and so much more.
If you look good, you feel good, so why not look and feel the best even when you’re squatting low or lifting heavy in the gym? From matching sets to mix & match colours and styles, or even mixing brands (it’s not a crime to wear a top from Adanola and leggings from Lulu, but some of you reading this may believe this is a gym wear mistake in itself).
So much of the activewear brands I see offer such a variety of fits, shapes and designs. Any colour you want to wear, you can find, and I LOVE wearing bold colours at the gym and I’m partial to an animal print. Black will always be a winner for everyone as it’s a naturally flattering colour for all skin tones and body shapes. But the colour of your gym clothes should be the least of your worries (unless they are nude, which let’s be frank, those nude hues don’t work for everyone and they certainly don’t work for me.)
It may sound dull, but style over substance doesn’t always apply to activewear. So from a comfort and functionality perspective, here are my top three gym wear mistakes to avoid…
1.Wearing the wrong sports bra *will* make your boobs sag
A HIIT class, as it says in the name, is a high-intensity activity meaning lots of jumping and high-impact moves. In comparison, a Pilates or Yoga class, or even leg day on the gym floor, involves little to no impact.
Different style sports bras offer varying support for your boobs and a lack of support can actually cause several problems whether you have small or large breasts, including severe backache, sagging and irreparable damage to the ligaments and tissue.
My favourite style sports bra for high-impact workouts is one with a front zip. Not only does this style offer complete support, but unlike over-the-head strappy sports bras, you don’t have to contort your body just trying to get it off.
This one from T/ALA has become my new obsession. The thicker back straps offer style, support and comfort while the lockable front zip with protective guard holds everything in place with the right level of compression for jumping around. Plus it has great sustainable efforts – it’s made with 92% recycled polyamide and 8% elastane.
2. Showing off your knickers instead of your curves
So you’ve got yourself a pair of those buttery soft leggings that are super-flattering and so comfortable you want to wear them all the time. Here’s the thing: wearing the wrong or indiscreet underwear under your leggings might just draw more of the wrong attention. No one wants a VPL (visible panty line) situation ruining the gym-look, but don’t worry, I’m not suggesting going commando either – although I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t tried this in the past.
Instead, all hail the seamless non-VPL underwear. Why save them for your going out outfits when your gym leggings are just as worthy? Whether you prefer a high-rise, knicker or a thong, here are my recommendations guaranteed to make you feel confident and comfortable all whilst going undetected.
3. Leggings that aren’t squat AND sweat proof
I appreciate patterned gym leggings are a personal style preference so hear me out. Patterned leggings boast some big advantages when it comes to gym wear mishaps. No one wants to be the butt of all jokes if their leggings fail on the squat-proof test, or don’t have the ability to hide (or at least minimise) your bum sweat – we all get it ladies, in fact, I’m weirdly proud of mine after a HIIT or leg day session.
However, I don’t really like my bum sweat being on show for the world to see so I have a trick up my sleeve that hides this embarrassing sign of a hard workout, so allow me to introduce the patterned legging. Try a patterned legging with a dark coloured base et voila – your butt sweat is hidden.
Plus the right patterned legging can also enhance your curves. These Gymshark ones from the Animal Adapt collection are the ONE! High-waisted (tick), scrunch-bum (tick), sweat-wicking fabric (tick), cherry colour (tick), and the way the animal pattern is bigger on the bum and smaller on the sides creates an illusion effect that makes your bum look perkier and rounder. It’s a big yes from me.
Follow Laura @lauraalicelane