Open Letters

An Open Letter to Girls Who Dress Up For The Gym

Dear Girls Who Dress Up For the Gym,

Oh Sweetie (and I mean “sweetie” in the most condescending way you could possibly imagine, probably accompanied by pursed lips and a shake of my head). Don’t be that girl! You know, that girl in the perfectly coordinated Lycra spandex and the just barely-there make-up and precisely pieced up just-so hair that doesn’t even move a centimeter while she gracefully swings her arms on the elliptical machine. Don’t do that! We’re at the gym! A place where people are required to dress like slobs! A place where excessive sweating and body odor are not only expected, but welcome! A place reserved specifically for people to wear mismatched clothes and no make-up and disheveled hair and then huff and puff and get red in the face and perspire in awkward locations while increasing the angle on the treadmill and hopefully not falling off!

Now that I’m what some might consider “an adult”, the prevalence of the Girl Who Dresses Up For the Gym has certainly diminished. It was much worse when I was in college. College girls are the biggest offenders of dressing up for the gym. I once remember seeing a girl high-kick on a stairmaster with a ribbon in her hair and a popped collar on her Ralph Lauren polo. Do you want to know what I wear to the gym? I wear the really attractive combination of old leggings that have stared to pill and have a hole in the knee with an over-sized ratty t-shirt that says “Raoul” on it and flaunts my membership to the Berwick Academy Pep Band (I don’t even know if Berwick Academy is a real place, you guys).  Usually I go to the gym in the morning, when I have just woken up so my eyes are puffy and bloodshot and my hair looks like Bob Marley stuck his finger in an electrical socket and then got blown up in a house fire. That is totally normal. That is the look of a normal girl who begrudgingly makes time to exercise. I mean, I should get an award for merely showing up at the gym (and so should everyone who ever works out, for the record). It’s like if you dress up or actively make yourself look pretty prior to working out you’re just flaunting it in my face and also you’re probably not even going to work out, so get off that machine it’s my turn!

The gym is not a place to look your best. The gym is a place where you do annoying and often painful things to your body with the knowledge that an hour from now you’re going to look great and hopefully a month from now, even better.

Part of the fun in going to the gym is that by the end of your workout you look so terrible and wretched that the getting-ready process turns into your own Pretty Woman-style makeover. Or it’s like you’re Tai from Clueless and “you could be a farmer in those clothes,” but in less than two hours you’ve transformed into Cher, “nice stems” and all! You get a before and after montage everyday if you start out looking gross. I mean, that alone makes it worthwhile!



Featured Image from Clueless, via Breaking Curfew

  • Charlotte Scott

    I think people have the right to look nice wherever they please. If that’s the gym, then so be it.

  • Paulina LadyBug Orozco

    Can we apply this also to the girls who look absolutely amazing for 7 am class? (Please?)

  • Sepideh Zarrinkelk

    Everyone is allowed to look the way they want. If someone spends/wastes a shit ton of time to look good in the gym it’s their time not mine so I have no right to whine about that. I don’t care and judge about stuff that’s not my business.

  • Jules ‘Ilikeanani Kd

    Lately on this site I’m seeing an awful lot of women telling other women how they should or shouldn’t look. What’s up with that?

    • Sepideh Zarrinkelk

      EXACTLY! I don’t get the ‘women hate’ that is going on lately.

    • Katherine Costantini

      I’ve noticed that too, to the point where I was seriously wondering if it was satire (those articles were serious). I think this article was light-hearted and funny because the way that some girls (and dudes) dress at the gym (made up, perfectly coiffed, coordinated outfit) contrasts to what they’re doing at the gym (moving their body in sometimes awkward and strange positions, sweat, body odor, red faces). I agree that women should wear what they want and I read this article as, “You don’t have to wear a perfectly-popped Ralph Lauren polo shirt! You can dress in big t-shirts and leggings! It’s totally cool here!”

  • Elisabeth Bourgeois

    It’s the rant page. Go to raves if you want the women empowerment stuff.

    • Elisabeth Bourgeois

      Oh, I remember one time when I was at the gym and this women was made up, from head to toe! And she was hauling ass! Her makeup was running down her face, it looked like someone poured water down her face!!! It was crazy!

    • Jules ‘Ilikeanani Kd

      Why should we tolerate this kind of judgment *any*where?

    • Katherine Costantini

      …but what if the rant was about the lack of female empowerment?

    • Megan Cary

      it also shows up on the main page with the rest of the articles.

    • Nichole Mikkelson

      Holy cow! Are you seriously telling me you’ve never been a little self-conscious when you’re somewhere dressed like a slob and you see women dressed to the nines? I found this article relatable, honest and funny. I doubt it was to abolish women empowerment into oblivion.

    • Britt Bulens

      This was funny! I’ve written about the same thing! :)

  • Holly Benson

    Dang you girls are sensitive.

  • Haintso Rakouth

    ah the gym. As technology evolved so does the fitness attire. Yes I still stay with my gym and t-shirt time to time but the new spandex or dri fit do wonder. Sometimes i think girls like to look nice at the gym because the new fitness attire has now new clothes that look nice to were outside to the gym as well. Though they are time my mind says “how in the heck are you going to work out in this outfit and have full make up?” i mean c’mon we all say that time to time.

    But there this too “Are you there to workout or just to do a runaway show?”

    This article was interesting.


  • Tatiana Altaz

    I spend my time getting ready for gym everyday (no, I don’t go to gym everyday, i’m too lazy for that, but) and I love being a beautiful girl everywhere I go, even at the gym! What I don’t understand is these girls who dress like they were cleaning their houses… It’s so… so… don’t worrying about itself, don’t worrying about her beauty… I DON’T UNDERSTAND PEOPLE WHO DON’T SPEND YOUR OWN TIME TO DRESS UP YOURSELF EVERYDAY, BETTER THAN EVER. I waste my time and I’m proud of myself. :)

    • Tatiana Altaz

      Oh! And I have to say: I don’t wear makeup at the gym. This is really weird and unnecessary.

    • Elisabeth Miller

      Some women don’t see “being beautiful” as a top priority.

  • Katherine Costantini

    I used to go to the gym in college (it was free and a block from my apartment) at like, 6, and I liked it. I dressed in shirts that were stained, washed my face, and put my hair up in a ponytail without brushing it or and I didn’t care if dudes or other girls cared because I was focused on my workout. Working out at 6 AM at the university gym was awesome because nobody cared! I think one dude might have smiled at me, but he could have been laughing at my red face, it’s hard to say (and I don’t care either way).

    (Now that I’ve graduated, I make my living room my gym and grunt while Jillian Michaels tells me that I can’t quit unless I’m puking. It’s awesome in an entirely different way in that I would be totally embarrassed if people watched me try and do jumping lunges because of my lack of coordination.)

  • Rocielle Deleon

    This article made me think of my instructor for S.T.E.P. aerobics who yelled out “Working out aint fabulous!!” as we were huffing through a routine hahah :]

  • Nicole Stuart

    Sounds like you should concentrate more on your workout! Who cares THIS much about women you don’t even know?!?!? – and I’m certainly NOT a dress-up-for-the-gym type of gal. I’m with all the others commenting that you (and HelloGiggles) should be less concerned with judging other women! Take this type of blogging to another site…and HelloGiggles, you guys need to read this feedback and take the non-judgmental stuff to heart….no one is giggling over this blog:(

  • Liz Minnix

    I find that if I wear something that looks decent when I go to the gym I feel better about myself. I’m also in the “no pajamas to school” party for the same reason. I never put on make up but I do wear a pair of running shorts or capri spandex that fit nice with a top (usually a technical tee that I have gotten from a race) so that when I look in the mirror during my spin class I can think “I look good!” not “I look like a slob :/” Plus, that way when there is a hot guy doing crunches next to me I don’t have to worry about the ketchup stains on my ratty old tee!

    • Ksenia Vassilieva

      Exactly. Like everywhere else, girls dress well to feel good.

  • Samie Covington
  • Hernandez Diaz

    ~I agree with you~I find it funny that girls like to get all dolled up at the gym~when most men are all sweaty and icky and stinky~would a girl really like to attract a guy that sweating profusely, I would not~

  • Hernandez Diaz

    It’s the gym, its Like P.E. Class you Paid to skip~look ugly and comfy~

  • Sandra Ann Sanchez

    Interesting… wasn’t this written a week ago? Not that this is a completely unique rant, but I couldn’t help but notice the similarity here.

  • Caycie Waddell

    I notice this too…but even worse are the people who chit chat on their cell phones while doing a half-ass workout on the cardio machines. Zip it or go outside and free up the machine for someone else.

  • Holly Paton

    I am totally there with you if we are talking about a morning workout! If I am going to shower after and put on real clothes then why bother with makeup, etc. HOWEVER, I usually head to the gym directly after class and I also ride my bike to class, so I am typically wearing my “gym clothes” to class and through the city on my bike. Therefore, instead of looking like a slob the entire day every day, I DO go out of my way to invest in the cute workout clothes and I will be wearing some makeup and my hair will be purposefully put up. And if I look good while I am there I feel better and it makes me want to keep going. AND I bust my ass just as hard!

  • Sophie Iannuzzi

    All’s I know is Amber has some crazy C-toe going on in that photo………

  • Sara Mallory

    I get this point of view, but it kind of rubbed me the wrong way too. 1) I go to the gym straight from work, so yes, I have make up on, and yeah, my hair’s probably not too bad either. But it’s definitely going up in a topknot for the workout. 2) I think feeling awesome at the gym is really important – and if cute workout clothes – I mean, who can resist Lululemon? – are what works for people, who am I to judge? I don’t think people should wear things non-conducive to exercise because they are cute – tanks with major cleavage and velour sweatsuits a la Juicy come to mind – but that’s ME. if you are psyched on how you look and that gets you pumped to sweat so you can keep looking that way? Rock on, sister. I know that my favorite work out shirt is bright red and dri-fit and nike. Its high tech and awesome, and the red makes me feel powerful, and kick-ass. You know?

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