Whether you’re a fan of exercising or you can’t stand the thought of joining a gym, you probably have some workout clothes in your closet that you wear pretty regularly. Athleisure, which Merriam-Webster defines as “casual clothing designed to be worn for both exercising and for general use,” has become wildly popular over the last several years, and it’s an industry that doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.
But finding workout clothes that are affordable, comfortable, and suitable to your style isn’t always an easy task.
There seem to be a million options out there these days, and it’s hard to know where to start, especially because the majority of brands are online and you don’t get the chance to try on the leggings or sports bra in person.
As someone who has been teaching yoga for years and works out every day, I have my fair share of experience when it comes to workout clothes. I know what fits well and what doesn’t. I know which brands are worth dishing out the extra buck for.
So I’ve put together a little guide to help you navigate the athleisure world, because there’s so much out there — and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
For starters, remember that the material and quality of your leggings matter.
I get it, you’re not exactly overflowing with cash. But even if you’re trying to save some money, it pays to look closely at the material you’re investing in.
See what those leggings are made of and how it feels on your skin, etc. Because the more durable and comfortable your workout clothes are, the longer they will last, which means you won’t have to dish out any money any time soon to replace them.
Go for spandex, lycra, polyester, or nylon. Although cotton is a very breathable fabric, try not to work out in leggings that are made mostly with cotton. They won’t give you the stretch and movement you need when you’re getting your sweat on.
Outdoor Voices is a fantastic brand for everyday workout gear.
You can find just about anything from Outdoor Voices — leggings, tops, one pieces, shorts, jackets. You name it, they’ve got it. Their clothes are classic but not boring, and the fabric feels like butter on your skin.
If you want to save some money, go with one of their kits, which you can build yourself. Choose from everyday recreation, sweaty recreation, or bendy recreation. It may seem like a lot of money upfront, but trust me when I say that their clothes will last you a long time, and they won’t lose their shape.
Carbon 38 is another high quality brand that’s worth investing in.
Some of their apparel is high-end, so you won’t be able to look at the price tag without feeling light-headed, but take a deep breath, because there is a lot of stuff from Carbon 38 that is affordable, especially if you look at their sale section. And I firmly believe that this brand is worth every penny.
Their leggings are comfortable and form to your body extremely well. They also hold up great in the wash, so you don’t have to worry about the quality deteriorating over time. Plus, they have a wide range of styles and patterns, and each of them are versatile enough to go with the gym clothes you already have. My favorite are the mesh seamless leggings.
Insider tip: You get 15 percent off your first purchase. Also, they currently have a 25 percent-off sale happening, so hop to it!
Shop at Liquido Active for super comfy pants.
You want workout clothes that will move with you as you move your body, and Liquido Active can offer you leggings that will do just that. I’m head-over-heels for the Ava Legging, which has a high-waisted band that make me feel supported and a slimming effect on the thigh area. One pair will meet all your activity needs, and they will last you for a very long time.
You won’t find anything from either of these brands that will disappoint, especially when it comes to pants, shorts, and sports bras. Noli has some of the most comfy bras I’ve ever worn (and I’m picky about my bras.)
Here’s a little tip: Invest in a bodysuit from Alala. You’ll pay one price for an entire outfit, rather than just for one piece. You can wear it to yoga, to the gym, to the beach, even out to brunch if you style it the right way. I wish I could live in my Alala bodysuit. The good news is they’re currently on sale!
When it comes to yoga clothes, go for K-DEER.
I can’t sing enough praises about K-DEER. Their leggings are like a second skin, and they have so many fun patterns. They always have a sale going on, so you can totally afford what they’ve got. Whether it’s in a hot yoga class or a sweaty cycling session, their pants, shorts, and tops will carry you a long way. If you take a pic of your new leggings, make sure you use the hashtag #StripeSquad to join in on all the fun!
Most importantly, think quality over quantity.
If you don’t have any workout clothes you like or feel comfortable in, you’re not going to get excited about exercising. After many years of trial and error—and many years of wearing old cotton leggings to the gym—I can confidently say that it’s much more worth spending a little extra money now on high quality stuff, because that’s exactly what will save you money in the long run.
Keep in mind when you shop with brands like these, you have access to useful customer service, so if your clothes don’t fit, they’ll help you find something that does.
Get yourself all geared up, then get out there and move your body!