Workout articles, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness advice.

What Not to Wear: Workout Clothes that Don’t Work

workout clothes

When it comes to your workout wardrobe, there are some general tips for selecting the clothes that will help you feel comfortable and confident in the gym. Perhaps equally important, there are also some guidelines to help you decide what not to wear.

Can everyone see your toes? Then no.

Hey, we love flip-flops — at a barbecue or the beach, that is. But at the gym? Not so much. Open-toed options might feel airy when you’re sweating, but they actually present a safety hazard at the gym. It’s easier to get them caught in the machines, and dropping dumbbells or other weights on unprotected toes is not fun.

Baggy isn’t always king.

Loose-fitting workout clothes are fine, but when they get too baggy, they’re simply uncomfortable. They bunch in the wrong places and you spend half your gym time yanking up your old sweats or pulling down a shirt that’s riding up. Go for a fit that makes you feel confident, not one that causes you to fight your clothes during your workout. 

But too tight has its own problems.

When they fit well, form-fitting workout clothes can make you feel great and won’t distract you during your workout like a super slouchy shirt or shorts might. But when they’re too tight, you could be restricting your range of motion — or risking a wardrobe malfunction.

Ditch the shiny stuff.

You look adorable in those big hoop earrings and that necklace hangs just right. But leave them in your gym bag. Any kind of jewelry can get in the way, or worse, get caught in equipment. Even your rings can be a pain (literally) if you’re lifting weights. Pare down as much as possible, and put it on later.

Cotton = stinky sweat monster.

Your favorite concert T-shirt might seem like a perfect workout top. But if it’s 100 percent cotton, you may need to rethink your devotion. Cotton absorbs sweat easily and then holds onto it. That means wet (and smelly) fabric against your skin, causing irritation with every cardio burst. Go for some mixed fabrics instead. You can even wear a sweat-wicking tank top under that cotton shirt and it will help.

Workout Clothes that Work

Think about your workout clothes in the same way you think about fitness equipment — it should work for you without too much effort. If you’re constantly tugging or pulling or are drenched in sweat it might be time to switch up your outfits.