Workout Clothes for Women: Tips for Finding Activewear

girl in store comparing athletic tops

What to wear is a question women wrestle with all the time — and not just when dressing for a day in the office or a night on the town.  Whether you’re just getting started at the gym or an exercise expert, finding workout clothes can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Walk into a sports store and it feels like an endless landscape of lycra this and performance that. No worries; you got this! Here are a few questions to ask when choosing workout clothes that actually work for you.

Can you move in it?

Some lounging clothes are perfect for the gym. Yoga pants, T-shirt, good to go. No visible holes or stains? Bonus! But others may not be as ready for gym time. When you’re choosing an outfit, try replicating movements you’d do during a workout. For example, run in place for a few minutes if you’ll be doing the treadmill. If those yoga pants or leggings start to drift from waist to hips to … well, lower … then keep them for the couch. With shirts, make sure they don’t bunch up under your armpits when you’re swinging your arms — or worse, chafe your skin.

Do you have the right support?

Ladies, let’s talk sports bras. When it comes to workout clothes for women, this is a tough one. There seems to be a kajillion options, from the basic black sports bra to the multi-strap bralette. The best starting point is to think of your activity first then narrow down the choices. For example, you won’t need as much support if you’re lifting weights versus doing cardio. Also, pay attention to how difficult the bra is to take off. Seriously. If it’s tough in the dressing room, think of when you’re a sweaty mess trying to peel that thing over your shoulders. If it’s a workout just to get out of the sports bra, that’s a hard pass.   

Do you feel like working out just by seeing that outfit?

Here’s a test: If you set your workout clothes out on the bed, do you feel psyched to hit the gym? Clothes can actually be a motivational tool to make you feel pumped to exercise. That’s why there are so many fun tops with slogans like “Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow,” “Keep Calm and Work Out” and our favorite, “After This, We’re Getting Tacos.” Consider clothes that make you feel energized even before you get to the gym.

Whether you’re ready to buy a brand-new workout wardrobe or want to ease into your fitness routine in clothing that’s trusted and true, the main factor to keep in mind is comfort. Keep it simple, make sure it fits and, above all else, wear what makes you feel good — inside and out!