It’s time to rotate new workout clothes into the wardrobe and retire the ripped and holey t-shirt you got in college, after signing up for that credit card. In fact, some of those workout-to-brunch (or brunch-to-workout) multi-purpose articles of sweat-wicking clothes look really cute. So where do you begin to look for these multi-function outfits?
As a person who has worked as a fitness professional for as long as I can remember, I can tell you workout clothes have come a loooong way. And, there are options for nearly every budget! These days, you can find your yoga ware--mats and pants--at Wal-mart or at Dianne von Furstenberg. Although, I haven’t test-driven gear from either of those retailers, I can tell you about the places that I’ve hit up and liked to purchase my fitness attire.
On the lower end of the scale, “Tar-jay” really is your go-to for everything you can possibly need: underwear, motor oil, organic produce … you get my point. They’ve also done great with getting designers to create whole new, budget-friendly lines of their clothing. I’m a fan of Champion workout-wear. Although, I now find it moderately priced, straight out of college, my paychecks stretched further when Target introduced Champion’s C9 line to me. You can find sports bras, workout tights, shorts and layering tops mostly in the $10-$19 range, before the mark-downs.
Yes, you need a membership. But these days, membership is pretty affordable. You can tag onto your parents’ family membership (I’ve been on my parents’ membership for the last decade or more), or you can sign up with your roommates. It can really pay off--wild-caught salmon by the giant tray, shampoo by the gallon, and workout clothes that don’t cost as much as a mortgage or rent. Inventory changes fairly frequently, but often, you’ll be able to find technical exercise clothing by Nike, Adidas, Columbia or other reputable names. Costco’s own label, Kirkland also has some nice technical and functional articles of fitness fashions.
It might be an ordeal to brave the crowds at the outlet centers, but if you are an outlet shopper, you know that the usual suspects (i.e Puma, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Oakley) are there with high-quality merchandise at nearly half-off sometimes.
So, I was an ambassador. So what? That was almost ten years ago, and I’m still a fan of their clothes (not-so-much of the foot-in-the mouth comment the owner made)! And yes, some people gasp at the price tag, but I can attest that the clothes I purchased a decade ago have gone in the washer/dryer and are not thread bare. (No pun intended, but if you follow the news, there were a few articles of luon that did not pass the downward-facing dog test-- which is bent-over, butt-in-the-air, for those non-yogis. We should always do the bend over test with any tights we buy to check for any level of see-through-ability.) In ten years, clothes I bought from them still function just as well as when they were first purchased. Expect to spend between $120+ (on the lower end) for a 3-piece workout outfit. Separates range from $35-$240, and they have everything from sports bras to tanks to winter jackets. (For those of you with shorter legs, like me, you can take great advantage of their basic hemming services on pants.)
Dubbed as the Australian equivalent to Canada’s Lululemon, these stores are opening up as quickly and at a shopping mall near you. I was attracted to this line of brightly colored, fun, fashionable, fitness attire when I first tried it. Although the care instructions advise drying the articles flat and not in the dryer, I have cheated and run them through on low. I don’t have anything older than a year, so I can’t attest to how long they might last, but so far they all look new. These tops, bras, tights and jackets start at $60.
There you go, my five favorite places to find my functional fitness fashions. With this comes my warning: of “buyer beware.” I can advise you, from my own personal experience: you get what you pay for, even with workout clothes, the more you pay, the longer it will last, remain stink-proof and supportive in all the necessary places. And, if you’re like me, no matter what I pay, I like to make sure my clothes last as long as possible, which is why I wrote How to Maintain Your Workout Clothes. Go on, get fit, inside and out. Workout wear does not have to mean you have to resign to looking frumpy. You can find clothes that function as well as they look.