With the holiday season just around the bend, I keep hearing from people panicking about what the upcoming overindulgence might mean to their waistlines. Experts advise amping up workouts now to outwit pesky calories in advance. Well, that’s all well and good, but between shopping and wrapping and cooking and socializing, it can be hard to meet your regular workout routine, much less add in extras.
Maybe it’s a better idea to try something new and fun, so that you’ll actually look forward to your workout instead of trying to figure out how to skip it without too much guilt. So if you’re stuck in the elliptical zone, now might be the time to try kettlebells. Another motivator is treating yourself to new workout wear, so that you’ll actually look forward to getting dressed to go for a walk or to the gym, instead of praying that nobody notices your ancient sweats and ratty sneakers.
One of my favorite workout clothing lines, Moving Comfort (Lauren Conrad is a fan), comes in a variety of sizes and styles to suit every shape, sport, and lifestyle. Their style experts offered some great advice on shopping for workout gear.
1. Look for performance fabrics and styling. While you can find steeply discounted fitness gear, sometimes it’s a good idea to consider investing in pieces you’ll be wearing more often. Look for products that move with you. The last thing that you want are uncomfortable garments that pinch or chafe. Performance fabrics not only wick away sweat, but also include extra details, more intuitive construction, seaming, and ventilation.
2. Take your lifestyle into account. Are you strictly a gym bunny, or do you pick up the kids from school and go grocery shopping straight from your workout? “The lines between lifestyle and activewear continue to blur, leading our purchasing patterns to focus on versatility and style as opposed to solely function and utility,” according to Heather Cvitkovic, Senior Product Line Manager, Moving Comfort. I’ll be honest: I’m not a huge fan of wearing sweaty gym clothes while grocery shopping, but realistically there will be times when you don’t have time to shower in between errands. There are so many great styles of workout wear that don’t have to be limited to the gym exclusively. Look for flattering details and colors and pay attention to care and washing instructions.
3. Don’t hide your shape. It can be tempting to wear baggy clothing in the hopes of hiding errant lumps and bumps. Just because you’re not comfortable in second skin spandex, doesn’t mean that you have to drape yourself in the fitness equivalent of a mumu. Some universally flattering details for workout wear include:
Tops with scooped hemlines, like Moving Comfort’s Metro Tee or Tank, cover you in all the right places accordint to Cvitkovic. If you want to cover even more, Lucy has a great tunic top that’s flattering but won’t add bulk ($47.99 on Zappos.com). Gaiam’s Swing Turtleneck Tunic ($68.00, Gaiam.com) can be worn comfortably for a brisk walk or short hike and looks equally cute and not too revealing with a skirt or leggings.
Consider a skort instead of shorts. It actually gives you more coverage than a traditional running short, and the added compression short under the skort minimizes chafing.
Wide, flat waistbands smooth and prevent the dreaded muffin top. Looser-fitting track pants are a great transitional style and refreshing change from the ubiquitous yoga pants.
Give a fitted or semi-fitted bottom a try. Many women are surprised to find it’s actually more flattering and slimming. Layer with a cute top that has a longer hemline. Lululemon Trouser Pants are no bargain at $108.00, but they can be worn throughout the day when paired with a jacket or cute top.
Avoid seamless apparel, as it tends to be more fitted, says Cvitkovic. Opt for performance fabric with more drape. Moving Comfort’s Endurance Tank is longer in length with a drawcord that you can cinch at the waist.
Try on and move around. Don’t size up or size down. Cvitkovic says, “No matter how silly it feels, move around in it in the fitting room! A few jumping jacks, squats, lunges to make sure the fit and size is right for you.”
Get the right fit in sports bras and underwear: It’s estimated that 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size. Both Warner and Olga will be introducing a new line of bras this spring that tackle “sleevage” with extra side coverage to eliminate underarm bulge. Details to follow.
4. Remember to accessorize. Just because you’re dressed for the gym or yoga, doesn’t mean that you have to forgo a sense of style. Converse All Star Chuck Taylor sneakers are timeless, and purple and animal-print-accented sneakers help encourage you to walk instead of driving. (Zappos.com, $56).
Rachel Weingarten is a noted and quoted style expert and former celebrity makeup artist. She’s the author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ’40s-’60s, and the forthcoming Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year. Tweet with her @rachelcw or like her new page on Facebook. Need help style stalking your favorite celebrity looks? Write to Rachel at [email protected].