I used to consider myself a pretty active person. I played sports all throughout high school, and was pretty good about going to the gym in college, especially during the last two years. Since graduating and working full time, I can’t say I work out all too often – if I’m lucky, I’ll go once a month. Still, I love activewear and the athleisure trend, and find myself reaching for this type of clothing for lounging around on the weekend, whether I’m running to grab coffee or go to the drugstore, or perhaps making one of my rare appearances at the gym.
I wanted to highlight some of my favorite activewear pieces, brands, and some of the best places to look for affordable gym clothes. Follow me on LiketoKnow.it for more posts featuring athleisure looks!
Lululemon is a cult favorite for active women everywhere. It’s pricey, but most of the clothing they sell is excellent. I mostly shop their leggings, but I have a few other pieces that I love as well.
Every girl who owns these leggings raves about them. I used to prefer the Wunder Unders, but after hearing Maggie MacDonald rave about these pants on YouTube I bit the bullet and purchased my first pair of Aligns last summer.
These leggings are buttery soft. Made from the softest spandex material, the align leggings are both flattering and comfortable. They are a thinner material than the Wunder Under leggings, but feel more sweat-wicking and easier to work out in.
I wear a 4 in all Lululemon leggings (the align leggings fit the same as the other styles), and I like the 25″ or the 7/8 inseam (because who is tall enough to wear their full length leggings?!). Luckily, if the shorter inseams are out of stock, the brand offers free hemming and alterations in the store. Like the Wunder Unders, these leggings come in a variety of colors and patterns. I love the camo ones. I, however, sweat too much to wear colored leggings. I like to stick to dark shades for minimized sweat spots.
Pro tip: I visited a Lululemon outlet a few years ago and found a pair of Groove Pants (who remembers those?!) on sale for under $45. They were a tall inseam, but since they are Lululemon brand I was able to take them to my local store and have them hemmed for free. You can also look for Lulu pieces in consignment shops or on Poshmark and get those hemmed as well. Note that they will not hem past the Lululemon logo, but that’s not an issue for most pieces.
I love the look of a slim-cut jogger pant. Joggers are about as polished as sweatpants get. I don’t think joggers are something you need to splurge on – some of my comfiest pairs are from Gap or Forever 21. J.Crew also makes great joggers.
I tried on these Align joggers last time I was in the store and fell in love. I haven’t bought them yet because of the price (for whatever reason $98 for leggings seems more reasonable to me than $98 for glorified sweats), but they’re on my wish list for sure. I love that they have the same buttery material as the leggings as well as the high-rise waist, which is something that none of my other sweatpants have.
Power Y Tank
The Power Y Tank is my favorite work out top that I’ve tried to date. I love that they have a built in bra (with removable pads) so that I don’t have to worry about finding a sports bra to wear underneath. I got my first one in-store and have bought them on Poshmark since!
These tend to be very long on me, so I’ve had mine hemmed at the store. Before they were hemmed, all the extra fabric would bunch up around my stomach and waist, making me look bigger than I actually am. I buy a size 4 or 6 in these tops, and the size 6 fits more comfortably around my ribcage.
Speed Up Short
The Speed Up Short (formerly called the Speed Short) are a staple in my summer wardrobe. I have these shorts in 2 or 3 colors and sometimes wear them, admittedly, for days on repeat. They are flattering on the leg (I size up to a size 6 in this style) and are short enough to show off your summer tan.
I don’t love these shorts for working out. If I’m going to exercise in shorts, I opt for a style like Nike’s Tempo Shorts, which have a looser and slightly longer fit. I find that these Speed Up shorts ride up on my inner thighs during heavy activity. I reach for them for any other occasion!
Glyder is a brand that I just discovered through Instagram ads! What I love about Glyder is that, in addition to having super cute athletic wear, a portion of their profits goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Nothing makes splurging on a new pair of leggings more worthwhile than knowing some of your money will support a cause that has touched many of our lives.
I just got the High Power Legging in Eucalyptus Gingham – a gorgeous, pale sage green gingham pattern. I love that these leggings are high rise like my Lululemon ones, and they have a similar, lightweight and smooth fabric to the Align leggings. While the website says to size down, I found that the XS size was a bit too small for me. I should have ordered my normal size small. Regardless, these are super cute and such a fun and different pattern! And, at $74 for this pair, they are a fraction cheaper than Lululemon leggings.
I also bought the matching sports bra to complete my set. The Splendid Bra in Eucalyptus Gingham has your normal sports bra shape and a thick band to help support your chest. The bra doesn’t come with padding, but has slits in the lining to insert your own if you like. This set together is so cute for spring – I’m obsessed.
Glyder’s Leisure Short in sand are my new favorite casual shorts. With a drawstring elastic waist and cuffed hem, they give off a casual vibe while still managing to look a bit polished. They’re made from an ultra-soft terrycloth material and I love throwing them on with a plain white tee tucked into the top to run errands or hang out around the house. They fit high-waisted, which I find the most flattering on me, and they aren’t too short. The Leisure shorts are super versatile and comfortable, and also come in a black color. 10/10 recommend!
Forever 21’s activewear is wildly underrated. Many of the items are high quality and on-trend, and some of them make great dupes for pricier brands like Lululemon.
Active Back Pocket Dolphin Shorts
These shorts are an amazing dupe for the aforementioned Lululemon Speed Up short. I have these in white (who wants to spend $60 on white shorts that will get dirty anyways) and love them. They fit a bit looser than the Lulu shorts, which is actually a plus for me. They are short, flattering, and the price is right at $14.90. If they’re out of stock in your size, no worries – they seem to restock these frequently, and they’ve been on the site for years now.
It seems they’re only available in black and white, but many other styles on F21 have more colors to choose from.
Cutout Sports Bra
Forever 21 gets it right with sports bras, too. I have a couple of Lululemon bras, but in my opinion, sports bras aren’t something you need to spend a fortune on. Forever 21 offers a variety of sports bras with support for various levels of impact, and the styles are cute, too. I love this cutout sports bra – it’s always nice to have an inexpensive white sports bra that you don’t have to worry about yellowing, and the neon yellow is to die for! Plus, since it’s a longline style, you can throw this on with high rise leggings and consider it a crop top.
What are your favorite activewear brands and pieces? Do you know of any hidden-gem brands? Let me know in the comments below!