Cute workout clothes: What do you wear to the gym?

Here is a photo from Smart’s upcoming athletic-wear fashion spread. Model Jenna Stiner is wearing a new Reebok mock and capri from Dick’s Sporting Goods. For more information about her outfit (and also where to find those shoes), sign up to get a free copy of the magazine by clicking on the Magazines tab above. Photo by Ashley May

Are you wearing your husband’s old T-shirts to the gym? Do your workout clothes double for your PJs? Is it time to give your athletic wear a makeover?

We often neglect shopping for new gym clothes, because the idea is that “hey, we are just going to sweat in them, right?” When in reality, if we want to stay fit, we should have the right gear to make it happen.

Finding the perfect workout outfit means we not only will feel more comfortable throughout the workout, we will also feel more confident (which sometimes can be the extra push to get you to the gym).

Not sure what kind of clothes you need? Check out our Smart blogger’s favorites:

Ashley is sporting her favorite running outfit here. She loves long-sleeve, warm (but breathable) tops for cold-weather workouts. Also, she likes these Nike Pro Compression Shorts because they move easily with her body. Photo by Ashley May

Ashley May: When it comes to gym outfits, I like breathable, stretchy materials.

I don’t want flared cotton pants that will trip me on the treadmill. I don’t want baggy sweatshirts that will make me hot. And, I don’t want to be caught wearing an old stained T-shirt that makes me look like I just rolled out of bed.

Nike Dri-FIT tops and spandex bottoms are my friends. My go-to outfit, right, is comfortable and form-fitted (yet, modest).

It sticks with me from the start to the end of my workout and is machine-washable. Unfortunately, I don’t think the top is in stock anymore at Dick’s Sporting Goods (where I bought it), but there are other options available now with a similar look and feel.


Bethany before the 14th annual York Rail Trail 10-Miler in August. Photo by Jamieson McKay

Bethany Fehlinger: My gym outfit is totally dependent on what I plan to do at the gym: running, biking, using other machines or lifting. I like bright colors and crazy designs, so my clothes give me added pep, especially when I don’t feel like working out.

Because I am not the skinniest of athletic people, I like to wear Danskin elastic shorts under another pair of shorts or running skirt. The shorts go halfway down my thigh so it helps stop any friction burn. They are cotton and do not roll up when I run or bike, which is key. They are similar to these bike shorts that you can get at Walmart.

I love to hit up outlet stores, such as Nike and Under Armour, for some discounted merchandise, or go to Dick’s Sporting Goods in between seasons. I also love getting T-shirts from races, especially if they are fun ones (My fiancé got stopped in Virginia for his Sasquatch trail run shirt by a group of track runners.)

As far as running shoes, I am an advocate of Brooks. I can’t wait to get myself a pair of PureFlow 2 for my birthday. My original pair has bite the dust, but I can’t let them go! And the company’s motto “Run Happy” really empowers me. And if you have calf pain and shin splints, compression socks are the way to go. I have a bright pink pair that I love from Vitalsox. I am soon buying a pair of Zensah sleeves, a brand that has received good reviews.

And if you have long hair and bangs like I do, I rely on a bandana and/or a hat. When I did a 10-miler in August, I wore both to catch the sweat, but if it is just the gym, I will wear either. Sometimes I make my bandana into a headband for something different. My Nike black running hat is a staple because it goes with my bright-colored outfits.

Most of Sarah’s favorite exercise clothes can be found at Target. Photo by Sarah Chain

Sarah Chain: I am not one of those women who looks smashing at the gym.

I wake up, I throw on clothes, I pull my hair into a ponytail and I go. After all, it’s about being healthy for me, not winning beauty awards.

That said, I choose my gym clothes based on function, comfort and price. My sports bras (C9 by Champion) come from Target — full coverage, good support, no itchy tags in my way. My favorite pair of workout pants are from Target (C9 by Champion) as well, a purchase from a few years back. (Here’s a similar style.) The wide waistband means that whichever way I twist, bend or move, I’m not flashing any fellow gym-goers. The shin-length pantleg keeps me cooler than a regular pair of pants, but provides more coverage than shorts for floor exercises or yoga moves.

And the T-shirt? Just an old one from college. I also make sure to grab a headband. My hair frizzes and gets in my face and drives me utterly nuts without it.

April is a big fan of Nike Dri-FIT clothing and Asics running shoes. Photo by April Trotter

April Trotter: I ran my first 5K in December, and in addition to learning about the sport, I’ve also learned a lot about athletic wear.

I used to work out in old T-shirts — most of them free or emblazoned with my alma mater’s logo — and shorts. But I’ve found that good gym clothes are worth the investment, and they’re absolutely necessary when training in cold weather.

The key? Coupons, clearance racks, outlets and an eye for a bargain in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I currently have the Asics Gel-Flash Women’s Running Shoe, retailing for $75. I got my pair at Kohl’s during a sale using Kohl’s cash, so it brought the price down to less than $50.

I hate it when my ears get cold, so one of my favorite finds was the Women’s Under Armour Blustery Headband, retailing for $19.99. I also received Reebok Women’s Performance Fleece Run Gloves, retailing for $28, in my Christmas stocking, and they do a great job of keeping my fingers nice and toasty, while still allowing me to switch songs on my phone.

I absolutely love Nike’s line of Dri-FIT clothing. It wicks sweat away when you’re working out hard — and it’s super stylish. Black running tights, retailing for $75, go with the line’s bright tops — including half-zips retailing for $60, crew necks retailing for $55 and mock turtlenecks retailing for $70  — that all have thumb holes to keep them in place while moving around.

Submit your question:
Every Wednesday, the stylish ladies of Smart magazine answer beauty and fashion questions. Have a question? Email

Ashley May

FlipSide editor. York County native. Fashion enthusiast. Social media junkie. I take my lattes with soy and whip. Follow me on Twitter @ashleymaytweets.

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