*hums along to the Activewear song*
There was once a time when I barely owned a sports bra. Now I have a whole drawer dedicated to workout clothing. OOPS. The big shift for me happened around two years ago now, when I decided to ditch the running that was giving me shin splints so bad that I could barely walk down the stairs and instead booked in with a personal trainer at the gym to put me on a structured routine and on the fast-track to building some strength in my piddly muscles. The activewear section of my wardrobe expanded tenfold into it’s own little capsule; partly because I became a wee bit obsessed with buying such pieces, and partly out of not having to do washing every other darn day.
These days I add items in a lot less, as the pieces I invested in all those years ago now are still going strong. When capsule wardrobes work out, eh? HELL YEAH. Moving on from grinding away in the weights section at the gym, to the slightly slower pace of Reformer Pilates has shifted my priorities a little when it comes to gym wear, however the tick-list is practically the same. I still look for leggings in fabrics and patterns that won’t emphasise a sweaty crotch (grim, but true). I also like my leggings to be high-waisted and with a waistband that doesn’t dig in to any areas. These days my sports bras can be more suited to low-impact training but I still like them to be easy to get on and off, and again without any digging. Reformer is performed without trainers, so I no longer have to think about those and when it comes to tops, I like something that’s slightly more form-fitting so it doesn’t ride up and again is resistant to big ol’ sweat patches. Here’s how my current capsule shapes up…
For me leggings are the most fun activewear purchase. A good pair can hold in your gut, hoik up your butt and contour in a way that makes you feeling bloomin’ fabulous. As I mentioned I’m always down for patterned pairs or block colours in fabrics that do a good job of concealing sweat. I really love the Lululemon range and spend way longer than I’d like to admit pouring over the 7/8ths section of their website (side note: I love this length of tight as it shows a little bit of ankle and petite girls this is a great choice for you because they’ll come up full length without the need for altering!). I do get a lot of wear out of my Varley Union Tights in Granite too and all my pairs from them have held up pretty well over the years. If you fancy a solid pair that you can actually try on in the flesh, then give the Sweaty Betty Power Leggings a go. I always find the fit of these to be flattering and they come out with new colours every season, so there’s always something new to add to your capsule.
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THE SPORTS BRA
I know that I’m probably not the best person to source advice in the boob department from. Mine are rather on the small size and since there’s not that much to move around, they sort out stay out of the way when it comes to exercise. If anyone wants to drop some sports bra advice in the comments that’s actually helpful then that would be fab. THANKS! Doing Pilates means that I can go for more low-impact styles these days and not having to worry too much about support for my non-existent breasticles, so the Varley designs are my favourite. I have this Brooks Crop style in black and it’s one of my favourite ones that I own (mostly because it doesn’t take some Houdini moves to get myself out of it). Although you can’t go wrong with Nike designs. I’ve had most of my Nike ones for years and they still look like I bought them yesterday. This Indy Mesh-Trimmed Dri-FIT one is my favourite for the thin straps and the moderate support which gives me a slight cleavage. HOORAY.
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THE SPORTS TOP
The humble sports top is possibly the most unimaginative part of my sportswear picks, but I feel like if you’ve got your legging and bra situation down, then you can pretty much throw whatever you fancy on top and it will do the job. Like I mentioned earlier I like to stick with more form-fitting styles as they encourage me to suck in my belly and not to puff it out during ab exercises and more billowing tops can get in the way if you do any upside down moves. So although this Sweaty Betty Oversized Slogan Tee is one of my favourites, I do tend to grip it in at the side with a hairband, or just wear it on occasions where I know I’ll be doing a lot of standing work. I have this Adidas Performance Karlie Kloss Top and it definitely spices up a boring outfit with the mini cut outs and cropped style. My favourite one that I own though is an oldie that I’ve had for years, but it’s similar to this Nike Pro HyperCool Women’s Training Top. It bizarrely makes me look like I have boobs and ticks all the rest of the boxes for me.
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There are a few miscellaneous pieces that aren’t necessarily an integral part to my activewear capsule, but they come in handy nonetheless. Although I don’t tend to lug much to Pilates aside from my phone and my keys, on the odd occasion where I need a change of clothes or I’ve been somewhere before, this Fjallraven Kanen Backpack fits everything in. I do sometimes wear socks too if it’s particularly chilly and these Sweaty Betty ones are great because they have grip on the bottom which mean that you can still plant yourself down on the machine without slipping all over the shop. It might seem like a boring purchase but no-VPL knickers mean that your butt won’t split itself into four cheeks when you slip on your leggings. I have the Lululemon Namastay Put Hipsters and the Victoria Secrets No Show Thong Panty (LOL), and although I originally purchased them solely for the gym, I now wear them exclusively everyday because they’re just SO. DARN. COMFY.
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Photos by Lauren Shipley
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