Preparing to head to the gym usually isn’t the most glamorous part of our day. For me, the routine often consists of throwing on a baggy t-shirt and high school gym shorts, quickly pulling my hair into a messy ponytail, and heading to Noyes for a sweaty power hour with my Nalgene water bottle in hand. But why do we always insist on wearing our least flattering outfits to the gym? We’re doing something great for our bodies by staying active and working up a sweat – so shouldn’t we look and feel great while we do it?
This is exactly the message that Bianca Jade, Cornell alumna and founder of MizzFIT.com, lives by and seeks to share with women everywhere. Her program, Style Up 2 Shape Up, encourages women to lead healthier lifestyles by boosting their self-confidence through fashion.
“Fashion feels better on a body you love and treat right,” says Bianca. “Once you start seeing results from all the effort you’ve put into your fitness lifestyle, you start wanting to take better care of your body in other ways (like eating a healthier and balanced diet, sleeping more, etc). It’s a positive chain reaction that makes college-aged women happier, empowered, and more passionate about their studies, relationships, and plans for life.”
Bianca knows how stressful it can be to balance working out with Cornell's often-grueling academic demands. But she encourages collegiettes™ to take a more positive approach to leading a healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to watching their weight.
Here's a list of the top 10 fitness-fashion tips for collegiettes™, with personal suggestions from NYC’s fitness fashionista herself:
- Invest in high quality, durable activewear. Cheap materials wear out quickly and often end up costing more. You want to get the most use out of your fitness attire, no matter how often you work out. Look for products like toning resistance pants from the Fila BTS collection, which are thick, supportive, and made with strong body smoothing lycra that won’t lose its shape. Bianca also suggests Reebok fitness tanks, which hold their color and don't stretch out. The pink On The Move Print Bra Top is her personal favorite.
- Buy special fitness detergent. Some detergents don’t do a great job of removing lingering bacteria (and smell) produced by sweat. Specialty soaps, such as Penguin Sport Wash, keep fitness clothes odor free and in the best shape possible, extending the lifespan of your activewear.
- Avoid cotton. Unlike specialized moisture-wicking apparel, cotton tends to collect sweat, grow heavy and wet, and hang off of the body in unsightly ways. Instead, go for apparel that wicks perspiration away from your body to keep you looking and feeling dry. Shirts like this Under Armour Burn-out T provide all the comfort of a regular cotton T while still keeping your skin dry during your workout.
- Keep your fitness clothes separate from your everyday clothing. Staying organized ensures that you’re always prepared for the gym and makes it easy to coordinate stylish fitness outfits. Keeping your fitness accessories (sweat-proof headbands, wristbands, running gloves, etc) in an easy-access place reminds you of what you have and encourages you to use them. Staying organized also lets you know what you need and what you can get rid of.
- Find a nice gym bag with pocket space for essentials. Going to the gym feels better when you’re well prepared. Keep a bag stacked with must-haves: socks, change of clothes, water bottle, etc. Bianca also suggests separating your sweat-soaked clothes from your other supplies to avoid the spread of bacteria, either with large Ziploc bags or Go Clean Pack Bags, or with a gym bag like the Jo&Jax Space Invader.
- Shop savvy and take advantage of activewear sales. Stay in the loop - sign up for newsletters from your favorite fitness brands and be the first to know about upcoming sales and special deals. If you're on a budget, this is the best way to shop for quality fitness apparel.
- Get creative. Don’t worry about matching your fitness outfits perfectly by brand or color. Mix it up! Take the same liberties that you do in your everyday personal style with your fitness clothes. Bianca recommends finding a statement piece and working with it. “Keep everything else more subdued but supportive of your loudest piece.”
- Don’t over-accessorize. Heavy jewelry will slow you down while you work out. The best accessories are both functional and stylish, like this Rumbatime watch, which is cute, light, and sweat-proof.
- Keep comfortable. Don’t wear clothing that is too tight, loose, revealing, see-through, short, long, or itchy. Distractions from these small discomforts will keep you from putting in your best effort and reaping all the benefits from your workout.
- Always wear a sports bra and underwear. No matter how brave you’re feeling, chafing and unsightly sweat stains are uncomfortable to say the least, and you’ll regret your decision later. Worried about your underwear riding up? Lululemon panties are a great way to go. Paired with Moving Comfort’s high-performance sports bras, which offer flattering contoured cups and tons of support, you can’t go wrong.
“Putting on a great outfit versus old designated gym clothes can increase confidence levels tenfold,” Bianca says.“This will increase your chances of staying motivated throughout your workout. When we are confident about what we look like on the outside, it drastically affects our engagement and performance level.”
So how about it, ladies? It’s about time we infuse some style into our fitness wardrobe. It just might give us the inspiration we need to succeed.