If, like me, you wear gym leggings half the time, it is important that you have a couple of pairs you love. But activewear is a tricky thing to get right. You want to look good, feel comfortable and be confident that what you are wearing is sweat and squat-proof. And on a student budget, getting this hat-trick is certainly no easy task. So, I have compiled a guide to get you started on getting your fitness wardrobe ready for 2020.
1. Shop in-store!
This is a tip I never used to bother with, and in the cold it is even harder to drag yourself out, but there are so many hidden gems you won’t find online in stores. I recommend sourcing your nearest Sports Direct or TK Maxx and having a browse – my top finds were a pair of Nike Leggings for £17.99 (TK Maxx) and a Puma sports bra for £12 (Sports Direct). If you’re looking for some tops to throw over your sports bra, try the men’s section too – there’s plenty of styles and colours, often cheaper than in the women’s.
I know I said this would be about cheap active-wear, but if you wear it all the time, the cost per wear when investing in some more expensive, higher-quality pieces will pay off. They don’t have to be bank-breaking, but some slightly pricier brands like Tala and Nimble offer super-high quality, and the added bonus of being more sustainable than fast fashion brands, using recycled plastic bottles as fabric. Also, browsing the sale section of more expensive brands can be great: often the patterned, more loud styles will be in the sales, so see if you can grab a funky, bargain top to go with some plain leggings (or vice versa)!
3. Wash carefully
Activewear is something we wash more frequently than regular clothes, so naturally may not last as long. One thing to be aware of is that you may not actually have to wash the kit after every use – if it was a very sweaty run, then yes, wash it ASAP, but if you just had a low-intensity workout, consider wearing your kit once more before you wash it. This will benefit the environment, but also help to preserve your clothes, as washing over time reduces the quality. Try also turning the heat down, reducing the spin speed, and using a gentler detergent, as these three factors can all affect the longevity of your kit. Let it air dry rather than tumble drying too.
Below are my top picks from some of the aforementioned stores, plus a couple of extras!
Tala – great quality sustainable wear. My favourite item: The Aster Crop in Grey, £35.
Nimble – on the pricey side, but again great quality sustainable activewear. You can get decently discounted items in their sale. My favourite item: Hold Your Pose 7/8 Legging in Dazzling Blue, £45.
TKMaxx – browsing takes time, but great value finds from big brands. My favourite item: Black and Neon Yellow T7 Puma Leggings, £14.99.
Sports Direct – like TKMaxx, it may take some searching but it will be worth it for the gems you find!
H&M – so underrated! H&M kills the activewear game, with some super cute, good quality kit at great prices. My favourite item: High Support Sports Bra in Light Pink, £17.99.
Next – another hidden gem, has some cool printed styles at affordable prices. My favourite item: Technical Vest in Blue Camo, £14.
I find that when I have nice kit I am so much more motivated to work-out, so use this guide to help you preserve your current kit, and maybe find a couple of new pieces. Now, time to get exercising!