Look Good While You Get Fit
The right exercise clothes can improve your workout -- and your attitude
Put Function First continued...
Loose-fitting tops are also not appropriate for yoga or Pilates because they
can ride up during some of the moves, says Ellen Wessel, president of the
Moving Comfort athletic wear company, High-impact activities also require more
form-fitting tops -- especially for larger-breasted women -- to minimize
movement and promote comfort and support, Wessel says.
Comfort is key, too. So look for clothing that moves moisture away from the
body as quickly as possible, Ediger says.
"A 100% cotton T-shirt will get soaking wet quickly and will stay
wet," she says. As a result, you'll be uncomfortable and may be tempted to
cut your workout short.
And take care not to overdress. "A good rule of thumb is to keep cool by
wearing as little clothing as you feel comfortable in (and is appropriate to
the setting) because people exercise more vigorously when they are not
overheated," Kase says.
Most important of all, make sure you're wearing a good pair of workout
shoes, says Brick. Go for quality, and choose the right pair for your
"Shoes need to be supportive and specific to the activity you plan to
do," she says. Running shoes, for example, do not provide enough lateral
support for the side-to-side movement that is called for in an aerobics or step
What Lies Beneath
Don't overlook your underwear -- especially if you're a woman.
"Larger-breasted women can carry as much as five pounds per breast,
making participating in high-impact activities like running difficult because
of severe breast discomfort, says Elizabeth Goeke, executive vice president of
These women should look for workout bras made specifically for their
figures, with such features as adjustable straps for a custom fit and
breathable fabrics to minimize chafing. Smaller-busted women will benefit from
sports bras in their sizes.
For optimal comfort for both women and men, choose the right fabric for your
"Cotton is not the right choice," says Goeke. "Look for
performance fabric that is breathable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying. These
fabrics won't promote bacteria growth and are better than cotton for health
Or you can bypass underpants altogether and work out in fitness shorts,
pants, or tights with a built-in crotch panel, Wessel adds. Don't wear
underwear with these garments, she says, because it will negate the benefits of
the performance fabrics used for the built-in liners.
While you want to look good while working out, exercising while fully made
up is never a good idea, says Rachel Weingarten, co-founder of airkisses.com,
an online style sheet for women.
"If you're serious about your workout, then forgo any makeup, which
might clog your pores while you sweat," says Weingarten. Opt for a clean
face, with a cotton or terry headband to keep sweat off your face. If you
prefer not to go completely au naturale, use a tinted moisturizer and
tinted lip balm to add a bit of color to your face.
Don't overdo the jewelry either, which can get in the way and may make it
hard to grip equipment and lift weights, Weingarten says.
Instead, focus on a sharp-looking outfit, and the great feeling you get from
a successful workout.