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While working out in a pair of beat-up sweats and an old muscle tank is probably the most logical ensemble choice for a sweat-soaked Soul Cycle class or even just a stair master sesh, there’s something to be said about the correlation between putting on a flattering, get-up complete with a pair of stylish activewear leggings and a motivation level high enough to actually make it out the door (because, that’s the hardest part, right?) Actually, I’ve even been known to make it out the door and to the gym’s parking lot armored in a pair of sweat-wicking performance leggings and my trusty running shoes, only to sit in my car for an hour mindlessly scrolling through Instagram out of pure laziness, only to miss the class altogether. Oops, I did again.
TBH, what you wear to the gym, yoga studio, boot camp class or what have you, really shouldn’t matter in theory. After all, you’re going to the gym to release endorphins, blow off some post-workday steam, and most of all, to sweat. The gym is definitely not a fashion show or a people-watching destination (well, in LA it actually kind of is) in which you should feel obligated to look on point, but if you’re like me, when I feel cuter, I also feel more confident –even energized — to go get some exercise. And, if you’re the brunch-to-barre type of person, or simply someone who isn’t blessed with an unlimited amount of time to go straight from the gym to your own shower after each session (hey, sometimes you need to pick up groceries post-workout), opting for a more fashion-y fitness look makes complete sense.
If you’re on board with the dressier activewear lifestyle, you’re in luck. Workout attire has come a long way — even since Lululemon’s game-changing Wunder Unders hit the scene a decade or so ago, elevating the activewear market forever by offering avid gym-goers who also like to feel cute in the process, a wide range of figure-flattering options. Nowadays, activewear designs follow the same trends (prints, cuts, and design details) as regular apparel, and I am seriously here for this shift. While many of the fashion-forward performance leggings tend to fall under the luxury end of the spectrum, affordable brands like Target’s own JoyLab, along with Forever 21 have also followed suit. See below for some of my favorite cute as ever bottoms to sport to the gym this summer.
1. GymShark Mesh Layer Leggings
An abstract camo motif with pops of pink and a peek-a-boo mesh paneling? Yes, please.
2. Beach Riot Piper Legging
Proof that a busy print and pastel colorway is anything but unflattering.
3. JoyLab High-Waisted Reversible Leggings
A pair of tropical-print leggings to make you feel like I’m on summer vacay while I lift? Okay, maybe a stretch, but they’re literally perfect for summer.
4. Onzie High Rise Graphic Legging
Honestly, cute activewear is a recent thing, but these nostalgic leggings are channeling major ’70’s vibes.
5. Beach Riot Gingham Print Piper Leggings
Summer’s signature print, now available for workouts.
6. Adam Selman Sport Floral Print Stretch Leggings
Think the rose print trend is over? Clearly, that theory stands no chance.
7. Forever 21 Active Tie-Dye Leggings
Now you can bring summer’s biggest trend to the gym.
8. Split59 Dakota High Waist Legging
Side stripes are usually exclusive to baggy sweatsuits, but these rainbow-hued leggings change the game.
9. Beach Riot Leopard Print Piper Legging
I guess it’s only natural the viral animal print trend would make its way to workout wear, and I’m definitely not mad about it.
10. Spiritual Gangster Perfect High Waist Leggings
Palm tree perfect, that is.
11. GymShark Flex High Waisted Legging
The ultimate booty-lifter available in sartorial form — and in pink.
12. Avenue Tropical Palm Print Active Capri Legging
The summer print missing from your workout wear lineup? Palm trees.
13. Year of Ours Thermal Hockey Legging
The lace-up, corset-like detail that’s on trend for swimwear this summer has officially made its way to activewear, and I’m pretty excited about it.
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