For one thing, fitness attire is expertly cut so that it adheres to the body without getting in our way while we run, stretch and sweat. Many fitness devotees feel their clothing actually helps to enhance their performance or, at the very least, to support certain body parts that, uh, jiggle in ways that can be totally uncomfortable and distracting.
But workout clothing isn't just functional — it has also become trendy. Many women look for yoga pants, hoodies, wraps and sweaters that can cross over from the gym to a lunch date with friends. Unfortunately, some companies are using this as an opportunity to sell their attire for sky-high prices.
Let's get this out of the way: We love Lululemon. But it's a "luxury" activewear brand — one that many women simply can't afford. Instead of feeling bad about this fact, we can invest in one or two pieces from high-end brands, if that's our desire, and focus on stocking up on basic workout clothing from one of these fantastic 10 stores and online retailers.
From $7 tank tops to $17 capri pants, Forever 21 helps you easily stock up on every single one of your workout clothing needs, whether you're a runner or yogi. Most of their items are basic, but if you look hard enough, you'll find something unique and cool, like these leggings with ankle cutouts (Forever 21, $23).
There's a reason why Jockey has been around forever: Women trust that when they purchase one of their sports bras, which range from about $10 to $35, they're going to be so comfortable and soft that their bra is the last thing they'll be thinking about while they work up a sweat. Many of their styles also feature removable foam bra cups, which are perfect for women who want extra coverage and shape (Jockey, $32).
No matter how you choose to get your heart rate up, Athleta has a tank, sweater or sneaker to suit you and your favorite sport. But the cool brand excels at active swimwear, which they've managed to make both functional and pretty. Their prices aren't always cheap — though, you can find a high-quality (and cute!) rash guard in the $44 to $69 price range (Athleta, $69).
If the thought of leaving your house in tight yoga pants is not at all appealing, consider Marika, which offers comfy, modest, but stylish, pants like these ($50), which you can easily see yourself wearing out on a coffee date. This fabulous brand also offers shape-enhancing pieces, like tummy control skorts and capri pants that give you that little boost of confidence you need to push your workout to the limit (Marika, $50)
The geniuses who came up with a way for us to exercise and not have to deal with our own sweat deserve to be knighted. JunoActive, a trusted plus-size brand, offers basic leggings, T-shirts and tanks, many of which feature SoftWik fabric that lets your skin breathe and helps evaporate sweat. Their prices range from about $40 to $60 depending on the piece and fabric. And their fresh, happy color selection is fantastic (Juno Active, $55).
Like Jockey, Reebok is an oldie, but a goodie. There are few brands that compare when it comes to covering all of your workout needs and Reebok is known for keeping up with trends — which is evident in the fact that they offer an entire CrossFit line. Almost every item, including their jackets, can be found for less than $100 and you can easily snag a cute T-shirt like this one for about $28. You won't find super-girly clothing here, but everything is extremely functional and cool (Reebok, $28).
On those days when you just want a cute T-shirt and pair of leggings without all of the fuss, Old Navy has you covered. Sure, they offer a line of GoDRY tank tops — but, unlike some other brands, they don't jack up their prices or make a big deal about them. You can grab a tank for $8 or colorful capris for $15 and focus on your workout, not your clothing (Old Navy, $15).
I know what you're thinking: Under Armour is not cheap. You're right, it isn't. But, that $45 you spend on a quality pair of lightweight leggings that feature UA HeatGear fabric will never snag or lose its shape. UA pieces feel like a second skin and, for that reason, you won't regret investing a little more for a tank, tee or pair of pants that last forever (Under Amour, $45).
Brace yourself: Fabletics is the athletic attire brand co-owned by Kate Hudson. But, you guys, it's the total opposite of a celeb brand because it's actually affordable. And cute — did I mention cute? This adorable outfit you see here — the entire three-piece outfit — costs just $60 if you're a VIP member of the site. No, seriously (Fabletics, $60).
You didn't think we'd get through this post without mentioning the Gap, right? The fact remains: No matter where you live, you'll find a Gap and its prices — especially when they're having a sale, which seems to be always — are reasonable. You can snag a pair of hip workout pants like these marble-print leggings for less than $50. Their cute shorts run from $29 to $39 and their awesome seamless GapFit Motion tops, which feature wicking for sweat absorption, average around $26 when on sale.
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