Generally, it doesn’t matter what you wear to the gym. Here in Brighton, it matters even less. You could turn up in a full body squirrel costume and nobody, just nobody, would bat an eyelid.
If you are new to exercising and getting your knickers in a twist about what to wear, please don’t. Get your knickers in a twist, that is. It chafes when doing a deep squat.
This week I have been trying out a few pieces from the Sportswear section at Simply Be. Simply Be specialise in woman’s fashion from size 12 to 32 so if anybody knows about active wear for curvy girls, they do.
Whatever your level of curviness or the activity you’re doing, the one essential piece of kit you need is a decent sports bra. They can be a bit spendy, but they last for years so think of it as an investment.
As far as sports bras go, I was a long term fan of the Shock Absorber brand, until I bought their latest design. This had an extra strap between the shoulder blades which admittedly does help keep everything strapped down. However, it’s so high up that it’s virtually impossible to do up yourself unless you are an orangutan or enlist the help of a willing passer by. Gave the milkman quite a fright, I can tell you.
Thanks to Simply Be, I was able to try out the Panache Black Wired Sports Bra (as seen above) which comes in sizes 34E to 40GG and promises to reduce bounce by 80%. It’s a bit more bra-like than other sports bras, since it’s got underwires, so you get a better shape under sportswear.
Often sports bras can give a bit of a mono-boob, so it looks like you’re smuggling a pillow under your t shirt. These wires are wrapped in silicone so they’re not in danger of poking out, and there are padded straps and flat seams for extra comfort and support.
I also chose the Puma Transitional Jacket, which is the perfect jacket for exercising outside or travelling to the gym. If you are doing Couch to 5K right now and feeling the chill, this is what you want.
It’s made of dryCell fabric to draw sweat away from the skin and help keep you dry and comfy during exercise. There’s an adjustable hood with cord stoppers, mesh overlay panels, raglan sleeves for freedom of movement and side zip pockets. But my favourite design features are the extra long sleeves with thumbhole slits to keep your hands warm and make you look like a loose Emo.
Finally, there’s a rounded drop back hem for anyone who wants a bit of extra bum coverage. Essentially what we’ve got here is a black jacket but not a boring black jacket. It fits well and lets you move without being constricting. Here I am wearing it in my model’s lair, AKA the loos at my gym.
Other than that, I can offer these active wear guidelines:
- NO to light grey leggings
As soon as you start to sweat it will look like you’ve peed yourself
- NO to ordinary leggings
There’s a difference between ordinary leggings and fitness ones, and it’s not just the price. Fitness leggings tend to be thicker and able to cope with movement. Ordinary leggings will go opaque and show off your Entertainment Department to the person behind you as soon as you bend over, which could get awkward for you both.
- NO to baggy t shirts
Even if you never normally wear fitted tops, make an exception in the gym. There is more bending over than you might expect when exercising, and your baggy t shirt could easily be wafting around your ears exposing your bits to the world. Again, awkward.
- YES to brand names
I am normally anti-brand names, because own brand is usually just as good and often made by the same factories. The one exception to this is in sportswear, because in my experience Nike, Adidas and Puma tend to be very sturdy and long lasting.
- Make up, no make up – no one cares
Do whatever you like with your own face. It’ll be bright red and sweaty soon enough, not much you can do about that. I like to paint my nails for something to look at when I’m lifting weights but that’s just me.
Above all remember – other exercisers very probably don’t give a rat’s ass about what you wear. Dress like you’re about to go to a club, or like you slept in those clothes for a month – it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re there and having a go, and therefore automatically look like a hero.
What do you like to wear when exercising? Leave a comment, I’d love to know
*Contains PR samples