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Stylish & Budget Friendly Workout Clothing

Posted Aug 27 2012 8:08am

I often go back and forth regarding how much to spend on workout clothes.  I’m finally at a point where I’m in class 2-3 times per week, and that requires enough outfits so that:

1. I don’t give off the impression that I only have 2 shirts I work out in
2. I don’t give off the impression that I don’t do laundry
3. I don’t have to do laundry every week
4. I look somewhat presentable.

I decided that I need 4+ workout outfits (which would imply a laundry schedule of every other week – entirely doable).  I just had to decide how much to spend. I don’t mind buying expensive things IF it’s worth it.  My definition of worth the splurge:

1.   The quality of the high-end item must be light years beyond the low-cost alternative
2.  The item will be used with great frequency
3.  The item still falls somewhat in my budget.  As nice as it may be, I can’t/won’t spend $2,000 on a purse

A great example of worth it?  Seven for All Mankind high-rise skinny jeans.  They hide my muffin top, don’t show my underwear when I bend over, retail for under $200, and have served me well over the years.  I also splurged on a juicer . That baby gets use everyday.  Whats not worth it?   Pajamas .   Mascara .  Sunglasses. Seeing a Kate Hudson movie in a theatre.

Workout clothing is a bit of a different animal.  While it certainly fits my splurge standards, I struggle a bit more with buying expensive clothing with the intention to drench them with my sweat.  And possibly (and grossly) other people’s sweat if class gets crowded.  If I’m not sweating, I’m laying on a dirty mat in yoga or pilates.  That reminds me, I really should clean my mat.

High end workout brands like Lululemon have really beautiful clothing, but it’s more aspirational for me.   Buying a $70 shirt for the sole purpose of ruining it seems a bit silly.  And I’d be worried about “ruining” my expensive workout gear with sweat.  I’m sure if I were a millionaire then I’d have a closet just for my selection of $100 yoga pants, but for a girl on a budget, it just isn’t practical.  Though I do think a good sports bra is a savvy investment.  I can’t work out in peace unless my pieces are in place.

So where can one find stylish workout gear that will last and won’t break the bank?  I look no further than the old standards: Gap , Old Navy , & Victoria’s Secret .  Not only are their prices reasonable, but I never pay retail for anything at these brands since they always have coupon codes and promotions.  Gap has a fantastic new line of  workout gear called Gap Fit ,” and Old Navy active wear is a staple in my exercise wardrobe. I’ve had the same yoga pants from Victoria’s secret for the past 5 years.

People often ask me where I get my workout clothing and they are shocked when I tell them.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces from each brand:

Yoga Pants:
Victorias Secret Most Loved Yoga Pant
VS often has 2 for $50 sales on their yoga pants.  You can pick the length (30″, 32″, or 34″) and the color combination.  I’ve had mine since 2007 and they’re still going strong.

Workout Leggings:
Old Navy Active Compression Leggings
Compression capri leggings are my favorite (I have 3 pairs).  They remain dry through even the sweatiest spin class.

Workout Tops:
Old NavyGap Fit
I love love love the  active goDRY tanks  from Old Navy and Gap makes some great  loose fitting workout tops  for those days when I’m feeling a little more, well, mushy than usual.

Work Out on a Budget
Perfect Go To Outfit:   GapFit racerback tank  (Gap), Capri Leggings  (Old Navy)
Work Out in Style
Holy Collarbones.  Loose Fitting Top (Gap), Capri Leggings  (Old Navy)
Favorite Yoga Outfit:  Loose Fitting Top (Gap Fit), Capri Leggings  (Old Navy)
Work Out In Style
Perfect Spinning Outfit:   Active GoDRY Tank (Old Navy), Capri Leggings (Old Navy)


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