Confession: I’m a gym rat. One of my favorite things about being a freelance, work-from-home writer is the flexibility to hit the gym, take a yoga class, or go for a run in the park every.single.day. (Provided that I’m on deadline, of course—cough, cough—hiiiii, awesome editor Sophia!) But what I have a hard time with is the pressure to wear stylish, designer, and, more often than not, pricey fitness clothes to work out.
Adriana Lima and Erin Heatherton show off their super-stylin’ workout clothes.
It was especially persistent when I lived on New York’s Upper West Side, where the yoga studios, health clubs, and fancy lunch places are ruled by designer Lycra-pants-wearing cliques—you know what I mean, right? I’d always get the side eye in my ill-fitting boot-cut workout pants circa 1999 (hey, they held up well) and old, ratty T-shirts (most that I got for free). And let’s not even talk about the looks I’d get when I’d run errands on the way home.
I guess it’s pretty ironic considering that my resumé reads “fashion writer” and I have a million-plus ways to justify the purchase of a $1,000 Prada handbag or Nicholas Kirkwood six-inch python platforms that I’ve worn only once (they’re from the outlets!!!). But it just hurts so much to take the time to shop for (and spend more than $40 on) a pair of from-this-century yoga pants. Not to mention, I wear my workout clothes more than anything in my wardrobe. Plus, I just feel like a health-and-fitness haven should be a judgement free zone—I mean, I’m THERE, right? Instead of slothing it up in front of the TV with a Real Housewives marathon and a wine and cheese sesh—which I am also wont to do, guilt-free, that’s one of the reasons I exercise. So why do I have to dress up while I’m at it? What’s next—a full face of makeup?
But one day my husband basically said that he was embarrassed to be seen with me in my sloppy workout gear and he dragged me to Lululemon to buy me a couple of pairs of new pants. (Please note that my hubs is THE most frugal person on earth, so I must have looked pretty bad for him to shell out $90-something for each.) I also happened upon a Gap discount and decided to trade up from my disgusting tees for a couple of already reasonably priced (and *gasp* cute) workout tops.
Well, that was a turning point. First off, I realized that a butt-kicking spin class is SO much more enjoyable in a scientifically designed wicking top as opposed to an oppressive cotton tee that traps exhausting heat and sweat. And I grudgingly admit it, but I just feel better when I look nicer (kind of like my life outside of the gym, duh), so I have more motivation to work out hard and challenge myself. I now own four pairs of Lululemons (hey, they’re functionally GOOD yoga pants) and I’ve amassed just enough non-wallet-busting (and, yes, cute) GapFit and Athleta tops to get me through the workout week. I figure these should last me until about 2025 and—yay—my husband is willing to be seen in public with me again.