What to Wear to the Gym

January is by far the most popular month to sign up for a gym membership and it’s noticeably more crowded than any other time of year. It’s also a great time of year to refresh your workout wardrobe since it will still be awhile until you can (comfortably) workout outdoors.

A few mornings a week before work, I teach classes at my local Life Time Fitness. I started out at the company teaching karate classes, and then transitioned into group fitness. I teach mainly strength and kickboxing classes, and have a whole lot of fun motivating our members throughout the workout. Plus – I get to wear a ‘Britney Spears’ style mic while doing so.

If you are just starting out your gym wardrobe, keep in mind a few things:

-Stick to a minimal color scheme starting out. Your gym wardrobe will not have as many choices as your everyday clothes, so not having a “plan” when buying workout attire can leave you with a bunch of pieces that aren’t versatile. For example, I tend to stick to grays, neon yellow, and turquoise when buying new workout clothes. That way I look coordinated and each piece can be worn with one another.

-Buy the proper attire. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, but it does mean the cotton t-shirt and shorts you wore in high school are not OK. You need to buy fabrics that breathe to cut down on smell (both during the workout and longevity of the clothing), and make it more comfortable for you while you sweat.

-Streamline the pieces you buy. The easiest way to build a workout wardrobe is buy black crops/pants since they’ll go with any top. You also want to be mindful of your sports bras. My advice – buy only racer backs since you’ll be able to wear them under any shirt as opposed to the front-to-back normal straps that will show if you have a racer back tank on:

Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 10.33.25 PM


There are a few items you’ll need to invest in as opposed to being able to get away with a cheaper version:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.15.04 AMSave:

Workout tops, pullovers/jackets, and running shorts are all items you can save on. There’s really no need to invest in a higher end version of any of these since they’re not really affecting the way you work out.


Crops/pants are an item you’ll want a quality pair of since you’ll own it longer and you’ll want it to fit correctly so you don’t have to pull or tug at it during a workout.

Heart Rate Monitor: I highly recommend owning one since it will not only tell you the amount of calories you’ve burned, but your heart rate will let you know if you need to bring up the intensity or tone it down. Polar and Garmin are my favorite brands, and I currently use the one pictured above.

Sports Bras: This is subjective on whether or not you need a higher end one. I normally don’t spend a lot of money on mine, however, my favorite kinds I find on the sale rack at Lucy.

Socks: Bad socks can ruin a workout. Spend a tiny bit more on a good pair of socks and it will last a long time and keep you comfortable. I only wear these, no other pairs will do.

Shoes: Your pair of shoes should depend on what activity you use it for most. I do mostly cross training and the Nike TR Fit  are the only pair that are comfortable for me during any type of workout.



Lastly, there is a bit of variance of attire between the types of workouts you do.

Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 10.24.52 PMGroup Fitness: You can wear any breathable clothing you’re comfortable in, but you may want to wear cross trainer shoes since there are more side to side movements in these classes.


Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 9.22.28 PMYoga: Be mindful of what top you wear to yoga. You’ll want something that has elastic/stretchy material at the bottom (as opposed to a loose fitting tank), so your top doesn’t move when doing a down dog.


Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 9.45.50 PMRunning: Shorts or tights are the way to go when running since looser material will get in the way. Comfortable socks and running shoes will make your runs easier as well.


Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 9.57.00 PMBoot Camp: I use gloves occasional in boot camps when we use barbells or when we go outside on the pavement. They are a life saver for my hands.


Below is my normal workout outfit for when I teach classes. In the winter I normally wear longer pants, and most of my tops are racer back tanks with thicker straps.



I’d love to hear from you. What types of workouts do you do, and what do you like to wear to the gym?


5 Comments on What to Wear to the Gym

  1. Caitlin
    January 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm (9 years ago)

    Love that you shared this post! It’s so helpful – I’ve been meaning to replenish my workout wardrobe and this advice is going to be super helpful during the process! Also, super jealous of the Britney mic 😉

    • thedressdecoded
      January 29, 2015 at 6:28 pm (9 years ago)

      I really appreciate that! When starting my workout wardrobe, I had to learn the hard way that it’s not the amount of workout clothes you have if none of it goes with each other.

      I get both a mic and a stage! lol!

  2. Ashley
    February 12, 2015 at 6:07 pm (9 years ago)

    You should check out http://www.shopthomaskelly.com I’d be curious on your opinion on their work-out gear. I just followed your blog through instagram (ig) and I love it!

    • thedressdecoded
      February 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm (9 years ago)

      Oh wow, it’s really cute. I love this top – http://www.shopthomaskelly.com/products/malaga-mix
      I would probably buy a top from them before pants just because I have to try bottoms on in person first.

      Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  3. Diana
    May 23, 2017 at 12:20 am (6 years ago)

    I agree to the fact that we need more breathable clothes for the gym, Our own wardrobe clothes just do nit fit well in the scene. Gym clothing Is entirely different and very suitable for working out. I have been buying some great clothes from https://www.liveclothing.uk/. Maybe it will help some of the readers get a idea of what to wear.


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