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Fashionably Fit: How to Be Fashionably Chic at the Gym

By Lizbeth Perez 
Photos by Amra and Elma Beganovic 

Not that you need any more convincing to hit the gym — new year, new you, right? — But in case you do, a little bit of shopping for some “stylish” new workout gear should be enough to keep that motivation going. You see, lucky for all of us fashionistas out there, workout clothes for women, once relegated to the back of the closet, are moving to the front of the fashion scene.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “What’s the point of dressing up to workout? My makeup is just going to run, I’m going to sweat, and my hair is going to end up either frizzy or a mess.”

Well, in all honesty, isn’t that EXACTLY what happens when you go out to the club or a packed bar? The only difference here is that none of us (myself included) would EVER be caught dead in flats, sans make up or in a questionable outfit on a night out on the town. With that said, please explain to me the difference between these two instances. 

But, how did women who frequent the gym come about cracking the secret code on how to feel attractive while pushing their bodies to the limit? What do they know that the rest of us don’t? 

I would have to say that the number one thing to remember here is the fact that ultimately, whether you are doing Yoga or Crossfit, or just hitting up the club, we all want to look good; regardless of the activity. Yes, no matter how you choose to sweat, working out will always be a challenge, but doing it in the right outfit or having the right look will always make a HUGE difference. Not just in the way that you look, but in your performance as well. 

It’s interesting to note, that the trend of stylish fitness attire is speeding across the nation faster than the runners who wear them — and for good reason. They’re motivators, not just for getting you into the gym, but in getting the right outfit for the right class which will then get you into the right little black dress for happy hour later on.

Yoga pants are the new jeans, neon sports bras have become the "it" accessory and long athletic socks are hipper than high heels.

"I have a sick obsession with buying workout clothes," says Lucy, 32, who wears workout gear both in and outside of the gym in Orlando. "Call me vain, but I’ve worked too hard for my figure and don’t want to hide it under questionable dingy gym clothes. I can’t help it, I want to look good."

Blame it on the push by many Americans toward a more active lifestyle. Or call it an extension of the nation's fascination with fashion. Either way, these days jogging suits are just as likely to be seen on the elliptical with a pair of Nikes as they are at some of the hottest clubs paired with sky-high stilettos.

No, these are no longer the days of the cheap cotton T-shirt and spandex jumpsuits. Top designers like Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang have all rolled out fitness chic clothing lines, at one point or another. These collections range from $50 leggings to $125 zip-front hoodies and $225 long john sweatpants. Not to mention the fact that nationwide retailers with recognizable names such as Gap, Forever 21, Victoria Secret and Macy's have fitness lines, too.

This is the latest evolution in fitness fashion. Sweatpants and tees were the hallmark of athletic clothing for decades. That changed with the invention of spandex in 1959, then again with the aerobics craze of the 1980s when tights, leotards, legwarmers and nylon tracksuits became popular. 

Fashion comes in full circles, and the neon craze is just one of the many trends that has reemerged into both the fitness and fashion world. 

Ultimately, we can thank some of the athletic giants like Nike, Reebok and Adidas with their synthetic materials such as Gore Tex and Lyrcra and their performance qualities for staying both functional and practical – who can now add the word fashionable to their repertoire.   

Find fashionable workout clothing to keep you motivated here:

2. Hip Fit
3. Look Human
5. Inknburn
6. Forever21

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