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As I mentally prepare myself for yet another gym trip, I often find myself feeling less than inspired when it comes to my choice of outfit. Now I’m not sure if this is pure laziness, or the general fact there does not seem to be much fashionable gym wear in the market place. One thing’s for sure, I need to get inspired. But where do I start when it comes to gym fashion?
I trawl the internet searching ‘gym wear’ and all I seem to see is pretentious wannabes parading around in a piece of string, or some poor soul head to toe in Lycra. This is not what I had in mind. It’s bad enough entering the mine field that is footwear shopping without the added pressure of clothing. It may sound irrational, but how many times can you honestly say you have judged someone in the gym for what they’re wearing. Maybe they’re wearing as little as possible (which by the way is acceptable if you’re an Adonis) or maybe they’re just heavily clad, like they’ve come straight from their bed. Odds are you will have noticed to some degree. It’s the small details like this that matter.
The first time I entered a gym, something wrongly must have told me ‘go dressed like it’s a summer’s day’. I went in short shorts, the most revealing vest in the world and converse (clearly I was going through a troubled time with my fashion). Not a bad outfit some might say, but weeks of shin splints later and I had to succumb to gym footwear. I had in my head that I had to buy the clumpiest, god awful trainers that would make me look like I had club foot, just to stop more splints. Instead I searched online and found that there is a lot of choice out there, albeit too much choice quite frankly. Finally I made my decision and I was met with ‘out of stock’.
Let’s try the old fashioned way and actually go into a shop, I mean heaven forbid, it was a long shot. Asking the sales girl where the trainers section was, proved to be a big mistake. I was faced with what I can only describe as an altar of worship for the fashion misguided. Nike, Adidas and Slazenger (which by the way, what the hell is this?) the brands just keep on coming. This must be like Easter and Christmas rolled into one for the misguided, but I’m afraid all I want to do is get out and buy myself something, that isn’t woven polyester. I make a beeline for a pair of simple grey trainers with an orange sole. Practical, also with a dash of colour, and will stop me from looking like an OAP on a day trip in his best walking trainers.
Well that’s the footwear tackled, now time for the clothes. So what do I go with? Do I go for the ‘I take myself too seriously, so I like to wear top to toe Lycra’? Thinking of preserving my modesty and my general reputation, I avoid it like the plague. There are in fairness some great websites out there such as sweatybetty.com if you are looking for what I call ‘authentic gym clothing’ and wiggle.co.uk for a vast range of trainers.
If, like myself, you want to stay reasonably fashionable and still comfortable, I would go to places such as H&M for basics. Generally speaking it’s never too hard to dig out a printed vest from there and some casual shorts to pair it with. They also have a great range of sleeveless and non-sleeveless hoodies to layer up an outfit, so it still has some element of outfit building. Keep the colours minimal (block 3 colours), you don’t want to look like a walking ‘club Tropicana’ and more importantly think of those sweat patches…YUCK.
I do not advocate dressing head to toe in black, this is a big no no. It’s the gym not a wake, liven it up a bit. A good outfit that I would recommend is a printed vest as your staple piece (adds interest to the outfit), a pair of cotton jersey shorts (the colour I prefer is cobalt or oxblood) and finish it off with an oversized hoodie. I find grey is acceptable, but a university hoodie is like dog muck through the letter box, please avoid this faux pas. No one needs to know you go to Sheffield University.
Well that’s me sorted gays, happy shopping and remember what Olivia Newton John once said, ‘let’s get physical’ it’s the least we can do.