Chic Workout Gear

The warm weather is a chance to get out of the gym and go outside –- an opportunity to test out different ways to get your cardio going and rid yourself of those late-night margarita calories! Update your wardrobe with some new athletic gear to look stylish while trying your new activity, No matter the intensity level, from biking, to yoga in the park, sand volleyball, or bocce, we’ve got you covered.

The Top:

Do away with that ratty, oversized tee that you used to work out in, and upgrade to something more sleek and stylish. Let’s start with the basic tank -- it should be something made of breathable fabric that fits well -- not too tight to constrict movement and reveal every curve from your torso on up, but rather roomy enough to comfortably bend over and touch your toes (or if you’re like us, attempt to!) without rolling up. Two of our favorite tanks to work out in are the 2x1 Rib Racerback Tank, ($17, American Apparel), and the Ultimate Tank with Shelf Bra ($9.99, Victoria’s Secret). Both tanks come in luscious color palettes so that we can pick more fashion-forward colors to work out in, and avoid white tops that tend to embarrassingly reveal sweat marks and discolored “pit stains” more easily. If you need to crank up the performance level of your top a few notches, you may opt for something with some wicking power and mesh details. Our favorites include the Under Armour HeatGear Approach Shortsleeve T ($24.99, UnderArmour.com) and the LIVESTRONG Dri-FIT Base Layer Tee in Yellow, ($40, Laf.org). We actually have the latter and can sing its praises performance-wise, not to mention that 100% of the profits from the sale of these LIVESTRONG products go toward the Lance Armstrong Foundation programs. The tee kept us well ventilated and moisture-free, in addition to making us feel safe riding around the city on a bike due to its bright yellow color and subtle yet important reflective strip on the back. Lastly, if you are die-hard when it comes to exercise, rain or shine, this Metallic Windbreaker, ($20, Old Navy), or the Converse One Star Nylon Jacket in Yellow Haze, complete with a hood and extra pockets ($34.99, Target), will keep you on the go despite the dismal, dark clouds and rain downpour.

The Bra:

This could definitely make or break your workout, depending on if you are properly supported with the right type and fit of bra. We’ve pulled several different styles to accommodate different bust sizes and activities. For those ladies out there who are less “endowed” or prefer to take on more mellow activities that don’t require a lot of running and jumping, like yoga or pilates, we recommend the Essential Basic Bra ($9.99-$18.50, The Gap). The soft stretchy fabric will give you enough flexibility to twist and turn comfortably without feeling constricted. For more of a boost, we like the C9 by Champion Running Platinum Bra in Blue Ash ($19.99, Target) or the slightly cheaper C9 by Champion Seamless Bra in Ebony ($14.99, Target). These bras both dry quickly, with the platinum bra providing some additional stretch and support (ideal for running), while the seamless bra fits well underneath a racerback tank. Lastly, if you hate hate hate the look of bra straps peaking out from the sides and tops of tees and tanks, opt for the thoughtful design of this Jockey V-Neck Sports Bra ($28, Amazon.com), which features a v-shape neck and racerback and can easily be concealed under a variety of top styles.

The Bottom:

Now that you’ve got your top and your bra, what can you pair them with on the bottom? It’s way too easy to resort to oversized sweatpants or lounge pants that resemble pajamas to wear as workout gear, but with an eye on the style radar we’re going to affordably modify the workout look. Starting with shorts, we were impressed with these Seam-Front Shorts ($10, Old Navy) which have a nice combination of cotton/polyester and spandex which means they stretch, they breath, they clean easily, and they don’t get blown out of shape after one use. Plus, the color choices will match perfectly with our tank selections. For the ultimate chic workout short, these Adidas by Stella McCartney Layer Track Shorts ($70, Nordstrom) combine her incredibly hip runway aesthetic into functional workout gear. Plus we love the adjustability; not only is there a drawstring waist, but there are also snaps at the hem for ultimate comfort. If you’re not quite ready to show off your gams, or simply prefer to wear pants, our top two picks include the Mari Dade Black Stretch Knit Bootcut Pants ($48, Bluefly.com) which do a great job of hiding bulky running shoes, and the Yoga Capri Pants ($10, Old Navy), which provide optimum stretch and ease for activities ranging from bike riding to striking a "salutation to the sun" pose. Plus, they could pull double duty after your workout as leggings -- just pair them with some flip flops and a tunic top!

Now you should be ready to stylishly hit the ground running (or walking, or hiking or biking or you name it).

-- Julia DiNardo

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