How to (Appropriately) Dress for the Gym

Got the “get off your butt and hit the gym” part down pat? Next, find out what you should be wearing (and not wearing) when you hit the treadmill.

Business Insider recently did a post on what counts as acceptable gym attire and what you should be looking out for. We liked their tips… and had a few of our own to throw into the mix. While certainly not a beauty pageant, there are some “right and wrong” ways to dress for working out. Check out what the experts had to say on the subject…

1. Form after function.

This isn’t hiking or skiing or some sport where you need a certain amount of intense gear. You’re just going to the gym. “Guys go to the gym for a reason: to get better, bigger, stronger, faster. It’s important to wear workout gear that will facilitate different types of exercise,” says ESPN analyst and former Giants QB Jesse Palmer. “Relaxed ‘dry fit’ shirts work great, as opposed to the skin-tight version, and looser-fitting athletic shorts or track pants make it easy to do any sort of exercise, whether it be running, plyometrics or weight training.” Palmer also advices against headbands, which in his opinion “scream spinning class.

2. Lose the logos.

Unless you’re headed to a football (or some other athletic) game, jerseys (throwback or otherwise) are not appropriate attire for any facet of life. You should channel your favorite sports star, not dress like them.

3. Its not a fashion show.

Palmer is not so into the gorgeous but garish forms of gym wear. “Some guys wear designer shoes to the gym, with patent leather and Velcro straps — those won’t provide an edge for them on the treadmill.”

Bianca Kosoy, creative director at the upscale New York chain Equinox, says, “I’ve definitely seen my share of people you have to stop and take a look at and chuckle. At another gym you might see someone who just rolled out of bed, or has shorts on that are way too short and you can see hair coming out of their back. At Equinox you see people who are ready to walk down a runway, which is equally comical. They have the latte in one hand and their cell phone in the other, the sunglasses on and they’ll sit on the machine and do one rep. It’s really about being seen. And that’s not conducive to working out. The gym is not the venue for that.”

Adds Palmer: “And there’s no need for designer sunglasses in the gym. Or anywhere inside for that matter. I used to work out at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, and some of the pro body builders would wear combat boots to the gym. Obviously, those guys can wear whatever they want…”

4. Find your uniform and stick to it.

Once you find something that you like and that works for you, buy it in every color and stick with that consistent, workable outfit. “I don’t want to change outfits every day,” Rick Owens says, “or even to change for the gym. The bottom half of my uniform has changed a little. It’s become sweatpants with an attached kilt in a shape worn by Egyptian slaves that I’ve been proposing for a few seasons now.”

Owens says he takes inspiration from designer Jean-Michel Frank, who (it has been said) had a closet full of identical gray flannel suits. “An example of a man who knew himself,” Owens adds.

5. Be yourself.

Clearly, no one style fits all and you have to consider your own body type and the kinds of things you’re doing at the gym. Love your legs? You probably want to show off in shorts. No lockers? Maybe you need bottoms with pockets to keep your keys in. Designer Rogan Gregory says, “I don’t change my clothes for different activities besides surfing. Sometimes I go running early in the morning, but I really don’t change out of what I normally wear (flat front Rogan Narkeeta trouser, the Yank T-shirt, and slip-on Vans). One time a friend of mine saw me running and asked who I was running away from, because I didn’t have a traditional jogging getup on.”

It’s probably not safe to run in heels, but the idea is to keep an injection of your personal style into your workout gear. You should still look like you, basically. As Lynsey Vokey, designer of activewear line MPG Sport, says, “I think men ought to be looking at activewear as an entire new section of their wardrobe. The bottom line is, if there’s no way you’d wear your gym gear outside of the gym then you should not be wearing it at all.”

6. Unless youve got cash to burn, shop wisely.

At the end of the day, this is clothing that you’re sweating in. That’s it. Hit up your local Target and/or Goodwill and you’ll find tons of cheap options for workout wear. You can also stock up on athletic socks in bulk (because seriously, is your dryer just eating them or what?) It’s likely nobody is going to see (or care) about your $75 sports bra, so best to leave that extra cash for all the healthy and fresh fruits and veggies you’re going to be chowing down on now that you’re officially taking better care of yourself.

What do you like to wear to the gym? Any tips or no-no’s for what to sport while sweating it out? Tell us in the comments below!

Source: Business Insider

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Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner3 years ago

Whatever works is fine.Why not designer sunglasses, but high heels are counterproductive.

Wisteria K.
Past Member 4 years ago


Kathy Lucas
Kathy Lucas4 years ago

I think I have really come on the right place for getting the perfect info.

shimmer by bari jay

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago


Emma S.
Emma S4 years ago

Comfortable shoes!

heather g.
heather g4 years ago

I don't attend a 'dress-up" gym, thank heavens.

Tia T.
Tia T4 years ago

I have worked in gyms for over 15 years and have seen it all. What people wear is indeed an individual thing - even if you do look stupid - but regardless of what you wear, please make sure to wash it. Some people seem to be imune to their own bad smell. They will keep the same gym clothes in their gym bag all week without washing them. Then, once they start exercising and heating up, the smell gets even worse. Another bit of advice is to wear proper foot wear. Please don't wear open toed shoes in the weight room or on the cardio equipment. It is an accident waiting to happen.

Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago


william Miller
william Miller4 years ago

way to live all your life

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e4 years ago

First world problems!