By Ellie Thompson
With the sale of workout gear ever growing and the sports industry booming (estimated to be worth more than £6bn in 2015), it’s safe to say that the importance of looking good while keeping fit was probably one of the top New Year aims for this year.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve given up your New Year’s Resolutions already because ‘new term, new you’ works just as well, and what’s better than to exercise while feeling stylish and good about yourself in the process? The start of a new year sees up to a 50% increase in gym membership sign ups with 80% of the ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ crowd dropping out by the second week of February, meaning that only 20% remain. In 2015, UK gym membership was up by 44%, making it obvious that people want to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror – so why not also look as good when you’re exercising?
I’ve noticed that workout clothes don’t really have the ‘stylish’ label associated with them and this is interesting since we seem to spend most of our time in the gym or exercising in this society, or at least dressing in comfy workout wear even if we’re not moving. It struck me the other day when someone jokingly said to me ‘you say you’re a fashion writer but your helmet doesn’t even coordinate with your bike? Shocking.’ This led me to want to find out what stylish alternatives to sportswear there were on the market, and where to find them. Here’s a few I found.
The name of Asics comes from the Latin saying “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano” which translates to “A healthy mind in a healthy body.” Asics have Olympians falling at their feet with 7 times US champion Alysia Montaño stating “it’s the one stop shop, go-to brand for me!” As well as an impressive range of running shoes (safe to say I own a pair and they are the comfiest ever), the Japanese sportswear company has everything from brightly coloured track shorts to lightweight printed tops to ensure gym sessions stay fun. You can layer this t-shirt with other pieces for a “stylish, individual look”. They also offer a bright and cheerful running range for men and women, trainers ranging from around £30 to £130 depending on how serious you want to go.
Open for just 2 years and founded by actress Kate Hudson, Fabletics is the talk of the UK sportswear industry and offers “clothing and accessories which focus on fitness, function and style” with prices starting at a friendly £12. With the company’s strapline being ‘where fitness and fashion meet’, it is easy to see what they are aiming for with bright-pink patterned pieces to a subtler look in monochrome. You’ll soon want to wear the whole collection every day and not just for the gym.
From running and outdoor activities to gym and yoga, H&M Sport is aiming to inspire everyone with their high-fashion sportswear range “For Every Victory” in collaboration with the Swedish Olympic team. The collection is largely dominated by black, grey, dusty pink and gold hues for the more subtle gym-goer and the gear has been tested out by the Olympic team who gave advice on the design, performance and wearability of the products. The range focuses on providing quick drying and breathable materials for men and women and include track shorts, sports bras, jackets and trousers. For all you environment-conscious students out there, the collection is also made out of recycled polyester fabrics so you can workout and be content with the knowledge that your clothing is sustainable.
I’ve heard endless praise for Primark’s sportswear which you might think is unusual, with pieces ranging from £4 for a crop top to £6 for cropped leggings. Lifestyle blogger High Heels and Macaroons says that Primark is her “new favourite place for bits to go to the gym” with “prices being great as well as the quality.” From tie-dye leggings (pictured) and fast-drying breathable tops to fluorescent running shoes and useful accessories such as a microfibre workout towel, Primark is the affordable and stylish place to go to get a whole new sports wardrobe, so now you have no excuses not to hit the gym!