Look Hot Sweating! Your Guide to the Most Flattering Fitness Gear
It's tough to focus on a workout when you're worried that your butt looks big or that bra fat is poking out of your tank top. With these expert styling tips, you'll feel good about your gym gear and get ready break a mean sweat.
Avoid wearing bright patterns on areas you want to hide
To get yourself pumped for the gym, you may feel inclined to throw on brightly colored, patterned workout clothes. Great for your psyche—not so much for your trouble spots. “While prints may be fun, they can highlight areas of the body we don’t want highlighted,” says Katie Dunlop, founder of the workout blog Love Sweat Fitness. “Most people avoid tight clothing when they don’t want to show off their body, but dark, tight workout gear can actually enhance your figure and your workout,” she says. We love the Under Armour UA Breathelux, which comes in four dark, flattering colors.
Slim your lower body with compression spandex
We’d all be less hesitant to run on the treadmill or climb the StairMaster if all those wobbly bits would just stay put, relatively speaking. The solution here is compression spandex. “If you have any insecurities about your lower body, solid, dark-colored spandex will be your best friend,” Dunlop says. “There are tons of fitness pants out there that have some compression to help slim out your hips, butt, and thighs, which can boost your confidence and help you focus on the workout.” Check out the Express Core Compression Crop Legging or the Nike Power Legend Compression Leggings to get your lower body fully nipped and tucked. If you do hop on the treadmill, avoid these workout mistakes that make trainers cringe.
Women with larger chests need underwire sports bras
Being well-endowed is less of a blessing when it comes to exercise. To avoid the pain (literally) of bouncing around, developing stretch marks, and potentially sagging, it’s best to always wear a sports bra with built-in support for aerobic exercise. “The right sports bra can make or break your workout,” Dunlop says. “For women with a bigger chest, I always recommend an underwire bra. Unfortunately, they aren’t usually the cutest bras out there, but you will be locked and loaded, and ready to get to work.” Dunlop’s favorite underwire bra is the Knockout by Victoria’s Secret Front Close Sports Bra, which zips up the front, has a supportive underwire, and is built with structured cups. If you want to highlight your larger assets, Dunlop also raves about Lorna Jane sports bras, many of which have stylish straps, mesh detailing, and cute cutouts.
To perk up your booty, pay special attention to stitching
If endless squats aren’t yielding results as quickly as you’d like, there are alternative ways to give your tush a lift. For an instant boost, find shorts, leggings, and cropped pants with tight, curved stitching. While most workout clothes have straight stitching, these are cut specifically to surround, hug, and lift your assets. “The right stitching can add shape to your body and highlight the areas you want featured,” Dunlop says. Her favorite better-booty leggings are the Livewire Leggings at Public Myth. “They’re seriously so good!” she says.
Smooth your belly with high-waisted elastic
The truth is that everyone—even fitness models and triathletes—will show a little bulge while doing sit-ups and stretches (find out if it’s still important to stretch before a workout). But if your self-conscious about your mid-section, you can camouflage it by wearing leggings designed with high-waisted elastic. “The revival of high-waisted pants is the best thing that ever happened for women of every shape and size,” Dunlop says. “If you have any lower belly pooch or stomach flab you want to hide, there are tons of brands with amazing high-waisted options.” Check out Bandier’s gorgeous Body Language Slater Legging, the Old Navy Go-Dry High-Rise Compression Shorts, and Glamour Goddess Hi-Waist Yoga Tights from relative newcomer KiraGrace, for perfect examples of gear that will suck in your stomach, narrow your hips, and shrink your waist, so you can focus on crunches!
If you have short legs, avoid cropped pants at all costs
Although your body will drastically transform on a plan like the Love Sweat Fitness 8-Week Hot Body Sweat Guide, one thing that won’t change is the length of your legs. So if you want them to look longer, avoid cropped cuts. “You want to wear tight, full-length leggings,” says Dunlop. “Crops don’t do anyone with shorter legs any favors. If you are looking to slim out your thighs, go for a full-length legging with compression. The best ones I’ve found at a good price are from Fabletics, and they really suck everything in!” she says.
For smaller chests, wear medium padding
“Girls with small chest can often wear any type of bra while working out,” begins Dunlop, “but it’s still important to get some support, so I recommend wearing a bra with a light padding.” Check out the Goddess Victoria T-Back tank from KiraGrace, with built-in bra pockets for removable pads. Even if you barely fill the smallest cup size, it’s worth exercising with some support to avoid premature sagging and stretch marks. On the other hand, if you wear tight workout tops and want an added boost, the Victoria’s Secret Ultimate Push-Up Sports Bra will magically boost your chest to bombshell status.
Know which styles are universally flattering
If you don’t always have time to plan your daily workout outfit (and let’s be honest, who does?), make sure you have a few universally flattering options to grab and go, and never have to fret about what you’ve packed in your gym bag (which should also include these nine accessories). “High-waisted, full-length leggings are the absolute most universally flattering look,” says Dunlop. “They will elongate the body, slim out thighs, and make your waist appear smaller! Who doesn’t want that?” Her favorites are the Lisette High Waisted Legging from Fabletics and the High Times Core F/L Tight from Lorna Jane. “Pair that with a cute sports bra and a tank knotted at the front, and you are ready to rock it!” she says.
Everyone loves a motivating tee
Dunlop is all about empowering women and making sure that they focus on themselves during a workout. You shouldn’t be dressing to impress those around you, and no matter what your insecurities are (we all have them!), what you choose to wear comes down to what makes you feel the most determined and happy—full stop. “Wear gear that motivates you!” Dunlop says. “I have tons of fun tanks at Love Sweat Fitness like Good Things Come to Those Who Sweat or Green Juice Now, Champagne Later. A little inspo to help you push harder and have fun will get you to the point that you feel comfortable rocking ANYTHING at the gym!” With a bit of perseverance, that day will be here soon enough!