The Cool Girl’s Guide to Refreshing Your Gym Look


By Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds

The author in a favorite gym look.
The author in a favorite gym look.

Look better, lift better: All the reason we need to invest a little time and dinero in our workout wardrobe this season. And since everyone (even non-fitness-fanatics) want to channel that sporty, cool girl vibe these days, consider shopping for pieces can do double duty as daytime staples or even date-night go-tos. Here are my top tips for building a gym look that can go the distance.



  1. FIT COMES FIRST: Nothing looks good unless it fits properly. Anything boxy, loose or that resembles a tent should be saved for sleeping or camping in remote areas. On the other side of the spectrum, if you can’t bend or breathe in it (a.k.a., jeans, Spanx, a bombshell push up bra, or booty shorts) then it’s also a pass. You want to find pieces that hug and hold rather than drown or strangle.


  1. GO THE DISTANCE: No matter how excellent the brand (trainer Heather Marr favors Lululemons because of their comfort and fit), I always recommend the full length pants in the darker colored options, because, though cropped or “loose fit” pants may appear cute on Instagram, they actually chop the body’s proportions. That means your legs will appear shorter, and that’s never flattering, right? Meanwhile light colors can make the body look wider and also don’t pop against the skin, depending on your skin tone. Bottom line (no pun intended): Stay dark, fitted, and full length for the pant, especially for a clean look at the gym.


  1. SHORT STORY: There is but one rule when it comes to shorts: Try them on! Unless you have a style you love and you know are flattering, do not attempt to buy these online (or buy them online but be prepared to send most of them back). I personally like gym shorts that are tight at the hip and looser over the backside, rather than the tight-all-over shorts as they tend to make me feel very self conscious and rarely looking good on anyone (except for Michael Phelps).


  1. TOP IT OFF: When it comes to tops, it starts with your bra. I trust Nike, as they have all different levels of support, with a lot of design details like fun straps, cut outs and zippers. But whatever brand and style you settle on, the real fun comes with coordinating your bra with your top. “I like to wear one of Nike’s strappy racer back style sports bras with a basic scoop down tank, so the cool strap details poke out. Its also extra fun if the bra is colored or printed and the rest of the look is black; it’s an unexpected pop of color and fun,” says one of my model friends. But don’t verge to far on the cray-cray scale: “If your outfit is mismatched you will be perceived as disorganized, and more importantly, that’s how you will start to perceive yourself,” says another friend.


My fall shopping game plan? I’ll be replenishing some of my clean-lined basics that have gotten worn out (like the Nike Pro Indy Cross Back sports bra and Women’s Training Tank) and investing in some pants and tops with sheer cut outs. Specifically, I have my eyes on the Inspire Tight II Lululemon pant in black and Onzie Women’s High Rise Bondage Leggings, which are full length with seam details and mesh inserts to keep things edgy. And Alala’s Mesh Tank or Trina Turk’s Lazer Cuts Solids Jacket are perfect for throwing over a bright bra top for a pop of color.

Back-to-school shopping? Nah. It’s back-to-gym shopping for me.


Trina Turk Lazer Jacket
Trina Turk Lazer Jacket


Onzie Bondage Leggings
Onzie Bondage Leggings


Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 8.02.09 AM
Alala Mesh Tank


Make the most of this relationship.