I don’t know about you, but one thing that definitely keeps me motivated and consistent when it comes to staying active is cute and flattering activewear! Since many of us establish new fitness goals at the start of the new year, I thought this would be a great time to share some fun and versatile activewear looks…that are also affordable! My goal this year in terms of fitness is to stay active. period. That might mean long walks with my dog Traveler, hikes in our gorgeous mountains here in Telluride, or a few standing pushups in between Zoom calls!
You’ll find specific tips for a healthier new year and ways to stay motivated in your wellness journey here.
Affordable Activewear For Women
First, let’s define “affordable”. There are certainly retailers that provide very inexpensive activewear options. But after trying a few, I’ve determined there are key things I just can’t live without when it comes to activewear I enjoy wearing, that helps to keep me motivated, AND that lasts:
- Moisture-wicking fabrics
- Durable fabrics
- Lightweight and breathable fabrics
- Fashion-forward, interesting details
Performance and durability matter especially when it comes to activewear. These are pieces that are likely headed into the wash after each wear. I don’t want a sports bra that doesn’t last after 2 washes. Some cheap workout clothes just won’t stand the test of time…and you end up wasting your money. But, I also understand you might not want to heavily invest in pieces you plan to sweat in. So, I’m going to focus on high-quality pieces by reputable brands that are all under $100 (some way under, some barely under!). These activewear pieces are for ALL kinds of activities…whether that’s walking, hiking, and Pilates or high-intensity workouts like running and HIIT. Keep scrolling for 10 key pieces you can add to your activewear wardrobe.
A great pair of leggings is the cornerstone of a cute activewear outfit. I prefer high-waisted leggings because I feel most secure and comfortable when I know all the “parts” are tucked in. I also don’t want to be hiking up my leggings a million times a day which can be the case with lower-rise leggings. These color-blocked leggings are from an activewear brand I love, Beyond Yoga. The fabric is breathable, wicks moisture, and has a medium compression that can camouflage lumps and bumps without cutting off your circulation!
These also have flattering details. They have a comfortable v-front to slim the look of your tummy AND the side stripes minimize and streamline your legs. Winning! I’m 5’4″ and these come right to my ankles…perfect. There’s also a side hip pocket for your phone. These are just under $100 so they are at the top end of the “affordable” cut off, but they wash and wear beautifully!
The type of sports bra you choose depends on how much support you need. How much support you need depends on what type of activity you’ll be doing (walking, stretching, jumping, running?) and how large your chest is. In general, thicker straps and fabric with more compression provide the most support. This Beyond Yoga color-blocked bra matches the leggings in the previous look and is meant more for low-impact workouts like yoga, Pilates, and barre. For more high-intensity workouts, I’d opt for something more supportive. Here are a few options ranging from low to medium to maximum support.
I have a few of these Beyond Yoga tanks and love how comfortable and secure I feel working out in them. It has a higher neckline, so you don’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions during a workout. And, it’s comfortable enough to wear when you’re not working out. The foil print pattern is fun and it has a racerback which is pretty ideal for most activities. It doesn’t bunch up and it’s also long enough to meet a high-waisted pair of leggings without showing a lot of skin at the stomach. A fitted tank like this one will keep you feeling secure, and you’ll love the incredibly soft fabric!
Loose Workout Tank
For those of you with larger busts, who are looking to hide a tummy, or just prefer less compression, a loose or body-skimming workout tank is a great option. The relaxed fit will give you room to move. These are perfect for walking, hiking, and running. They can also be good for studio workouts, but you’d then want to opt for a body-skimming tank. What exactly is body skimming? It follows the natural curve of your torso and just “skims” your shape…not fitted! You’ll still get the moisture-wicking aspect without feeling confined. You can tie it in a knot like I did in this photo are leave it unknotted for a bit more coverage. Sharing a few loose workout tanks here that are all under $55!
Let’s circle back to leggings for a minute. So, how many pairs of black or dark gray leggings do you own? Sure they can be slimming but I’ve found that a pair of patterned leggings can also be VERY flattering. It’s like an optical illusion. The eye naturally follows movement so when you wear leggings with a busy pattern, the eye goes to the pattern more so than the shape of your legs and bottom. So patterns can actually make your legs look better! A patterned legging that is also high-waisted? Golden! The exact leggings in the photo above keep going in and out of stock, but I’m linking some other fun options by brands that our team loves!
Wide Leg Leggings
I haven’t had a chance to try a flared workout legging just yet, but I bet they’re very flattering and comfortable! Just like wide-leg jeans and trousers are very on trend, the same can be said for leggings. These would be best for mat Pilates, yoga, and walking. But, not ideal for spin or reformer classes since you don’t want the fabric from the wider leg getting stuck in any of the mechanics.
Over your workout tank or sports bra, a moisture-wicking, performance long-sleeve top is perfect for cooler months. You can either wear it throughout your workout or as an added layer to wear to and from. Long or short sleeve performance tops are great for yoga, Pilates, or at-home workouts where you might not be sweating too heavily. Interesting details like an open back, split back, zippers, or ruching can take your basic workout top up a notch!
Pull-Over or Zip Up
Going to and from your workout, you might need a sweatshirt or zip-up to layer over your tank and under a warmer coat or puffer. If you plan to leave this layer on for hikes or walks, you’ll want to find moisture-wicking performance materials that are lightweight but warm. This cute Sweaty Betty 3/4 zip pullover is the perfect piece to throw over your tank or sports bra before and after your workout. It’s super soft, warm, and comes in three other colors. It is just slightly over $100, but it’s TOO good not to share! For your pull-over, you can also look for details like a split hem that can elongate your legs, and sleeves with thumb holes or a turtleneck or zippered neck (like this one!) to keep you extra cozy.
Bright Colored Activewear
Adding a bright-colored tank, bra top, or pair of leggings to your activewear collection might keep you motivated. AND is also a fun departure from that sea of neutrals many of us have! If you’re going to sweat, you might as well have some fun! The exact set I’m wearing in this photo is an older one. But, I found a similar set by the same brand made of the same super soft material.
Maybe you need a less constricting pair of activewear pants. Or you aren’t fond of leggings. If that’s the case, joggers are typically a bit more forgiving. They’re great for lighter or less intense workouts but also transition perfectly to running errands immediately after. Choosing the right fabric is key. You don’t want to end up with sagging fabric at the knees or at your bottom.
Favorite & Affordable Activewear Brands
These activewear brands typically offer affordable pieces. And staying with our affordable theme…you can also keep an eye on these brands for sale items which are in abundance this time of year!
Free People Movement
So what’s your plan for keeping active in the new year? Are you hooked on exercise classes? Or maybe you’re an outdoorsy type, or fond of some other type of activity to keep you moving? Please share in the comments. I’d love to know what you all are up to! If you haven’t already be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive content and style resources. If you’re struggling with style or just need a style refresh, don’t forget that our Style Made Simple course is now LIVE!
Thanks for stopping by!