Just because you tug on spandex capris and a form-fitting top for the gym doesn’t mean you can’t wear such things the rest of the time. Yet even though fitness clothes are some of the most comfortable around and have been enjoying some major time in the fashion limelight, most of us feel guilty wearing them day in, day out. Because let’s face it: Fitness might be totally in, but walking around in barely-there black leggings that leave little to the imagination definitely ISN'T, especially for the post-high-school crowd.

The bottom line? You can totally make sporty your new sartorial look, but you’ve got to do it carefully. In this post, we’re going to lay some ground rules for sporting exercise clothes as an all-day look.

Rock the Fitness Trend Like a Boss

Wearing sporty clothes with intention requires a little forethought, but you can totally do it and look good. Choose clothing that meets your needs all day long, is comfortable and follows these basic guidelines.

1. Cover It Up

    First of all, let’s keep it appropriate, people. Enough with the sports-bra-as-statement-top when you’re standing in line at the bank, girls. Think you’re immune, dudes? Not so fast. No one wants to see your bitty Prefontaine-style shorts at the grocery store either, so don’t go thinking that’s an acceptable alternative to real live pants.

    2. Work Around Your Office Schedule

      If you can get away with it, it’s awesome to wear workout clothes from dawn till dusk. Of course, if you work an office job, 24/7 workout duds may not be a reality. Even so, you can still rock comfy exercise clothes in the evening and on weekends without looking like a sloppy fool who doesn’t know better by coordinating the clothes so they actually look like outfits. Match color, pattern and fabric for the best look.

      3. Fit Still Counts

        It doesn’t matter what style you’re opting for; if it don’t fit, you don’t look good. Don’t confuse “fitness fashion” with “the clothes I wear to reorganize my garage.” They’re not the same. One takes time, effort and frankly some funds to look good, so take the time to try things on, and don’t impulse buy.

        sports and workout wardrobe layering

        4. Layer, Layer, Layer

          Fitness clothes are extremely easy to layer, which is one of the nicest things about them. Instead of having to carefully plan an outfit, gals can just throw on a sports bra, followed by a stretchy cami, a long-sleeved shirt and a hoodie. Guys can achieve a similar effect with a tank top, short-sleeved muscle shirt, light zipup and water-resistant jacket. Voilà: four layers, three of which you can shed if the sun comes out or you pump up your pulse.

          Make Fitness Your All-Day Go-To

          Where possible, you can and should make fitness clothes your all-day wardrobe choice … of choice. Exercise clothes give you more freedom to exercise, and ensures you’ll be comfortable no matter what the day holds in store. Plus, flat-footed athletic shoes are so much better for you than pinchy wingtips (guys) or sky-high heels (looking at you, ladies and proud future owners of varicose veins).

          1. Keep an Extra Layer in Multiple Places

          Nothing ruins the fitness-as-fashion look quite like topping your spandex with a strawberry-printed cardigan à la Aunt Mabel circa 1966. Avoid this unfortunate clash of styles by keeping sporty zipups in your car, desk at work and even your bag.

          2. Coordinate Your Sport Earbuds

            Plain white workout earbuds are so yesterday. The future is awash in color, and that includes your headphones. The best earbuds both coordinate with your major outfit color choices (think bright turquoise, sleek black or minty green) and provide great sound quality, so you can successfully drown out road noise and other Zen-busting sounds. Keep other accessories on hand and coordinated, too, like lifting gloves, hats or sweatbands, and sports tape. That way, all you have to do is slap on the extras and you’re ready to go for it.

            function over form in sports and workout clothing

            3. Remember: Form Over Function

              If your much-loved basketball shorts look good when you’re on the go but just get in your weigh once you hit the weight room, you’re doing something wrong. Wearing clothes that work simultaneously while you’re out and about and once you get down to serious sweating is the best approach. Plus, it just looks more legit that way.

              In the end, wearing workout clothes is just like wearing any other style. If you choose clothes that fit, coordinate well, look good on you and mesh with your day, you’ve nailed it.

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