Remember the 80s? Better yet, remember working out in the 80s? Back then, in the era of sweaty headbands, leotards, and Jane Fonda’s high-cut one piece gym wear, working out meant one thing and one thing only. Lose weight. Look skinny. Eat little. Repeat. Well maybe those are three things, but they all led us down one path – a desire to be thin.
Flash forward 20 years, an unordered life happened: children, the career ladder, marriage, divorce, and, hey let’s face it, maybe just sheer exhaustion (you’ve earned it!).
Age brought with it a better understanding of what being fit and feeling great is all about. And it involved eating healthy, moving in moderation, feeding the soul, and happily ditching that old latex gym wear for something that feels, well, more comfortable.
No longer was the interest in being a skinny girl but rather, in becoming a strong woman with fitness a key part of a less chaotic lifestyle. Given that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, modern gym fashion, or as it’s branded today, “athleisure wear,” has had to keep stride with an undeniable truth: that there’s nothing abnormal about being a healthy size 12.
When it came to discussing how the fitness industry is rethinking athleisure wear, there was no one we wanted to talk to more than body enthusiast Lyndi-Anne Koylass of Fit Appeal TT.
The sportswear entrepreneur is fuelled by her passion for helping women look and feel their best at the gym. Her business might be fitness wear, but what she’s really selling is something so much more important – confidence.
It’s not that her beautiful and ultra comfy gym wear will totally empower you. After all, you have to put in some effort. But with her Fit Appeal brand, Lyndi-Anne has tapped into a simple yet revolutionary idea – that while women want to look good and feel good they also want to live real lives.
They want to work out, and then they want to enjoy a cocktail, and maybe have a pizza after, and not feel bad about it. They want to live, and they also want clothes for the gym that do not make them feel bad about their choices.
That seems only fair.
After all, here’s the real difference between the young woman who hit the gym in the 80s and the woman who stares back in the mirror two decades on; a recognition that living a full, fun, rewarding life is much more important than being a size 4.
“The absolute best feeling in the world is looking at my customers – fabulous ladies of all shapes and sizes – get dressed, and see their faces light up when they find something that fits just right. We tend to focus so much on our flaws that we miss out on the best parts of ourselves. It’s time to change that,” Lyndi-Anne told us. Here are her tips for selecting fitness wear and feeling comfortable and confident in the skin you’re in.
Choose Styles That Are Comfortable & Inspire Confidence
Whatever you pick to wear needs to make you feel motivated to be better than you were the day before. Choose styles that make you feel determined to workout, and fashion that you know can move with your body. The best thing a woman can do for herself is be confident and own her image. So whether you choose to wear a sports bra, a t-shirt, some bootty shorts, or a figure-hugging pair of leggings, remember to rock it with confidence.
Dress To Suit Your Mood
When picking athletic wear, dress to cater to your mood. Do you feel bright and cheerful, or dominant and edgy? Or maybe you’re feeling a little bit coquettish and stylish? Dressing – even athleisure wear – is a form of self-expression. Wearing outfits that match your moods puts you in the frame of mind to power through your workout. Feeling a bit down, stressed or even angry? Don’t let that stop you, dress to inspire yourself to work out. After all, nothing works as a better pick-me-up than a faboulus
Focus On The Body Part You’re Working Out
Nothing beats the feeling of seeing your body move. And I don’t mean watching yourself run on a treadmill. I mean seeing muscles move, tighten, slacken, and grow! For me, dressing so that I can see my muscles move is the easiest way to ensure that the workout will be a good one. Working arms? Wear a sleeveless tank so you can look your bulging biceps in the mirror.
Mind to muscle connection is a real thing, and so seeing your muscles at work definitely helps to focus and push you in the gym. Looking your muscles move also inspires confidence! Hell yes, that’s you in the mirror, crushing that rep! So throw out those boring tees when working those biceps, ditch the lose-fitting pants when you’re working out your legs and glutes, and let your muscles show!
Dress to suit your type of workout
When choosing fashionable athleisure wear, it is critical to pick pieces that are appropriate for the workout you’re engaging in. Doing a spin class? Leave those bootleg pants home and choose shorts or leggings to prevent the ends of your pants hooking up to your bike pedal! Even as something as a basic flowy tank top might not be as versatile as you think it is.
While it definitely allows for ease of movement, it might not be ideal for an activity like yoga. The material will constantly shift as you’re trying to get into positions, and you might even end up tangled in it when it inevitably goes over your head in downward dog. Not fun! Instead, make sure to invest in clothes in a variety of different fits. Pick a fitted tank or sport bra for sports that require substantial movement, and leave the loser garments for those heavy lifting gym sessions!
Choose Quality Fabric
Sport fabrics have undergone years of innovation and engineering to keep you cool, comfortabl,e and flexible while you’re sweating and working your butt out. Choose fabrics that are moisture wicking (i.e. they pull sweat away from your body), so that you don’t feel heavy or icky!
Here are some of our favourites:
Find your perfect size
At the very least, the activewear your choose needs to keep you comfortable. Pick sport bras that don’t just look pretty, but also have the neccesary support built-in to keep the girls in place, especially during those high intensity sessions.
Another embarrassing sartorial faux-pas that’s sadly common is the case of the see-through legging. Pick leggings that are snug but not see-through. You don’t want everyone – let alone the usual gym pervs – from checking out your derriere while you’re trying to focus. It’s also important to pick a size that flatters your figure. Don’t squeeze into the wrong size just the style looks good. Investing in quality fabrics, like the ones mentioned in #5 also aid in giving you a figure-flattering fit!
Don’t Forget To Accessorise
Accessories are the perfect opportunity to blend your love for fitness and fashion. Add colourful socks, functional sweat bands and workout gloves to your fitness fashion closet. They make you feel amazing! And if you do lots of cardio, don’t forget to change your sneakers often to keep your tired feet comfortable at all times.
Choose Multi-Purpose Styles
Athleisure wear came about because women wanted clothes that were both comfortable and stylish. As a result, many activewear brands have developed fashion-forward styles that you can wear both in and out of the gym. Pick separates that when paired with jeans or a blazer can double as a casual day look. Look for fabrics that aren’t too shiny or stretchy, and definitely stay away from the Jane Fonda one-piece!
Stay True to YOU!
No matter what the trends are – and they change rapidly even for activewear – stay true to who you are, and pick what suits and flatters you best. We all have different body types, and there are ways to flatter all shapes. From a size 0 to plus size, your activewear should be a true representation of who you are, and nothing else. If you don’t feel comfortable in mesh or cutouts, form-fitting tank tops or one-pieces, don’t wear them! If you love colour, rock it. If you’re more of a black-and-white-gal, you do you! Whatever your style, wear it with confidence.