There are two types of people in this world: those who work out in old college tees and baggy shorts, and those who reserve an entire section of their wardrobe for activewear. While I applaud those of you who don’t bail on the gym because it’s laundry day, I’ve always been someone who treats workout wear with the same mindset as my everyday fashion: Yes, I want my pieces to be comfortable and affordable, but I also want them to be stylish, breathable, and supportive. So as I prepare to update my activewear for the new season, I’m turning to a fashion editor (that would be my co-worker, Michaela!) and a legit fitness influencer (meet Iman McDonnaugh) for inspiration. Scroll to see their favorite summer trends, workout styles, and thoughts on the importance of feeling good in their gear.
PS: If you’re looking for an excuse to really overhaul your activewear, feel free, as everything here from JoyLab comes in under $50 apiece. You’re welcome.
We love Iman’s workout style, which she describes as a mix of feminine and sporty, consisting of loose-fitting clothes and menswear-inspired pieces. As a former athlete, it’s easy for her to feel strong when she’s wearing gear from her old teams (and listening to “Medicine” by J.Lo on repeat), but she’s excited to try out the jogger trend this season: “The gray joggers and white top are a total yes for me. Comfortable and true to my sporty style!” Iman also says the entire look fits well, and is extremely soft and comfortable. Sold.
The Workout She’d Wear This To: Boxing and lifting weights. “I love boxing because it brings back the same energy and endorphins I used to get from playing competitive sports,” she says. “It requires intense focus and dedication, and I love losing myself in an athletic fight.”
Despite generally favoring looser fits, Iman says she loves this sleeker look, explaining that the pink hue is a nice way to brighten up a workout and that the leggings fit like a second skin. “These leggings are amazing, they’re soft, they fit like a glove, and they don’t budge when I move around,” she added. “The bra top and T-shirt are so comfortable, and the whole look together is so cute and easy to wear.”
The Workout She’d Wear This To: Cycling. “I love cycling because it requires you to push yourself to your breaking point in order to finish the class,” she says. “It feels like a huge reward; when you’re done, you feel great!”
[Ed. note: I’m really into bright sets for spring, so I’m excited to try this look out. I also love that you can knot the shirt when you want to change things up.]
This is a personal favorite (I love the print, bold colors, and matching elements, not to mention the super-high-rise leggings that look ultra-flattering), and I was excited to find that Iman felt the same.
“I felt fun in this outfit because of its cute cut and loud print, but the quality also made me feel secure and strong,” she tells me. A girl after my own heart, she also loved the snug high-waisted leggings that are guaranteed to stay put no matter what activity you’re doing, and I was happy to hear that the bra was secure but not restricting.
The Workout She’d Wear This To: Running. “I love going for a run because it clears my head. It’s a full-body workout, and I always feel great after,” Iman explains.
She’s a true fashion editor, so it’s not surprising Michaela prefers her workout outfits to feel elevated and stylish. “If I don’t feel good in my activewear, I definitely don’t feel good about my workout,” she says. “I may be sweaty, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look just as cute in a yoga class as I do in the office.” Generally, she prefers super-soft leggings and strappy sports bras. “I want to feel like a badass in the gym, so it’s all about finding workout clothes that fit really well and that move with me rather than against me,” she notes. She’s been gravitating toward this trendy tie-dye set that makes her feel both stylish and confident thanks to the luxe, seamless fabric and thicker waistband.
The Workout She’d Wear This To: Hot yoga! “I love zoning out for 60 minutes and really tuning into my body. There’s a lot of upside-down movements involved in yoga, so I prefer a fuller-coverage sports bra,” she adds.
When asked about her favorite color trend for summer, Michaela responded, “Does tie-dye count as a color?” After seeing this look, we believe it does. Unlike the bright tie-dye in the previous outfit, this subtle blue-and-black combo almost tricks you into thinking it’s a neutral. Bonus: It’s super comfortable. “Why isn’t every T-shirt made in this ultra-soft material?” she asks. Paired with these versatile gray leggings that Michaela claims are the perfect cropped length for people on the shorter side, this look is the definition of off-duty athleisure.
The Workout She’d Wear This To: “This is actually the L.A. girl’s unofficial casual Sunday ensemble,” Michaela says. She’s just as likely to wear this outfit to a non-sweaty workout class like Pilates or barre as she is to a casual coffee date with her friends.
The second Michaela showed me this very important look, I was hooked. Not only is it stylish and breathable, but it’s also easy to grab and go. “When I’m half asleep in the morning trying to get dressed for a run or hike, this outfit is a reliable go-to,” Michaela tells me. Plus, this layered look is basically a fashion editor’s styling playground: “I love that this jacket can be zipped in different ways to add a unique style. When I make it to the top of the mountain on my hike, I’m definitely taking an Instagram pic in this outfit.”
The Workout She’d Wear This To: Hiking and running are pretty much the only activities Michaela prefers to wear shorts for over leggings. When it gets super hot this summer, this matching scalloped set will definitely be a go-to.