While the term ‘athleisure’ may conjure images of yummy mummy’s sporting fluorescent trainers, there’s no question that gym attire has recently taken a life of its own in men’s fashion also. Be it convenience or statement, the modern gentleman has just as much time for gym style as his female counterpart. Check out our guide on what to wear at the gym both during and after.
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Time is a luxury, and continues to become increasingly precious so knowing what to wear in the gym can be a laborious task. So much so that our day-to-day tasks merge into a continuous narrative, relentless until the often overlooked reboot period hits. It’s no wonder the accessibility of gym fashion and gym attire is synonymous with it’s desirability. Dressing for the gym and workout gear for men is as much about substance as it is style, so where do you start? Let’s show you how to look good at the gym.
Men’s Gym Tops
A t-shirt that fits loose enough to allow you room for a good workout while simultaneously being snug enough to give an air of tailored slickness is always a good place to start. If your first thought was a white tank, kindly reconsider as this is not knowing what to wear to a gym. The white vest is a risky move, because – although, yes, it’s fitted enough and yes, it allows some room for movement – it can be very, very, unforgiving.
While cotton is great for the warmer months, a synthetic, long sleeved t-shirt may be better during winter. Made from chemicals, some synthetic fabrics can have superior qualities to natural ones. Try polyester for its elasticity and breathability.
It’s also strong and resistant to shrinkage so will help keep you warm enough without leaving you sticky and sweltering hot five minutes into your workout. Of course, after you’ve given due thought to the kind of top you’ll be wearing, you’re not going to stop there.
Men’s Gym Bottoms
The question is shorts, sweats or tracks? That depends on what your workout will consist of. For cardio related exercise, stick to shorts – again, the rule of fitted but not snug is a good one to live by.
There are a few ‘alternative’ trends popping up at the moment, with techno-coloured harem pants as the poster garment for edgy cool. Tempting though that may be, simplicity is always best. It ensures you look smart at the gym without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself or looking like you care too much.
The classic jogger springs to mind when you think of alternative active wear. However, nowadays adopted by the person who likes to be comfortable at home, the humble jogger is steeped in practicality and ease-of-wear, especially when it comes to working out.
The one thing all these pieces have in common is their crisp aesthetic. Whether fashion conscious or not, a no-fuss approach to all things project beefcake is best. Whether you prefer black fitted shorts, cotton fleece sweats or an uber professional tracksuit, the choice is yours, but take the weather, comfort level and type of workout you’ll be doing into consideration.
Men’s Gym Footwear
It should go without saying: trainers. But the question of where to start may have you stumbling into the nearest sports wear store, completely at the mercy of ruthless sales assistants – but that’s what we’re here for. There’s a lot to be said for comfort in footwear for the gym. After all, most of the effort required in workouts is heavily dependent on your feet, and the proper workout attire for men is definitely worth the investment.
If you’d prefer working out more than once a fortnight, a great pair of trainers (or two) will surely be worth the investment. But before you go off purchasing some serious kit, bear in mind that you don’t have to go completely pro.
It may seem like a good idea during that final week before payday, but try to avoid cheap alternatives to the real deal. In time, in fact a disappointingly short period of time, they’ll only let you down by wearing through and you’ll have to repeat the process.
Men’s Gym Accessories
Seems strange, but gym attire has a couple of essential add-ons no gym session would complete without.
For starters, socks; having looked around, nothing comes close to a good pair of compression socks as far as discretion, comfort and durability are concerned. It would be easy to overlook the fact that your socks work together with your trainers to keep sweat, discomfort and potential injury (okay, blisters) to a minimum.
Other Accessories to consider would be a durable but stylish gym bag. If you’re feeling like keeping things relatively understated, a simple black backpack can do the trick, otherwise a slightly more stylish duffle bag would definitely grab you some style points.
An iPhone armband is one of the best workout clothes for men available, especially if your workouts are lengthy. Having your phone constantly falling out of your pocket can be annoying and disruptive to your training session. If you sport a mane to be proud of, a head band might be a good idea too.
What Not to Wear
It’s pretty obvious what the do’s and don’ts of gym wear and gym dress is, if you need a little more guidance, however, check out our full rundown on what you shouldn’t be wearing to the gym.
- Onesies: It’s a public gym, not a Frat boys’ after after party. Yes, gym attire is still linked to casual attire somewhat, but there’s a line.
- Meggings: This means men in leggings, or ‘trousers’ so tight they cinch in places we’d rather not see them cinched.
- Short Shorts: For reasons similar to the above. ‘Cool gym clothes’ are tricky to come by, and short shorts won’t add any credit to your look.
- Oversized Anything: An inconvenience, because if you’re shy you may feel more comfortable in less intrusive garments. The truth is, however, it just looks sloppy.
- Previously Worn Gym Outfits: While tossing your once-used men’s gym clothes in the washing machine may seem wasteful, remember you’d have sweated in them. Ideally, a considerable amount. It’s much more hygienic (for yourself and others) to opt for a fresh outfit per gym session.
- Cleavage Bearing Tanks: Yes, men wearing tank tops so low that, depending on the angle and the direction of the wind, you may see nipple. Enough with that, thank you.
- Lack of Towel = Lack of Manners: Again, hygiene is of the utmost importance. Leaving a sloppy mess as evidence of your epic workout is rude and inconsiderate. It’s best to remember to bring a s mall towel with you to the gym, that way you can give the apparatus a quick wipe down for the next guy.
Post Gym Attire
Before you switch off thinking we’re about to recommend a second bag, humour us and read on. There’s no need to be wielding duffel number two complete with suite, chemise and brogues.
Men’s Grooming for the Gym
Keeping yourself fresh and clean after you’ve had a particularly tough training session in the gym is vital. The build up of bacteria you produce when you sweat can lead to some pretty nasty smelling bodily odours, so make sure you have a wash afterwards to get rid of them and apply deodorant afterwards.
Men’s Clothing for the Gym
Whether you’re meeting friends or heading straight for the pad, feel free to throw on a bomber jacket or sports coat to smarten up the relaxed look of cool gym wear and your best gym clothes. You could also don a cap or a pair of shades (never both) and trade in trainers for a pair of vans.
Darker trainers work best with with neutral, dark joggers, track pants or knee length shorts. Or simply keep it sporty with plain white trainers. Looking sharp enough to wander the streets post gym is less about a complete wardrobe change, and more about using a small touch to give an overall stylish impression.
What to Wear to the Gym
- Unless you’re a seasoned gym veteran, don’t wear anything too tight.
- Don’t overdo it with colours / print – simplicity is the best way forward.
- Consider what type of workout you plan on doing when choosing your gear.
- Don’t forget grooming, body wash and deodorant goes a long way.
On That Note
It may take little effort: like donning a smart jacket and running gel through your hair to get you to that rendezvous without looking like a glorified street beggar. And if you’re heading for work? Well, having these items in your gym bag would still be useful, but good luck with that suit.
Author: Patricia Ekall