Workout clothes ain't cheap! A single pair of tights can cost more than $100; a shirt more than $50. Maybe for some people that's not a big deal, but if you're trying to build a workout wardrobe on a budget, it's important to stick to the basics. Go ahead and splurge on a great pair of shoes and perfectly-fitting sports bras, but cut corners on shorts, shirts and tanks. As long as you look for solid-colored items in high-performance material, you'll be able to make your way through a basic workout routine in comfort and style!
Solid workout wardrobe
It's tempting to go nuts on fitness websites and load up on the trendiest gear out there, but start simple with these items and gradually add fun pieces to your wardrobe. Here's a list of must-have exercise clothing for women:
- 1 pair of black or charcoal yoga pants
- 1 pair of black or charcoal workout capris
- 2-3 pairs workout shorts; find a style you like and buy in several colors
- 4-5 great sports bras - fit is important, so be willing to spend a little more!
- 1 pair of great, perfectly-fitting shoes for every type of fitness routine you participate in (one for running, trail running, basketball, tennis, etc.)
- Lots of hair ties -- look for ones that are slip-resistant and won't damage your locks
- 3-5 headbands or bandanas in varying colors and styles (hey, they add style for cheap!)
- 2-3 workout tank tops in wicking material and neutral colors
- 2-3 workout t-shirts in wicking material and fun, solid colors
- 1-2 long-sleeved workout shirts in wicking material and neutral colors
- 1 outdoor fitness jacket designed for the type of weather common to your area
- 4-5 pairs of wicking underwear, if you can afford them; these are especially nice during super-sweaty workouts!
- 5-6 pairs of high-quality socks; the most important thing is that they don't move around or slip as you workout
Our top picks for fitness basics >>
Buy high-quality, but low-cost pants, shorts and tops, aiming to make them last at least a year. To get the most out of your apparel, make sure you follow washing and drying directions carefully. Expect to replace running shoes at least every three to four months and other fitness shoes about twice a year, depending on how frequently you use them.
Luckily, you don't have to spend a fortune to get the basics. Shop discount stores like TJMaxx, Ross and Marshalls for brand name items at a fraction of the cost. Walmart and Target also carry a few brands, like C9 by Champion and Danskin Now, that hold up well to wear. Second-hand stores like Plato's Closet and Goodwill sometimes carry high-quality fitness gear... just make sure you stay away from used shoes, sports bras and underwear. Ew! You can also shop athletic brands that are known for their affordable pricing, like Russell and Soffe.
Tell us in the comments: What's your go-to workout wardrobe consist of?
Header image credit: Lululemon Athletica, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4905744827/