Stay Secretly Comfy: Workout Clothes You Can Wear All Day
By Kathleen Flinn
“Everything you wear is some kind of yoga pant.”
First, I was startled that my husband noticed that I actually changed clothes. Second, that he so clearly articulated my latest fashion “look.” I do wear workout clothes all day.
Basically, it involves a pair of leggings of varying lengths. For formal occasions, I have my beloved Betabrand yoga “trousers.” For every day, I live in Ideology leggings. When I’m in my Sporty Spice mode, I opt for bicycle length.
I’d like to blame the pandemic, but honestly, I’ve been wearing varying lengths of yoga pants as part of my everyday uniform for years. One, I’m a writer and I spend my hours alternating between my treadmill desk, my regular desk, a dog walk, and my kitchen. Sometimes, I even work out.
The distinction between traditional gym clothing and athletic wear has become less noticeable, especially with so many people working at home. Workout gear used to be limited to “gym clothes,” sweaty, ill-fitting almost-ready-for-Goodwill wear.
No longer. The industry has been growing rapidly and is expected to reach $200 million annually by 2025. As major brands recognize the exploding interest in athletic wear that can do double duty, they have stepped up to the challenge.
As the world thaws from the pandemic, fashion experts believe that working in comfort will be a likely carryover. But whether you work from home or in a traditional office, can you really wear workout clothes all day?
Yes, if they’re stylish enough. We’ve pulled together some great-looking activewear with some thoughtful layering that can transition between errands, desk work, pilates, your commute, and even brunch.
Comfy, lightweight tops that have enough style on their own or can benefit from layering are a great bet for all-day wear. Add a blazer to dress up one of these tops over leggings and you’re all set to wear workout clothes all day from work to play.
A performance tank top that’s fitted but not clingy is perfect for short- or long-distance runs with a racerback design and lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric. Tuck it under a jacket to dress it up for work to stealthily wear your athleisure at work.
Breezy fabric is lightweight with a linen-like texture, this soft and flattering top can be worn alone or dressed up with a lightweight jacket.
The secret to this soft and sustainable style all starts with the fabric. It’s called Cardiff, and it’s a Prana fan favorite for good reason. Blended hemp, recycled polyester, Spandex, and Tencel create a perfectly broken-in feeling that’s vintage-level good from wear one. Comes in a dozen colors; you’ll want more than one.
This is a chic, yet inexpensive top that can pull a lot of double duty. The open back and slightly loose fit creates a breezy feel with more cooling as your run heats up. Features lightweight, soft fit that’s quick drying. From Amazon.
When activewear meets luxury, you get a light and silky top featuring a halter neckline, a racerback, and a breathable but flattering hug throughout the body. The Lux Performance Tank has all the performance properties needed for a workout top without compromising style.
Is It really acceptable to Wear Yoga pants all day long? Your ability to live in athleisure clothing depends on your profession. A lawyer arguing cases in court? Debatable. But if your daily routine allows a more casual look, consider giving it a try. Or, try yoga pants that don’t look like yoga pants, like a couple of options below.
Some people may worry that wearing leggings every day could cause some chafing or fungal infections. Look for leggings with wicking fabric to help offset any such issues.
A classic in the activewear universe, this is is a Lulumon staple for a reason. Buttery soft with a design that makes everyone look slim and fit, it’s a great basic to wear every day.
High-performance gym leggings comfortable enough to wear all day with a slip pocket at the waist. Sweaty Betty offers a variety of classy solid colors or fun, inspired prints.
With a slightly relaxed fit, these all-day comfort leggings provide six pockets, moisture-repelling/antimicrobial fabric, and sleek style. They are really quite elevated in style so no one will even know you wear workout clothes all day.
Made from a super-soft cashmere-like Alolux performance fabric, the Soho sweats are so comfy that once you’ve put them on, you’ll never want to take them off. Bonus: front patch pockets and a drawstring waist.
Betabrand pioneered the concept of using stretchy fabric typically found in yoga wear for workaday dress pants. They look like regular work pants but with all the comfy yummy you’ve come to expect in loungewear.
Jean-ish Leggings feature a soft-knit fabric that feels like leggings but looks like your favorite jeans. With an interior shaping panel, this flattering style keeps you smooth and ultra-comfortable. Faux front pockets and functional back pockets mimic a classic jean look. The high waist means no muffin top!
Also from Spanx, these flattering cozy leggings provide a knockout look that will become your go-to for every soiree. Dress them up or dress them down, a must-have for day-to-night dressing. Now, wearing heels might not jive with the comfort you want when you wear workout clothes all day, but these leggings look killer with some extra pizzazz.
Lightweight, tapered lounge Pants provide more comfort for both indoor or outdoor activities. Features two fixed side pockets, the pockets are deep enough to store your phone, keys, and wallet, easy to access. From Amazon.
Pair with a long top and some casual sneakers or sandals and you’ve got a great pulled-together look that makes you look sleek at the same time.
Hoodies, Sweatshirts, and Jackets
Is it possible to have too many hoodies? I say no. Living in the Pacific Northwest, a hoodie tossed over leggings allows me to walk my dog, get a coffee and then head to my office seamlessly thanks to the creativity being put into hoodies by designers.
Not your average sweatshirt, this slouchy style features voluminous, cinched dolman sleeves with a femme-cinched back detail.
Lightweight, unbelievably soft, stretchy, and comfortable, the off-shoulder design makes it perfect for laying.
Dresses and Skorts
A skort or dress is a great option that can be easily dressed up or down to wear workout clothes all day any day. Chilly outside? Add a pair of leggings. Take them off if you decide to work out, and put them back on post-workout. Workout dresses and skorts are especially great for sightseeing or activities that aren’t quite exercise, but exercise-adjacent.
This sporty dress is versatile and confidence-boosting. Made of OV’s breathable LightSpeed fabric featuring a built-in shorts liner and phone pocket.
Chic, yet functional, this skort can take you on trails, up mountains, or to the office. Made from recycled Featherweight Stretch™ fabric, it feels silky sleek, and light as air, and super comfortable. A mesh inner short assures there’s no unexpected flashing.
Take the court in fresh style in this Ideology skort, with ruffled tiers for a look that’s also lovely on the course or at the club.
This comfy, flattering skort features a built-in shorts liner and phone pocket. Cute, yet covering your booty and upper thighs, it’s ultra-versatile.
Lounge on the couch, go for a run, practice yoga, or work from home. Sweat-wicking, breathable, squat-proof & insanely soft, put it on at 7 a.m. and take it off at bedtime.
Of course, you need a quality bra to wear underneath all this layering athleisure goodness. If you wear workout clothes all day with an uncomfortable bra, what’s the point? Here are a few good options for comfortable support.
The Nike Swoosh Luxe Sports Bra features an ultra-soft wear-all-day fabric that feels as smooth as a second skin. The light, breathable design gives you snug support and coverage with built-in padding so you can take on your work and a workout with confidence.
This bra perfectly blends support and style, making this your new essential bra. It will support you through the most gravity-defying poses. Wear it with coordinating leggings, then throw on a denim jacket for the perfect barre-to-brunch look.
A sporty, low-key staple for workouts and weekends alike, this Adidas by Stella McCartney bra top features lots of little comfortable inclusions you’ll appreciate, like adjustable straps and just the right amount of compression. While this one is running low on size availability, it’s been discounted so if they have your size it’ll be a steal.
Now, you can wear workout clothes all day too!
It’s absolutely possible to spend your days in workout clothes or at least assemble together a blend of workout gear and more traditional workout wear for a comfortable, easy-to-wear look that can work lounging by a pool in Montana or walking the streets of New York City.
If you actually do want to sneak a workout in, more power to you.
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