Here’s a shortlist of items that have been winners on clients and forum members recently as they refreshed their athletic and workout capsules. It’s been five years since I refreshed my own yoga capsule, and I’ve found some good stuff too. Personally, I’m a big fan of active items from Zella and Sweaty Betty, and many of our forum members swear by Athleta’s active bottoms.
Remember that workout wardrobe needs are as personal as the rest of your style. Being active can mean cycling, hiking, running, mountain climbing, and strength training at the gym. It can also mean practising martial arts, Pilates and yoga, walking dogs, doing your physical therapy exercises, or taking a Zumba class. What we need to wear for these activities differs greatly between people, and might have changed over the last year too. For example, now that I practice Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin yoga at home, not the heated room at the yoga studio, I need to wear warmer items and layers that I can peel off and put back on during my practice. Since my practice involves a lot of movement, twisting and stretching, it’s best that I wear leggings with a tighter long-sleeved top plus a cosy warmer loose layer for maximum comfort. That way items stay put but I don’t feel constricted. And I can take the top off and put it back on quickly.
Sustainable and ethical Boden have brought out an activewear collection. I haven’t seen these items in person yet, but I hold the brand in high regard so it has my attention. Lots of fun colours and stripes. Their size range is more inclusive too.
You might like to work from home in some of these items, or relax in them at the end of the day. The sweat tops that I use as a warm loose layer over my yoga leggings and top during my practice do double duty as loungewear.
Be sure to browse the colour options and read the reviews. And feel free to suggest your activewear recommendations in the comments section below.
- Zella High Waist Studio Lite Pocket 7/8 Leggings: These are my favourite yoga leggings because they stay put, are comfortable on the waist and crotch point, and are made of really nice fabric. I bought the eggplant and navy, just to change things up.
- AVIATOR NATION Tie Dye Crop Hoodie: Most sweat tops these days are oversized and long, which definitely have their cosy place in our wardrobes. But I also like roomy cropped sweat tops with slightly more structure. They are fab to wear as a third layer for yoga or as loungewear over wide floppy sweatpants. This comes in three fun tie-dye colour options. VERY soft and with long tapered sleeves that stay up when you scrunch them.
- FREE PEOPLE FP MOVEMENT Sky High One-Shoulder Long Sleeve Top: An active look that is '80s inspired. An effective top to wear over leggings because it's very fluid but tight in all the right places, so it stays put. I have this in black and wear it with a bright red bra top and navy leggings.
- Zella Live In Soul Pants: Fab for those who like to work out in roomy bottoms.
- SWEATY BETTY Bouclé Funnel Neck Sweatshirt: The high-low hemline on this cropped funnel neck sweatshirt gives it some structure. It can look as fab over jeans or with a casual skirt. The funnel neck is nice and loose, but best on a longer neck. Lots of calming colours. It has a '60s Woodstock vibe about it, and is a little boho. Cotton-rich.
- Gap Altitude Pant in Polartec Power Stretch: Effective tight bootcuts for cold Winter walks thanks to thermal insulation.
- SWEATY BETTY Glisten Long-Sleeve Tee: I got this for at-home yoga practice. The viscose and bamboo fibre mix feels quite good against my skin, and better than other types of technical fabric. It's tight but soft and very stretchy. The olive is darker in person.
- Gap Brooklyn Lined Jogger: Joggers that are lined with soft jersey to keep you warm and cosy. Comes in black.
- Zella Liana Long Sleeve Recycled Blend Performance T-Shirt: Made of RECYCLED polyester. If you're after an active top that is sweat-wicking and breathable but NOT clingy and body-con - try this. I got it in pink, and like the fit. Surprisingly, it works quite well for Vinyasa yoga with lots of movement and doesn't slide around too much when you do poses like down dog and wild thing. But it's especially good for a Yin or restorative practice that is slow and close to the ground.
- Zella Restore High Waist Soft Pocket Leggings: Leggings that fit particularly well when you are straighter on the hips and thighs. They have pockets for phones and keys, stay put, and are relatively substantial and long.
- Gap Salutation Jogger Camo: Joggers that are almost as streamlined as leggings but far less clingy.
- Beyond Yoga High Waist Midi Leggings: These fit particularly well when you are curvier on the thighs, hips and bottom.
- Patagonia Micro D Snap-T Fleece Pullover: An earthy camouflage fleece top with bits of pretty pink is a rare find.
- SWEATY BETTY Gary Yoga Trousers: A great pair of non-clingy, but very streamlined yoga pants that work for those who don't enjoy leggings.
- Icebreaker Quantum II Full Zip Hoodie: A minty seafoam active zip top in a non-scratchy WOOL that is machine-washable is a tall order. This one is pricey, but beautifully made, very warm, luxe, and has lots of hidden pockets. Comes in grey and navy.
- Gap Purana Wrap Sweatshirt: If you like to wear active tops with a drapey and architectural vibe, this is one way to go. Lots of colours.
- Gap Coaster Luxe Sweatshirt: Roomy yet streamlined sweatshirt fabness. Great for a meditative and slower yoga practice.
- Gap Ethereal Brushed Funnel Neck: A fab drapey and big top to juxtapose and add volume to body-con leggings. Comes in neutrals.
- Gap Glacier Handkerchief Poncho: Poncho Sweatshirt Fabness. Click on the link to see the fun side snap detailing.
- Gap Flow Top Essence Spacedye: If you like to wear active tops with room on the bust, shoulders and arms - try this. It's especially good for inverted triangle body types. It stays put relatively well when you move.
- Gap Salutation Stash Pocket II 7/8 Tight: Leggings in this yummy shade of orchid are hard to find, and this one has a small size pocket for your phone.
- Gap Balance Pant: These are more couch potato than active, but worth a look if you like to wear floppy lounge pants to unwind in at night like I do. They are cotton-rich, come in colours, and are available in three inseams. Goes up to a 2XL.
- Gap Brooklyn Camo Jogger: We have lots of happy forum members in these athleisure pants because they are comfy, practical, easy to launder, crease-resistant, fit both a straighter and curvier body type, and are roomier than leggings.
- Boden Jessica Active Leggings: Rainbow leggings that are not as high in the rise and have fun tops to match. Lots of colours.
- Boden Mischa Zip Through Jacket: An active zip top for Team Forest Green, although you'll need to like a bit of pink too. This one looks longer than similar tops sold by other brands.
- Gap Salutation Jogger: These are great for an active day in milder weather because you can dress them up with a regular casual top and shoes, and keep them on when you work out later in the day. Lots of colours.
You can see the items alongside my descriptions on the collection page.