I’ve been working from home for years, and one of my tricks for being productive and staying motivated is getting “ready” every day. This means real clothes, makeup, and sometimes even curling my hair. Feeling pulled together helps me feel on top of everything, and if I do venture out to run errands with Thomas, I’m already ready to go.
However, over the two and a half years since having Thomas, I’ve grown more comfortable in athleisure outfits, as long as they still look pulled together. The trick has been finding outfits that look really nice but still feel great all day. And, if I’m going to wear athleisure, I like to do my hair and makeup so that I look and feel like myself.
Today I’m sharing what athliesure really is, the difference between workout gear and athleisure outfits, and my favorite recent affordable athleisure picks (mostly from Amazon).
Let’s dive in!
First, let’s start with the basics. Is “Athleisure” even a real word? Actually, yes.
Since the term athleisure is relatively new, it’s totally fair that some may not even know what it really means! Essentially, the term athliesure refers to clothing that’s comfortable and athletic but also cute and pulled together enough to wear in public. And in my mind, it doesn’t count if I can’t wear sneakers with it.
Sure is. And I don’t see it going anywhere for a WHILE.
My wardrobe is slowly filling up matching workout sets, tennis dresses, and colorful athletic shorts, so I feel like I’ve finally found my groove in terms of my activewear style. And let’s be real: the timing couldn’t be better considering I have a wild toddler to chase around outside this summer!
In general, athleisure outfits are fashion-forward, pulled together, and can be worn appropriately in public, while athletic wear is worn for workouts. But honestly, I don’t believe in strict “rules” for fashion. There are many pieces in my closet that I could wear for a workout and also wear as a cute outfit. And depending on what kind of workouts you do, you might have a ton of crossover. However, as a runner, there are some things I wear for workouts that I absolutely wouldn’t wear as “street style”, like my running shoes. I find that running shoes aren’t usually very cute (and my running shoes are strictly for runs, which helps them last longer), so I have a pair of cute (non-running) sneakers that wear with athleisure outfits.
While you could wear the same clothes for workouts that you also wear as athleisure, my personal differentiation, and what helps me feel cute and polished, is NOT wearing the same clothes for workouts that I wear as cute athleisure. I need the mental separation between the two in order to feel like I’m polished in my athelisure. I’ve also found that HOW I wear an outfit dictates if it’s athleisure or workout gear. I always style my hair and put on at least a little makeup so that I feel pulled-together for the day.
Again, there are no rules. You do you!
If you’re working on building out an athleisure wardrobe, here are the staples I’d start with:
Okay, now let’s get to the fun part. I did a little digging on Amazon and found some GOOD pieces. I’m also going to include just a couple non-Amazon finds that I think are worth ordering too. Let’s go!
My #1 pick from my recent Amazon order (which I placed for this post), is this black tennis dress. It has a built in bra and the shorts underneath are also built in, so keep that in mind. While I generally stray away from dresses with built in bottoms since it’s hard to use the bathroom in them, this one is well-worth the effort required. I have a size XS and it fits perfectly.
You can choose from 11 cute colors too!
Unfortunately this white tennis dress was a little too big on me, but MAN is it cute! I love the thicker straps, the pleated skirt, and the wide ribbed detailing down the entire thing. I’m usually a size XS and this only comes in sizes S-XL, so it should be perfect for anyone to wears those sizes. It comes with shorts to wear underneath, and the bra is built in.
I especially love that it’s feminine enough to pair with slides or heeled sandals if you were in a pinch. In fact, it would make a great travel dress for Europe, and would be perfect with a denim jacket for an extra layer.
If the pleats and ribbing of the dress above are a little to preppy or feminine for your taste, you’ll probably love this simple tennis dress. It comes in 11 colors and has separate shorts to wear with it. The back also as a pretty crossover detail.
I originally ordered this pink skort for golf, but I think I’ve worn it a good 6 times since I got it a week or two ago. The waist band is thick and holds you in (it’s not super stretchy so it feels a little snug when you’re pulling it on, but once it’s on you will LOVE the feeling), and the back is a little longer than the front. I have a size XS.
I got this high neck tank a few months ago and it has held up really well. I find that I wear it most often with the pink skirt or these hiking shorts. The racer back and high neck combo is the perfect sporty shape. I have a size XS.
There’s nothing better than hot pink clothes. They make you feel SO TAN! These running shorts (which I don’t wear for running), are special because the back is just a hair shorter than the front. I struggle to find athletic shorts that are long enough to feel appropriate as a mom, but these hit the mark because of the high-low cut. I wear a size XS.
While legging season is extremely short lived in Winston-Salem, these would be the ideal pant for a cooler spring or summer climate. And I’ll definitely get to wear them in the mountains for cooler days this summer. I ordered these hot pink leggings to wear for pilates (this is actually one of the only things I’ve worn for both a workout and as athleisure), and I got the matching tank with them.
However, when I wear them for athleisure, rather than pilates or the gym, I pair them with a white tee. The leggings look like they are almost sold out in some sizes (in the pink), but there are SO many colors to choose from!
I carry my Amazon belt bag almost every time I wear an athleisure outfit. It’s practical AND trendy, which a rare combo, ha! I compared it to the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag and they are almost identical, other than the Lululemon logo, so I highly recommend the Amazon version since it’s easier to find in stock and much cheaper! The one below is Lululemon because it was more conveniently located when I took these photos. You can see some snaps of the Amazon version on me in this review.
I have two favorite pairs of sneakers for athleisure outfits. This pair of New Balance 237s is such a cute option for athleisure because they have a little bit of height and they’re sporty, but not in a super athletic, “I work out in these” type of way. They also come in a ton of colors!
The other pair of sneakers I love are the Cloudnova Form sneakers from On. I got mine from ShopBop, where you can use your Prime shipping perks! They’re SO comfortable (and have amazing arch support), and cute as can be.
Not an Amazon find, but I wanted to include this black romper in this post since it’s another great athleisure option and not very expensive. I’m wearing an XS Petite in this, but I likely would have gotten the regular length if I had tried it on in-store for a little more length. It has pockets, and it’s just SO flattering! A perfect outfit for a zoo outing with your kids, a park play-date, or for a day full of errands.
Absolutely! I love to wear my Align leggings and yoga pants in the cooler months for athleisure outfits, especially as an alternative to baggy sweatpants. And I also find that their Scuba pullover is a much cuter option than wearing any of my old hoodies.
I also love this pair of Lululemon lookalike joggers in the fall and winter as one of my go-to athleisure pieces.
I’ll continue to add to this post as I find more great pieces! I hope you find a couple fashionable pieces to add to your athleisure style.
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