Dressing for work AND working out
January 4, 2017 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Need tips on how to dress stylishly when I have to exercise at the gym in the middle of the working day.

I am working out at the gym more often, around my lunch times and that means I have to get dressed for it when I leave the house to go to the office in the morning. I don't want to look like I have come straight out of the gym all the time, but while I am able to shower after exercising, I can't carry a whole set of "normal" clothes with me. Sometimes I only go to the gym before lunch for stretching, so that means I don't get drenched in sweat but still, I need to wear gym clothes.

I was thinking that I could possibly "re-use" one piece of clothing like trousers and bring a t-shirt, or another pair of shoes...What I am looking for is tips on wearing gym clothes in a way that is more versatile and looks a bit more appropriate for work (my office is quite laid back, but still). Thanks!
posted by longjump to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Male or female? I'm going to assume female since you noted 'fashion' in the tags...

In the winter, I like to will wear black or grey solid running tights/leggings with a high necked dress (sweater dresses are great for this); this lets me wear a sports bra all day, and then I can just whip off the dress and put on a workout top and am good to go.

If I am not running or doing weights, (ie Yoga, or bodyweight exercises) I will work out wearing just socks on my feet, but check if your gym has a mandatory shoe policy (some do).

I have no solutions for summer, but if you are less sweaty than I something similar may work for you.
posted by larthegreat at 9:57 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

A couple of follow-up questions: Are you male or female? Is your office a business casual office, or what's your normal office-wear goal? Are you asking about body clothing only or also shoes?
posted by aimedwander at 9:58 AM on January 4, 2017

I've pulled off a gym tank and black workout capri pants under a dress with black sneakers, but I much prefer to roll up small gym clothes (running shorts, tank top) so they fit in a normal handbag. Don't carry the normal clothes with you, since they are bigger, wear the normal clothes and carry small gym clothes. Maybe get some stylish sneakers that do double duty.
posted by beyond_pink at 9:59 AM on January 4, 2017 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry guys, I'm a female :)
posted by longjump at 10:09 AM on January 4, 2017

Response by poster: And I am asking about clothing AND shoes...I can take my gym trainers with me, but not a lot more than that, maybe a dress, or a tshirt...and the dress code at my office is quite casual but I feel bad wearing gym attire all the time
posted by longjump at 10:11 AM on January 4, 2017

I (female) do layers - I wear a plain solid-color scoopneck tshirt as available at any old navy or target type place. It's not high-tech gym exercise clothing, but it'll do fine for moderate exercise. I'm not large-boobed, and I mostly do bike, stretching, or weights, not jumpy stuff, so I don't bother with a sports bra. I just keep the same t-shirt all day. Most seasons it's easy to throw on a layer over the top - sweater, blazer, scarf, or even just big chunky jewelry in summertime. I have a few pairs of pants that are stretchy enough that I'm comfortable exercising in them, and a pair of gym shorts that fit easily in a handbag. My office I can get away with fashiony slim sneakers most of the time, but they're a bit lightweight for a real workout (but fine for the bikes and enough like sneakers that I don't feel too judged by the gym staff). I tend to do mostly "half-gym" days (no sports bra, no sneakers, regular t shirt) with occasional "serious gym" days (bring actual sneakers, full change of clothes, plan on sweating heavily).
posted by aimedwander at 10:12 AM on January 4, 2017

If you can wear outside shoes in the gym, wear your trainers to work (and at the gym), and keep a pair of plain black or brown flats at your desk. Or get a pair of extremely lightweight trainers that aren't a pain to carry. (Or if you have access to a locker, or a desk, store your gym shoes there in a bag.)

For clothes, 2nd beyond_pink, easier to take gym stuff. Unless you're wearing it in to save time by cutting out one clothing change? In that case, 2nd larthegreat, leggings + dress (or tunic or oversized heavier-weight tee with cardigan) is so easy.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:22 AM on January 4, 2017

Apologies if I'm not understanding, but why can't you bring your gym clothes with you? Keep a pair of gym shoes and a toiletry kit in your desk drawer/locker/other space at work, get a small bag for to bring gym clothes and a small towel, and voila. Protip: get large ziplock bags to keep your sweaty gym clothes in, and a separate one for your towel; helps keep your gym bag cleaner. When you get home at night, dump your gym clothes into the hamper, hang your towel in the bathroom and swap with the other towel, and repack your bag.
posted by disconnect at 10:36 AM on January 4, 2017 [7 favorites]

You are going to feel grubby if you do this. I'm with the chorus that is suggesting you roll up your gym clothes so they pack small in a little carry bag, ideally with some pack small gym shoes like these, and also keep a small toiletry kit for the gym that you can toss in the carry bag on the days it is needed.
posted by bearwife at 11:06 AM on January 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Bottoms: "yoga shorts"/capri leggings under normal pants and/or a longer skirt/dress.

Tops: cotton cami/tank top, dressed up with a statement necklace, under an open front cardigan.

If you anticipate sweating, bring an extra cami/tank to change into after the shower, no need to put the yoga shorts back on. If you are more like me, the anticipation of sweating means you'll also bring a change of bra/gitch/socks, but that's getting into gym bag territory.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:47 PM on January 4, 2017

Depending how form-fitting your work clothes have to be, you can probably easily wear a fitted tanktop and slim shorts (like yoga pants or leggings material, but shorts) under your work clothes, take them off at the gym, and just carry your gym clothes in a thin bag after (like one of those cloth grocery bags that folds into a little 2x2 square). I do it all the time for volleyball, where I often don't have access to a change room.
posted by randomnity at 2:30 PM on January 4, 2017

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