With the lines blurred between “real” outfits and exercise attire, this past year showed many of us that cute workout clothes are worth so much more than just a quick sweat session. We’ve come to rely on activewear for doing things beyond our usual exercise routines: lounging, going on coffee dates, hanging out in the park, and sometimes even working are perfectly suited for an exclusively-athleisure OOTD.
All this extra functionality means we’ve come to ask a lot from our leggings and sports bras, so it’s important to have a rotation of staples you feel good in. The active- and loungewear space is saturated with options right now—and while you obviously want your ‘fit to be cute and stylish, you also want it to be practical and supportive. After all, no one wants to spend their hard-earned coin on gear that’s too sheer or flimsy; or that’ll pill, rip, or lose its shape after a single wash. That’s why we did the legwork for you to bring you the tried-and-true brands you should have on your radar for quality athleisure.
From Alo’s celeb-loved leggings to Girlfriend Collective’s sustainably-minded unitards and Target’s budget-friendly pieces, consider this the ultimate guide to finding cute workout clothes across a range of price points and sizes. Ahead, 17 options to bookmark now.
What does Nordstrom not carry these days? In all seriousness, its activewear curation is top-notch. The retailer carries everything from Nike to Girlfriend Collective to Alo—and its in-house label Zella makes some of the internet’s most beloved leggings. If you want to checkout with a big cart of quality goods, this is the place to do it.
Lululemon leggings may cost a pretty penny, but they’re well worth the hype—and so is the rest of its activewear if you want to venture further into the Lulusphere. From sports bras to hoodies to roomy duffles, the Canadian brand has something for every workout need (commuting, warm-ups, and recovery included). ICYMI, Lululemon also has a permanent sale section (dubbed “We Made Too Much”) that gets restocked on a regular basis, and we highly recommend keeping tabs on it if you want to score a pair of Align leggings or a new running jacket for way, way less.
Basics brand Everlane entered the activewear space last year with its no-frills Perform legging. Following its immediate success, the company expanded its athleisure collection to include comfy tanks, sports bras, and french terry sweatpants. While the colors are limited to neutrals (plus a select few seasonal tones like teal and moss), the beauty of these classic hues is that they work seamlessly with items already in your closet.
Alo is one of the first labels to introduce us to the concept of “athleisure,” and to this day, the celeb-loved brand delivers elevated essentials that can take you from a 60-minute Vinyasa flow in your living room to a low-key brunch with friends. The brand has a loyal fan base (including everyone from Insta-famous yogis to Kendall Jenner, J.Lo, and Hailee Steinfeld) and drops seasonal colors on a monthly basis—bubblegum pink and apricot are available for spring—so you can find pieces to keep your activewear rotation fresh year-round. Heads up: Alo’s leggings tend to run long, so petites may want to opt for one of the cropped styles unless they want scrunched-up bottoms.
Whether you’re getting fresh air on a solo hike or tuning into a pilates class from your living room, Outdoor Voices makes versatile athleisure (sports bras, exercise dresses, hiking shorts, and of course, leggings) from sustainable materials like recycled wool, ethically sourced merino wool, and recycled PET. It’s known for cute color combinations and chic color blocking you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Net-a-Porter’s activewear section is filled with designer pieces you’re bound to find in celebs’ wardrobes. Think Koral and P.E Nation leggings, camis from Splits59, and so much more. Pro tip: Filter by activity to find clothes for doing yoga, running, lounging, swimming, and skiing.
From Nike to APL to Adidas x Stella McCartney, New York City-based Bandier carries an impressive range of activewear brands that you’re probably already eyeing up on Instagram. In addition to that, the athleisure boutique also sells activewear under three in-house labels—Le Ore, WSLY, and All Access. (Psst…we’re big fans of Bandier’s matching kits for scoring a full look for less.)
The beloved denim brand surprised us last year when it brought activewear into its rotation. The collection in question goes by the name MWL—short for “Make Weekends Longer”—and includes buttery soft leggings, sweatshirts, and more. To be fair, these pieces may not be the most high-performing, moisture-wicking designs, but they’re perfect for sunny bike rides and long walks before and after work.
Target is a great place to stock up on essentials for lounging and moderate workouts. From colorful sports bras to printed bike shorts, the retailer delivers quality options that you don’t have to think twice about adding to cart.
In response to the massive demand for stylish workout gear, multibrand e-tailer Shopbop created an entire section dedicated to athleisure last year. If you have yet to check it out, it’s full of popular names in the active- and loungewear space, including Beach Riot, Live the Process, and Tory Sport.
Using recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, and other waste, Girlfriend Collective designs affordable, size-inclusive athleisure in an Instagram-friendly palette of neutrals like peach, cream, and sage. Its high-rise leggings and halter sports bras are bestsellers, but if you happen to already own one of those items, consider picking up one of its newer silhouettes for spring. (We’re seriously eyeing the bike-short unitard right now.)
Nike has long been a mainstay for activewear that’s fashionable, functional, size-inclusive—and cutting edge in terms of fit and fabric technology. Peep some of our must-haves from the legacy brand below, starting with those split-hem leggings that have a mini kick flare.
Adidas is another perennial favorite in the athleisure and street style aisle. Whether you’re in the market for a new sports bra, a pair of running shoes, or a fresh sweatsuit, you’re guaranteed to find styles that read laid-back cool (but are ready for a HIIT workout at any moment). The brand is also an advocate of sustainability practices and partnered with Parley in 2015 to help spearhead its eco-friendly initiatives. (Adidas plans to use 100% recycled polyester in its products by 2024, according to its website.)
With its accessible price point and inclusive sizing, Old Navy sells sports clothing you don’t have to be precious about wearing 24/7. Start building your cart with this limoncello tank top and camo-print legging—it’s the perfect outfit for a morning coffee date followed by a sweat sesh in the afternoon.
Digging through the ‘Zon for chic activewear can feel like an installment in Mission Impossible, but if you know where to look (and we do!), you can definitely find some hidden gems. Case in point: This top-rated tank from Beyond Yoga that may just be comfier than your go-to wireless bra, and some very pretty scalloped leggings giving Lululemon’s Wunder Unders a run for its money.
Carbo38 is another multi-brand retailer you need on your radar. The online boutique bills itself as a place for “active fashion,” so you can expect to find pieces that combine the functionality of high-performance fabrics with on-trend designs and cuts. Brand selection-wise, Carbon38 carries a mix of fashion, wellness, and athleisure labels, including Bala (its weighted bangles are a Glamour-editor fave), Nike, Isabel Marant, Cotton Citizen, and Superga—which FYI, is the same sneaker brand Kate Middleton loves. Make sure to also check out Carbon38’s own in-house line of activewear.
Free People is a top choice for spring dresses and comfy WFH attire, so it only makes sense that we look to the boho paradise for similar feel-good gym gear. Unsurprisingly, the brand boasts a stacked section of mood-boosting options in pretty tie-dyes and poppy fluorescent colors that are just *begging* to be snapped up.