Get Ready to Wear These Chic Workout Clothes on Repeat

Gym clothes have come a long way from their humble T-shirt-meets-spandex bottoms origins—and the best workout clothes for women today have to meet a variety of fits and needs before they can claim a prime spot in our rotation. Between lounging, working out, and typing away at our WFH desks, we ask a lot from our athleisure, so it’s essential to ~invest~ in workhorse pieces that can go anywhere, do anything, and still make you feel like your best self.

Stylish options to flex your fashion sense are obviously a must, but most of us also want workout leggings and sports bras that are comfy, functional, and supportive—especially if these are pieces you’re slipping into on a bleary-eyed morning (amirite?). Tons of brands know this, and the active- and loungewear space is thriving with options right now across a range of price points and sizes.

To help you build the ultimate workout wardrobe for doing all the things, we’ve curated a list of MVP-worthy activewear brands—many of which you probably already know, love, and have shopped before. From sportswear icons like Nike to sustainable favorites like Girlfriend Collective, below you’ll find a comprehensive guide to stocking up on the best workout clothes for women in 2021. 

Lululemon doesn’t play around with its workout gear, but you already knew that. The brand’s claim to fame is its buttery-soft Align leggings, which wear like second skin and are ubiquitous at workout studios, supermarket checkout lines, and cute local brunch spots alike. (Sizes run from 0 to 20 here.) Going for a full look? Check out its vast collection of sports bras, which range from low to medium support to high-impact—and comes in styles like high-neck, longline, and racerback. (Pro tip: Keep your eyes peeled on its “We Made Too Much” section to score seasonal hues at a fraction of the original price.) 

Lululemon Align High-Rise Crop 23″

Alo has a loyal roster of celeb fans (Kendall Jenner! Jennifer Lopez! Kaia Gerber!) and for good reason: The brand designs workout clothes that fit like a dream, whether you’re doing a vinyasa flow in your kitchen or taking your furry baby for a stroll around the block. The brand has coined a number of technical performance fabrics like “Airlift” and “Alosoft” since its early aughts debut, and you can find simple silhouettes as well as more on-trend styles in its lineup—think pleated tennis skirts, asymmetric sports bras, and sleek long-sleeve bodysuits

Alo High-Waist Airlift Capri

Using recycled plastic water bottles and fishing nets, Girlfriend Collective designs affordable, size-inclusive athleisure in an Instagram-friendly palette of colors like lilac, sage, and auburn. Top and bottom sizes start at XXS and go up to 6XL, with short (23.75″) and long inseams (28.5″) available for its top-rated leggings and unitards

Girlfriend Collective Lilac Paloma Bra

Girlfriend Collective Mahogany Float High-Rise Legging

Workout sneakers aside, Nike makes the gear of choice for pro athletes, and, well, just about everyone else. The heritage brand has a near-infinite range of leggings, hoodies, running shorts, and workout tanks for straight and plus sizes—and keeps things fresh with coveted designer collaborations (like its ongoing one with Japanese fashion label Sacai) that blend high-performance fabrics with fashion-forward silhouettes. 

Nike Yoga Luxe Eyelet Leggings

Nike Yoga Luxe Dri-FIT Joggers

Adidas and its iconic three stripes need no introduction. The activewear giant has been leading the charge in sustainable fabric innovation for years now, with the main mission of ending plastic waste. (It has an ongoing partnership with Parley for the Oceans to use recycled plastic debris and certified fabrics in its designs, and half of its collections are made of recycled polyester.) Adidas also has a long-standing collaboration with Stella McCartney, a pioneer in sustainable womenswear design. 

Adidas by Stella McCartney TrueStrength Yoga Crop Top

Adidas by Stella McCartney TruePurpose Tights

Outdoor Voices kicked the whole athleisure movement into high gear when it debuted its pastel color-block leggings in 2014, and the brand remains a go-to for exercise clothing that’s just downright fun to wear. Cute crop tops? A mainstay. Skorts? Those too. How about a dress to dance in? As if you’d dare to wear anything else.

Outdoor Voices Venus Crop Top

Outdoor Voices One Shoulder Dress

Nordstrom carries a mix of legacy workout brands—from Sweaty Betty to Nike—that you’re probably already familiar with, but don’t sleep on its in-house label, Zella. The Nordstrom-owned brand sells everything from sweat-wicking coverups to nap-ready sweatpants, with shoppers unanimously obsessed with its high-waist “Live In” leggings. The bestseller has over 7,200 rave reviews on Nordstrom’s site (not to mention Glamour’s own stamp of approval) and comes in a full-length and cropped version. 

Zella High Live In High Waist Leggings

Zella Live In High Waist Crop Leggings

Beyond Yoga has some of the best fabrics in the game, with Spacedye arguably being the star of the show. This one-of-a-kind fabric is stretchy yet supportive, and deliciously cool to the touch. You can find it on everything from cropped tanks to low-impact bras and maternity yoga pants (which tons of stylish women swear by during pregnancies, FYI). 

Beyond Yoga Spacedye Slim Racerback Cropped Tank

Beyond Yoga Spacedye Biker Short

Bandier’s in-house brand All Access has truly nailed the trifecta of durable, stylish, and versatile activewear. The buzzy label offers a tight-knit edit of leggings, bike shorts, and sports bras available in a rainbow palette of colors and lengths, from 3-inch biker shorts to capris and high-waist options with pockets. Shop items separately, or snap up one of its kits to mix and match (and save a little coin while you’re at it). 

All Access Black Shine Starter Kit #2

All Access Biker Short Kit

Port de Bras is a relative newcomer in the activewear space, but one you should definitely have on your radar. The ballet-inspired brand gained momentum during the pandemic for its unique, high-fashion approach to performance-wear, with founder Clarissa Egaña prioritizing the use of traceable, eco-friendly fabrics for her pieces.

Port de Bras Double Sided Arrow Legging

Function meets form at Tory Sport, which you can rely on for high-quality essentials that go beyond your everyday lounge and studio needs. The brand has plenty of adorable tennis sets, chic golf dresses, swimwear, and glamping gear to put a luxe spin on whatever activity you’re doing. 

Tory Sport Heavyweight French Terry Tennis Half-Zip Pullover

Tory Sport Tech Twill Ruffle Skirt

Get ready to live in Set Active’s lounge and workout sets. The cool-girl brand serves up sculpting styles in snap-worthy hues like espresso and sage—and we’re big fans of its ribbed one-shoulder bras for weekend park hangs and other low-key activities.

Set Active Espresso SculptFlex Box Cut Bra

Set Active Sage LuxForm Leggings

Last but not least is the celeb-loved brand Koral, whose lustrous high-rise leggings look equally at home during a Pilates or barre class or dressed up for date night. The shiny, leather-like fabric is simultaneously compressive and moisture-wicking, making it perfect for high-intensity workouts where you want to feel snug but not constricted.  

Koral Sofia Shiny Netz Mesh-Trimmed Coated Stretch-Jersey Top

Koral Lustrous Stretch Leggings

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