10 items that bring your workout and casualwear to new heights of style
By Alison Blackman
I’m hardly an exercise fan. I can barely pull myself out of bed when my trainer Kyle Lugo knocks on the door. But one of the things I really don’t like about workouts isn’t “no pain no gain,” it’s getting dressed for it. I pull out the old black yoga pants, one size fits all sports bra, and whatever old tee shirt happens to be at the top of the pile. I wouldn’t dream of wearing these things out in the real world, so I decided to make my workouts more positive, with items that would show some style and multi-task as “athleisure” items. These 10 items really work well, and they boost your style, whether you’re working out, hanging out, or going out — head, to toe!
Let There Be Music — Everywhere You Go!
In selecting a stylish and effective workout headphone, I picked these iSport Freedom On‑Ear Bluetooth Headphones by Monster (Srp. $199.95) initially for their great style. But they’re seriously good sports headphones that won’t ]fall off your head when you’re working out. The rubber ear cups are waterproof, sweat-proof and easy to clean and they uncompromisingly stay on your ears even during high impact aerobics. Moreover, they’re incredible eye-catching, in neon lime green so you can be seen by cars, cyclists, etc.while making a true fashion statement. The thing that makes these also so great for the gym rat that travels is that they fold and they are bluetooth enabled so you can pop them in their included toggle carry-bag in your gym bag, tote, or for travel. They have a lovely, ControlTalk cable with microphone for listening in a passive, battery-free mode. They can be used with a cord if you forget to charge the Bluetooth (pairing is easy and fast). As we’ve mentioned in earlier reviews, the controls on the ControlTalk cable are designed as a round disk without raised guides. This looks really nice, but until you get used to it, you may fumble around a bit for the functions you want. The headphones themselves have raised icons to help you feel what function you’re seeking while they’re on your head, which really helps. The wireless sound quality is good. The mid-range is excellent and open and with reasonable bass and treble. The sound is pleasing at most listening levels. The headphones block noise but they don’t completely isolate you from your environment so that running them for example, won’t a safety issue.
The one thing I’d mention is that these iSport headphones are meant specifically for active movement. If I was choosing headphones merely for listening pleasure at home, these would not be my first choice (I would pick the Monster DNA Pro over the ear headphones or the Monster 24K over the ear headphones as I didn’t find the iSport earcups as comfortable as their plushier cousins. But they look good, perform well, travel fabulously well, and have all that Monster quality. They will give you the “Freedom” to roman and enjoy music and phone calls while looking enviably stylish, anywhere, any time. Monster quality is the standard by which we judge other headphones. When I personally pick a headphone, it’s always a ‘Monster.” For more information visit The Monster Products Website
Hats off to Brooklyn!
I was given a sample of this Brooklyn Hat Company Baseball Cap from the Brooklyn Hat Company at an editor’s preview at Dorfman Pacific. What a great way to show support for my hometown borough (Brooklyn girls, best in the world!) ! This unisex hat adjusts with a plastic tab in the back and shields your face and eyes from the sun when you run, covers your head protecting your highlights and color and helps keep you cool while it helps you look cool (no, don’t wear the brim backwards). The pinstripes are baseball-perfect, but there are plenty of other prints as well. Founded in a small studio in Williamsburg, NY, Brooklyn Hat Co.is a new find. Find the Brooklyn Hat Company hats in boutiques and online and check out Brooklyn Hat Company on Instagram
Don’t Sweat a bad hair day:
Under those headphones, keep your hair under control with a chic headband. Developed in Australia, Louvelle is known for their chic, high end, turban-style shower caps ($40.00) made from silky fabric that dries quickly. But they also offer wide style, “Seraphine” headbands in colorful prints that multi-task to protect your hairline while you’re removing or applying makeup or mask treatments, and also keep your hair off your face when you’re at the pool, during yoga or workouts, or simply to accessorize limp air after exercise or that “third day” of not washing your hair. I selected the SERAPHINE headband Pink Painterly Floral Price: $15 because florals are so trendy for Spring 2016, but there are plenty of other colorful prints to choose from. This chiffon headband is perfect to protect the hairline while removing or applying makeup or mask treatments. Also ideal to sweep your hair off your face when poolside, during yoga or to deal with less than clean hair. These headbands can be worn with the knot in the front as a retro movie star look or turn it around and let the wide band covering more of your hair. The headbands feel comfortable and silky but stay in place and are fabulous for travel (keep your hair orderly on a long flight). One size fits most. To order and for more information visit http://www.louvellewear.com/
Stylish Tops That Help Save Your Skin from The Sun:
Our top picks for tops: Save your skin from the sun with UPF fabrics: I’ve long been a fan of Lands End and their UPF 50 clothing for the ultimate in chic sun protection (read How to protect yourself from the sun in style + Sunsafe skin tips). In case you’re wondering what UPF means, “UPF” (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) relates to broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection by fabrics that block the sun. Lands End excels in this area with UPF 50 clothing from bathing suits to cover-ups, and more. Here are two tops (and a zippered cardigan to go over everything) that we thing belong in every woman’s wardrobe for workouts to casual wear:
The Women’s Adjustable Swim Tunic Rash Guard Item #465116AH5 ($55.00) XS-XL is shown in this photo over a swimsuit, but trust us, this UPF 50 stunner will work with all your skirts and pants, as well a shorts and swimsuits. What we love so much about this one, besides the bright color, is that you can adjust the sides to make it into a true tunic to cover a swimsuit (yes, you can swim in it too), or cinch it up to whatever waistline you wish, making a graceful and flattering look over everything from yoga pants at the gym, to those white linen palazzos that need just the right “top drop.” The dries in a flash silky fabric feels so great against your skin while it protects you from the sun’s damaging rays ( 91% nylon/9% Lycra® spandex). Lands End suggests you hand wash these, but we have washed them in the machine gentle cycle.
We selected this Women’s Swim Tee Rash Guard Item #449262AH3 ($39.00) XXS-XL not just because it is also a swim tee with that whopping sun protection of UPF 50, but because the color-blocked stripes are just so much fun, go with so many things, and this one is just so perfect to perk up a gym or casual wardrobe. The silky fabric (91% nylon/9% Lycra® spandex) feels elegant, even under a blazer, and it’s fun to wear when working out as well. These Lands End Rash Guards multi-task so well, we pack a bunch of them in every suitcase because you never know what you’ll be doing. There are tons of them on the Lands End website and we can’t show you all, but these three hopefully will inspire you to save your skin starting now. Visit the Lands End Rash Guard Page and check out all of their fabulous UPF 50 “rash guard” styles.
Lands End calls this UPF 50 zip up hoodie the Women’s Swim Cover Up Cardigan Item #469248AH5 ($69.00) XXS-XL. We say it’s a super-versatile athleisure piece that adds a pop of color to basics, protects your skin and your head (with the hoodie on) to UPF 50, the soft silky (91% nylon, 9% Lycra Spandex) fabric is comfortable for chasing the chill when you travel (it doesn’t wrinkle and dries in a flash), covers up a swimsuit to the high thigh, and you can actually swim wearing it! The sizes run just about true to size. The zipper is large and easy to handle even when the fabric is wet. There are two deep front pockets, the the hoodie is large enough to really cover your head and hair, but it lies flat when you’re not using it. You can even add a monogram to it for just $6.00!
Gym Style Meets Runway Style:
Zobha’s sexy designs may make you want to work out, but maybe you’ll just want to hang out in them. Zobha is poised to become a cross-over contemporary brand for the modern woman, with designs to go from the gym to the real world in casual chic style. As the first and only brand combining patented shape-optimizing technology with edgy, couture-inspired design, Zobha paves the way for fashion-forward fitness. Black and white is always right, with everything. This Zobha Push Boxy Pullover Sweatshirt, for example, is just $57.00 in XS to XL. Black mesh inserts add interest and breatheability if you’re exercising, keep you cooler if you’re wearin gthis at beach or pool or lounging on a hot day. You can barely see it even in th enhanced photo, but in the right light, the front of the shirt subtaly prounouces: “PUSH IT” in block letters made of tiny white rubberized bars. The generously sized, unlined shirt is machine washable (tumble dry gentle cycle) mainly 94% polyester, 6% spandex. This would look cute when you travel, with a pair of jeans or the yoga pants, below. Zobha is gym style meets runway style. I love their designs! You can find their athletic and leisurewear on the Zobha Web Site among other places. For more information visit https://www.zobha.com
A Spots Bra You’ll Wear Outside of the Gym:
As I was putting this review together I attended an editor’s preview of Triumph Lingerie for Fall 2016 (the styles are gorgeous)! Triumph is a brand that has been popular in Europe for ages. I used to oogle their bras and panties in the big Paris department stores. Now you can it online and in some boutiques as well. This beautiful hot pink and peach TriactionWireless Sports Bra SKU #10053675 ($54.00) is just too pretty to wear only to the gym, but it’s got plenty of support without wires when you need it. It has something else I really love as well besides style — it comes in sizes and I don’t mean Small to Large, I mean actual bra sizes (from 32A to 40D). If you’ve ever tried to wriggle your way in and out of a bra made for only small, medium or large bodies, you know that they never really fit right. They flatten you down and when you are sweaty, if they don’t have a closure release in the back, it’s nearly impossible to get out of them again. This bra has a bra closure in the back and is a comfortable mix of 75% Nylon, 19% Spandex, 6% Polyester (hand wash recommended). Yes, it’s a gym bra, but it would be great for travel (it won’t set off the alarms at security) and it also would look cute under a sheer casual shirt when you’re not quite ready to show “everything” off. Buy all the beautiful styles of Triumph Lingerie at http://us.triumph.com/
Banish Boring, Basic Black Bottoms!
Basic black is fine, but it’s so boring. Bring a bit of pizazz into your leggings with a style that adds a bit of color without going crazy, because too much on the bottom really is distracting (especially if your fitness goal is weight loss and you’re not close to your goal yet). This Marika Jordan Legging is just $45.00, made with a contoured fit that makes you look slim, and isn’t skin tight. I like the flattering side insets that add a bit of color. I particularly like these because the accent colors are only on the side, not on the back (does my ass look fat in these)? Motion Mesh insets on the backs of the knees provide breathability, while a hidden pocket on the inside of the waistband is perfect for stashing your phone or keys while you exercise. The body is made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex, the contrast is 93% polyester and 7% spandex and 94% polyester and 6% spandex. They feel soft and comfortable, great to wear on a long haul airplane flight, but when you’re ready to really move, a Coolmax Gusset and Dry-Wik finish means these luxurious leggings will wick away sweat to keep you cool and dry as you move. Sizes XS to XL. They seem to run fairly true to size. If this one isn’t to your liking, there are plenty of others and if you really want it, basic black as well, Marika is the beloved favorite of gym rats everywhere. For more information visit https://www.marika.com
Fitness Footwear That is Far from Bland!
Therafit is a fitness show brand (mostly catering to women) that has has a unique feature with patented technology that lets you adjust the comfort level of the shoe to your preference. Checking out Therafit’s new Spring Summer 2016 collection featuring both athletic sneakers and casual shoes, I had to remember that although these are seriously cute, they are also made for workouts and walking. This fabulous fitness footwear has a patented tread design (the bottom is designed in a patterns of little squares to prevent sliding at the toe).
The thing that makes Therafit so unique however, is what’s at the heel. There are three plugs that are dual-density adapters within the shock-absorbing wedge. This is the unique Therafit Personal Comfort System (PCS) Technology that lets you adjust the shoe’s impact resistance and cushioning by removing one, two or all three of the comfort adapters. Tip: the shoes get bouncier and sponge-ier as you remove the adapters. Every time you pull out or put in one of the plugs, you get a different feeling from the exact same shoe which is great. There is also an Aegis Microbe Shield interior that protects against odor, staining, and deterioration that might be caused by fungus, bacteria and other gross microorganisms you don’t want on your skin! The shoe design has a patented technology that uses multiple layers of cushioning and support with varying densities inside each and every shoe, so the shock of each step is distributed downward and outward. The result is extremely comfortable shoes that cushions your foot on impact, helping to reduce the aches and pains that come with even the most mundane, daily activities. As someone who suffers from a lack of padding on the bottom of my feet, this makes the Therafit shoe a godsend. If you have heel and arch pain, plantar fasciitis, knee or back pain, these shoes can really help as well.If you decide that you can’t live without the Therafit benefits, no worries, they make boots, sandals and casual shoes, too. I selected this particular Paloma Pink Leopard Athletic Shoe ($119.00) just as an example to show you that a fitness shoe can show fun and style. It comes in sizes 6-9 1/4. Of course there are tons of other styles. For more information visit https://www.therafitshoe.com