2013 June 15

Gamegear_Track_Pique_Polo_104_446The 2012 Summer Olympics led to a massive injection of sports clothing culture into everyday life. While recent Olympics have led to groundbreaking developments in technology and athletic performance, the London Games did something else, they changed the way we think about casual clothing.

So, it’s no longer good enough for us to pull on a ratty old white T-shirt – especially one with a beer logo or Homer Simpson on the front – match to a pair of sagging track trousers and head for the weight rack.

Oddly, in the week that Sport England report a drop in athletic activity in the UK, our interest in sports clothing or what is starting to be called ‘sports casual’ has never been stronger.

What still works? Well those track trousers are still a classic garment, although saggy, grey and stained jogging bottoms are out. Solid colours like grey, navy and black are popular, slim fitting is essential and track trousers should be worn with a bright polo or T-shirt, rather than a matching hoodie or sweatshirt – the days of the monochrome sporting look are long gone.

Function is vital – dressing for the actual activity you’re taking part in is key to looking (and feeling) the part and fitting it, it turns out, can improve athletic performance. The state of mind in which you approach the gym is largely determined by how quickly you integrate with the workout, the team or the event, so taking a clue from those more established than you is key to success.

Garments with wicking capacity remove sweat so you can train for longer without discomfort and without chafing. Layering your gym clothing ensures you get a good warm up and cool down. A vest, a T-shirt, and a zip up hoodie work really well to keep your big muscles like abs and pecs warm until you’ve worked them enough to remove a layer.

2009 May 4

gym-shortsIf you’re one of the millions trying to get fit for summer, remember that it’s vital to wear the right clothes, not just because bad sportswear can be dangerous, but because it’s important for your motivation to look as if you’re taking your fitness seriously.

Baggy tops, long trackies that trail over your shoes or raggedy T-shirts can all result in injuries to your health, but also make you look, and feel, as if you’re a second-rate athlete.  You might be thinking that because fitness wear is going to get sweaty and crumpled you might as well wear any old thing, but that’s a way, psychologically of telling yourself that you’re not going to achieve your aims.

The gym is like any other aspect of life – if you don’t look good and feel good, you won’t have the right attitude – and there’s always the chance you’ll meet a potential boss or life partner in the weights room, or on a jog, and regret having made such a bad impression on them.

The easiest choice of clothing for the upper body is a T-shirt and there are so many choices that everybody can find something to suit them. If you’re already in reasonable shape and feel confident about your body, go for a relatively form fitting cap-sleeved T-shirt or even a vest. But if you’re a bit (or a lot) overweight or have other reasons not to wish to expose your flesh, choose something which is loose fitting and has short sleeves that will cover your shoulders and the top of your arms where flab is worst. Any teeshirt for exercise should constructed from light, breathable material, such as cotton or a cotton-lycra or cotton-bamboo mix. Avoid anything made entirely of synthetic fabrics as this will make you sweat.

Lyrca for women depends on their confidence, for men it’s pretty well a no-no. While a female who looks like Beyonce can definitely wear skintight sportsware, really, there is no man who looks great in form-fitting shorts or track pants. Instead choose something a little looser and that fits well on the waist. Half-mast jeans are fine for fashionwear but half-mast jog pants or shorts are a disaster waiting to happen. The classic look is cotton shorts an inch or two above or below the knee – they hide a multitude of sins for both men and women and can actually look quite smart.

Equipped with clothes that make you look confident, sporty and stylish and that will help you get the most out of your fitness plan, you’ll be looking and feeling summer ready in no time!

2009 February 25


If you’re on a budget, it can be difficult to work out how to balance your clothing needs. And if you’re keen on a sport, or a dedicated gym bunny, then most of your money will tend to go on performance clothing for that – leaving you with not much to wear in ‘real’ life.

Don’t despair, because keeping fit and in shape not only prolongs your life (those who are active in a sport in their thirties, for example tend to live ten years longer than those who aren’t) it saves you money in the long run!  Many diseases of modern life: heart attack and stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, can be treated, or even avoided, if you exercise regularly – and if you think about the cost of a long term illness, it’s probably greater than a lifetime’s gym membership, without even thinking about the missed opportunities, potential promotions and life-changing experiences that being ill denies you.

But you can balance your budget by investing in crossover clothing. These are garments that you can wear at the gym and (after washing them of course) to the pub or out for a walk in the park, to the cinema or even on a casual date.

As an example, instead of getting a bright red baseball cap to go with your red trainers, invest in a cream or black one – those colours work better with jeans or canvas trousers and look a lot less ‘chavvy’ than red when it comes to sportswear, so you can wear the cap through the summer instead of buying two.

While some clothing has to be performance-related: such as martial arts gear, vest-style T-shirts will usually work for weightlifting and aerobics classes, while classic T-shirts, with jog pants, are fine for yoga and pilates. Shorts can usually be purchased at a fraction of the price that specialist stores charge, and unless you’re a runner or pole-vaulter, when chafing can be a real problem, an ordinary pair of shorts are not only a lot cheaper, it’s easier to wear them to the beach or to a barbecue or even to sunbathe in the park.