Gone are the days of gym clothes being worn exclusively within the confined walls of your leisure centre, in fact, gymwear has broken the boundaries and we now live in a world where fitness influences fashion.

Fitness is on trend, you only have to look on social media to find #fitspo posts with celebrities and fashion models such as Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Natasha Poly and Behati Prinsloo blurring the lines between activewear and high fashion. Cara Delevingne even controversially wore Puma trainers to the white house. Couture fashion brands such as Chanel and Versace have highlighted the power of fitness to influence fashion as gym clothes have climbed from culture to catwalk.

Sundried Athlete in Gym Clothes


From the crossing of culture and catwalk, we find the term Athleisure, now defined in the dictionary as “clothes for everyday wear that are influenced by sportswear; a blend of athletics and leisure”.

The demand for sophisticated activewear, whether a pair of leggings or a sport-specific item, that both performs and hits a high aesthetic mark, has been a long time coming. The journey to Athleisure has been part of a fitness revolution, tied to boutique fitness classes, celebrity trainers, and a market focused on cutting sugar and eating well. Fashion has always been popular, but it is the rise of fitness which has seen gym clothes blend the two worlds.

It's clear this is more than just a trend in gym clothing, athleisure is becoming a lifestyle. Gym kit accounts for almost 17% of the entire retail market according to Forbes and money spent on items such as women’s tights has increased by 24% in just 12 months.

Why are gym clothes becoming so popular?

  1. People are embracing healthier lifestyles while also demanding more functionality from their wardrobes. They need everyday comfort to fit fitness seamlessly into an already challenged schedule.
  2. Gym clothes have become more acceptable in the office. Smarter gym clothes allow transitional wear which is acceptable to wear in the office, eliminating the need for extra clothing which clutters your commute to work.
  3. Sportswear has become fashionable. The rise of fitness wear on the catwalk has made gym clothes more acceptable as fashion wear, independent of exercise.
  4. Gym clothes have become a symbol of an empowered woman. Sports brands have used their women’s gym wear to create female orientated campaigns such as the government funded This Girl Can campaign which inspired millions of British women to get active, featuring images of women of all shapes and sizes in their gym clothes, embracing exercise. The videos were viewed more than 37 million times on social media and 540,000 women and girls have joined the This Girl Can online community.
  5. Celebrities are being photographed in their gym wear. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Michael Jordan and Kanye West have released collections with leading sports brands, making gym clothes more aspirational. From A-list to Z-list the number of celebrities boasting about their gym clothes is constantly growing and remains almost permanently in the spotlight.
  6. Exercise trends sweeping in from the U.S such as Insanity and Crossfit are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, encouraging more sales of gym clothes as people join the latest fitness frenzy.
  7. The Olympics inspire us to get active. The aftermath of the 2012 Olympics saw a rise in money spent on gym memberships increase by a third. The 2016 Olympics are certain to motivate many more to grab their gym clothes and get active.
  8. Quality gym clothes are designed with sweat wicking fabrics and performance-pushing technologies which offer luxury and comfort. The best quality brands are rising in the world of athleisure because they’re too comfortable to take off.

There’s a clear demand for gym clothes which do and mean more than just clothing that’s worn at the gym. A Sports Apparel Survey claimed that 78% of women now wear their gym clothes for purposes other than exercise, we need multi-purpose activewear.

Must Have Gym clothes


Type of Clothing:



T Shirt

The father of all men’s fitness wear. Many gym goers will be judged on their gym T shirt, so opt for style and function. A good gym T shirt should wick sweat, control your temperature, flatter your physique and support your sport.

Whilst many will opt for cotton, you're better off with a technical fabric which won’t hold onto sweat the same way cotton does. Stylish T shirts will earn you more respect than slogans and it's also important to work with colours which don’t accentuate sweat patches.


From sleeveless T shirts to stringer vests which flash you nipples, when it comes to gym vests, men certainly aren't short of variety. The vest is perfect for summer training sessions or workouts which require complete freedom of movement around the shoulder joint.

There’s a fine line between fashion and “wife beater” here, so be careful not to cross it. Those who wish to flash the most flesh will opt for stringer vests whereas technical fabrics will hug your physique whilst also providing functional features to improve your session.


A training jacket is a must for colder months, or even just to wear to and from the gym.

Opt for colours which are great for layering and will easily blend and match the rest of your gym wardrobe. Gym jackets can be used to store all your valuables as well as aid your session so opt for pockets and with British weather, a hood.


Perfect for running through the summer, these allow complete freedom of movement whilst protecting from chafing.

From board shorts to running shorts, the length of your short design will greatly depend on your sport. Lengthier shorts may protect your dignity, but tend to create friction and prevent full range of motion for sports which require squatting motions. Shorter length shorts are often selected for running as they provide the most freedom of movement in running stride.


From joggers to leggings and combats, there are a variety of differently designed trainers out there to support mens sport. The intensity and flexibility of your training session will dictate the type of trouser which is best for you. Whilst joggers are fine for low intensity, you’ll be sweating like a pig if you take them to a HIIT session.

You can’t beat black when it comes to gym trousers. It flatters and matches with everything. For outdoor sports look for pockets to stash your valuables, whereas gym based activities will require the tight fit of leggings. Always ensure you opt for the right fit, as the last thing you want is trousers falling down when you're trying to work out!


Trainers aren't all just about looking good, nowadays they’re as tech savvy as the smart watches. The style of trainer you opt for will offer different levels of support for speedwork, trail running, gym wear or heavy lifting. Trainers suchs as vivobarefoot will even change your running style.

The designs of trainers are endless, so rather than advise you on design style, let's focus on the trainer life expectancy. Even the best pair of training shoes needs to be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, as it loses its original compression and fit.


Type of Clothing:



T Shirt

Womens gym T shirts require comfort and style with technical edge. When we look our best, we feel our best and our workouts benefit from this. T shirts with a higher cut neck will allow you to move with freedom without any concerns of flashing cleavage whilst a capped sleeve can also protect your shoulders from scrapes or grazes from carrying a barbell.

From compression to flattering, free falling silhouettes the design and patterns of T shirts are limitless. Opting for one bold colour makes a statement and makes your T shirt more versatile to match with the rest of your outfit. Patterns add creativity to your look but can also create wider looking shoulders, beware of horizontal stripes.


Womens tank tops allow for freedom of movement in the gym and throughout training.A stylish tank can show off elements of your sports bra whilst also keeping you cool and comfortable.

Racer backs, cut out blocks, strappy and drop holes, tank tops take many shapes and forms. Opt for designs which flatter your figure and support your sport. Sundried Tour Noir Tank provides a comfortable racer back fit with extra cut outs for ventilation and a unique fit.

Sports bra

Without protection, training can cause stress on the breast tissue which leads to irreversible sag. A good sports bra minimises bounce and maximises your movement.

Your sports bra design will greatly depend on your sport. Those conducting high impact exercise should opt for the most support to minimise tissue damage, whereas low impact exercises allow more freedom of design, strappy designs will show off back muscles and toned shoulders.


A good training jacket protects from the cold and weather and looks as good as it technical functional. Wicking sweat and keeping you visible during dark nights and early mornings.

Your sports jacket is what is going to be seen first over your outfit, so make sure you opt for something you are comfortable and confident in. Colours which offer versatile layering are preferred as you want a jacket which can be dressed for all occasions.


Women’s training shorts are ideal for hot summer month training. Running shorts provide lining to avoid chaffing or compression shorts with flattering fits and a smooth waistband create a streamline look. These technical shorts should be built with sweat wicking fabrics rather than cotton to keep you cool and ensure they remain lightweight.

Training shorts tend to be either running shorts, which offer a loose style often lined for protection and compression shorts which are typically slightly longer. Putting on your favourite pair of shorts can motivate you through training and improve your performance.


Women’s leggings are designed to offer freedom of movement, comfort and style. Spandex materials allow stretch to flatter your form and follow your movement throughout any activity.

From high waisted to folder over and three- quarter lengths, womens leggings come in a variety of styles and lengths to suit every body shape. Slender legs can afford pattern materials whilst black offers a slimming effect which is easy to match with the rest of your workout wardrobe.


If you’re into your fitness, you probably spend more time in trainers than any other shoe, so it’s important to get them right. Typically the first thing we do when we put on new trainers is go and look in the mirror, but trainers should be as much about feel as they are look. Always try walking and running, even jumping in a pair of trainers before you commit to buying.

Design possibilities are endless, but with trainers, fit is everything. Too tight and you'll end up with black toenails and calluses; too loose and your feet will slip inside the shoes, causing blisters. If you end up buying your trainers online, always check your company's return policy, just in case.

Remember you should be as confident with your gym clothes as you are with your training, find clothing that gets you motivated and can give you that extra edge to achieve your goals (and look good doing so).