From Zumba to running, cycling to swimming and everything inbetween. We require a lot from our women's activewear so it’s important to pick a style which suits you. Sundried's handy guide to womens activewear will give you all the dos and don'ts, and will help you learn what to look out for when buying new pieces of women's activewear too.
Womens Gym Top
Fitted Gym Tops
Fitted gym tops are beneficial for those who want to show off a well earned physique. These tops are usually crafted with stretch materials which hug your shape and flatter your frame. Opting for a fitted gym top helps to ensure that your session is restriction free, as loose garments can catch on equipment or trap wind when running outdoors. A well-fitted top will also allow you to monitor your form, particularly watching for an arched or hunched back which is a common cause of injury. Sundried’s Tour Noir tank features 4-way stretch materials which create a streamlined silhouette and unique cut outs to the back engineered to provide the ultimate ventilation and freedom of movement.
Drape Gym Tops
A drape gym top is great for those looking to cover up that little bit more. Loose materials skim the body and flatter all body types. Drape tops such as the Sundried Grivola Tee are also perfect for fitting into your normal day wear and can easily be taken from casual to active. With its super stylish fit, this type of top is perfect for wearing to a yoga class or for a gym workout. A loose gym top is perfect layered over a more tight fitting top or just a stylish sports bra.
Compression Gym Tops
Compression wear is designed to be worn like a second skin and is great for becoming streamlined in sports such as cycling. It is also typically lightweight in design which is what makes it so popular for sportswear. Compression technology has also been shown to increase blood flow and help prevent aches, however this is often questioned and more supporting research is needed. For more information on the benefits of compression wear, have a read of our in-depth article.
Women’s Crop Gym Tops
Those wanting to flash their washboard abs tend to opt for crop tops. In warmer summer months, a crop top can make a stylish statement whilst keeping you cool. We suggest wearing our Breithorn bra solo when exercising in warmer weather, like our ambassador Sophie.
Finding the right gym bottoms is vital for your performance when training.
The Sundried Ruinette tights are multi-functional, providing support for a multitude of sports with extra waist support and a reflective trim for running in low light.
There are lots of different elements to activewear, and to complete your exercise outfits you'll want a stylish sports bra. There are lots of different types of sports bra, so it's important to pick the right one.
Sports Bra Crop Top
If you don't need too much support, for example if you are doing low impact exercise like walking or yoga, you can wear a sports bra crop top. These are incredibly stylish and fashionable and can make for really cute gym clothes. The Sundried Breithorn 2.0 Sports Bra is designed in a crop top style so it can be worn on its own or under a casual jacket to take your activewear from gym to casual wear effortlessly. Sophie here is wearing hers under a denim jacket for chic style at a casual lunch with friends. When it comes to street style, there's nothing better.
High Support Sports Bra
If something more supportive is what you're looking for, take a look at the Sundried Busazza Sports Bra. It is made with seamless materials so it fits like a second skin and will give you that locked-in feel you want when doing higher impact activities like a circuit class or CrossFit. It is made with premium fabrics which are super soft to the touch and will feel amazing on your skin.
Womens Gym Clothes Online
Buying womens sportswear online can be a minefield, but if you know what to look for, you'll end up with cute gym clothes and exercise outfits that are the envy of all your friends. Have a read of our guide on What To Look For When Buying Sportswear so that you have everything you need to know in one place.
The main difference between buying ladies gym wear online and in a store is that you can't try it on. That's why Sundried have a comprehensive womens activewear size guide with tips on how to measure yourself properly and international conversions so that you know exactly which size you'll need. It's also a good idea to check that the online store you're buying from offers free shipping and free returns so that if it is the wrong size, you can swap it for a different size hassle-free.
There are lots of benefits to buying womens sports clothing online, the main one being convenience. You can browse the collections at your own pace and compare different styles of workout attire. Plus, when it gets delivered, it's like Christmas and all the presents are for you!
When you think of ethical activewear, we want you to think Sundried. But what exactly is ethical activewear? How is it different from regular sportswear? In fact, there's a huge difference that's important to understand.
What is ethical activewear?
With activewear becoming part of our daily wardrobes, there is an increasing importance in knowing how and where your clothes were made. There are over 7 billion people on the planet. If each of the 7 billion people only owned 1 top, 1 pair of trousers and 1 jacket each, that would equate to 21 billion items of clothing.
The average first-world woman owns 30 complete outfits but has “nothing to wear” and men can own anywhere from 50-150 t-shirts, and that’s just the black and white ones… so you can see how quickly the numbers rack up!
The clothes you are wearing have an effect on the environment
Everything you're currently wearing has had some form of effect on the environment, from the materials to the manufacture and after care, even just one item can have a huge knock-on effect.
Ethical living journalist Lucy Siegle in her book ‘To Die For’ reveals some shocking statistics:
- You now demand roughly four times the number of clothes you would have in 1980.
- You will spend at least £625 a year on clothes – and that’s just the average!
- In one year you'll accumulate in the region of 28 kg of clothing – adding up to an estimated 1.72m tonnes of brand-new fashion being consumed on an annual basis in the UK and with the life expectancy of fast fashion being so short, that translates to a whole tone of waste.
Sundried’s carbon footprint
Most human activities emit gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. We refer to these as greenhouse gases which contribute to climatic changes which have a long-term impact on the planet. Your carbon footprint is your own contribution; the impact of the activity that you as an individual do.
At Sundried, we want to help keep that carbon footprint as small as possible, which can be tough when it comes to sweaty activewear which needs cleaning far more often.
The contribution to our carbon footprint that washing clothes has is significant. In his article "The Carbon Footprint of Everything” Mike Berners-Lee reveals the following statistics:
The carbon footprint of a load of laundry:
0.6 kg CO2 washed at 30°C, dried on the line
0.7 kg CO2 washed at 40°C, dried on the line
2.4 kg CO2 washed at 40°C, tumble-dried in a vented dryer
3.3 kg CO2 washed at 60°C, dried in a combined washer-dryer
Washing and drying a 5kg load of laundry every two days created almost 440 kg of carbon dioxide emissions in a year. As you can see, the most ethical way to wash your clothing would be to 'wash cool, sun dry', which can cut your emission by more than half. This is why all of Sundried products are encouraged to be washed cool, and sun dried. Washing your clothing in this way also helps to enhance their life expectancy.
Research by Energy Star (a washing machine company) states that the average front loading washing machine uses 6500 gallons of water a year and lasts for 11 years, that's enough water for 6 people for a lifetime.
Sundried donates to charity Water For Kids
We have to wash our clothes and we know it has an impact, so at Sundried we’ve decided to combat that negative with a positive, donating to Water for Kids with every purchase made through our site.
Water for Kids is a charity of volunteers who bring clean water sources to those in need. Their current projects are mainly in rural disadvantaged communities of Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. The projects start by sourcing safe drinking water for the first time; either by protecting a polluted village water source, rain water harvesting perhaps at a school or a new borehole for a large community.
The Low Carbon Innovation Fund
Sundried is partially funded by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund and we have strict policies and guidelines to ensure everything we do has the very smallest carbon footprint. Sundried minimise the carbon footprint throughout the full life cycle (design, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal) of an item of Sundried apparel through:
- Local production in the UK and Europe (vs. the rest of the industry which is mainly produced in the Far East).
- Using materials that use little carbon in their manufacture, little energy in their maintenance and are recyclable.
- Carbon offsetting where a zero/low carbon choice isn’t currently viable.
Find out more about how we’re trying to make a sustainable statement.
Sundried activewear is designed to last in order to help break this cycle. We have also been exploring how in years to come, we can recycle our products to protect the environment.
Fighting plastic pollution with recycled activewear
Sundried's iconic recycled range is made from 100% recycled materials including plastic bottles and coffee grounds that would otherwise end up in landfill. The global plastic pollution problem is a worldwide epidemic, and companies like Sundried are paving the way to making a change and starting to reverse the damage being done.
By crafting sportswear out of recycled materials, Sundried is reducing the impact of the textile industry as well as helping to utilise the otherwise wasteful products that pollute our oceans and wildlife.
Not only this, recycled materials lend themselves beautifully to becoming activewear with their natural odour-blocking properties, UV protection, and advanced sweat-wicking technology. It's a win-win!
There has never been a better time to purchase new activewear. Sportswear technology is advancing, fitness and fashion are merging, and athleisure is becoming the norm. A few years ago you’d rarely see anyone in activewear outside of the gym unless they were running. Now, with smart watches encouraging us to be active all day, activewear is creeping into our daily wardrobe and our streets are filled with yoga pants, sports bras, and gym leggings.
The rise of activewear means there is plenty of choice out there, but not all activewear is created equal. Knowing where to source the highest quality materials which support your activity can be difficult when there is so much choice, but there are things you can look for to help you find a brand you can trust.
Nowadays, shopping online is the easiest way to get hold of anything. Any item you want is no more than 3 clicks away. You don’t even need to leave the house! The great thing about the rise of internet shopping is the rise of internet reviews. Before purchasing from an online retailer we recommend following three steps:
- Research the brand. Read about their ethos, do you like the brand itself? If the brand ethos doesn’t match your standards, neither will the activewear. Read our brand ethos.
- Check reviews. The beauty of online sales is that there are plenty of online reviews. Whilst you may not be able to see and feel the fabrics, check out reviews from other shoppers to see if the activewear lives up to expectations.
- Check the company size guide. Whilst activewear is naturally stretching, ill-fitting clothing can cause chafing, be uncomfortable, and worst of all affect your performance. View the Sundried men's size guide or women's size guide.
Specialised retailers such as Sundried and Sweaty Betty deliver products with more technical function compared to those who predominantly focus on fashion, such as ASOS, as this is their area of expertise. Sundried only sell activewear, so our focus is always on performance. The Sundried collection has been trialled by triathletes to ensure the activewear can perform to the intensity you do.
The rise of athleisure has made activewear a dominant feature of everyday life and a lot of fashion retailers have brought out their own versions of fitness wear. This is great for the world of health and fitness, making health more accessible and encouraging a more active lifestyle which Sundried fully supports. We even created the concept EHOH to help keep office workers active during their working day. Whilst the high street brands may offer the greatest variety of patterns and designs, often these styles do not have any athletic quality and may not perform well. The clothing is often made in factories where working conditions are poor and labour is cheap, meaning they can be sold at discount prices. Sundried protect our workers throughout the supply chain and are transparent in our production, partnering with The Low Carbon Fund to produce our clothing ethically.
Activewear brands now also sponsor sporting events and festivals. Buying activewear from a sporting event ensures that the clothing you’re buying is designed with the purpose to enhance your sports performance. Buy from a triathlon and the activewear is going to be designed to support a triathlon. Buy from a running festival and you know you'll get the best in running gear. On top of this, you'll often get a great discount from buying at an event like this too!
Partnering Personal Trainers
Personal trainers have partnered with Sundried to provide their clients with Sundried as their activewear brand of choice. Sundried have partnered with some of the best PTs in the UK and globally to ensure our products are upheld as the premium ethical activewear. Who better to know what activewear is right for your training than your personal trainer? They’re the ones writing your training programme after all! All of Sundried’s staff are qualified level 3 Personal Trainers who have worked in the industry and know what demands our activewear needs to meet. The Sundried collection meets the demand for stylish activewear with advanced technical function.
In this digital age, more and more people are turning to online retailers for their shopping needs. However, this does not come without its problems and there are lots of things to look out for when buying online. We guide you through the tricky process of buying activewear online.
One of the most important things to be careful of when buying women’s activewear online instead of from a sportswear store is sizing. You want your workout clothes to fit well and look good, which can be tough when you can’t try it on before you buy. Check that the retailer you’re looking to buy from has an activewear size guide, as gym wear from different brands can come up in different sizes; a size large for one brand might be completely different from a size large from another.
Not only is it important to check their activewear size guide, it’s also very useful to check a brand’s customer reviews. No one will be more honest than someone who has already purchased athletic wear from this particular retailer. See if there are any answered questions and comments about sizing, this will help you hugely when choosing your ladies gym wear.
There are so many different fabrics and materials available these days, so it’s useful to do your research first before making an investment in expensive gym clothes. With ethics and sustainable fashion being on the rise, there are lots of brands offering sportswear for women made from recycled materials. These responsibly-sourced and sustainable fabrics feature superior technology and are perfect for fitness clothing as they feature sweat-wicking, four-way stretch materials, and other benefits.
Here at Sundried, we live by the motto that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Nowadays, fast fashion is prevalent and if the activewear you're looking to buy is very cheap, it's likely that the people in the supply chain are being treated unfairly. On the other end of the spectrum, just because the activewear brand you're looking at is very expensive that doesn't mean you're getting what you pay for. It's good to find a middle ground, whereby the price is a little higher but you know you're getting exceptional quality.
The fashion industry is said to be the second most damaging industry on earth, behind the oil industry.
The 2015 film The True Cost revealed we buy nearly 400% more clothes now than we did just two decades ago - that’s 80 billion new clothes produced every year. It takes 2,700 litres of water just to make one t-shirt. We cannot hide from our clothing's impact.
- By 2030, demand for water will exceed the supply by 40%.
- Cotton is responsible for 2.6% of the global water we use.
- 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing.
- Between 60 million and 75 million people are employed in the textile, clothing and footwear sector worldwide (as of 2014).
- 36 million people are living in modern slavery today, many of whom are working in the supply chains of Western brands.
- In the UK, roughly two million tonnes of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year and only 16% of that waste is ever reused. That’s roughly £140 million worth of waste.
Out of sight, out of mind
The problem with fast fashion is that we just don’t think about the supply chain. When we shop online, our primary focus is the price, and then we think about delivery time and how well we're treated throughout the process. We fail to think about the way the people manufacturing the clothes are treated.
To make clothes, there are people needed to do the weaving, dyeing, cutting, sewing, folding, ironing and packaging. All of these people are part of the supply chain. Many companies are not transparent about their supply chain, and so the consumer has no idea what is happening behind the scenes.
The Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 saw the poor working conditions of garment factories being thrust into the spotlight after a death toll of 1,130 workers and 2,500 injured people buried alive. Rana Plaza forced us to take a harsh look at where our clothing is coming from and the damage it’s doing not only to the planet, but to people.
Lucy Siegle, British journalist, said “brands, retailers and consumers have all become fantastically adept at divorcing fashion from the very fact that it is has been made by an army of living, breathing, human beings with resources which are depleting the environment”.
Every action creates a reaction
The cost of fashion shouldn’t be someone’s life. A 2014 KPMG survey found that 40% of consumers would switch their loyalty to another company if their favourite brand didn’t pay a living wage. We need to create transparency and traceability and take responsibility for our actions.
Activewear can be ethical
Modern fashion has become more than just the way you cover your body, it’s an outward extension of your personality. What you wear should say something about you, your beliefs, values and creative expression. Your activewear probably has a stronger presence in your life than you may realise; you’re wearing gym clothes everyday, sometimes more than once if you train twice and because of the nature of what you’re doing in it, gym clothes need more washing, which in turn can create more impact.
Textile choice is paramount to athletic performance and fabrics which are technically savvy often reflect the largest impact on the planet. Whilst Sundried respect our sport to know we need to use materials which wick sweat, stretch and work with our bodies, we also want our fabrics to work towards a better impact on the environment.
Our packaging is reusable, you’re not meant to throw it away. Instead, our Sundried sleeves can be used to store wet training gear, protect your change of clothes from getting wet or dirty or even be used as a laminated sleeve to store your workout plan in the gym, which you can wipe clean and sweat free. 80% of textile waste going to landfills can actually be reused (WRAP, 2015).
Sundried are inspired by the great outdoors. We regularly post on our blog about training outside and encourage our customers to spend more time experiencing nature. This also helps to reduce our carbon footprint, encouraging more time outdoors and less inside using gas and electricity.
It’s not just about your running mileage, it’s about your fashion mileage
How long can you make your clothing last, if it’s been poorly constructed? Sundried want you to get to know our activewear, we want you to know where your clothing was made and how to look after it so you form a quality relationship with your activewear that lasts.
We’ve used high quality materials which break the quickly-made, quickly-thrown, pattern of the fast fashion industry. We want you to have more than a fling with fashion and instead invest in activewear you can treasure. From how it's made to our after care recommendations we’re doing what we can to ensure that our clothing lasts to minimise its environmental impact. Our style is purposely elegantly timeless, so we will always be fashionable, though to us being ethical is always on trend.
80% of the environmental impact of clothing is made after purchase. Sundried continue our ethical ethos through you, our customers, by trusting you to support our activewear by minimising its environmental impact. We have done this by producing our products with fabrics which should be “washed cool and sun dried”, eliminating the need for wasted energy on hot washes and ironing.
One of the biggest obstacles for those wanting to purchase ethically is cost. Despite the fact that cheap clothing could cost lives, cheaper clothing is all that can be afforded. What if we told you wearing ethical activewear was actually more cost effective? Sundried activewear is ethically produced and made from high quality, enduring materials that are sure to outlast their fast fashion counterparts, meaning the eco-conscious choice will pay off in the long run.
Choosing ethical activewear impacts positively on everyone: people, animals and the planet.
Everyday we follow 2 simple, universal actions. We eat and we get dressed.
We need aesthetics to meet ethics in order to future proof the planet for generations to come. You are mindful to not cause harm to others in your everyday life from the people you meet to foods you eat; so why choose clothes that harm people?
Ethically produced activewear can benefit the people who live in the local communities, where the clothing is manufactured. Rest assured Sundried respect our workers, your clothes were manufactured by workers of legal age, who worked in safe, humane conditions, earning a satisfactory salary.