Whose camp are you in for workout wear?

workout wear

Happy Friday, everyone!  Thank you for being here…today I want to get you to make a choice for me and ask Whose Camp Are You In for Workout Wear?

The two camps are opinions on workout wear held by me….and my husband, the very active Mr. B.

I will explain more in a minute……


workout wear

In December, I told Mr. B that I was ready to return to the gym, hire a trainer, and get in better shape for our son’s wedding.

I will never forget the exact morning ten years ago, when I sat in front of the YMCA working up the courage to go inside.

My relationships with gyms had always been where I watched all three of my children perform their athletics….never for me.

However, thanks to wonderful friends who encouraged me to join them, so at 59 years of age, I entered the gym for the first time…and so thankful that I did.

On my first day, I could not even get up off the floor on my own.

workout wear

I was faithful for the next 8 years, until the pandemic hit.

When I cancelled my membership, I honestly did not believe I would return there.

Yet, here I am….exactly 10 years later…at age 69…back in the gym and with a trainer.

When I told Mr. B I was going to return, I also asked for Christmas for a gift card to purchase some new workout wear…the retailer was a more affordable retailer.

Whose Camp Are You In for Workout Wear: Mr. B’s Camp

workout wear

I have introduced you to the Mr. B Superman, off trail runner before.

It is impressive how seriously he takes his physical fitness.

He runs regularly up hills and trails with his friends, and tried to introduce me to that world…and I am not comfortable with rocks, snakes, bushes etc.

He believes in purchasing high end workout wear, and often wears these garments for his daily causal clothing.  

He wants comfort and durability….and loves great fabrics.

He refused to give me the gift card I requested because he believes I need higher quality workout wear.

Instead for Christmas he gave me a little workout out fit by Vuori...The black performance jogger and the Long Sleeve Halo Crew.

I agree that these joggers are very comfortable and I have enjoyed wearing them around the house.

But, both garments are too heavy and warm for me to wear as my workout wear in the gym.


workout wear

I look at my workout wear as something I wear to the gym. Period.

I want something comfortable, but cool and roomy.  A short shirt like the Vuori top is not what I want for lifting weights over my head.

But, I honestly do not care what other people think of what I have on at the gym.

I am there to sweat.  I would prefer to purchase less expensive workout wear and save my money for the clothing I wear out and about…or for special events.

My workout wear goes to the gym and then hits the dirty clothes basket soon after I get home.

I know my feelings about workout wear are completely opposite of how I look at my daily clothing, but that is OK for me…I go to workout and sweat.

My inexpensive clothing has lasted me since that first day I entered 10 years ago…I only wanted to up it a little with different tops.

The leggings I am wearing in the very first picture are new favorites from KOHL’S.   They are the Women’s FLX affirmation high-waisted 7/8 ankle leggings. 

I believe this line at Kohl’s has all of the same quality as the more expensive workout wear.

workout wear

I did try to look at a more expensive line at Columbia Sportswear.…and took my shopping (and former workout buddies) with me.

For the most part, they carry outdoor wear, but they do have workout wear.

workout wear

These are nice and they do have some good selections currently on sale….Columbia Leggings.

If I lived in a cooler climate or even included an outdoors workout, I would consider these.

However, I am in a gym and I get very hot.

Bottom line:  My camp would rather spend this money on regular clothing…not workout wear.

Here is a slideshow for those in my camp…I did purchase a couple of tops at JCP, for $10 each…..

Also, I have found Columbia and other higher end brands at Marshall’s. 

OK…it is your turn…I would love to hear your thoughts…are you in Mr. B’s camp or are you in my camp when it comes to your workout wear??  Whose camp are you in for workout wear?

Thanks for joining in…it is so helpful to hear from others.  Now make sure that you are taking care of your health and that you………………………………………….


By Pamela Lutrell

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workout wear


  1. Yours, definitely. (I need to get back to the gym too… good for you!) I bought mine strictly for the gym and never wear it otherwise. My sports bras, shirts and leggings have worn incredibly well and came from TJMaxx, JCP, Dick’s Sporting Goods and one Columbia shirt from Target. All purchased years ago, all worn for years, and also worn for walking workouts with videos at home. Still in pristine condition. Like you, I prefer to spend more on clothes I wear outside of working out, and that’s where I’ll spend on the highest quality I can afford. So definitely in your camp! I’ve never even been into the athleisure trend at all. My sister does that well, but it’s just not my style.

  2. Thanks for starting us off with today’s challenge, Karen! I hope to hear you go back to the gym soon?

  3. Since you want cool clothes & are looking specifically for tops, have you looked at running clothes? I’m not familiar with TX stores, but do you have something like a Dick’s Sporting Goods? They’ll have at least Nike & Under Armor brands. (Full price may not be what you want to pay, but big box stores run lots of sales). There are also running-specific stores (we have Fleet Feet where I live). I’d also check out Target.

    Then there’s Chico’s Zynergy line. Its sister store, Soma, also has athleisure. You could also check out a new sports bra at Soma while you’re there. Athleta is another place to check out. These may be pricier than you want, but checking these clothes & their features can inform what you look for in budget lines. And you’ll also see what newer performance fabrics can do re heat, sweat, etc.

    And don’t forget motivational Ts!

  4. If working out is important to you then it’s no problem to spend more money on your attire.
    It seems to me your issue is that working out is more a chore than a joy, so it’s not a high priority and you do’t want to spend. Some people would spend and let that commitment anchor them into working out. That’s risky because you’ve spent aspiring the change your priorities, which is a gamble.

    I like to workout. It makes me feel good and setting aside time to do it gives me joy. However, I’m not made of money so my approach is the mix-match. I will spend more on things that I think make a difference – like shoes for different sorts of workouts that are fitted to my feet, wool socks, wicking first layers and tops with sun protection. For other things I’m flexible. I’ve had good luck with bottoms at Old Navy, but for tops I will pay more for something with better fabric or unique style.

  5. Thank you! I do wear some Zenergy for workout clothing. Whatever I wear must be cool..I get really hot working out. I often shop Academy for workout. For personal reasons, I do not shop at Dick’s.
    Make sure to share which camp you are in…sounds like Mr. B!

  6. Your comment is interesting because I believe working out is a priority! Believe me, I spend a lot on a monthly gym fee and hiring a trainer. I would rather the money go there. I really disagree with what you are saying about the clothing choice at the gym reflects how I feel about working out. Thoughts anyone?

  7. Yep, I’m with you. I buy most of my workout gear at Marshall’s or Kohl’s on sale. I’d rather splurge on a cute Chico’s outfit than put a lot of money into my gym clothes.

  8. I am in your camp. Just recently signed up for Silver Sneakers at the YMCA, although I do some weight exercises, etc at home, plus walking. Although if I wore them sometimes for everyday casual clothing, I would be in Mr. B’s camp. Happy Friday!

  9. Definitely in your camp Pam. I never wear that type of clothes for errands or anything else so, no, I will save my money for the fun clothes. Good for you for getting back to the gym.

  10. Sounds like you have a plan. If I lived in workout wear past the gym, I would feel differently.

  11. Congratulations both on your decision to return to the gym and to hire a personal trainer! Four years ago, at 76, I decided I needed to get stronger and hired a personal trainer. I am now very strong for my age – it is so important – especially if we need surgery, say, for a knee/hip replacement – being physically strong will ease our recovery!
    I have been wearing Lands’ End leggings in the winter – slightly heavier weight, plus come in tall sizes. Do intend to check out Kohl’s! For tops, I sometimes go on eBay and try to find long-sleeve, plain Chico’s tops! Have also bought workout tops from Kohl’s. My workout clothes can be dual purpose – maybe for a run for groceries or to the library. But, no, do not/will not spend big $ on my workout clothes.

  12. I think I’m mostly in your camp. My workout consists of neighborhood walks, so it’s the same clearance rack stuff I wear around the house, before it fades, then it’s strictly in house chores. With the exception of sports bras, have learned I need to part with a few bucks more to be both comfortable and functional. Now, I can see where your husband should spend more, no bad weather or snakes can pop up in your gym….yea, I’m not sure what snakes have to do with how much you spend on work out wear either, but I guess my point is, his is a ‘heavier duty’ kind of excersize.

  13. Totally in your camp, Pam. I haven’t been there since the pandemic, but Dick’s used to be my choice for gym clothes,
    epecially for tops. I think the key words are “sweat” and “gym” — and high-end clothes for sweating is an oxymoron. I respectfully disagree with the idea that gym clothes need to be pretty, but another blogger was pushing this idea recently. I want gym clothes that let me workout not those that garner compliments. To each, her own, right?

  14. I was only explaining why I haven’t connected with his trail running world…that had nothing to do with choice of what to wear! There are rattlesnakes where he runs.

  15. The clothes for me must be cool and have room to move .. I don’t want to lift my arms and show what is under there!

  16. Before the pandemic I used to swim every day for 30mins with 50mins on Mondays . I still haven’t got back to that level so am ‘cross’ training 5-6 days a week in the gym and relearning my strokes once a week . For the gym I just use cotton layers I already have + decent trainers . I have spent much more on swimsuits but my 3 Speedo’s have lasted years whereas when I had standard nylon/elastane each one would sag within a few months and quickly become too indecent !

  17. I agree with you Pam. All my workout gear is comfy and purchased at Marshalls, TJMaxx, Ross. I look for comfort and durability and find top brands at the stores mentioned without paying full price. Enjoy your workouts!

  18. I have some from Target. I have some cap sleeve tops that are almost sleeveless and capri leggings with a spot for the phone. I don’t like joggers. I like to look semi nice since I sometimes run an errand after. A friend said Carrie Underwood has a new line at Target.

  19. I am totally with you!! I wear old T-shirts and any pair of shorts/joggers that is clean! Happy to spend my $ on other pieces of clothing!

  20. I have been working out 5 to 6 days per week for the last 12 years. I buy most of my clothes at Kohl’s and usually wait for a sale. Their brand, Tek Gear is comfortable, durable and reasonably priced. I especially like their shape wear leggings. Good luck with your fitness journey!

  21. I am very active and walk nearly every day. I also golf and try to go to water aerobics once a week. Living in a resort type country club community makes all this very easy. I am definitely in your camp! Buying different clothing for my active life can get pricey so I shop sales. When I return an Amazon package to Kohl’s & get that $5 coupon I first check what is on the sale rack in activewear. I like Costco’s tee shirts for tops. Talbots T collection is great and I love their bottoms for cool weather golf. But again, I buy when they go on sale. Instead of wearing leggings to work out in have you thought of wearing biker shorts? You can easily slip on pants over these to go in and out of the gym. Friends love Baleaf but I haven’t purchased anything from them. Exercise is so important as we get older. I believe we need to wear what motivates us to keep moving!

  22. Hi, Pam!
    There are a variety of options out there. I only wear workout wear to my Pilates class, then I change into street clothes or come straight home. I really like the Noga pants from Duluth Trading Company. I have five of these pants and they are great for exercise and wearing at home. I know some ladies wear such clothing out and about but no one wants to see me in that! You might want to check them out online. Such great customer service too.

  23. I was in the “Pam” camp UNTIL my daughter gifted me some Vuori pieces. It was love at first wear. Now ✋🏻 Mr B!

  24. I’m in both camps. I recently started physical therapy to overcome arthritis pain in my knee and I often have to run some errands or be visible on my Teams meetings (I work from home) right before or after my PT appts, so I needed a few things that are reasonably cute but practical. I got a couple of items from Chicos Zenergy line on sale. Physical therapy may make me sweat a small bit, but it isn’t really that strenuous, so the Chicos items and some older athleisure from Talbots and Zella (Nordstrom) work fine. For my serious workouts I tend to do hot yoga or biking and those activities have specialized clothing. I almost always wear “bike” shorts and tank tops to hot yoga and I wear biking jerseys and padded bike pants for my 20-80 mile rides. The hot yoga gear tends to get trashed after about six months so I look for deals and sales, but my favorite items are ones I bought on sale at Athleta. They just feel better and wick the moisture better. I replace my bike shorts annually because not having good padding on your seat creates some really bad problems! Sitting on a bike for 3-4 hours makes you appreciate the best bike shorts you can afford. I also walk my dog 2-3 miles every day and sometimes go hiking. I had my feet evaluated at a running shoe store and buy the shoes that are good for my feet. That is important because shoes can affect your knees so if I spent money on anything, it would be the best shoes for my feet. Sometimes I wonder if I should spend money on “regular” clothes because I really spend more time in my active wear and pj’s than I do in “regular” clothes most days! However, I invest in classic clothing for the most part and I wear my clothes for years.

  25. Thanks for your comment, Deirdre! I do spend more on my shoes…I should’ve mentioned that. You are right…quality shoes for exercise are a must! I agree…and so would Mr. B!

  26. I am happy you returned to the gym! I made my return last fall, and am so glad to be back in there. The Y is such a place of positivity, from seeing the little toddlers in the childcare to smiling at the older gentlemen gathered around the coffee/social room on my way out – just feels like community all around. I go for the water aerobics classes, so my outfit is always a swimsuit, and I prefer a tankini which makes getting in and out of it easy, and provides a good fit for my long torso. I spend decent money on my suits, but always on sale from Lands End, and they pull double-duty as my vacation swimwear, lasting for years. Coming and going I throw on shorts and a tee in summer, yoga pants and a hoodie in cooler weather. No need for expensive clothing then, just dress for your comfort. Mr. B’s gesture was sweet though . . .and for sure don’t take up snake running! Yikes! LOL 😆

  27. Hi gesture was sweet, Connie! He loves to bless all of us this way because running has been so important to him. He and the kids wear lululemon and love it!

  28. Dear Pam,
    I fall more in your end at the gym. I prefer the comfort end for workout clothes, and that includes accommodating my body temperature, fit and length! No one sees me in them except at my workout and I do not care if I wear the same things for several years. I prefer fitted bottoms (call them yoga pants or leggings as you wish) over joggers like my Vuoris because I think the knees are tougher and there is no excess material on the legs to inhibit movement. I want my Vuoris to stay nice enough to wear other ways.(I often wear Vuoris over my fitted bottom on the way to and from the gym.) I rotate three pairs of fitted close-legged, print exercise bottoms I bought for under $20 at TJMaxx. All are different brands and all have held their color and fit very well for years. On top, I go short-sleeved and buy the thin v-neck lightweight marled shirts from Scheels, our midwest sporting goods store (like Underarmour Heatgear which is made for hot weather, not cold). I also like these when I travel for base layers because I only pack a carryon and they are lightweight. You can find similar tops at Athleta, etc. My gym also has given me a couple of wonderful thin shirts (crew neck style) with their logo which I love for both length and weight and wear the most. I would not wear cotton t-shirts or long sleeves for exercise as they are just too hot. If I go for walks, I fall more into your hubby’s choices! Bless his kind heart.

  29. Good for Mr. B! Like you, I don’t run, given my two foot surgeries (but didn’t before, either). We have returned to the gym. I’m half and half with workout wear. I wear Danskin leggings ($9.99) from Costco, and Lands End tees for true workouts. For my walks, which often end in errands and then casual life at home, I prefer Zella, T by Talbots or a bit of JJill Fit. I sometimes wear athleisure whole outfits, but usually wear a sweater or some other mixed look with leggings or silky, tailored joggers. I’m in central coastal California on a trip now, and literally almost everyone here is in athleisure 100 percent of the time.

  30. My favorite workout wear is T by Talbot. I buy it on sale, like now with the 50% plus another 20% on sale items. I have two pairs of their workout leggings and about four tops that interchange with both leggings. I only wear mine to zumba workout. Pay attention to the right shoes, too. I also do water aerobics and buy the chlorine resistance suits on Landsend. The swimsuits I have to replace every year.

  31. I just read an encouraging article in the Washington Post about weight training – “These 6 exercises, once a week, will make you stronger”. Better to start small, and keep at it, than give up because a workout is too demanding. One doesn’t need to spend much at all on workout clothes. I thrifted a pair of joggers and wear a tee shirt and hoodie.

  32. I agree with you Pam. Has no bearing and says nothing about our commitment to working out. I see people in basic shirts and shorts at the gym who are enjoying themselves and working just as hard as those in so-called designer or high end gear. It’s obvious to me that you are committed to health and fitness.

  33. My favorite workout wear is T by Talbot. I buy it on sale, like now with the 50% plus another 20% on sale items. I have two pairs of their workout leggings and about four tops that interchange with both leggings. I only wear mine to zumba workout. Pay attention to the right shoes, too. I also do water aerobics and buy the chlorine resistance suits on Landsend. The swimsuits I have to replace every year.

  34. I’ve been dedicated to working out for at least 20 years . I even taught aerobics classes through our local parks department. I have always been a firm believer in buying the least expensive workout clothes possible. However, that does not go for shoes. Shoes really affect how you feel and so they are worth spending extra money on. I don’t wear my workout clothes to go shopping or in order to run to the store. They are strictly for working out. I don’t really care who sees me in the gym, as long as I’m decent.
    If you have started and stopped, then, perhaps you have not discovered a workout that you truly enjoy. I hope your personal trainer can help you explore different kinds of physical activity that you may enjoy and incorporate into your life forever.
    I truly know that my physical fitness was a deciding factor in whether or not I survived my cancer treatment. Not all people have this motivation, but you should think about it in terms of how long you will be here to enjoy your life.

  35. This is a very timely topic for me. With my husband’s passing, I will have more time for myself now & plan to check out my local YMCA for what they have to offer. I would say I am on your team as I don’t plan to wear my work out clothes anywhere else. I have never been a fan of wearing athletic clothing as casual wear, so, I won’t be spending a lot of money for it. The exception will be shoes because I need good supportive shoes.

  36. I suppose I’m in the mix and match camp. I do have to say that when I choose the higher end pieces (always on sale!) it’s for fabric quality that you just don’t get in the lower end work out wear. As a former clothing teacher, fabric quality is very important to me. I do think you get what you pay for! Higher end fabrics seem to last longer and are just more substantial, yet they can have moisture wicking and cooling capacities. I only wear work out wear to work out, at home and at the gym. Land’s End is my favorite for middle of the road pieces and they come in petite sizes – a must! Athleta is a good go-to for better quality fabrics and many pieces are also in petite sizes.

  37. I see a place for both! When I’m out doing my daily “walks” summer or winter snd in between- I wear the very basics. Some leggings/ navy or black or shorts if very warm and humid with a tee or sweatshirt – in winter I’m in a jacket and hood abd hikibg sneakers. I try to do 2-3 miles daily, but do not exercise in gyms. I take yoga classes (2x week) and tai chi classes weekly at a community center near my home and folks do wear nicer work out clothes there. Sometimes all black leggings and better tops, but sometimes I see bright prints etc . No one is over kill designer, but nicely put together I’d say. For these classes I try to look a bit better.
    So I see a place for both mindsets.

  38. #TeamPamela all the way on this one! Most of my current workout clothes are discards that my daughter put in donation bags. I always go through them before donating them, because her idea of “worn out/unwearable” is very different than mine on a retiree’s budget. Even when I was running many miles a week, other than good quality shoes, all my other gear comes from Target or Old Navy, with an occasional piece from Walmart thrown in the mix. I care about fit and comfort, but like you, I don’t wear this stuff around town, just to exercise or go to PT. I think this is a category where we each get to decide for ourselves what works best. It was very thoughtful of Mr. B to want you to share his passion for expensive workout wear, but hopefully he realizes that your approach is not wrong, just different! (And what a handsome fellow he is – so glad he’s staying in shape so you can enjoy many more years of adventures together!)

  39. Iv’e been thinking about this blog all day. I’m 77 and definitely have a larger than average backside so I’m not comfortable in tight leggings, so I wear slightly looser joggers with a variety of t shirts from Kohls REI and Chico’s. I work out twice a week with a trainer who has significantly increased my flexibility and strength. However, as for you, Pamela, you are a fashion blogger, a brand and the one and only representative of your blog and YouTube Channel. You are an influencer in your community and and the larger world. Even if you sweat and get the uglies at the gym, you need to represent your brand wherever you are. So I think you need to look as good as you can and wear the most flattering clothing at the gym. You never know who is going to look across the weight bench and and think “She’s a fashion blogger?! No thanks.” You deserve more respect for your style, wisdom and your journey.

  40. Wow Jane, you may have me rethinking my budget here. I will really think hard about you are saying and believe that you are giving thoughtful good advice. Let me ponder this! I appreciate your comment.

  41. Hi Pam,
    I was a Jazzercise instructor for 28 years and lived in workout wear. I always had a limit on how much I would spend on something to sweat in. I spent more on sports bras, for obvious reasons, but tops and leggings have to be comfortable and affordable. I now spend more time in the water and do have to invest in good suits with support.

  42. I love several Target brands and I normally check them out on the clearance rack. Have found lots of good buys. I also like joggers and flare/bootcut pants for casual wear. (target, th maxx or such finds) I work at a school, working most of the summer so my choice at age 56 over the young ones short shorts!

  43. I was not going to comment on this but changed my mind. I am with Mister B on this for a couple of reasons…..and they have little to do with looking good or how much items cost. The real issue here is what technical fabrics are designed to do. When I was hiking/canoeing in the back country the fabric was always wool (Icebreaker, Smartwool, etc) because wool in clothing for these activities is best for comfort and possible survival. When active and sweaty the wool wicks the best…but you still stay warm when you stop for lunch. Getting cold “out there” spells trouble because there is not much of a plan B.
    Now back to workout wear. The fabrics designed for working out and some sports are “technical” in that they are designed to work well in those environments. Synthetic fibres usually start as a liquid that is then spun out of a shape into a thread that is then knit into technical fabric. The shape of the spinneret that the thread is extruded from/blown through determines a lot of its properties of the end product fabric. In the case of workout wear the shape of that spinneret and subsequent thread determines whether it will wick sweat. These fabrics also wick moisture like the wool which will keep a person more comfortable than wet and clammy. If your workout wear is just a cheap cotton T-shirt you will end up wet and uncomfortable….which is not exactly inspiring to go back to the gym. If your workout wear is made of technical fabric that is designed to wick moisture you will be comfortable long enough to complete your workout. The higher end name brands are the ones who have spent their money on research to figure out what makes the best end product fabric….and yes you pay for that in your garment. The good part is that many of these fabrics have been around long enough for the copycats to make cheaper clothing that has close to the same properties as the expensive original. Don’t just read the price tag on a garment…read that other tag that declares what the fabric actually does. And, yes you will need to stick to your budget but there versions that fit most budgets….places like TJX Redtag section help those with less to spend. I could go on and on about fibre but this is the short version of what you need to know

  44. This topic is very timely for me as prior to Covid I was a curler and have a closet full of turtlenecks and sweatshirts. I’ve not felt comfortable going back to it for a number of reasons and have recently taken up pickleball to replace it. Being in a northern climate it has been very difficult finding appropriate gym wear. The gym wear I’ve found seems to be very clingy and not cut for a mature body regardless of upsizing. As it is not an individual exercise programme I feel a need to feel respectfully dressed without all my lumps and bumps being obvious to all. I’m especially interested to hear Lands End has a petite line and will look into their online options and return policies. I thank everyone for their suggestions which have opened up lots of options to check out.

  45. Since I work out in our home gym where no one but my husband sees me, I’ve never considered investing in high end workout wear. Like you, I’d rather spend my fashion dollars on the rest of my wardrobe. Even if I was going to a gym where I’d be seen by other people, I don’t think I’d spend a lot on workout clothing. I do agree with RoseAG, however, about the importance of investing in quality footwear for exercising.

  46. Definitely in your camp! I work out twice a week at a gym with a personal trainer, sometimes go back other days to use the equipment, and walk most days. Most of my work out clothes are from Kohl’s, and I think I look rather stylish! Spending huge sums of money for joggers/shorts and tops is silly….it isn’t a fashion show! I see lots of women of all ages working out, and don’t think I ever look at them and wonder about what they are wearing. And if you wear the above outfits to the gym, I think you represent you very well. With every thing else we deal with in this life, worrying about what some one is wearing to sweat in a gym is the least of my worries. Who cares!

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