On the Hunt for Workout Gear

Throughout my multi-decade obsession with working out, I’ve also been seriously obsessed with workout clothes. In the 80’s, it was leotards and tights, with coordinating terry braided headband, leg-warmers, and stretchy belts of all sorts (even 2-inch wide belts with buckles). I even followed the trend of cinching up the back of my leotard with a belt to create a thong effect (by threading it through the leg holes!). Sorry I can’t find a picture to illustrate this look — must have been a very short-lived fad, and perhaps just local. Then, I focused on acquiring and wearing thong leotards for a few years.


Leotards were phased out, along with the headbands, leg-warmers, and belts, which now are totally passé in the gym. I graduated to wearing sports bras, or tops which had a little more coverage than bras, or both — sports bras worn underneath tops. During this period (circa the 90’s), my workout tights became shorter and shorter, until I was exclusively wearing shorts to the gym — obviously, that was during my pre-cellulite era and made for a wonderfully cool and comfortable workout. Then the trend reversed itself — today all my tights are shin-length or full-length. Color-wise, my all-black tights wardrobe is getting infiltrated with prints, stripes, and embellishments with mesh inserts. I’ll be sorry when the ‘mesh insert’ trend goes away — ‘air-conditioning’ for my legs — but undoubtedly some other innovation will be coming along soon to make us replace our obsolete styles.

Another fairly recent trend is the progressively increased length of workout tops, some of which are now almost like tennis dresses. At first I hated the long tops which seemed a little ‘maternity’ to me, but now my wardrobe has several of them.

Currently, I’m on the hunt for tops that are V-neck or scoop-neck, made of sheer/light/breathable/stretchy fabric, and I want them to have tight-fitting long sleeves to accent my arm muscles and hide wrinkly skin. With all these specifications, I’ve been able to find only one single new top in the last few months, despite exhaustive shopping and Internet searching.

Speaking of shopping for activewear — I’m addicted and, when I score, I feel ‘high.’ Having new workout clothes always makes me giddily happy and inspired to exercise.

[Img.Src: Aerobic Demonstration, 1985]

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