How much power is there in an outfit?
As someone who has worked from home since the pandemic hit, I’d like to say that there isn’t much. I love the fact that I can work in my pajamas and not see a single soul that will judge me for it.
But I also know that I feel noticeably different when I put on ‘real people’ clothes that make me feel confident. I’ll often spend the entire day in comfy clothes, then get dressed up to go out with my partner and feel better and more energized than I did the entire day. That being said, I will not change my ways, and I’m currently writing this in my pajamas.
Getting dressed every day and for every occasion is scientifically proven to improve your mood and work.
The act of getting dressed and preparing for something preps and primes your brain to do the task for which you’re getting dressed. Basically, in the time it takes you to get dressed or ready, your brain has already adjusted to the task and is ready to attack it.
I’m not going to budge on my work-from-home uniform, but what if I started getting dressed before my workouts? Would my performance improve? Would it make enough of a difference to justify the hundreds of dollars I spend on athleisure?
So, this week, I ditched my ugly workout clothes and opted for some adorable sets to see if I could improve my workouts.
How I Usually Work Out
I love working out. I usually work out for about three to four hours every day in various levels of cardio. That being said, I don’t have an outfit for each workout.
I’ll jump out of bed and put on my pajamas for my morning yoga and four-mile walk. After the initial two workouts are done, I usually grab my (very unflattering) sports bra and some spandex and do my HIIT or barre. Then, it’s time to work, which I do until mid-afternoon when I put on some loose shorts and a huge T-shirt and go on my daily ‘hot girl walk.’
None of these outfits are cute, and I repeat the majority of them because I use them for an hour a day and it’s a waste to cycle through three extra outfits every single day.
Is this gross? Probably. Don’t judge.
I used to dress up for my workouts. I’d put on cute clothes for my dance classes, wore matching sets to my gym, and had the athleisure style locked in for a few years. But as my workout routine got more intense, I saw wearing cute outfits as more of a hindrance to my performance. Do you want to sweat through that cute set you just bought, or do you want to do light cardio so sweat stains don’t mess up the pattern?
I am very okay with wearing activewear out, even when I’m not working out. So much so that I usually don’t wear my workout outfits for my actual workouts. I don’t know what happened, but I stopped caring about what I looked like when I worked out.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I don’t care what people think about me or how they perceive me. Not to mention, I live in a big city and never felt too comfortable going out in skin-tight workout clothes or short shorts.
I do want to know whether feeling confident in what I’m wearing to work out will improve my actual workout. So, this week, I’m ditching the ugly sports bra and pajamas and looking cute for my workouts.
I started the week off strong (no pun intended) with a black workout set that I have genuinely never worn as a set or to work out in. I’m very self-conscious about skin-tight clothes, and I usually like my workout clothes to be as loose-fitting as possible. But this week, I’m branching out. I also did my hair in a little braid crown because I was pulling out all of the stops.
I’ve seen so many people wear these adorable workout sets, so I grabbed mine and did a barre class. I didn’t notice too much of a difference in my performance, but I did notice that I felt more photogenic after the workout. I also usually don’t do as long of a workout as I did – I usually keep my barre classes to 15-30 minutes, but I did an hour, no problem!
Black Workout Set
Halara Exercise Dress
The magic quickly started to fade today, but not for the reason you’re thinking.
Today, I wore an exercise dress out for my walk. I wore this dress to Disney, so I thought it could handle a quick little walk. I wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it didn’t feel as supportive as it did in Disney.
But the problem wasn’t the dress.
I was stopped twice on my walk today. Once was by my sweet neighbor who stopped her car and told me I looked precious. That blessed me and put a little pep in my step on my way back. But then I got stopped by an older man who kept talking about my body and how he’d been watching me for a while now.
I know that if I’d been wearing my same old ugly clothes, this man wouldn’t have thought twice about me. But he kept talking to me and then asked me out, even though I told him no.
Was this the dress’ fault? Absolutely not. But I did realize that one of the reasons I don’t dress up often is because of people like this man. I don’t always feel comfortable going for a walk in my neighborhood because sometimes people suck, and that’s hard. I should be allowed to wear whatever I want in my neighborhood and not worry about what other people see. But that’s not reality.
Skirts for Days
I stayed inside today with my cute clothes because I was a little shaken up from yesterday’s interaction. But that didn’t mean I stopped dressing up.
I did my barre class with my adorable exercise skort. I love this piece so much, and if I hadn’t sweated through it, I would have worn it all day. It was so comfortable and I loved the fluid nature of the skirt that I could feel as I danced.
This was the first day that I felt like my performance was enhanced because of what I wore. I got ready and did a short barre class, but when I was done, I decided to do one more class because I didn’t want to waste the outfit!
I had so much fun and sweated through everything. I do love this skirt as a going-out skirt more than a workout accessory, but it performed and held up much better than the exercise dress from yesterday.
I do two yoga classes every morning as soon as I roll out of bed. Because they’re the first things I do and they’re usually not intense, I just wear my pajamas for them. But not today.
I grabbed my flowy yoga pants that I usually wear for pajamas or lounge pants (so, I technically cheated the system) and did my flow.
I love these pants and simply don’t wear them enough. They didn’t enhance my workout and they made it a bit more complicated because I’m not used to flowing with that much fabric, but I did have more fun than I usually do with these pants.
I did another barre class today and I wanted to go back to the style I was most comfortable with. I opted for an oversized top and spandex shorts. While this doesn’t sound cute, it was very barre-inspired and I think I looked adorable.
I’m finding that the more loose the material, the more I want to dance or do yoga because I love the way it looks on me.
I felt much more elegant throughout the class than I would have if I had stuck with my normal outfit. This was another day that I worked out harder because I loved what I wore.
Flowy Tank Top
The Disney Day
I had to wear some Disney clothes to work out in because I’m me. I grabbed my oversized Disney shirt, Lululemon shorts, and Disney socks for my outside walk today. It probably wasn’t the most fashionable outfit I’ve worn this week, but it had a coherent theme and I appreciated it.
Today was the first day that I struggled to work out because of the challenge. I kept telling myself to go on a walk, but I also knew that I needed to actually get dressed to do so. While I’ve enjoyed preparing for my workouts and getting dressed before all of them, it does add extra time that isn’t necessary.
Just the Basics
It’s the last day, and I had to revert to what makes me the most comfortable! I wore my spandex again with a white sports bra and an oversized shirt. I did a barre class today that I thought would be much lower impact than it was, so I ditched the shirt about 10 minutes in.
I was super comfortable today, and while it felt like cheating because I wear some version of this outfit normally, it was still updated and cute. If I had kept the shirt on (and not sweated through everything else), I would have worn this outfit for the rest of the day. I think one of the most important aspects of a workout outfit is how you feel in it, and I loved this one.
Just the Basics
I have mixed feelings about this challenge.
I enjoyed it and I’ll continue to wear cute clothes to work out in, sometimes. I think I found a new style for my daily barre classes that inspires me to work harder and enjoy it. But I also felt myself pushing my workouts off and not wanting to start a workout and get dressed for one at the same time.
If you’re new to working out and you are already hesitant, I could see this challenge going either really well for you or really poorly. On one hand, you might love putting together outfits and having an excuse to shop for more activewear. On the other, you might already be super hesitant to take time out of your day to go to the gym, so adding an extra element to your gym time might deter you further.
While I did have a few days where I was dreading getting dressed, once I started my workouts, they were much more enjoyable and I felt more confident in them.
Because I have such a strict workout routine, it can often feel monotonous when I start to work out. I know what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. Getting dressed up for each workout and putting effort into how I looked made the workouts feel more special.
While I will continue to work out in my pajamas some days, and I’ll most likely return to my oversized T-shirts for most of my walks, I will incorporate cute workout clothes into my practices more often.
I guess there is a lot of power in an outfit.
How about you? Do you wear cute clothes to the gym or do you just grab whatever you can? Comment below what challenge I should try next!
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