When it comes to getting ready for the gym, we’ve fallen into the bad habit of reaching for a pair black leggings, a black top, and a black sports bra. But have you ever tried wearing a fun, kitschy set to class? It makes you feel like a fit model with two million followers on Instagram…kind of. There’s a growing number of indie sports brands you should sweat in, and we’re not talking about basic athleisure gear. Crazy flattering cuts, hyper-technical fabrics, and unexpected fashion collaborations set them apart, adding something new and fresh to the conversation. Here are 8 activewear brands worth sweating for, just in time for your inevitable “I should probably work out more…or at all” 2018 resolution.
Jonathan Simkhai x Carbon38
This November Jonathan Simkhai, whose form-flattering dresses are worn by everyone in Hollywood, launched his first activewear collection with Carbon38. The result is everything in gym clothes we didn’t know we needed: corseted sports bras, lace-up leggings, and flared sweat pants. A little extra for Equinox? Hell yes, but the gym selfie will be worth it.
This is the brand behind the 2016 viral campaign that offered free leggings, because that’s how much they believed in their product. They gave you a pair knowing you’ll come back for more. Since then the brand has expanded into loungewear, but it’s their matchy-matchy sets in colors like burnt orange and sky blue that have us collecting everything they produce, just as they predicted.
Cushnie et Ochs
While Cushnie et Ochs originally launched activewear in collaboration with Bandier, they’ve since taken the line in-house. Their current offerings include leggings that flatter your figure (akin to jumpsuits) and make your butt look amazing. That’s what leggings are for, right? Bonus: The acronym for their brand happens to be an inspiring title to aspire to, CEO.
If comfort is key, look to Outdoor Voices. Instead of the typical, futuristic fabrication gym clothes are known for, they prefer a relaxed take on design. This feel-good approach to activity (they just want you to hang out with your friends, tbh) is reason enough to wear this brand—whether you’re doing yoga or cartwheeling with your girls in the park.
This Australian-based brand has taken the activewear community by storm, so your feed is likely familiar with the brand’s graphic designs. Look to them for color-blocked leggings and sports bras, ideal for boxing in a cute AF outfit.
LNDR is all about function and form. They don’t sacrifice style in the name of practicality, but their mission is always intended to make you feel good. For example, thick leggings will hug your body and lift your ass, but also allow you to move freely through a burpee-box-jump with ease—or as easy as a burpee-box-jump can get.
TLA is like the hot Instagram model you want to be friends with. Their design philosophy is straight-forward: minimalist silhouettes that won’t hinder a sesh, made in solid colors that can be mixed and matched or worn together like this nude, Kylie Jenner-esque look.
If TLA has that California ease, then Michi is the East coast equivalent. The New York-based brand wants you to stand out (and work out) in elevated designs, featuring asymmetrical necklines, unexpected yet muted color combinations, and multi-fabric cuts that are more interesting than whatever happens to be the new underwater-boxing-HIIT class that has taken Manhattan by storm.