What to Wear to the Gym or to Exercise


how to choose activewear to flatter your body

Choosing flattering activewear can be tricky as there is little room to hide as the fabrics are tight and revealing.  So how do you choose what to wear to flatter your figure?

Given that most of us are not natural athletes or models, here are my tips on how to choose exercise clothing that looks good.

How to Choose Active Wear

If you have a tummy

  • wear a column of colour keep your top the same colour as your bottom so that you don’t create a focus on your tummy as the hem of the t-shirt blends with your exercise pant.
  • look for tops with a little ruching to disguise bumps
  • avoid sweatshirts with a band at the bottom which will make your tummy look larger

Choosing Exercise Clothing

If you have larger hips


  • don’t end your t-shirt at the widest point of your thighs, this will draw an unflattering and widening horizontal across it, instead, end your tops higher up closer to your hip bone where you are slimmer
  • bootleg pants will balance your wider hips
  • avoid detail on your upper thigh so as not to draw attention
  • a lighter top and darker bottom will draw attention upwards

If you have a large bust

  • ensure that you wear a supportive sports bra, not a crop top or the built in bra in many tops
  • a slightly lower neckline (not one that the girls will fall out of when you’re in the downward dog though!) will flatter your bust without making it look larger

If you have a round body

  • look for an exercise pant with a vertical piped seam down the side in an alternate colour, this long vertical line will slim your legs.

If you have short legs

  • go for either a full length pant or one that end as the knee
  • avoid pants that end lower on the calf
  • blend your shoes to your pants, rather than wearing a stand out colour
  • wear the same coloured top as your pants to create an elongating column of colour

whats my body shape


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  • Nice graphic, as always, but I found it interesting that you don’t show any widelegged bottoms. I have an X-figure and find that widelegged (or bootcut) trousers are most flattering on a daily basis, so I also wear them to the gym, of course! I know that leggings and similarly fitted trackies are the easiest thing to find nowadays, but most women in my gym are wearing them, and frankly, they just don’t look flattering on the majority. My love for those widelegged thingies goes so far that for summer I’m wearing shorts that are actually basketball shorts for 14 year old boys (I’m a 34 year old woman), because those were the only wide sports shorts that I could find.

    • Sonja – the first pic has a bootleg track pant! Many people don’t like too much extra fabric flapping around as they exercise – there isn’t much out there if you want wide legs.

      • Hi Imogen,
        you’re right, and I’ve noticed the bootcut pants, but these would actually be much too fitted for my taste. My full thighs look absolutely stunning in fitted jeans, but pants made of any kind of sweat fabric that are fitted around my upper legs are just the most unflattering thing in the world. I used to feel so unattractive and shapeless when I went to the gym. Then I understood that applying the same rules that I use for normal clothes could make a big difference, and now I even like to look at myself in the mirror at the gym. I think it’s important!
        Sorry for being so insistent! Generally I’m a big, big fan of you blog, I just love the polyvore graphics!
        Keep up the good work!

  • Love this post. Don’t think I’ve seen my bloggers focus on ‘workout outfits’. But these are truly important because I see so many pretty women wearing unflattering clothes on my jog, and it makes me wish they didn’t pick the first track pant they saw at the store or the ‘latest trends’ but experimented with cuts and shapes. Thanks for this!

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