When I first started working out, I wasn’t sure how to build my activewear wardrobe without spending too much cash. I hit up the local Big 5 for a pair of shorts and used my normal cotton tank. Needless to say, by the end of my workout, I was soaked and sweaty with cold cotton clinging to my back after each workout. I wanted cuter, better-functioning workout clotheA A s.
After some trials and errors over the past few years, I’ve come up with a short list of four affordable activewear lines for people on a budget:
You’ve probably seen the racks of colorful sports bras and the tights. The sports bras come in candy colors (as well as highlighter yellow—good for the dark) and average at around 9 to 10 bucks, while there are some clothes that are so cute that make you want to gauge your eyeballs out. Okay, maybe not that part. But they are cute.
One thing to keep in mind is that Forever 21’s sports bras aren’t very breathable compared to moisture-wicking sports bras that you might be accustomed to. It’s a great place to build your activewear closet if you’re starting an exercise routine, but you’ll probably feel a lot cooler while running or doing other cardio in a moisture-wicking bra. Whenever I come home from running in one of the Forever 21 sports bras, they’re usually soaked in sweat, compared to my other sports bras with moisture wicking properties. If you’re planning on becoming a cardio queen, then you might want to find better bras. But if you’re lifting weights, doing yoga, or any other activity that won’t leave you drenched in sweat, then these bras are the way to go.
I like their tops a lot because they come in exciting designs. If you’re planning on buying bottoms, I would recommend that you try them on in the store instead of ordering them online, since they fit weird and some of the tights can look funky on pear-shaped bodies.
Xersion @ JC Penney
This one came as quite a surprise to me. Xersion covers both women’s and men’s activewear, and both are of great quality. My favorite pieces from this line are the capri pants, which I’ve been using for more than a year. The capri length is great for my petite and short-legged frame.
The pieces cost a bit more than Forever 21, but JC Penney offers coupons, and Xersion activewear actually contains moisture-wicking properties. Keep an eye out for JC Penney sales or coupons before going in to look for some clothes, and browse the activewear clearance racks for great deals.
C9 by Champion @ Target
Champion is well known for its quality gear. The C9 line offers some plus-size options too, at least on Target’s website. When I think of C9 designs, they aren’t as edgy or ultra-trendy as those of Forever 21. The designs tend to stick to the basics, along with a few subtle twists such as a ruched sleeve.
Danskin @ Walmart
I’ll confess—I was skeptical when I first heard of the Danskin line from Walmart. However, I walked into the store one day and saw a bunch of sports capris ranging from $12 to $19. I was in price heaven. I’ve run in these a few times, and they feel great. They come in plain black and also in print designs, which are trending right now. I do wish the activewear tanks were slightly form fitting as opposed to completely loose, but that’s just me nitpicking.
• Thrift Stores – If the thought of wearing clothes that someone else has soaked through with sweat doesn’t make you go eww inside, then go for it!
• Discount Brand Name Stores – Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, etc. – Stores like TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory are a great way to find brand name (and high quality) gear at lower prices. If you like designer duds, you should definitely give these a try.
• Brand Store Outlets – Nike. Adidas. If you’re devoted to a particular brand for a specific type of product (like tanks from Nike, for example), then try going to their outlet stores.