At-home workouts have been the keeper of sanity for many of us throughout lockdowns and restrictions the past few months. Waking up without an office to go to or a class to attend, staying active has been crucial.
But just because we have turned to at-home workouts instead of in-studio classes or in-gym sessions does not mean we have been skimping on our workout wear (I see your Insta stories, girls. I know you’re still looking cute while breaking a sweat.).
Right now, fitness apparel brands are as fun to shop as ever! Even if the only audience for our brand new workout set is the camera on Zoom or the reflection in the mirror. So to keep up this whole looking-cute-while-working-out-plus-in-quarantine-on-top-of-that… Here are the top 5 fitness apparel brands to shop, according to me.
1. Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective Activewear is on this “5 best” list for a variety of reasons. The fitness apparel brand, launched in 2015, has been focused on ethical production and sustainability from the beginning. Founder and creative director Ellie Dinh decided to start the company when she simply grew tired of trying to find ethically made leggings. She and her husband saw an open market for this sort of product, so they started Girlfriend Collective. The brand still focuses on sustainability as the key tenant today.
As explained on the site, “trash looks better on you than it does polluting the planet. That’s why we turn old plastic bottles, fishing nets and other waste into bras, leggings and shorts you’ll never want to throw away”. Their clothes are made to last and come from a sustainable chain of production. From their packaging to recycling-made products, all questions about the clothing origins and the company ethos can be found here.
Not only has Girlfriend Collective been a strong voice in the environmental fight, but have also taken significant time to focus on the voices of the BLM movement (something far more brands should have focused on). An extensive list of resources, places to donate, and books to read regarding the BLM movement can be found on the #BLACKLIVESMATTER portion of their site as well.
The fitness apparel brand sells a variety of fitness gear including leggings, skorts, shorts, unitards and more. On top of their strictly fitness apparel, Girlfriend Tees are cute (and comfy) enough to wear practically anywhere. Check out their crop tees, long sleeves, or the Eva V-Neck in 5 different colors.
And as if the company couldn’t get any better, their collections come in a range of sizes from XXS-6XL. Girlfriend Collective literally has something for everybody for every occasion. You never have to feel guilty supporting a brand this well rounded.
The founders of CultureFit decided to start the brand to represent their West African culture. With an emphasis on “travel [and] immersing ourselves in cultures all over the world”, CultureFit was born to encourage others to take care of their bodies. The fitness apparel company “by and for black women” was started in 2018. Since then, the brand has sold a variety of products, each emulate West African textiles. Sports bras, leggings (in multiple lengths), and tanks can all be purchased from the brand.
CultureFit yoga mats are now on the fitness apparel site as well. Excitingly, the mats perfectly match with the patterns and colors of the clothing collection. With max grippage and thickness, the eco-friendly mats are a great addition to any fitness collection.
The fitness apparel site also includes a blog section. There, nutrition hacks, tips on confidence and more are all shared in the posts.
As one of the most well known fitness apparel brands in the game… Lululemon deserves a spot on the list. While it might be a basic answer to the “5 Best Fitness Apparel Brands” question, the leggings basically don’t fall down while running. So Lululemon’s plethora of items- leggings, tanks, bras, mats, headbands, the list goes on… and on… and on, puts the brand at the top for variety of quality fitness apparel and gear.
The brand was founded in 1998 in Canada as a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company. Both men and women came to the brand for their yoga needs: apparel and classes (as Lulu acted as a yoga studio for the first few years, too).
Since the inception of the now famous brand, the apparel collection has expanded from solely yoga-wear to supplying gear for running, cycling, and “most other sweaty pursuits” as well.
Best-sellers by the brand include the Align Pant leggings (which literally feel like you are wearing a cloud on your legs), Wunder Under High Rise leggings (these are the very pair that never need a hike-up), and the Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve. Truly a brand for all your fitness needs, Lululemon has you covered no matter what new activity you’ve decided to take up.
Another black-owned fitness apparel brand worth noting is Glamourina, the “go-to activewear brand for culturally conscious women”, especially working mothers. The brand prides itself on motivating women of color to live active lifestyles.
Glamourina’s small but mighty signature pieces include the Signature Culture Tank, Rehani Red Leggings and the Panambi Plum Leggings.
A telling letter from the founders, Kia Phillips and Nekol Gaskins, found on the company website reads: “With a mission to service an underrepresented market of diverse women of all shapes, sizes, and hues, “We want to rewrite the health and fitness narrative to include women who look like us. Women come in all different shades, shapes, colors, and countries. It is time to start seeing these images reflected in the brands that we buy, wear, and support.”
Glamourina has been featured in countless women’s publications including Essence.com, Sheen Magazine, MSN.com, Minority Report, Refinery29 and more. With this much news buzz, the brand must be taking the right steps towards the top.
5. Wear It To Heart
With the motto “Clothes That Empower. Choices That Inspire.” Wear It To Heart does exactly those things.
The brand started in 2011 with the intent to focus on individuality and authenticity. From collections made entirely of Cheetah Print to Gingham skorts, Wear It To Heart allows each customer to find their fit- in size and style.
The fitness apparel brand is also highly focused on creating an ethical community around the name. Production for Wear It To Heart is WRAP certified and sweatshop-free. 15% of the proceeds from each purchase goes towards charity. And environmental sustainability actions are taken too- production is “cut-to-order”. This means that only the material absolutely needed to create the clothing pieces are cut and nothing more, leaving very little excess materials to go to waste.
Your Wear It To Heart set will be the cutest in the studio (virtually, that is), and the most comfortable too. Each piece allows for the wearer’s individuality to shine through… seriously, those Blue Black Viper Foil leggings are so sleek and shiny! Need even more of a reason to grab a set from Wear It To Heart? Check out their Insta feed for more inspo (or to just brighten up your day!).