Women’s workout clothes, serious gear or fashion statement?

Recently I came across an article via Twitter (oh Twitter, I love thee) which was a link to a post on one women’s view on running skirts.  The article was very anti-running skirt.  She considers them a fashion statement and that one is only wearing them to look good.

“My issue is with what the skirt symbolizes. I think that emphasizing fashion and “cuteness” puts an unnecessary focus on outward appearance rather than performance. I’m not saying that we should all be running around in drab, shapeless gear, but I don’t see the need to make a fashion statement on the roads.”

When I first read this article I sort of nodded my head in agreement because I understood what she was getting at.  In fact, this mentality is what kept me from trying out a running skirt myself.  My view was, I’m working out and training, I have no desire to put on a skirt and look “cute” for my runs.  I thought this way for a long time.  Then I bought a running skirt because it was on sale for cheap cheap cheap and I needed more summer gear.

Then I found out that I liked it!  GASP!

I like the running skirt a lot for short runs in the summer.  It’s comfortable, light, and it doesn’t hold sweat but wicks it away.  Quite frankly, I don’t even give two shits about what I look like in it because I’m not thinking about that or focusing on that.  All of my focus is on my run and what kind of obstacles I’m facing that day.  When I pick out what I’m going to wear for a run it is totally dependent on what the weather is like outside and what gear is best suited for the current conditions.

Making a fashion statement is not even on my radar.  If you know anything about me, you’ll know I’m am not lying.

That said, I think her point could apply to workout gear for women in general.  There are some really great gear lines out there made just for women.  Some really fantastic gear now available to us when before there wasn’t much at all.  Women athletes were an untapped market.  Now it is taking off!  And thank god because I’ve worn workout gear made for dudes and that stuff is just uncomfortable.

But two of my biggest complaints is that the stuff made for women are:

1. Predominately pink, which makes me cringe and also want to hurl.  I hate pink.  HATE. IT. (My issue with pink gear is a whole other post, trust me.)  Just because I’m a chick doesn’t mean I want to surround myself in princess pink thankyouverymuch.

2. If it’s not pink, it’s some other pastel color.


Me right before a race last summer.  Pastel blue running skirt, florescent green running shirt, and white hat.  I joke around a lot about women’s running clothes saying that they make us look like a freaking rainbow sherbet sundae.  It’s true though, look at that outfit.  Then look at the dude behind me, black shorts and a dark blue running shirt.


If women want anything darker, then the options are black and also maybe some black.

That’s it.

No dark green, no purples, no nothing.

I get that lighter colors reflect sunlight better but with all the technology that I’m sure is available, is it really that hard to make things in more colors to appeal to more women?

If I had more of a choice, I would not have picked those colors for those items above, but I made the best choice I could from the options I was given.  When I see something that happens to be a different color that suits my personality more, I snatch it up really quickly.

Because the colors of the workout clothes for women are so limited to My Little Pony Pastels, it does make me question the intent of the makers.  Are the clothes for working out or are the clothes meant to be fashionably hip?  Do the two go hand-in-hand?  They don’t, in my opinion.  Either you want to work out or you want to look good while you’re doing something.

Like the author in the above article, I’m not saying that we should be looking like we are working out in potato-sacks from last year’s harvest, but do we need workout gear in pastels with a bedazzled “The Princess is Running” across the ass?

I guess my opinion of wanting more darker colors available for workout gear could be taken to mean that maybe I do care on some level about what I look like when I work out, but really that’s not the case.  I would like to have more options available to me that suit my personality instead of companies assuming that since I’m a chick that clearly means I love pink and pastels as my color preferences.

What are your thoughts on workout clothes for women?  Do you love them?  Do you think they are lacking?  Let’s discuss!

Article Quoted: Why I’ll never wear a running skirt

15 thoughts on “Women’s workout clothes, serious gear or fashion statement?

  1. I’ve never tried a running skirt but those who have that I know of love them!

    I do think the colors are really funky sometimes but I guess it depends on where you go. I’m also cheap so that sometimes limits my options considerably.

    Sometimes I’ll be wearing all gray and think “geez, I could’ve tried harder” but then I remind myself that I’m not out there to look good, ha ha.

    I have TWO pink workout tops and a pink hoodie (cringe). Not my favorite color either!! I’m totally a dark purple and green girl.

    Great post!

  2. I used to think the same as you…until I tried a skirt and LOVED it. I also hate how my legs look in shorts but looooooooove skirts. I also like buying my skirts for uber cheap at Target. I like colors, but I also like pink. I’m pale white so black isn’t really the best color for me.

    I like wearing nice clothes when I work out that compliment my body – like running skirts help my chicken legs not look so god awful…and lululemon just well, makes everything look fantastic – their clothing also doesn’t chafe and wicks wonderfully.

    on the same coin, I also don’t mind being a grundgeball…I wear tshirts with holes in them to the gym – no problem!

    slowly building a lululemon and target running skirt collection – much to hubby’s dismay!

    I try to look cuter for races b/c I treasure those photos. if i’m just working out at the gym at 5am in the morning, a holy shirt will do – don’t care if I look homeless and grungy.

  3. OMG. I’ve been wanting to write a similar post! I’m so glad you wrote this!

    I used to be one of those runners that felt like “running skirts are for non-serious girls.” And, so I hated them, and avoided them. Then I bought one. And I love it. And, I’m not going to lie, I partly love it because it does make me feel cute. But, that doesn’t make me any less of an athlete. It makes me feel more confident, and I still go out there and feel good about my performance.

    As for colors, I understand the frustration with pink (though, I love a bit of pink now and again). Pink bikes, pink helmets, all that stuff makes me want to puke. But, with colors, I love wearing bright colors…because I love bright colors. They make me bright and happy.

  4. Great post, Andrea! Fashion forward in athletics gear – I am not. I’ve been known to wear seriously ratty T-shirts and long boy shorts (literally, boy shorts – not the girl underwear kind). But I have since realized that some of the whipping-sweat-away shirts are actually a lot better than I gave them credit for.

    But, like you, I am annoyed that everything is either pink or pastel.

  5. Heather says:

    That must be a US thing because I see tons of work out clothes in lots of different colours in Canada. No lie. Dark blues, purples, black, browns, greens, etc.

    • Hey guys, thanks for your feedback so far! :D

      Sarah, I too am cheap, every workout stuff I buy I get on sale. :) Workout clothes are ‘spensive!
      Sarah w., I’m crazy pale too so black is not my best color but I’ll take that over pink if I have a choice. I really enjoy clothes that fit well which is why I can get behind gear aimed specifically towards women. It fits my bod and feels amazing! I just wish there were more choice colors. A lot of my gear comes from Target too! Lululemon makes great stuff but it’s totally out of my price range.
      Pen, I agree, wearing skirts doesn’t make one any less of an athlete. Skirts at least cover a bit more than spandex which sometimes can be a bit revealing (albeit damn comfy though!). Summer gear is your season because it’s loaded with bright fun stuff! :D
      Rose, I’ve worn those boy shorts too, the long ones for working out. I wore them most at my Muay Thai classes before I broke down and got actual MT shorts. Those things didn’t wick away sweat at all! But yes, some nice dark colors would be welcome!
      Heather, Really? A lot of yoga gear tends to have some darker color choices but not all of that is appropriate to wear for running or other types of activities.

  6. God I couldn’t agree more. Either I’m hot pink and annoying even myself or I have to be in all black like I’m going to a freaking funeral. It’s really annoying.

    I wish I could find a decent workout top or sports bra that was a nice dark purple or a decent blue color.

  7. Sadly, I think that I have more options as a plus sized woman that you do. Most of the stuff on Junionia.com (for plus-sized gals) is blue, green, black. Of course, you know I want orange. :D

  8. I have not tried a running skirt but wonder if I would like one.

    I have noticed that women’s exercise clothes tend to be a few of the same colors. Last year all I saw was teal. And I do have a lot of pink (But I like pink). I do have some darker colors though, from Champion.

    I just don’t care how I look when exercising. I try to look decent when racing, for the pics, but that’s it.

  9. I didn’t understand running skirts either until I tried them and found them quite comfy! On the other hand, I’m NOT a pink person AT ALL. So I agree. The thing that bugs me the most sometimes are even women’s tennis shoes are pink now!

  10. Krista says:

    I’m still not a convert to the running skirt. Some women just appear to be trying TOO hard. Since I often run 6 day a week I own a whole bunch of the exact same shorts ….. all in boring black….. all because they A) fit and B) don’t chafe and C) cost about $20 a pair and D) Last for many years.

    Really, if I thought I could get away with actually not feeling self conscious in a skirt I *might* consider it. But, there is nothing that chaps me more than buying expensive running clothes to find they don’t work or chafe ( read running bra’s …. TOTAL PET PEEVE!!!)

  11. I am a total convert! I used to love shorts and capris, but really the skorts these days really are CUTE AND COMFORTABLE (and there is nothing wrong with being cute!)

    I have many, many workout skorts now, and I have to say my favorites have come from Impact Fitness Wear. Why? They are totally unique! I haven’t seen barely anyone else out there in them. So, I will leave you all my little secret….. http://www.impactfitnesswear.com

    Go girls — let’s all be cute, functional, and comfortable! There is nothing wrong with wearing skirts :)

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