Every Grown-Up Workout Wardrobe Should Include These Key Pieces

January: It’s when everyone seems to have a renewed energy. New Year, new goals… new workout clothes? Call us materialistic but a fresh exercise kit spurs us on to venture to the gym, and if we have a last minute change of heart, we want to still look good grabbing a coffee (yes, it happens to the best of us). Our workouts have to fit into our busy schedules, so what we actually wear has to tick a few boxes: Presentable enough for the school run, practical enough for the actual workout bit and stylish enough to stay in for the rest of the day running errands. 

What we wear to exercise in has changed as we’ve gotten older. Now we’re in our 30s (plus!) we like to invest in quality. We’re always looking for leggings that hold you in, sports bras that support and trainers that go the extra mile. All of these elements are just as important as looking stylish. So, in order to limit the amount of ducking out we may experience when usually setting up a new routine, we’ve searched long and hard to the find the very best new workout clothes to encourage you (and us, too). From the awesome new labels on offer to the basics, keep reading to see our top workout clothes and accessories to shop now.



(Image credit: Courtesy of A Style Album)

On Em: P.E Nation Man Down Jacket (£140); Varley Walnut Leggings (£81); James Perse Oversized Hooded Top (£225); Nike Flyknit Racer (£130).

What better way to kick-start the process than with some new labels to brag about? Our top three are:

1. P.E Nation: Co-founded by supercool Australian stylist Pip Edwards (check out her Instagram and you’ll know what we mean), this brand is an eclectic mix of street, sport and luxe fashion. We’re obsessed, and we will be stepping up our gym game immediately. If you are in London, check out the P.E Nation pop-up at Selfridges!

2. LNDR: High-tech athleisure that fits into any active, modern lifestyle. This London brand provides effortless and functional pieces—Lou is very particular with her leggings and gives LNDR’s fit the thumbs up.

3. Varley: We fell in love with nearly every piece in the Varley lookbook. Almost too good for the gym… Almost. Varley believes good things come to those who sweat. We agree (sometimes).



(Image credit: Courtesy of A Style Album)

On Em: P.E Nation Centre Pass Striped Leggings (£90); Nike Flyknit Racer (£130); Ivy Park Logo Ankle Socks (£10 for a 3-pack).

It’s easy to amp up your gym game with your footwear choice alone. Adidas re-released ’90s favourite, EQT, are the sneakers to have this season if you’re lucky enough to get your hands (feet) on a pair. Otherwise, Nike Flyknits are top go-to for us every time. Both brands manage to combine comfort with style.

Related: How to Dress in Your 30s, as Told by Four Very Stylish Women



(Image credit: Courtesy of A Style Album)

On Lou: Balenciaga Leather Biker Jacket (£1565); Ivy Park Ribbed Long-Sleeve Top (£39); LNDR Peak Leggings (£80); Nike Roshe Run (£79).

We all want leggings that will hold us in at all the right places. We’ve tried high-street ones, but they really don’t give the same amount of hold as sportswear or designer brands.

Lou lived in her trusty Lululemon leggings during her time on Strictly Come Dancing, but LNDR may have managed to prise her away. She also favours a capri style—slightly cropped to show a bit of ankle.



(Image credit: Courtesy of A Style Album)

On Lou: Ivy Park Ribbed Long-Sleeve Top (£39); Salt Gypsy Contrast Leggings (£88); Nike Roshe Run (£79); Isabel Marant Étoile Dreamy Beanie (£60).

Anything goes when it comes to tops—so long as they are breathable. We prefer looser vests layered over sports bras and a brand called The Upside has great ones. You can invest in sportswear brands, but it’s also possible to buy decent racerback vests on the high street—simply stick to neutral colours, and they’ll look more expensive every time.

Again, you don’t have to spend on specialist brands for sweatshirts, although there are some very stylish ones around. Layer them with knitwear and jackets you already own— for example, a roll-neck always keeps us warm travelling to and from the gym.

Related: We've Just Found the Best Workout Clothes for Fashion Girls


Super important whether you have big boobs (Lou) or not (Em)! We, like most grown-up women, wouldn’t set foot in a gym wearing a bra top and leggings alone (those days are long gone, if they even existed?), but they are a must for support and look great layered with vests.

Em opts for bright colours under neutral vests, while Lou loves NikeLab’s Essentials Bra—the high neck gives that extra bit of coverage that you want during certain workouts.



(Image credit: Courtesy of A Style Album)

Sometimes it’s the add-ons that make all of the difference to how pulled together and ready you feel for a work. If you still need extra motivation to start exercising, we would highly recommend getting a Fitbit. Trust us when we tell you they’re addictive. Chuck all of the below into a sports bag (also important!), and you’ll be ready to go…

Craving more inspo? Check out the celebs who have their gym kits in order, and be sure to see more of Lou and Em over on their site, A Style Album.

Lou and Em, A Style Album

Who are your style icons? 

Lou: Mira Duma 

Em: Elena Perminova

Who are your 3 favourite people to follow on Instagram?

Lou: @lizzyvdligt @thefashionguitar @oneteaspoon_

Em: @tashsefton @damselindior @jenniferfisherjewelry

What are the fashion essentials you can’t live without? 

Lou: Shoes. My current favourites are Gianvito Rossi Portofino.

Em: Jeans. Topshop, Rag & Bone and J Brand are my go-tos.

What's the beauty essential you can’t live without?Lou: Wild About Beauty’s Lou Bronzer.Em: Dr Frances Prenna Jones’s Formula.

What would be your desert island album?

Lou: The Definitive Collection, by Stevie Wonder.

Em: Chaos & the Calm, by James Bay.

See more of Lou and Em's fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle coverage on their site, A Style Album.