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The 4 Best Ways to Wear Your Activewear Outside of the Gym

I won't claim to have started the athleisure trend, but I've been wearing leggings for activities that don't involve any form of exercise since approximately 2009. Think more running errands, less actual running, and more movie watching, less actual moving—you get the point. But ever since wearing workout clothes became "cool" and "fashionable," I've had to seriously step up my activewear game.

Now that it's officially fall, aka legging season, there's no better time to test out some fresh new looks. I'm all about these four pairs of leggings from JoyLab, the line we co-designed with Target—they're equal parts affordable, stylish, and performance-ready—but honestly, I'm just as excited about this collection's sports bras, tanks, and outerwear. See for yourself, especially if wearing all-black outfits to the gym is starting to feel really old.

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Yara wears JoyLab's Performance Printed 7/8 High-Waisted Leggings in Khaki, Performance Cross Back Sports Bra in True Khaki, and Twist Front Tank Top in Marshmallow.

Do I look this graceful practicing yoga? No. Has that stopped me from attending class at least once a week for the last eight years? Also no. I realize the thought of holding awkward postures in a room full of strangers isn't most people's idea of fun, but it's mine, so trust that I know a thing or two about the importance of workout clothes that can move with you. The spandex in these pieces helps me flow through poses without revealing any super-cute sweat stains. (I don't know about you, but I personally would not like to participate in a wet T-shirt contest during yoga class.)

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Yara wears JoyLab's Performance Printed 7/8 High-Waisted Leggings in Khaki, Fleece Motto Jogger in Vintage Khaki, and Crew Neck Sweatshirt in Marshmallow.

 

Now that it's chilly outside, after class, adding on additional layers over my leggings outfit is key. I like to throw on sweats (leaving a couple inches of my leggings peeking through), a cozy sweatshirt, and a relaxed-fit wool coat. A structured bag and white leather sneakers help balance out the casual yet polished vibe of the outfit.

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Yara wears JoyLab's Performance Printed 7/8 High-Waisted Leggings in Khaki, Performance Cross Back Sports Bra in True Khaki, and Twist Front Tank Top in Marshmallow.

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Gillian wears JoyLab's Premium Mid-Rise Moto Leggings in Black, Mini Stripe Longline Sports Bra in Pumpkin, and Crew Neck Sweatshirt in Dusty Pink.

Speaking of layers, sometimes they're necessary at the gym too. I often wear a sweatshirt to warm up my body before weight lifting and then tie it around my waist when I start to break a sweat. As I mentioned before, I'm finding all-black outfits to be quite boring, so the pops of on-trend fall colors and a sheer panel to elevate the leggings feels really refreshing.

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Gillian wears JoyLab's Premium Mid-Rise Moto Leggings in Black, Mini Stripe Longline Sports Bra in Pumpkin, and Sherpa Full Zip Jacket in Marshmallow.

After class, I'd ditch my sweaty sweatshirt in exchange for a couple street-ready jackets. First up, the softest teddy-bear JoyLab zip-up (worn open when the weather permits). Next, a structured leather jacket that's just oversize enough to fit over my other layers. Is it just me, or is this look so cool you'd (almost) think the leggings were black skinny jeans?

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Gillian wears JoyLab's Mini Stripe Longline Sports Bra in Pumpkin and Sherpa Full Zip Jacket in Marshmallow.

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Yara wears JoyLab's Mesh Back T-Shirt in Navy and Zip Hoodie in Black.

Think wearing a workout tee and jacket to the office is out of the question? Think again. This outfit—thanks to the cool layering, checked suit, and snakeskin bag—is super on trend and surprisingly easy to pull off for daytime. Plus, it allows me to make it to that 5:45 P.M. workout class because all I have to do is pull on my leggings in replace of the suit.

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Yara wears JoyLab's Performance High-Waisted 7/8 Leggings in Black and Mesh Back T-Shirt in Navy.

Lately, I'm all about dance sculpt classes that involve a little bit of cardio, a little bit of weights, a little bit of resistance bands, and—I'm being honest here—a little bit of fun. Simple high-rise leggings, the loose knotted T-shirt I wore to the office, and laceless sneakers (because I'm a clumsy dancer already) is my go-to look.

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Gillian wears JoyLab's High-Waisted 7/8 Seamless Leggings in Madder Brown and Seamless Racerback Sports Bra in Brown.

For anyone who feels like a matchy-matchy look is hard to pull off unless it's in a dark, solid color, I'm here to tell you it's all in your head. I actually find it way easier to get ready for those super-early classes (why is waking up at 6 a.m. so hard?) when I wear a coordinated leggings-and–sports bra set. Just try it once; I swear it'll change your weekday routine.

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Gillian wears JoyLab's High-Waisted 7/8 Seamless Leggings in Madder Brown and Hooded Full Zip Jacket in Black.

To keep things looking chic I suggest going with a sleek black turtleneck and an ultra-light zip-up jacket for running around town pre or post-workout. The dark layers balance out the bold color-block leggings.

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Gillian wears JoyLab's High-Waisted 7/8 Seamless Leggings in Madder Brown and Hooded Full Zip Jacket in Black. 

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