How-To Guide: Affordable and Quality Activewear

❄ Hi everyone, ❄

I created this how-to guide on deciphering quality and affordable activewear. Because, in the current financial climate, we can’t afford to keep winging it and ending up with disappointment. Ripped seams, questionable fit, undesirable price tags… we’ve all been there. We want performance quality clothes for the gym, that also look awesome on. It really is possible. And it’s a beautiful thing.

The two brands I’m featuring in this post are 90 Degree by Reflex and GapFit. Both have exceeded my expectations on style, fit, and durability. I received all of these items on discount (GapFit) or at a very reasonable base price (90 Degree).

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Here’s me on Christmas Day wearing my high waisted 90 Degree charcoal leggings, complete with fuzzy robe and Santa hat. 
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Same leggings, different day. This is the GapFit Breathe open-back top in Black. 

When you’re buying activewear, you are constantly debating price versus performance. Do you buy the Old Navy leggings in a pinch or splurge on the high grade $100 ones from (insert high price point brand here)? Tricky question, I know.

You can have both. The lower price point and the performance. My tips:

❄ When you buy matters a lot here. Taking advantage of sales and holidays really bring down price points. For instance, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is when I purchased all of the GAP clothing pictured in this post.

I received 8 items from GAP on cyber Monday for a grand total of $195, as opposed to the original price of $355. I’m currently loving my modal sleep joggers while I type these words of wisdom.

 

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These are the gFast High Rise Sculpt Revolution leggings in New Vineyard. I’m trying to add more colored leggings to my wardrobe! Shoes: Under Armor Lightning 4 basketball shoes.
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Top: GapFit Breathe open-back top in crystal dusk 

❄ Always read reviews. From actual customers, not the website. If multiple people are complaining of ripped seams or unforgiving fabric regarding the same brand of leggings, you want to take that into account. My advice: go to YouTube. Customers there are brutally honest, and you can find many videos actually comparing affordable versus high-end brands.

❄ Beware of social media influencers advertising activewear. I myself almost purchased GymShark leggings based on the promotional reviews of their top influencers, but once I went to YouTube, I found horrible reviews. I am not in any way judging this brand, I’m just using them as an example of oversaturated social media advertising.

Instagram lovers, I get you, but just know that these individuals are compensated to claim the quality of the activewear they represent. What fits one girl’s body shape might not fit yours. And 15 reviews of a ripped seam WHILE in the middle of a gym routine? I cringed. Definitely do your research.

❄ Even if you love that celebrity’s music, you might not want to invest in their activewear. Carrie Underwood’s activewear line was all over Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I  know how I feel about it. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics has gotten a lot of hype and a lot of hate for the quality of clothing and the strange membership requirements.

❄ Stick to brands you know. Whether you’re a Nike or Under Armour enthusiast, these brands (and many more) are designed for athletes and active people with performance needs. Buying activewear from brands that specialize in activewear is crucial.

I know it’s tempting to get the deal at Victoria’s Secret Pink for their leggings for the holidays, but for real, I’m not going down that rabbit hole again. Every brand out there is trying to make activewear, but what’s the common drawback? You buying the brand not the quality, and the clothes lacking performance. Sad, sad tale.

❄ If you love Nike, for instance, but don’t want to mourn your bank account, don’t go to the actual Nike store. Nordstrom Rack and Dick’s Sporting Goods, to name two, always carry discounted items from brands like Nike. And if you really want to be a pro, I would recommend TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Target carries Champion, and Costco often has brands like Columbia and outdoor active brands.

What I’m saying here is, I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for clothes.

 

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Top: GapFit Breathe deep V-neck short sleeve tee. These are on final sale for $14.97! The Back says “Girl Pwr Wins” 
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Under Armor Lightning 4 basketball shoes in Black

❄ Fabric matters. If I can’t sit down, squat, lunge, or do a cartwheel in a pair of leggings, chances are I won’t purchase them. I only buy online if I know the brand or the fabric of the item, because I am so picky on fabric.

Why I love these two brands: 

These 90 degree by reflex leggings are available on Amazon for an average cost of $22.99, and they are so comfortable. I bought them in charcoal grey and black to start out with the neutrals. The material is wicking, so they are great for cardio as well as weight sessions. I can kick high and squat low in these babes (they did pass the squat test).

These are the high waist leggings, full length, and I can’t tell you how important a compression waist is for me. Nothing bothers me more than a slipping waistband. My hips to waist proportions give me a very hourglass figure, making it difficult to keep pants up without the high waist. These even have a hidden pocket in the front waistband! I love them, and three washes in, they haven’t lost any shape.

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GapFit has been a longtime success for me. I feel like the regular prices are more reasonable than high end activewear, and I still get the same quality. I love high waisted leggings, and there are always multiple styles online and in store. I stick with the gFast high rise sculpt revolution line, because I like the fit and waistband, so I actually purchased two capris in addition to the purple leggings photographed above.

Gap has sales all the time, so I would highly recommend trying one of their leggings or workout tops. No pilling after washes, either.

I hope you guys liked this hybrid post of product review and how-to guide. Have an amazing rest of your Wednesday! Any questions on the above purchases, just drop a comment below.

The links: 

Under Armour basketball shoes for $74.99 as opposed to $94.99 (although I purchased them during a sale for $54.99)

GapFit Breathe Deep V-neck short sleeve on final sale

GapFit Breathe open-back top (they are all out of the ones that tie, but here are similar tops with the same colors)

gFast High Rise Sculpt Revolution Leggings (same style in Capri version as well)

90 Degree by Reflex High Waist Power Flex Legging (check out all of their colors!)

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging Up Your Gear: Life After College Athletics

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is dedicated to the ones that put everything they had into their college talent, and feel a bit disoriented about their identity once they cross that honorary carpet and get the diploma in the mail. A hint: it’s NOT all downhill after the “glory” years. You’re still a boss. Just a different type of boss.

Let’s go over some immediate positives from college athletics retirement:

➳ Those nagging shin splints or your suffering shoulder will finally get some time off. You might actually be able to go on a hike without complaining to your friends to carry you because of that four hour match the day before. Maybe that’s just me though.

➳ You will have free time to do your other hobbies. All of the things you put on the back burner in order to get 45 minutes extra of sleep before that alarm went off, you can now do. Your mind could be blown here.

➳ You have time to have a job and make some income. I’m not condoning rushing into an immediate job post college to fill your time, I’m referring to any part-time position that you’ll have fun with and meet a new crowd. A tip though: maybe try to branch out from talking about your gym routine, what you ate that day, or how you’ve mastered incorporating yoga clothes into daily wear from experience. Sometimes people want to talk about other things.

➳ You can TRAVEL. As someone who is planning trips to Iceland and other destinations on the bucket list with savings I’ve accumulated, I think about how I couldn’t train and also take time off that much due to the fact that my sport was year round.

➳ You have complete control over what you wear (bye team uniform), what you eat (shout-out to Red Robin french fries once a month), and where you go (getting home at 5 AM). I’m not saying go crazy and ruin your good habits, but you can live a little. If you were doing this already in college, well, congratulations.

➳ You can experiment with your time and interests and start to think about your future outside the classroom. I’ve been graduated since summer and haven’t been in the classroom since May, and I’m ok. I appreciate my college education because it was amazing, my mentors were incredible, however, you learn the big stuff when you’re actually out in the world. It doesn’t have to be scary just because it’s more real.

I’m not going to lie to you, I miss the competition. I miss winning an amazing match and feeling so proud of myself after for how hard I worked. I miss the feeling of motivation to do better next time when I lost. I miss the adrenaline. But I gave myself a couple weeks, not months or years, to sulk a bit before I told myself it’s all about perspective. You’re not just good at one thing. You did that sport a major service for four years, and now you can embrace something else.

Tennis isn’t technically meant to be a team sport, yet there I was every day in a team setting. I like to work alone (yes I know that’s not always a good thing to say), but I’d rather be honest about it. I played doubles through college and only really liked it one year with a particular partner (Frankie Katafias!) but I made it work because I loved representing my school. I didn’t have the perkiest school spirit, but one of the best things is being appreciated for hard work. And I worked my a** off.

I haven’t played tennis since May, and I haven’t been keeping up with the Slams because I’m not completely ready to look at tennis without studying it for technique. I’ve put my dedication into other things that I want for myself, things that bring me a similar motivation. Tennis gave me a mental release most of the time, and it got me to college and kept me super focused to achieve my optimal potential in the classroom. It gave me drive and persistence. I won’t ever take that for granted. But it also gave me a major feeling of being burnt out. Towards the end of it all, especially after getting a taste of being abroad fall semester of senior year, I got unfocused. I started to drift to other things, the other interests I’ve always had. It was just time. And it was still hard, but a lot of things have to have an expiration date.

Looking back on it, the little things that made college athletics great wasn’t just my performance. It was my professors and mentors genuinely wanting me to exceed in both settings and watch me grow through the years. It was the development of time management and drive. You develop these skills along the way that truly will benefit you once you’re graduated, and I advise you to focus on those and not the fear of what will happen when your routine changes.

We all make choices. If you’re reading this as a soon to be graduated (or graduated already) college athlete, you will be okay. In fact, you’ll have an advantage if you keep your head on straight. When you go into interviews, mention how you’re different because of college athletics, how it shaped you. Not because of the stats, but because of you.

You’re more than your college talent.

You’re more than the stats on the wall or the end speech at your last performance.

Don’t believe in peaking. Because you never have to.

Much love,

–  Kelly