As the seasons change, it’s super important to adjust our activewear accordingly to ensure we’re still wearing practical, comfortable and durable clothing that ensure we’re still having effective workouts.
I got to speak with Jessica Picton, sportswear expert and founder of SheSwings, who divulged her top tips on what to look for when buying activewear.
Practicality – any clothing, but particularly sportswear should be designed to be practical for the job it will be used for, just like if going to somewhere you are going to dance you would wear heels you can at least stand in, or going for dinner you may wear something to cover a ‘fuller tummy bump,’ sports clothing should suit the sport you are playing.
Being aerodynamic if needing to move quickly, or thermal and warm if in cold conditions, and breathable if doing high-intensity, all sportswear should also allow for free movement as to not restrict the athlete but mainly pockets!!
For golf, in particular, almost every item of clothing should have pockets for scorecards, tees, pencils, ball markers, pitch repairers, I could go on… but the same for tennis. Instead of stuffing a ball up your shorts have a pocket.
Equine, pockets for gloves, phone, and polos for your pony! The gym, for your gym card or locker keys, your phone.
If the clothes are not practical it delays your process and performance, possibly causing discomfort and leaving you feeling rushed, all sport is just as much mental as it is physical and to be at an elite level you need to consider the practicality of what you wear.
Durability – sportswear is bound to get dirty, sweaty, cold, hot, stretched, twisted, and balled up in the bottom of a bag, meaning sports clothing will get washed and soaked more regularly than everyday wear.
Therefore, sports clothing needs to retain its colour and feel, while being stretched whilst carrying out an activity, or washed on a daily basis.
Sportswear is also usually a bit more expensive than everyday clothing and I believe if you are paying the extra no clothing should fade or wear down after one use of what you bought it to do.
Quality – much the same as durability however, for women this is very important. No woman wants to be doing squats in the gym and for everyone to be able to see their underwear through their leggings or be able to tell they are wearing a vibrantly coloured bra, or if they are not wearing a bra at all.. the quality of fabric and knowing you are secure and covered correctly can have a major positive effect on physical and mental performance.
Fit – fit is a personal preference, however, it has a massive impact on performance. In trend, and found in my research, older women prefer looser fitted clothing but not baggy, as to still show shape but not be stuck to the skin.
I also found in research that younger women, whilst preferring tighter-fitting clothing, will sometimes mix a tighter garment with a looser one to give off a more relaxed feeling while still hugging their figure and not feeling drowned by the clothing being worn.
Fit is a major factor as to why many brands and shops have a petite section, tall section, and even to individual items like wide-fit shoes and maternity clothes.
Time of the year – if you are a beginner in a sport or the gym, buying clothing that can cover all seasons is a must. To avoid spending millions on clothing for a sport that you may not like buy clothing that is transferable for all seasons.
The saying ‘all the gear and no idea’ is highly valuable, you don’t need a new fit for everyday of the week, but you do need something that will keep you warm in the cold and still comfortable in the height of summer.
Not having clothing that suits the season you are in can both delay your progress or even stop your participation all together.
If you take up running but only have shorts, it is a harder mental battle to go out and run when it’s 3degrees and raining, that being said if you don’t have short sleeves for running in summer you may be more motivated because the sun is out, but fatigue and dehydration from getting too warm may cause you to not reach your full potential and stop you before you reach your physical limit, delaying progress as you don’t progress without training past your limit.
Colours and patterns – when selecting activewear, always select colours and patterns you find you regularly reach for in your wardrobe for everyday clothing.
Research I carried out pointed heavily that your physical performance is linked to what you wear. Whilst it sounds crazy the logic is simple, if you go to the gym feeling like you look fabulous you have a greater chance of having a successful workout, including pushing past your Personal Bests, running on the treadmill for longer and even trying new exercises you were wary of before.
Footballers with a lucky pair of boots, jockeys with a lucky whip, going on a date and wearing lucky underwear or socks, clothing directly links to your confidence and serotonin, all sport and exercise take excess concentration and commitment, don’t leave yourself with any excuse to not workout or go to football or tennis or netball, and that includes the clothes you wear, so buy the colours that suit you and the patterns that you feel confident in.