To be fit is hard enough, but to be fashionably fit? Well that’s even more difficult, but these five strong and stylish women make it look practically effortless. Not only will they inspire you to get fit, but the likes of Layla Al-Naif, Cristal Lee Harper, and Josefine Wallstromer also manage to go the extra mile when it comes to looking good while working out. Scroll through to get the 411 on where they shop for activewear – both online and offline – that will help you build your gym-style cred in no time.
Half-British, half-Iraqi yoga teacher and certified holistic nutritionist Layla Al-Naif practically lives in her yoga gear, telling Savoir Flair that it’s “partly because I’m always running from place to place and I don’t have the time to go home and change!” With an Instagram following of nearly 33,000, she documents her journey as well as her daily outfits. “I try to add some kind of twist to my workout look. I’ll wear my leggings and sports bra, which always match just in case I decide to take photos, and I’ll add a jumper and cute slip-ons to make it look a bit more stylish.”
Even though she’s a wellness enthusiast, the 22-year-old is just like us, needing motivation to work out every now and then – and that’s when she turns to shopping for new workout gear. “Every other month, I wait for new collections to come out and then I buy in bulk for that season… sometimes more if I need something new to motivate me!” When it comes to the brands she relies on, Al-Naif explains, “I’ve tried a lot so I know what I like and what I don’t. I look for comfort and the way it fits my body. If that’s not there, I’m out in seconds. My favorite yoga gear is from Alo Yoga; the online store is epic and filled with all the things I wear on a daily basis.”
Cristal Lee Harper
Whether it involves working out or working as a brand manager for Kold Press Juice Kompany, Cristal Lee Harper is always on the go. Thanks to the nature of her job, she’s one of the few people in town who can get away with wearing sportswear to work. Harper says, “I sometimes wear my gym clothes to the office, to run errands, and at lunch dates. I usually wear some nicely fitted pants with a loose top and a hat for running around. To dress it up, I would just add knee-high boots.”
Harper is also practical when it comes to making shopping decisions. “Gym clothes don’t need to be expensive to be stylish and functional. I’ve had lots of luck at H&M and my go-tos are Nike and Lorna Jane. When I’m abroad, I tend to find more trendy gym clothes at Nike and Lululemon. I look for style, comfort, and a perfect fit. I search for more black, white, or grey with the occasional pop of pink, blue, or yellow,” she tells us.
Founder of The Nail Pavilion and girl-about-town, Aamna Mani finds time to work out religiously and likes to switch things up each month. “I like building core strength and doing the Kayla Itsines-style workouts,” she says. When it comes to her workout style, she tends to gravitate towards chic, dark, and playful pieces and is as strict with her workout regimen as she is with her activewear shopping.
“I usually only shop for new gym clothes twice a year, whenever I feel my things are over-worn.” And when she does, she often goes to Go Sport for the everyday essentials. “For the more fashion-forward activewear, I would go to Boutique 1 or online on Net-a-Porter, and I’ll usually shop at Lorna Jane, Nike, Barneys, and Planet Blue when I’m abroad.” When asked if she ever wears her sportswear outside the gym, Mani replies, “Yes, always! I love my Nike dri-fit pants and wear them when I’m shopping, to work, on the plane, and anywhere I possibly can!”
As a fitness enthusiast and founder of The Bikini Society, Amanda Rushforth’s workout style is all about color and comfort. “I look for comfort and material first and foremost. I prefer wearing longer leggings that have a silkier feeling for studio activities, while circuits and cycling are better done in capris that aren’t too thick.” If you’re up before the sun rises, you’ll probably spot Rushforth around town, switching between workouts that range from yoga and pilates to wakesurfing and boxing. With such an active lifestyle, her wardrobe gets a seasonal refresh – so what are her go-to spots for shopping?
“I often buy online from Hautletic and yApparel for variety and quality, and The Hot Box Kit for the most colorful selection as it’s easy to see the fit and styles without having to go into the changing room or deal with mall parking. There are so many great international brands that don’t have an on-ground presence, but pop-up market events like Market OTB and XYoga are often great activewear shopping grounds! There’s also Sun & Sand Sports – it has such a great selection and is bringing lots more low-key but international studio brands like Body Language into the store.”
Bare’s Club Manager Josefine Wallstromer is of Swedish descent, so it comes as no surprise that her workout wardrobe is made up mostly of monochrome and edgy gym gear with “maybe some small touches of color here and there”. She stresses the importance of dressing up in the gym, saying, “You have to look and feel good. It makes you look forward to becoming a sweaty mess! Plus, I spend most of my time in gym clothes and I want them to be trendy, even though it’s not runway fashion.”
Considering Wallstromer works out for a living, we asked how often she shops for new gymwear. “A lot more often than necessary, probably. I’ll occasionally drop by Level Shoes to see if they have any special editions of Nike sneakers. I also do buy a lot of stuff online as the Nike.com domain has been launched here in the UAE.”