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In this wellness era, when we regularly spend just as much if not more time at the gym than we do socialising, having a good gym kit is essential. Going to the gym makes us feel good — both mentally and physically — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t simultaneously look good, too. For me, a new gym kit has sometimes been a motivator to actually get myself up of the sofa and go — I’m slightly hesitant to admit it, but it gives me the same thrill of putting on a new pair of shoes for the first time.
But considering we wear our gym kits more frequently than we would wear said pair of shoes, it’s an understandable buzz – and a great fitness kit is a worthy expenditure. Gone are the days of turning up to the gym in old baggy bed-style T-shirts and worn out leggings and trainers. These days, we’re likely heading from brunch to barre class, and we need kit that will carry us through the day — kit that doesn’t necessarily look like gym kit.
Thankfully, a whole host of new fitness brands are creating just that — understated gym wear that looks sophisticated, without huge logos stamped all over it. These are gym leggings you can throw on with your cashmere sweaters, or with crisp shirts and slides, and head out for a coffee in.
Eight-way stretch fabrics to mean these pieces don’t just look good – they really perform. The debut leggings have an elongated wide waistband for extra comfort, are ribbed at the knees for a better fit, and are crafted with breathable mesh panels that wick sweat away and keep you cool when working out. Ernest Leoty offers elegant and minimalist pieces such as sweetheart-cupped gym bras, leggings and cycling shorts in muted hues of navy, burgundy and cream — and not a logo in sight.
Yoga requires a full range of motion, and this holds true for the tops and bras you wear while you do it. The best yoga tops with a built-in bra are unrestrictive while still offering support, thanks to a combination of stretchy materials and clever designs. Features such as wide shoulder straps, criss-cross backing, and compression are some of the details that will give you comfortable mobility and support.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to buy yoga tops that offer plenty of stretch. Tops labeled with materials like nylon or spandex (also known as elastane and Lycra) provide pliable reinforcement that will freely move with your body. Beyond stretch, you also want something that makes you feel supported and confident throughout your workout. Since yoga is a low-impact activity, it doesn’t typically require as much compression as you would use for HIIT or running (unless, of course, that’s what you’d prefer). However, there are still extra-stretchy tops with more support thanks to clever designs like intricate back straps and higher coverage in the front.
In addition to support, you’ll also want your top to be moisture-wicking and dries quickly, so it can handle hot yoga and sweat. While cotton tops are soft and breathable, they tend to hold on to moisture. That’s why most athletic tops will be made with polyester or nylon, including all the picks on this list.
From lightweight tanks and crop tops to long sleeves with thumbholes, these seven tops with built-in bras will keep you comfortable and fully supported through your next workout.