Style Suggestion: How to Dress for the Gym

Editor’s note: Head over here to see more men’s style suggestions for all sorts of situations.

Most guys consider how to dress for various occasions — that all-important first date, or an important day at a business casual office. But off-duty, there’s a tendency to reach for whatever’s easiest or readily available. That’s certainly seems to be the case with dressing for the gym, where you tend to run into fellas wearing cut-off tees that are simply too small, or else gear that’s seen better days (that goes for beat-up sneakers to tees and beyond). If you’re just fine wearing your trusty tee to the gym, go for it. But if you want some new, fresh gear that looks clean and simple while performing like your a true piece of workout apparel, you’re in for a treat today. Plenty of your favorite menswear companies — as you’ll see below — are making simple, straightforward, functional apparel, shorts and footwear that stand up to the challenge of extra reps while looking pretty good (all things considered). The Bonobos GoodSport line is one such recent introduction to the category that’s drawn tons of praise, and you’ll get a look at other stylish men’s workout picks below. So, stick with us — there’s something to be said for applying those crucial style upgrades to every category of your life — from that slim casual watch to a cool pair of casual sneakers and on into the gym. Pack up your gym bag and get moving — it’s time to dress in style for the gym.

The Shirt: Bonobos GoodSport Core Short Sleeve Tee in Heather Navy — $68

A new introduction from a brand making its first foray into athletic gear -- stylish and easily wearable.
A new introduction from a brand making its first foray into athletic gear — stylish and easily wearable.

While there’ve been some concerns as to the price point at which Bonobos is selling its new GoodSport line — Lululemon offers up men’s tees for about $10 less — it’s worth noting that you’re getting that trademark fit and quality for which Bonobos is known … just translated into workout gear. The Core Short Sleeve Tee is nothing fancy, with a simple heather navy color and reliable fit, plus a lack of ostentatious branding found on other workout gear (sans the small logo on the left sleeve). Try it out and let me know what you think, will ya? Note that if it’s chilly outside for your walk from the parking lot, you can add a minimal, clean zip hoodie (yes, those are acceptable in certain situations) and tailored sweats from Fourlaps — find out more on them below.

The Shorts: Fourlaps Advance Short –$49.50

A simple pair of shorts that's drawn acclaim from publications like Men's Fitness (as you can see in that photo).
A simple pair of shorts that’s drawn acclaim from publications like Men’s Fitness (as you can see in that photo).

Your gym shorts should be as simple, straightforward and reliable as your workout shirt — the Fourlaps Advance Short achieves that objective nicely. Your author had the chance to test out some of the brand’s gear during a summer trip to Florida, and if this pair of shorts performs like the brand’s Dash Tank, you should be more than set for a productive and good-looking workout session (yes, there’s such a thing). The black color will match easily with your existing gym gear, and it beats wearing bright neon shorts — right?

The Sneakers: Athletic Propulsion Labs TechLoom Pro Running Sneakers (Available via East Dane)

apl-sneakers

Although it’s important to wear gear on your top half that provides reliable performance, it’s all the more important when it comes to your sneakers. For an extra bit of bounce and some serious spring in your step, Athletic Propulsion Labs sneakers are very, very tough to beat. We’re talking clean, minimal and futuristic looks and technology that’s ahead of the game (there’s a reason the brand’s basketball shoes were banned by the NBA). I had a chance to test out  a similar pair of the brand’s shoes on a trip to Italy last summer, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

The Socks: Richer Poorer Leon Active Performance Socks — $14

Neutral, sport-inspired and made with breathable fabric.
Neutral, sport-inspired and made with breathable fabric.

Just as with your workout tee and shorts, proper athletic socks that still look decent are easy to overlook. Richer Poorer is a big Style Guide favorite, normally known for its no-show socks and more colorful designs — yet they can do a pair of active-minded socks better than one would expect. They’re made with moisture-wicking fabric and a padded footbed, plus breathable ventilation points and some varsity-inspired stripes. That’s performance and style in one — although if you prefer low-cut athletic socks, you could always spring for a basic pack from Under Armour.

The Watch: Timex IRONMAN Classic 30 Watch — $42

Not exactly the most fashion-forward timepiece, but it gets the job done.
Not exactly the most fashion-forward timepiece, but it gets the job done.

Some guys might not want to — or feel like they have to — wear a watch when working out. But if that’s an accessory you need, it’s best to stick with a reliable, high-performing classic that gets the job done. It might seem counterintuitive to splurge on a workout shirt and skimp on a watch, but that’s up to you. If you want to keep it simple and stick with a watch you already own, you could always reach for a straightforward, durable rubber-strap watch like the Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray (a longtime Style Guide favorite) — you lose the functionality of a sports watch, but gain back a bit more style cred. However  — at the end of the day, most folks won’t be paying too much attention to your watch. Your reps on the squat rack, on the other hand…

The Gym Bag: United By Blue Trail Weekender — $97.98

A bit more refined than your average gym bag -- that makes it more versatile, though.
A bit more refined than your average gym bag — that makes it more versatile, though.

OK, so the United By Blue Trail Weekender isn’t exactly your classic gym bag, per se. But if finding stylish versatility in a great bag is your main goal, this one can function as your gym bag and a regular weekender (in the same day, one would imagine). It’s made with a water-repellent finish and features leather accents, so it’s certainly classier than an gym bag adorned with athletic logos. It’s also built with a  padded laptop sleeve, so you can stow and go to and from work. If you want things a bit more segmented, look toward the Novel Duffle from Herschel Supply Co.

The biggest key to keep in mind when dressing for the gym is that it certainly comes down to personal preference — there aren’t any fashion police grading your gym garb (no, not even me), and I’d advise you to wear what’s going to get you to your personal goals. If that process involves upgrading your gym gear, we’ve got some great building blocks for you here — be it a better gym shirt, neutral and performance-ready shorts or tremendous Athletic Propulsion Labs sneakers.  Some of the gear shown here — like that United By Blue Trail Weekender— can be re-tooled for other adventures. And brands like Richer Poorer offer the comfort of a brand you trust, but with a handy performance-related edge. If you’ve got suggestions to upgrade or change this look, let me know on Twitter — or drop us a line in the comments below.

Buck Mason - Timeless Design. Made in America.

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