Capsule wardrobes are nothing new. The idea of a mini collection of versatile seasonal pieces that you can mix and match has been a popular fashion concept for a while now.
But have you ever considered the idea from an exercise perspective? With fitness playing such a key role in our lives these days, a fitness capsule wardrobe makes perfect sense.
What is a fitness capsule wardrobe?
Quite simply, it’s a core collection of essential workout clothes that you love to wear and that covers all your daily fitness requirements. A few special garments that can be mixed and matched, used for both high and low impact exercise. If selected with care, it can replace a whole wardrobe of exercise apparel that you’ve bought in the past, that you don’t really care for and rarely decide to wear.
The makeup of your fitness capsule wardrobe would obviously depend on the type and degree of exercise you’re into, but for an average gal who visits the gym or plays sports a couple of times a week, you’ll need roughly six basic categories of clothing with two or three items in each. With about a dozen items all up, your specialised wardrobe will be minimal and offer enough wiggle room for your weekly loads of washing.
Best fitness gear features to look out for
Fitness apparel has come a long way since the days of the baggy tee shirt and leggings. Today’s garments are constructed with the wearer in mind and designed to not only feel right, but to actually enhance performance as well. The items in your fitness capsule wardrobe should be;
Comfortable – choose soft fabrics that are loose fitting and move with your body while you exercise. Polyester blends offer a good combination of lightweight comfort and movement.
Breathable – look for garments that employ moisture-wicking technology to reduce sweating and keep you cooler and dryer, such as Canterbury’s renowned Vapodri fabric.
Quick drying – moisture wicking fabric treatments also mean faster wash-to-wear cycles, so you don’t need as many garments in your wardrobe.
Versatile – garments in complementary colours can be mixed and matched to create new outfits and layered garments can be added or removed, depending upon the season or intensity of exercise.
High quality – selecting the best garments in each category from the best manufacturers will ensure that your fitness capsule wardrobe rarely needs replenishing.
Each garment will offer you something different so there is every reason to shop around to find that perfect style. If you are exercising at night or very early in the morning, choosing something with a high visibility feature or bold colour will help you stand out.
Jillaroos star Sammy Bremner agrees that these features are crucial when deciding what to include in your fitness capsule wardrobe,
“Make sure you’ve got quality, so you’re not always replacing gear. But the most important thing is comfort. Nothing ruins a workout like always having to pull your tights up!”
Choosing the right fabrics
The best fabrics for fitness apparel are lightweight, breathable, non-chafing and moisture-wicking and some of these properties can be found in various natural fabrics.
As a general rule, choose soft, low-odour cotton for low intensity activities such as yoga and pilates, form fitting spandex for swimming and nylon for its generally fast drying, moisture wicking properties.
In the case of a fitness capsule wardrobe where versatility is the key, ideally choose garments created from a polyester blend which incorporate all of these features, including lightweight comfort, durability, breathability, wrinkle resistance and moisture-wicking properties.
“You need to make sure you’ve got gear that’s comfortable, versatile and uses moisture-wicking technology. There’s no point looking great if you’re drenched in sweat.” – Sammy Bremner
Types of Fitness Gear
As we said earlier, the type of fitness capsule wardrobe you have will depend on the kind of exercise you’re into and how regularly and intensely you pursue it.
If you go to the gym a couple of times a week, run, jog or do some other type of outdoor exercise and are involved in fitness classes such as aerobics or spin, then here’s what you’re likely to need in your collection;
Sports bra – some of us need them more than others, but if you’re into high-intensity exercise, it’s a good idea to have some support.
Singlet – breathability is the top priority, with moisture wicking properties to keep sweat levels down and mesh panels for better ventilation.
Tee – lightweight and loose fitting crew neck tees are durable (can be washed many times), while also doubling as cute casual wear (have 3 or 4 to mix and match).
Shorts – choose a comfortable, durable, lightweight fabric such as polyester, with an elasticated waist, side or back pockets and ventilation or moisture wicking for heat reduction.
Leggings – choose neutral black leggings which go with everything, don’t show sweat and can be worn casually if you don’t feel like working out.
Track pants – comfortable, versatile and a must-have for all seasons. Look for features such as elasticated waist and drawcord, zip pockets, zip leg openings and moisture wicking properties.
Hoody – a versatile outer that has moisture wicking technology so you can use it for training, warm construction so you can wear it between sessions and a stylish design so it can double as cold weather casual wear.
Shoes – choose a good pair or two of cross trainers for most types of activities including the gym, running or walking. Look for features such as impact cushioning, temperature regulation and anti-bacterial features and make sure they offer plenty of support for your feet.
That’s it in a nutshell
Whether you’re an occasional exerciser or a full-on fitness buff, dressing for the part doesn’t have to be hit or miss. Having a well thought out fitness capsule wardrobe will not only ensure you always have something appropriate (and fashionable) to wear, but you’ll be able to find it in an instant, rather than spending hours sifting through clothes that you never wear.