Fashionable Fitness

Gone are the days of oversized tees and ugly tennis shoes—chic sportswear is the new norm in the gym. According to the market research firm NPD, sales of women’s activewear in the United States topped $11.5 billion in 2013, and the sports apparel market is expected to grow to $178 billion worldwide by 2019. To get the pulse on local fitness fashion and accessories, spoke with Kristen Lemoine, owner of Palm Beach Athletic Wear & Yoga in Palm Beach Gardens. How have you seen the fitness fashion market evolve in recent years?

Kristen Lemoine

Lemoine: Fitness fashion has become just that—fashion. Today’s fitness wear is what I like to call “life wear.” It has become the wardrobe option of choice for comfort, ease, and style. Women come into my studio and purchase activewear for traveling; it makes sense—it’s fashionable, doesn’t wrinkle, and so easy to pack, taking up almost no space in your luggage.

What are some common materials used in activewear, and how should people care for them?

Whether it’s a Supplex Lycra blend, recycled plastic bottles (as with our Teeki leggings), or organic cotton, it’s always best to wash with like materials in a gentle cycle and hang to dry. Wash all and only your workout attire in one load. Never use bleach or fabric softeners. The fabric softener will defeat the dry-fit odor-reducing properties, and bleach will destroy elasticity.

What are your favorite activewear trends?

I love the loose, flowing tops and open backs. The sports bras are made to be seen, with weaved strapes and unique design elements that we haven’t seen in the past. Gone are the days of trying to hide your bra straps.

What should women look for when purchasing a sports bra?

You have to look for the right fit for the type of activity you are participating in. Chances are you will need to have a variety of sports bras to accommodate your fitness lifestyle. For support, look for a wide band under the bust and material that will hold you in. If you have issues with your neck, you may want to stay away from halter-style bras. If you love a halter, but don’t want to sacrifice your neck, try one of our Bluefish three-strap halters. The two additional straps distribute weight evenly so that your neck isn’t taking all the pressure. Another favorite are the Onzie sports bras. They are available in a variety of styles and feature strappy backs that look great peeking out of a top. Best of all, they can be worn as a swim top as they are salt and chlorine friendly.

What is the ideal yoga outfit?

Proper fitting bottoms that are not see-through, a comfortable, well-fitting sports bra, and a loose-fitting cover-up, top, or jacket for layering. It’s always good to be prepared with something long and loose to throw over your tight-fitting yoga attire.

Yoga mats are important purchases. What should people look for when purchasing one?

Always look for closed cell construction; it prevents moisture and bacteria from absorbing into the mat, and it cleans easily. Secondly, you want to ensure it has the right amount of cushion to support your spine and joints. Too much cushion will compromise your balance, which could lead to poor alignment and injury. Lastly, you want to consider the surface. If you’re sweating a lot on your mat, you want make sure you choose a mat that prevents slipping. Be careful not to get a mat that is too sticky, or it will be hard to move freely through certain poses. I cannot live without my Manduka Black Mat pro; it’s my best-selling mat for all these reasons, and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

 Manduka Mat Pro

What are the must-haves for any woman’s fitness bag?

Every woman needs to be prepared for anything when it comes to her fitness bag. Always have: a reusable water bottle, baby wipes, dry shampoo, a change of clean clothes, a compartment or wet bag for sweaty clothes, deodorant, sunscreen, and two towels (one to place on workout equipment and one for yourself). Face wipes, your favorite concealer, waterproof mascara, and lip gloss are also good to have on hand if you can’t be seen bare faced.

What’s a common fitness fashion faux pas?

The number one faux pas I hear on a daily basis is that prints make you look bigger and black makes you look slimmer. It’s not true. As a matter of fact, prints can actually conceal more than a solid color. Patterns and prints hide imperfections sometimes even better than a solid pair of black leggings. In bright light or sunlight, a solid color—no matter how dark—will show cellulite. Prints are too busy to show anything but the print. Just avoid lighter colors and horizontal stripes in the problem areas.

What are some of your favorite pieces at Palm Beach Athletic Wear & Yoga?

The Gypsy pants. They are so flattering on everyone and are so comfy you can sleep in them. They have a roll-down waist, side pockets, and ties at the hem. As for tops, the Glossy Flow tanks [by Onzie] sell out faster than I can tag and hang them.

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