luluI’m really liking this push toward strength and fitness for the ideal female look right now. Admittedly this may just be a Los Angeles thing since we live in our own little cultural bubble, but you can’t cruise Pinterest or Facebook without seeing some great fit tag lines like, “Skinny women look good in clothes. Fit women look good naked.” “Strong is the new skinny.” or “I’d rather be fit and sexy than weak and dainty.” Not to mention who wouldn’t want Michelle Obama’s arms? Doesn’t all that sound like we are starting to support healthy body image messages for young women? Don’t get me wrong you can take it all too far and make it way to competitive (cough cough cross-fit cough) but the underlining message is positive.

With this fitness push comes the need for its own fashion. Women’s boutique fitness wear are making a killing. When I use to go to a gym I’d wear the crappiest workout clothes I owned, not caring at all what I looked like. Then I read somewhere if you invest in some good-looking work out gear it motivates you. “Nah,” I thought, “that’s silly.” IT ISN’T. You do actually feel more like working out if you know you look cute. I think it is worth the investment (especially if you take any work out classes and have to stare in the mirror at yourself for an hour)!

Based on the overflowing drawers and closet that house my workout gear I feel I can be considered an expert on the subject. Let me breakdown fitness wear as I know it:

Nike – Screw off. No woman or dog lover should wear Nike. I realize I’m in the minority on this topic but that is what I think. I stopped buying Nike gear a while ago and have given away those pieces I did own (except my running gloves and one sweatshirt which I feel terrible wearing in public). I realize my one woman boycott means nothing to Nike nor their profit but it makes me feel better about myself. If you pay a murderer of dogs and a cheating lying bastard to be your spokesperson then I don’t need to give you any of my hard-earned cash. Don’t get all wimpy on me with the, “he served his time,” “his personal life is none of our business,” “he said he was sorry,” “he’s still good at what he does,” “it’s how he was raised,” or a zillion other excuses. Those men made money on their name brand and they decided to screw up their name brand so I will no longer buy something that utilizes their name brand. Plus their swish isn’t nearly as cool as the other ladies wear clothing symbols.

Lululemon (http://shop.lululemon.com/home.jsp) – The queen of ladies workout gear. You will be hard pressed to find a yoga, bar method, zumba, etc class without spotting a few dozen of the Lululemon sings adorned on participant’s clothing. There is a reason why they are the best. They are COMFY! On top of that they are cute. Downside … they are pricy. To workout I do own a number of Lululemon pants but I own more of their clothing for non-work out times. It just seems a shame to sweat in them! There is a section of my closet reserved for their hoodies and they took over as my go to travel gear. My view on packing is the less I can put in the suitcase the less I have to lug around and the less I have to unpack. I have a Lululemon sweater that can be worn 4 ways (crew neck, turned around for v neck, then flipped inside out to do it all again in another color) and a tube like item that can be used as a dress, skirt, shirt, scarf, or shawl and then flipped inside out to be used all those ways in a different color. BRILLIANT! I suggest investing in a Lululemon work out outfit if you haven’t already. You will feel like one of the gang!

Lucy (http://www.lucy.com/) – The majority of my workout gear has the Lucy orange stripe. Less expensive than Lululemon so more attainable. 80% of my workout pants belong to this club along with my favorite crop pants. I think their fitted yoga tanks are cuter than Lululemon too. That is if you don’t mind wearing a skin-tight top. They also tend to have good deals in their sales section. Lucy is my unsung hero. Every now and then I see another woman with the orange stripe on a garment and I give her a head nod. Sisterhood of savvy shoppers.

Athleta (http://athleta.gap.com/browse/home.do?ssiteID=AT) – This is Gap’s answer to Lululemon. Their clothes don’t seem to fit me well so the pieces of my wardrobe with the purple star emblem include protective sun-shirts and bathing suits. Man do I love their bathing suits! I have my performance suits that I use to swim in but I want something a little prettier when I’m recreational swimming. My biggest problem has always been that fashion suits are useless. Totally and utterly useless. I don’t need to worry about a wardrobe malfunction while I’m frolicking in the sea. I find sunbathing both useless and boring so if I’m going to be near a body of water I want to be IN the body of water having fun. This usually includes my goggles which really destroy the cute look but at least my bathing suit can be attractive! The performance suits at Athleta are the perfect answer to my swimming problem!

Target (http://www.target.com/) – That’s right! The store that has everything has a large spot in my work out gear closet. Target technically does have a workout brand, C9 by Champion. I don’t own those things. I head straight to the women’s section and pick up a giant handful of lean and long tanks. Plain ol’ tanks. They are PERFECT. When I run I’ll wear a sweat wicking shirt of some kind but when I’m hiking or taking Bar Method class I’m happily sporting a Target tank. I do have to live with the shame that my top doesn’t have a cute little brand emblem on them but I’m okay with that.

There you go! Go get yourself something pretty and get yourself strong!