Fashionably Fit: Look good to work hard?

I never used to care what I looked like when I worked out. For me it was all about just getting out there and getting it done. I had my bog standard leggings, a couple of tops and a jacket. Who cared what I looked like at 6am on a cold Thursday morning?

But after realising how much I loved running, and general fitness really, I started expanding my wardrobe a bit and looking around at the different shops and online sites.

Suddenly not only did I want good quality gear but I wanted stuff that actually looked good. And why not? I like to wear nice clothes in ‘real life’ so why not running? This might sound vain and vacuous but when I feel like I look the part then I feel more confident. Especially at races. That awkward moment at the start of the race when you look round at other people and judge them by what they’re wearing – ridiculous yes, but it can knock your confidence a little if you don’t feel good yourself.

A while ago Katherine Jenkins got a lot of stick for running a marathon in full make-up (check THIS article out). I can’t understand the venom that went her way. Why have a go if it makes her feel more confident? Surely it doesn’t detract from her performance? We have a girl at our running club who runs in fake eyelashes. She’s happy so what’s the problem?

SportsShoes are running a Fashionably Fit campaign and they invited me to ponder this question of whether looking stylish spurs me on to work harder while exercising or are you fully focused on how you feel rather than what you wear? To me this is like good running music, anything that gets you in the zone can spur me on. And looking stylish and ‘on form’ definitely gets me in the zone.

I was sent some cool Nike workout clothes to review to see whether this was the case.

I received this running top which honestly could be my favourite cold weather jacket.

Nike running jacketIt zips right up to the neck, or you can unzip it to give yourself a bit of ventilation. It was brilliant during my wet and muddy Parkrun a few weeks ago. And it has a back pocket and thumbholes which I love. Definitely more stylish than my usual boring zip up jackets that flap about a bit.

I also received these amazingly bright capris and workout vest.Nike1-77 top and Pro II compression caprisI love how bright the capris are because most of my running gear tends to be quite dark and all my leggings are black. These will be brilliant for my parents to spot me at races. They’re also very comfy – I foresee these to be worn around the house…The top is ideal for when I’m strength training or doing Pilates. But it does have the ‘DRI-FIT’ fabric which wicks the sweat from your body, so no embarrassing sweat stains.

And this running vest.

Nike Balance 2.0 Women's Tank Top Running Vest

I like this top because you don’t have to wear a sports bra under it as it has some extra support.Nike topIt’s so comfortable and it wicks away the sweat. It also is a very flattering shape. I did feel a little naked though at the gym in this outfit! It’ll probably be a top I use during the summer racing months as well as it’s so lightweight.

And socks. Because socks are so important! I hate socks that slip down and are annoying or give me blisters. These are ideal for running. Probably more on the functional side of things than looking good!Nike 3-Pack Quarter Running Socks

Call me vain, slate Katherine Jenkins, but seriously I’m in the camp that when you feel confident in yourself and how you look, it makes you feel good about what your doing and helps you keep motivated and working out strong.

What do you think?

Do you like to look good when you work out?

Do you put more effort in for things like races, or if you’re going to the gym and people will see you?

Do you wear make-up to workout in?

**These products were sent to me for free in order to review, but all opinions are my own.**

16 Replies to “Fashionably Fit: Look good to work hard?”

  1. I like to have nice workout clothes, and spend a bit more money as I spend so much time in them ha! I care more about comfort/functionality than how they look though, and I wouldn’t say that it made me workout harder. Love the capris, and jacket.

    1. Yeah with running functionality really does have to come first. What with getting too hot/too cold/too wet…it can cause a running nightmare. But at the same time there’s so much choice out there that fashion can play a part as well, which I like.

  2. I’m not bothered about conventional fashion at all, but I really do like to pay attention to what I’m wearing when I’m working out/running. I feel very self-conscious about my appearance, so if I’m wearing some decent gear then at least I don’t feel *quite* so embarrassed and bad about myself. The flipside is I never want to look like I’m posing or not serious about working out – I think the problem with Katherine Jenkins is that she didn’t even seem to want to try to run hard, at the risk of sacrificing her appearance. It’s a sad world where women feel they have to look pristine and polished at all times – I never wear makeup anyway since I’m horribly allergic to all of it (including ‘sensitive’ brands), but if I did I’d still be prepared to sweat to the point of mascara running down my race. Otherwise, what’s the point of running a marathon? Someone else could have had her place and put a lot more blood, sweat and tears into it…literally. Workout clothes are great, but ultimately it’s the effort you put in that counts.

    I adore Nike clothing – 99% of my wardrobe is Nike…sadly no-one ever sends me anything though 😛 How do you go about this kind of sponsorship/affiliation? Do they just ‘spot’ your blog like model talent scouts, or do you approach them directly?

    1. Good points! If she didn’t want to run fast or work hard for fear of ruining her make up…well that’s just crazy. What does she think she’s doing? Having a walk in the park? But at the same time she’s also going to be photographed and watched because of who she is, I defy anyone to not feel subconscious about that. Perhaps makeup helps her feel confident and gives her strength. Who knows. Either way I don’t think she should be harshly criticised.
      Yep there’s no magic fairy dust out there that can do the hard stuff for you – it is down to you and what you’re willing to put in. But anything that can help that is a gift!
      I rarely get free stuff so I was surprised about being offered to do this review. I was emailed because I commented on Laura’s (KHGS) blog apparently!

  3. I never wear makeup in real life so don’t know how people can stand to wear it when they workout- the feeling of foundation on my skin or mascara on my eyes is so annoying. But if it makes people feel better then what is the harm?
    I like nice clothes, although for races I tend to wear older clothes in case they get ruined in the rain or mud or something (oh, or by the safety pin).
    And love the thumb holes!!!

    1. I don’t wear makeup either and it does seem odd to wear it when you know you’re going to be sweaty!
      For me I like to wear my nicer stuff for races and my older stuff for my lonely training runs. How funny!

  4. I’m of the ‘let people do what the want if it makes them happy camp’, but personally…I don’t really care what I look like when I work out as long as I’m comfortable – it’s tough to find workout clothes in bigger sizes so I don’t usually have much choice anyway! I would never put makeup on for a workout, but if I have it on already the I wouldn’t take it off in preparation. I need me some proper sports socks for squash that stay put on my feet, did those ones move around a lot?

    1. Yep I totally agree with you. Whatever makes people happy!
      The socks are really comfortable and they’re not ankle socks so they don’t slip down at all. They come to the ankle. It can be a nightmare with the small little socks because they can slip down so easily when running.

  5. I hardly ever wear makeup – never for work or day to day events – only if I’m going out. It would without a doubt end up all over my face if I tried to run it!
    I could really do with some bright capris. Mine are all dark too, and I would like some more ‘fun’ workout clothes. I’m on a tight budget this year though after getting excited and entering too many races! Most of my workout tops are ones that I got from races. I often end up wearing my favourite long tights or shorts for running, and end up in my running shorts and a cosy top if I’m doing a workout inside.

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