Before building a workout capsule wardrobe, I had multiple drawers of random workout pieces that I’d been accumulating since college. I could literally go weeks without having to wash a single piece of workout gear because my options were virtually endless.
Although my collection of random gym clothes was functional in the sense that they got the job done, they were creating a ton of unnecessary work for me, not to mention wasting a bunch of space. So I decided to downsize, be more strategic, and create a collection of gym gear that I genuinely love to wear.
Just like my seasonal capsule wardrobes, creating a workout capsule wardrobe helped me to eliminate excess laundry and save closet space. It made getting dressed for the gym easier, too, as I stopped having to hunt down matching pieces every morning.
That said, if you’re a workout junkie like me, I highly recommend creating a workout capsule wardrobe.
To help, below I’m sharing:
- How many workout outfits you actually need.
- How you can create a workout capsule wardrobe, starting with what you already own.
- A workout capsule wardrobe checklist that’ll create a strong foundation.
- Where to buy workout capsule wardrobe essentials.
Scroll down to get the goods!
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How many workout outfits should I have?
I recommend having one outfit for every workout you have planned in a week, plus 2 additional.
So if you go to a bootcamp class 3 times per week and a tennis class 3 times per week, you’d want your workout capsule wardrobe for that season (I’ll come back to this in a second) to include 8 workout outfits total (3+3+2=8).
This gives you some wiggle room. That way if you fall behind on laundry, or decide to wear workout clothes to run errands one day, you’ll still have clean outfits ready for your workouts.
But you can’t just stop there. You have to also consider the climate in your region.
Here in Ohio, I definitely couldn’t get away with wearing the same activewear capsule wardrobe in June as in December.
So for many people, myself included, it makes most sense to create seasonal workout capsule wardrobes.
I recommend building two: one for spring/summer, and one for fall winter.
Plenty of pieces will be able to overlap, especially during those transitional months. But breaking up your workout capsule wardrobe into seasons will make it easier to shop. It’ll also ensure you have everything you need year round.
How do I create a workout capsule wardrobe?
1. Identify what season you’re shopping for.
When creating a capsule wardrobe, you always want to start with the upcoming season. There’s no sense in thinking about spring/summer if you’re close to fall/winter.
2. Figure out how many workouts you’ll be attending per week.
For your workout capsule wardrobe, you’ll first want to determine how many days you’ll be working out per week and what types of activities you’ll be doing. Then, write down everything you think you’ll need to get by – the workout capsule wardrobe checklist below should help you.
3. Eliminate the unnecessary.
From there, see if there’s anything you can eliminate.
For instance, do you really need a different style of sports bra for bootcamp vs. yoga? Some might argue that you do, but personally I don’t think so.
I recommend investing in the highest impact sports bra you’ll need. That way, you don’t get to a high-impact day only to realize all of your high-impact bras are dirty. You can certainly get away with wearing a high-impact bra at yoga, but likely not at bootcamp.
4. Determine your base color and accent colors.
Just like creating a seasonal capsule wardrobe for work or everyday life, your workout capsule wardrobe should be centered around one base color. This ensures that everything will coordinate, so you can mix and match pieces for different looks throughout the year.
The options for your base color are navy blue, brown, or black.
Then determine your accent colors, if you wish to have them. These should be non-neutral colors that look good on you, but also match your base color.
Your workout capsule wardrobe should consist of a combination of neutral colors and accent colors (if you choose to use them), all of which should tie back to your base color (navy blue, brown, or black).
If you need more help understanding this concept, this blog post should help: How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe in 6 Easy Steps.
5. Shop your closet.
Once you know what you’ll need, and all of the different colors you’re going to allow in your fitness capsule wardrobe, shop your closet first!
Using your list, cross off what you already have on hand. Everything left will become your shopping list.
6. Determine your budget and prioritize.
Figure out how much money you can invest in your workout capsule wardrobe for that season, then prioritize your shopping list. Buy what you need first, then if there’s leftover budget you can decide where to spend it.
DO NOT go over your budget. It’s okay to build your workout capsule wardrobe over time.
That said, DO NOT get rid of all of your workout clothes until your workout capsule wardrobe is complete.
As I built mine out, I had a drawer dedicated to my capsule workout clothes and a drawer dedicated to all of my old stuff that I wasn’t going to need for it. That way, if I had to dig into my old stuff for whatever reason, it was there.
This is the fun part! Check out stores like Fabletics, Athleta, Gap, Old Navy, Lululemon, and even Nordstrom Rack to purchase pieces. These are some of my personal favorite brands. And many of them have great sales if you’re trying to build this capsule collection on a budget.
Workout Capsule Wardrobe Clothing Checklist
To help you build your workout capsule wardrobe, here’s a list of clothing choices to consider. These items will create a strong foundation, no matter what kind of exercise you do. Just note that if your exercise routine includes a very specific sport, like tennis, you may need a few additional items (i.e. a tennis skirt).
It’s so hard to find the perfect sports bras, especially if you’re larger in the chest. So if you’ve yet to find one that’s comfortable and provides good support, tread lightly here.
Buy and try one sports bra at a time until you get it right. Then go all in on the style that works best for your athleisure capsule wardrobe. This will save you a lot of money, trust me!
I’m a 34DD and I’ve found I really like the Athleta Advance Bra. This is the one I’ve gone “all in” on.
Leggings are a good area to add personal flair! Just be sure to choose colors and prints that will easily integrate into your collection, and that you won’t get tired of.
I strongly prefer the 7/8 Salutation Stash style black leggings from Athleta. They’re so comfortable, have a nice stretch, and wash really well. They do come in other colors and prints, too.
PS: Athleta usually does a semi-annual friends and family sale, which is when I usually shop to get the extra discount! If you follow me on Instagram, I always share when it’s live.
Whether you like working out in biker shorts or running shorts, being able to swap out leggings for pairs of shorts during the warmer months is essential.
My favorite pair of shorts for working out are the Mesh Racer Run 4″ Short from Athleta. I also love Lululemon’s Align 6″ biker shorts!
I keep it simple in that I stick to gym tees pretty much all year round, but I do have some tank tops on hand for super hot days. In the colder months I just throw a long sleeve shirt or tunic sweatshirt over my tees/tanks until I’m warmed up.
I am a huge fan of the Foresthill Ascent Seamless workout tank. As for workout tees, I have a solid collection for the Uptemo Tees by Athleta.
My sweatshirts are where I add a little bit of personal style to my workout capsule wardrobe. I’m not going to lie, I will pay a pretty penny for a good sweatshirt. Mainly because I use them as everyday clothes, too. And because the Athleta sweatshirts I own (the Purana Wrap Sweatshirt is a fav!) provide an unparalleled level of comfort. Seriously, they are SO SOFT. They’re great statement pieces, too.
It’s a good idea to buy a pair of shoes for every type of workout you plan to do. This will keep you safe, providing the proper support and preventing injury.
If you do mixed workouts, I really love the Cloud X Training Shoe by ON. They’re super comfortable and supportive!
The types of socks you wear for working out is also important. While you might like the look of no show socks or ankle socks, they can cause painful blisters.
A supportive sock that will keep you dry is best!
If you’re a Costco member, I actually love the Puma brand socks they sell there!
Where to Buy Workout Capsule Wardrobe Clothing
When creating a workout capsule wardrobe, I recommend investing in quality pieces that are going to wash well for you and hold up over time.
Here are the stores I’d check out first! These are all places I’ve purchased workout clothes from throughout my life and have been happy with.
Clearly Athleta is a favorite of mine, haha. They just have so many great, classic pieces that can integrate into your everyday wardrobe. And they hold up beautifully!
I have a few pieces from Fabletics, but my husband has a ton! We both love them so much. He wears his on repeat and they’ve stayed intact for years. This is a solid, budget-friendly option. You really can’t beat the prices if you sign up for a subscription.
FP Movement by Free People
Sometimes FP Movement pieces can be a little too trendy, but there are definitely some great workout capsule wardrobe options – like their running shorts.
Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack
I especially love the Zella brand that they sell at both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. But they also sell popular brands like Nike and Adidas.
Old Navy is a sister company to Athleta, so they get a lot of similar pieces. The quality isn’t exactly the same, but Old Navy is a solid, budget-friendly workout clothes option.
Gap is another sister company to Athleta and Old Navy. They actually fall right in the middle in terms of price point and quality, a solid sweet spot!
Lululemon is definitely an athleisure frontrunner, and for good reason. Their clothes fit well and are well made.
I hope this post helped you to create a collection of clothes that suites every type of exercise you do!
I also hope it eventually helps you to eliminate all of those unnecessary items in your closet.
When you let go of a bunch of things you no longer use or need, it’s truly freeing.
The fewer pieces you own, the fewer pieces you have to mange – wash, fold, store, etc.
It creates less less hassle in your life, and so much more peace.
Not to mention in frees up your time, money, and energy for the things that truly matter to you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. Before you go, give me a follow on Instagram so we can keep in touch!
Do your best today!