What Should Women Wear To The Gym? (For Comfort & Style)

Heading to the gym offers many benefits, but working out what women wear to the gym can be confusing - there are a huge array of options, and finding the ideal outfit that looks great but still lets you move freely can be a real challenge. To help, we have put together a guide to help you exercise comfortably. 

Many essentials should be part of your gym kit in each session, and we will explore these in greater detail below.

What do women fitness enthusiasts wear when going into the gym?

1. Sports Bra 

If you have ever asked yourself, "what should women wear at the gym?" the answer is ultimately anything that they want - but a good sports bra should be at the top of your list. A good, fitted sports bra will allow you to work out in total comfort, no matter your shape or size.

This should be one of the first purchases that you make and is the number one response to what should a beginner woman wear at the gym - this is a non-negotiable for a comfortable and productive workout.

Sports bras also come in materials that are light, comfortable, and allow the skin to breathe, and this reduces your risk of an unwanted rash. Always opt for a size that feels comfortable and supportive and allows your breasts to feel fully supported while working out - no matter how hard you push your body!

2. Shirts 

Once you have a good, supportive bra in place, the next step is to ensure that you choose the right shirt, and once again, this will depend mainly on your body shape, confidence, and the type of exercise you are planning on trying.

As with the bra, your comfort is the most important element to consider here. As long as your comfortable, your workout will be better.

What Should Women Wear To The Gym? (For Comfort & Style)

This is not a time to ask yourself, "what should sexy women wear at the gym?" The main focus should always be on comfort - the more comfortable you are, the more likely you will continue with your workout and maintain your routine. 

As a rule, the style of shirt that you choose is not too important - tank tops, long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts, or sweatshirts are all totally acceptable. Just double-check to see if your gym has a dress code, and always opt for a gym top for women that is light, stretchy, and designed to keep you cool.

3. Shorts 

Depending on your workout, shorts may be the best option for your legs, as these allow plenty of movement and freedom to exercise without feeling restricted or cramped - ideal for keeping you comfortable at all times during your workout. It is important, however, to place comfort above style, just as with all of the other considerations that you make in your workout outfit. 

As with your shirt, make sure that you check to see whether your gym has a dress code before you invest in super skimpy shorts; not only may these earn you a sanction, but they are also unlikely to be comfortable.

It is important not to opt for shorts that are too baggy, as these risk getting caught on machines, while also avoiding anything too skintight that may leave you feeling restricted, sweaty, and uncomfortable. Synthetic fabrics tend to be the most comfortable option in many cases. 

4. Pants 

woman wearing pants at the gym

If shorts are not the best option for you, then you may decide to opt for quality workout pants, and there are many options available here.

Many women choose to match their pants to their shirts, and this can be a great way to help you feel more stylish and well put together while working out. 

As with any other element of your outfit, the most important thing to ensure is that you are comfortable while working out, and this can be the case whether you select yoga pants, sweatpants, or shorts. 

When considering gym wear for women, elasticized waistbands tend to be the most popular option, as they allow greater freedom and movement, as well as a boosted level of comfort.  

5. Shoes 

One of the most critical pieces of equipment that you need to consider when heading to the gym is your shoes - these will play a key role in helping you to stay safe and make real progress. Many gym-goers opt for more traditional cross-trainers, as these allow you to enjoy a wide range of activities in total comfort. 

The key here is to ensure that you have shoes that fit well - this is extremely important in allowing you to stay balanced and safe while working out. Ill-fitting shoes have been linked to a host of issues, including pulled muscles in the neck and back, which can have a detrimental impact on your overall fitness and cause serious long-term damage.

You should also ensure that your feet stay cool and comfortable, so picking the right material is important. A number of gym-goers opt for shoes that are “barefoot in style, but these can take some getting used to. 

Check out our complete guide to the best CrossFit-style shoes for women here!

6. Socks  

Socks are another vital consideration when heading to the gym, as they can help reduce friction and issues with your shoes rubbing. The best options for socks are light, synthetic materials, as these are designed to wick sweat away from the skin, reducing the risk of scratching and discomfort.

Most athletes and gym-goers will opt for ankle-length socks if wearing shorts or knee socks for greater coverage and comfort. 

Related Article - Best Athletic Socks For Women

7. Headwear  

Headwear is an often overlooked element of your gym attire but should be given some thought. Once again, this will depend mainly on the type of exercise you are undertaking - runners will likely favor hats, while headbands tend to be popular for keeping hair out of your eyes. 

It is also a good idea to ensure that your hair is well tied back while you are working out - not only does this help to reduce the risk of your hair getting sweaty, it also keeps it out of your eyes. It helps to keep you safe, as it reduces the risk of your hair getting caught up in machines while you are exercising.

woman wearing a hat while working out

Guidance For What Various Aged Women Should Wear

In addition to ensuring that you have all of the appropriate equipment before hitting the gym, it can also be useful to have an idea of what women your age will be wearing in the gym - this can help you feel more confident when picking your outfit.

To help, here are a few examples of the different outfits commonly worn by women in different age ranges. 

Women in Their 20’s and 30’s 

As a rule, women in their 20s and 30s will typically favor skimpier workout clothes, especially if they are already in good shape. Searches for sexy gym wear for women are most common amongst women in this age group, and leggings tend to be very popular.

Many women in this category will display the “typical” gym bunny look, with bright, colorful sports bras and stylish leggings, combined with fashionable running shoes. Many items tend to be well fitted and brightly colored; women in these age ranges will usually ensure that they prioritize style as well as function. 

Women in Their 40’s and 50’s 

When considering what should an older woman wear to the gym, it is important to note that this is a broad category, and different women may have different preferences.

As a general rule, many women in their 40s and 50s will start to favor more conservative workout gear and may feel more inclined to opt for t-shirts and longer sleeves rather than a skimpier tank top or simply a sports bra. 

Ensuring that you are adequately supported grows even more important as you age, so sturdy, supportive sports bras and correct footwear are even more crucial. 

Women Beyond 50 

As many women age, they may begin to feel more comfortable in longer sleeves and looser, less clingy, and close-fitting garments. There are a number of gym wear tops for women that are suitable for older women and allow you to remain active and comfortable while you are working out. 

Ultimately, it is important to remember that what women wear to the gym is their own personal choice - the most important thing is to remain comfortable; the happier and more confident you feel, the more likely you are to stick to your workout routine. 

older woman doing a plank at the gym

What Women Should Wear At The Gym According To Their Body Type

Your body type may also have an impact on the type of clothing that you opt for; different body types will suit different outfits and looks.

Lean and Athletic 

Those with a lean body type will typically have their hips and bust roughly equal in width, and shoulders can be quite square. Racerback tops tend to be a great option here, as the rounded neckline helps balance the shoulders out, offering a flattering silhouette.

Aim for rounded lines rather than straight, severe V necks and angles, and try to select a top and a bottom that are different colors; this will add texture and shape to your overall outline, helping to create the illusion of curves. 


A pear shape is very common in many women - here, the upper section of the body tends to be narrower, while the hips, butt, and thighs are wider. The key here is to ensure that you are attracting attention to the slender top half of your body, and this can be achieved with a creative, imaginative neckline, and bright, bold colors.

Keep the bottom half of your body more muted and subtle, and aim to draw attention to the bust, neck, and top of the body. 


Curvy body shapes can also be known as apple types and tend to be characterized by a full waist and broad shoulders, with slender legs and a flat bottom. To enjoy the most flattering look, aim to draw attention up to your chest and bust, showing off sleek collar bones and long necks.

A lower neckline helps to elongate your body, adding a more slender and lengthy silhouette, while opting for color on your bottom half can add curves where you want them. If you want to lengthen the appearance of your legs, a capri cut is also a good idea for your pants. 


Women blessed with an hourglass figure can wear almost anything they choose, and V necks are a great way to show off a curvy bust. Opt for high waisted-leggings and cropped shirts to show off a smaller waistline, and select straight-legged leggings and pants if you want a balanced look.

Woman Doing Military Press

Considerations When Choosing The Right Gym Clothes For Women

Choosing the right gym clothes can play a key role in the success of your workout, and there are several questions to consider. 

When choosing your gym clothes, you will need to consider factors such as material -  you need to ensure that sweat is wicked away from the skin, keeping you cool and comfortable while working out.  

The benefits of the right gym clothes are twofold; they will help to physically support your body and enhance your workout, and also help you to feel more confident. Clothes also need to feel supportive enough to keep you comfortable while exercising. 

Why is it important to understand your body type before buying gym clothes? By gaining a better idea of your body type, you can choose gym clothes that are flattering and stylish, helping to ensure that you look and feel your very best. 

What Women Should NOT Wear When Going To The Gym

In addition to considering the most important elements you should include in your gym clothes, it is essential to consider the things that should be avoided. For example, cotton is a material that should be avoided; though it can reduce odors, it also absorbs sweat, leaving you feeling heavy and weighed down. 

Jewelry is also best avoided, as it can cause you injury or increase your risk of becoming tangled in machines or hitting you in the face while you are exercising. For this reason, clothes that are overly baggy clothing should also be avoided. 

Frequently Asked Women’s Gym Clothes Questions 

Why are women's workout clothes generally so tight? 

Tight workout clothes allow movement while keeping muscles compressed and are also important for allowing trainers to check form and ensure that your spine is straight, your abdominals are tight, and the muscles are in the right place. 

Which fabric is best for sportswear? 

Synthetic fabrics are the best option for sportswear; they are light and easy to move in and wick sweat away from the body, keeping you cool and comfortable while training. 

Do workout clothes make a difference when training? 

Choosing the right workout gear is important for ensuring that you can make the most of your training; it will help you to stay safe and comfortable, as well as support your body. 

Why should I avoid makeup when working out? 

As well as being unnecessary, wearing makeup while sweating during a workout can lead to a buildup of dirt and oil, increasing the risk of irritation and breakouts. 


Choosing the right workout gear can be tricky; this is a crowded market, and it can be hard to choose flattering and functional clothing. However, by paying attention to your age and body shape, you can make the most of your workouts while still looking and feeling your best.

Last Updated on December 16, 2022

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.