Work It Out!

Looking for a little inspiration to get moving this summer? Maybe you just need a new workout wardrobe! “It’s important to look nice in the gym,” says Phoenix Carnevale, Latina’s resident fitness expert. “You’ll perform better if you have confidence in yourself and your body.” Here’s how to pick the right stuff—and make it last forever.

The Basics

Styles may change, but there are a few items that every woman should own. First up: A sturdy sports bra. Look for one that goes by cup size, not small, medium, large; it will provide a truer fit. If you’re not comfortable showing your midriff, find a fitted sports top to wear over your bra. “You don’t have to wear big t-shirts all the time,” Phoenix says. A good pair of breathable pants works for most activities, just be sure they have some stretch and a drawstring and they’ll fit even as your body changes. Most importantly, pick pieces that make you feel comfortable. “Be confident. Your body is a work of art. Enjoy it!” says Phoneix. Click here to see a bunch of our favorite new items!

Functionality Matters

It goes without saying that workout clothes should be cute and flattering, but it’s also important for them to be functional. No matter what activity you do, look for breathable material that pulls sweat away from your skin. That’s especially important with shorts and pants. “Not having the right type of workout bottoms can lead to a yeast infection,” Phoenix cautions. Next, think about the workouts you do most often. If you’re going to be doing yoga, Pilates or kickboxing, heed Phoenix’s advice: “Avoid shorts. You don’t want to flash the entire gym!” If you must don shorts, buy a pair with built-in tights. Tight-fitting shorts with padding in the booty are a no-brainer for biking, and seamless tops make it easier to run for miles. Stick with acrylic-blend socks no matter how you get fit; it’s more comfortable and keeps you drier than 100% cotton.

Take Care

Now that you’ve got your gear, you have to make it last. Because sweat contains salt that can damage cloth, you should wash—or at least rinse—your clothes soon after your workout. Turns out that those high-tech sweat-wicking fabrics are serious about their work; if not cleaned promptly, they can hold on to funk for many washes. Use a detergent made especially for that dilemma, and your workout clothes will outlast you. WIN High Performance Sport Detergent ($7, gets the job done.

—Kenrya M. Rankin