How to Look Chic from the Gym to the Street

Julie Inzanti is a New York City-based freelance writer and blogger covering lifestyle, fashion, shopping, beauty, and motherhood. She has a sense of humor and common sense.

Christine CenteneraIt’s hard to find time to work out in between taking the kids to school or endless hours at the office—but it’s even harder to pick the perfect gym clothes (especially when you’re barely awake and have to pick TWO outfits simultaneously: one for your workout, and one for after!).

Wouldn’t it be nice to jet straight from the stationary bike to the street—without looking like a sweaty mess? Thanks to this hot new trend, you can! A few recent inventive designs have made the gym-to-street transition a little easier for us all: The soft pant (a.k.a. sweats)…

Honestly, I don’t support the decision to don sweatpants and heels for date night, but if you pair them with a stylish sneaker they can easily transition from bust-down to brunch.SWEATPANTS

You might hesitate to work out in $195 Alexander Wang soft-pants (far left) but they will look amazing on the street. 3.1 Phillip Lim stitched panel track pants are an investment at $375 (that’s almost as expensive as a two-month membership at Equinox!), but hey, you’re worth it. Current Elliot has a $208 moto sweatpant, too. But if you want to keep it simple, go with the $40 gym vintage Nike sweats.


The harem (like M.C.Hammer pants… or as my boyfriend likes to call them, give-up pants.) The harem works for most gym activities and still looks chic on the street. (Oh, and no visible sweat marks on your bottom, either!)

Sure, there are some extreme workouts that totally kick your butt and leave you looking like something pulled out of a drain. I would refrain from socializing post-workout in those cases. But for the rest of us who hit a low-impact yoga class on the weekends or go for a quick, easy run first thing in the morning, we can probably take our sweats to the street.

Yogis are all set for studio-to-street because yoga clothes look pretty much like everything else in your closet. Barefoot workouts like Yoga, Pilates or Barre Method are great because you can just pair booties or knee boots with your leggings and throw a sweater over your tank to go from ohm to oooh.


WORKOUT TRAVEL TIP: If you’re like me and your yoga class is a subway ride from your apartment, stick with the paper-thin Manduka travel mat. Who needs a thick (heavy) mat, really? Are you taking a nap or working out? You can fold the Manduka travel mat to the size of a book and fit it in practically any handbag, so post-workout activities are not interrupted by your rolled, bazooka-sized mat. 


Since running and cross-training are all about the footwear you can’t sacrifice comfort and function for style on this one. Obviously, you can’t run if you twist an ankle because you were wearing inappropriate footwear. Luckily, there are plenty of fashionable sneakers out there. Clockwise from the top left: New Balance 373 ($63); Nike Free Run ($100); Asics Onitsuka Tiger Colorado Eighty-Five ($90); Adidas by Stella McCartney ($235); gold Nikes ($210); Marc by Marc Jacobs running sneakers ($190).

The real key to making a gym outfit street-ready is layers. You can wear soft pants from Rag & Bone with a functional sports bra or moisture-wicking tank and a pair of Stan Smiths in spin class, but then throw on an Isabella Marant Idol Kimono Cardigan over the entire outfit and let JawBone track your movements throughout the afternoon.

gym to street look

If all else fails, you can try my mother’s solution to everything: lipstick and sunglasses. No matter what kind of a workout you put your body through, just throw on a pair of oversized Celine sunglasses and a bright red Nars lipstick and you’re good to go!

Check out more gym-to-street inspiration on Pinterest!

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