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Sunday, 19 June 2016

STYLE || The Work-Out Wardrobe.

In keeping with my marathon announcement post on Friday, I thought I'd swiftly follow it up with a post all about where I've been investing my money when it comes to activewear. Because you know me, any chance for some shopping and I'm in. I know a lot of people will scoff at the idea but I genuinely find that I'm more motivated to work out when I have a nice pair of leggings to slip on or a pretty top that holds everything in place. Because sometimes the gym can feel like a chore and if investing in a funky pair of leggings helps me get there in the morning then I see no problem!
Since starting this crazy marathon journey back in January, I've come a long way not only in my training but also when it comes to fun and practical places to shop.

My first find was a good 'un. It's actually pretty embarrassing just how much I fan-girl over Anna of the wonderful blog Vivianna Does Makeup - she can recommend just about anything and chances are I'll go out and buy it. Not just because the products are usually stellar and totally worth it anyway but also because we have very similar taste in make-up and clothes. So yes, that's my justification. In the days after I signed up for the marathon, I was perusing the internet for some trendy sportswear which is harder to come by than you'd expect. Anyway, I remembered that Anna does her monthly Fitness Files and thought it'd be a good place to start. Approximately two minutes later, I had found the fab website that is Fashercise - a site that carefully collates the best of fashionable sportswear. To be honest, as beautiful as all the pieces are, they are largely well out of my price range. The perils of being a student and needing to eat. But to my delight, I found an amazing pair of leggings (below, left) that were reduced from £85 to £25. You can only imagine my excitement and I forked out my card details pretty swiftly. As I skimped on delivery, I was also so impressed that my leggings arrived the next day free of charge and came beautifully packaged and with a motivational note from the founders of the website (all documented on my Instagram feed, of course). As they went into sale almost six months ago, my exact pair are no longer available but there are a very similar pair here. These ALALA leggings are such great quality, they hold everything in place as I'm running along, and I love how the mesh detail just makes them a bit more interesting.
Speaking of another Vivianna Does Makeup-inspired purchase, my next pair of leggings are my newest edition (below middle). The tale behind these isn't quite so embarrassing as I've worked on and off for WHISTLES for the past three years so these fab leggings had been on my radar for quite some time. But it was this post that Anna did in collaboration with WHISTLES X FRAME that convinced me that I needed them in my wardrobe. Turns out I'm not the only one who almost instantly buys whatever Anna recommends and soon enough these were sold out online. Dammit, should have bought them when I first saw them. Yet, as fate would have it, when I went into store today to discuss my holiday hours there they were. Better yet, they had gone into sale. I couldn't purchase them quick enough and have been living in them ever since. They are honestly the comfiest thing and the combination of grey and pink means that they'll go with just about everything in my wardrobe. Fan-girl moment over but these have really captured my heart.

Next up is a fairly obvious sportswear destination. LuluLemon has a fairly large cult following amongst gym bunnies so this by no means a discovery store for me. I really like their simple, practical aesthetic and everything I've ever owned from this brand has lasted so well. I have a pair of running leggings (not featured in this post) that have lasted me a good five years and still going strong! So although LuluLemon is absolutely on pricier side, their workout gear is good for investing in if you have the cash to spend. Having said that, I got both these funky pink leggings (above, right) and this pretty pastel top (below, bottom left) on sale for a pretty reasonable price... I forget how much exactly but I usually draw my limit around the £40 mark for any single item.
Next up are workout tops. As a reasonably flat-chested gal, I live in strappy tops with built-in bras - because life is too short to struggle with cripplingly tight sports bras if you don't have to. I have to say that my the black Puma workout top is one of the best things out of all my sportswear - it's so easy and lightweight and goes with everything. I bought it off Amazon on a whim for around £15 and I have certainly got my money's worth as I find it really comfortable and flattering. An absolute winner in my books.
My Nike Dri-FIT Knit also deserves a shout-out here. One of the pricier items on this list, I got this alongside my trainers for my 21st birthday. I'm not sure how much I buy into the technology behind this one because I always end up a sweaty mess whatever I'm wearing - marathon training will do that to you! But its great at keeping me dry and warm when I'm running outside and for that it makes a great addition to my work-out wardrobe.
And now onto my favourite bit: loungewear. Because what could be better than curling up into an oversized hoodie after a tiring session in the gym. Nothing, I tell you, nothing is better than that feeling of total simultaneous exhaustion and comfort. My current favourite sweatshirt is none other than the Urban Outfitters 'Daydream Believer' top that I managed to snag just before they all sold out online (but still available here) - F.Y.I. you can get free next day delivery if you order in store, I was very impressed. The comfiest oversized fit combined with a quotation from the cracking tune by The Monkees means that this item has secured a firm place in my fashion favourites, both in and out of the gym.
There's not much to say about my Budapest Marathon hoodie... it is also grey and oversized and secures me the bragging rights to say that I'm actually training for a marathon. Plus, I look really super cool next to my two best friends who also have the exact same one. Some might think its a bit naff, personally I know that I'll cherish this little momento for years to come. Oh and the bragging rights, all about the bragging rights. 
And to wrap up this very lengthy post (who knew there could be so much to say about a few pairs of leggings?), I thought I should probably touch on my trainers. Seeing as they are single-handedly the most important piece of kit when it comes to training for a marathon. To be honest, this is tricky to advise on because everyone's running style is so different and all I know is that these work wonders for me. I ended up choosing the Nike brand as some of my running friends had their shoes and highly recommended them. I would advise going into store and trying on a variety of styles to see what works best for you - yes it feels ridiculous to be running on a treadmill in the middle of a store but this is what determines what shoes are tailored to your foot. You can tell that my pair (Nike Air Zoom Elite 8) have had a lot of wear since I got them for my 21st back in March. Yes they weren't cheap but this a good pair of trainers is where you should really invest your money - a cheap, rubbishy pair will only do your body a world of damage. The test of a perfect pair of running trainers? It feels like you're walking on clouds when you slip them on. 
So there you go, everything you could ever need to know about my gym-wear preferences. Honestly, I could talk about this till the sun goes down but I'm going to leave it here. As with anything I set my mind to, I have now become an expert with how to shop for it! But like I said earlier, with all this cool garments, I'll never be at a loss for motivation.

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