Being Fashionably Fit

Working out has never looked so good.


By Emily


Just like most fads, what’s “in fashion” often fluctuates in fitness centers. A lot of apparel decisions depend on what specific individuals do at the gym. There are athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, agility specialists, yoga lovers, and much more. Nevertheless, there are some items that seem to be trending among the majority of people in most gym settings such as headphones, leggings, crop tops, flat-soled shoes, and shaker bottles.


Whether a person is listening to their favorite playlist to get in the zone, a podcast or eBook in order to multitask, or not listening to anything in an attempt to avoid conversation, almost everybody in the gym wears some type of headphones.

Today, there are completely cordless over the ear headphones, as well as an in-ear style, which are both immensely popular among the fit family. Mark Denny, a personal trainer at USFSP’s fitness center, said, “Bluetooth headphones are huge, and they definitely make a fashion statement.”

Wireless headphones allow a larger range of motion during workouts and allow you to generate more focus, since you’re not so distracted by your phone.

Amped Fitness front counter associate, Kara Morosky, agrees, “Wireless headphones are just so much easier.”

Whether or not you choose to go wireless, wearing any kind of headphones while working out will usually make the time fly by.


The advertisements are ubiquitous. Leggings of all brand names are booming among every type of gym-goer. Morosky pointed out that tight, high waist leggings are making a comeback. People are a variety of brands of leggings, which in some cases cost up to $60-$70.

“I’ve legitimately seen young girls come in here wearing $300 outfits,” said Robert Coburn, the general manager and training director at Amped Fitness. Coburn is also a competitive bodybuilder. But similar leggings are on the market for $20 or less… why are people spending such a fortune on gym clothes only to cover them in sweat? “I think a lot of people do it solely for the name brand,” Morosky said. “And if you see a lot of other people following a trend, that’s what you’re going to be more drawn to, naturally.”

Even some men are following the leggings trend, Denny pointed out. “I love to wear them under my shorts when it gets cold.” Some people may not want to admit it, he said, “But it’s also a style thing.”

Crop tops

Crop tops are a surely making a comeback.

“We’re all tieing our shirts again at the waist. My mom used to wear things like this when she worked out,” Morosky said.

Coburn agreed, “I was born in the 80’s so I remember the trends. I think it’s neat-o that people idolize certain fashions from when I was a kid.”

Brands like Pacsun, Fabletics, and Athleta make expensive tops, which seem to be popular among the majority of female gym goers. But less expensive options are T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and especially Goodwill!

Flat-Soled Shoes

Despite the lack of support, flat-soled shoes like Converse and Vans are actually favored in powerlifting culture. “If you’re doing squats and deadlifts, you want a flat surface. If you have the rounding of the shoe, then you have potential to lean onto your toes during a workout, which could put you off balance and cause an injury. Any flat shoe will give you the most stability on the lift,” says Denny. “It’s also a fashion thing.”

Interestingly, Coburn has an opposing opinion on this fad. He believes people who wear these types of shoes in the gym are strictly making a fashion statement. “It’s bro-science,” Coburn said. “There is no science to support flat footedness and how it increases your lift. If a doctor isn’t telling you to wear flat soled shoes, you can actually do your body more damage by wearing them. He also mentioned that many people get a painful condition called plantar fasciitis from wearing the wrong shoes in the gym.

The truth is, everyone’s body and feet are different. So, we have different physical demands to meet. Flat-soled shoes will do for certain workouts, like the low-bar back squat, but they won’t suffice when performing a high-bar back squat, front squat or overhead squat.

Shaker Bottles

Shaker bottles are plastic containers that help mix powdered supplements with water or other liquids, as well as measure water intake. It’s a practical invention, and has become fundamental in the gym setting.

“It’s known for some reason that if you have a shaker bottle you’re associated with the gym. You don’t even have to work out to be associated,” Denny said. Most bodybuilders use a gallon jug of water interchangeably.

Putting it all together

As Coburn mentioned, once all put together, some gym outfits can cost hundreds of dollars. Being fashionably fit is expensive, excessive, and frankly, cliché. It’s important that people simply wear what is comfortable for their unique bodies; unafraid of judgments made by others.

Emily is in the program Mass Communications: Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida in Saint Petersburg. She is also a writer for the technology based blog, the Gadgeteer, and in her free time she contributes to her school's newspaper, the Crows Nest. On the weekends, you might find her at the Saturday Morning Market working under the Mother Kombucha tent or blissfully rollerblading in Vinoy Park. Emily is a self-proclaimed fitness guru, and is psyched to merge her love for healthy living and writing together. Follow Emily on Instagram or contact her at

Main Photo Credit: astarot/; Second Photo Credit: puhhha/; Third Photo Credit: Dobo Kristian/; Fourth Photo Credit: Yuriy Golub/