5 Cool Activewear Brands You Need To Know

Let's get physical.

Until very recently, I didn’t relate to the idea that buying new exercise clothes could motivate one to lead a more active life. That’s not to say I didn’t require a gentle nudge to get me up at 6am (lel, far from it)—I just wasn’t too keen on the prospect of paying any more than the cost of an already-expensive membership fee to get me out the door.

Contro opinion coming your way, but despite the enormity of the activewear industry, I’ve never really found exercise clothes that I actually like. I find the athleisure-wear trend to be too much of a “look” (read: tacky), and one that doesn’t translate to my everyday style. Basically, I feel like a fraud when I wear exercise clothes and can’t justify spending money to do so, and so, my oversized t-shirts, oft-holey cotton tights and scrappy old Asics trainers have been my mainstay at various Lululemon-saturated barre, yoga and cardio classes to date.

But this story is not without a plot twist! Lately, I’ve stumbled across a bunch of brands making cute workout clothes that have got my heart racing faster than a 30 minute sesh on the treadmill. They’re all bursting with simple designs (not an #inspirational message nor a rhinestone logo in sight), they aren’t too pattern-heavy, and they could all be worn everyday—even for athleisure trend naysayers like myself.

Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices can be single-handedly thanked for my athleisure wear awakening. It’s probs the first exercise brand I’ve ever come across that has instantly got me psyched to start #DoingThings. I love everything about the brand—from their inclusivity (as a curvy gal, it’s nice to be able to see your body type represented in the workout world) and the community they’ve built, to their veritable smorgasbord of CUTE AF designs. Aside from being sweat-friendly, supportive and v. easy on the eye, their wares have handy lil’ trimmings like inbuilt pockets for your keys, which is exactly the sort of ingenuity that makes me want to yell“TAKE MY MONEY!!!” at the computer screen while I add one of everything to my cart.

See below for the standouts…

These two-tone leggings (in pastel purple or red, please!) with the matching bra, this monochromatic crop top!!! (which is the perfect length to wear on its own with tights), these kneecap warm up leggings (again, the best length, especially for summer), and these polka dot bike shorts.

Gil Rodriguez


View this post on Instagram


Tour de force in the Tour De France Short 💫

A post shared by Gil Rodriguez (@gil.rodriguez_) on

The Los Angeles-based brand Gil Rodriguez is the mood board of your dreams come to life. Not only do I want to sweat it out in her pared-back, lush designs, they also seem like the perfect option for luxuriating around the house in, doing nothing but sippin’ on tea and tearing through a good book. The introduction of the label into my life has also been very timely. I’ve been mining old 80s workout videos for style inspiration lately (hot tip: as their primary function intended, these clips are a great/lol way to exercise for free at home), and her designs speak to this era, albeit in a cool and modern way. Bonus points for the label giving discounts to those who vote, and for their slow fashion ethos.

See below for faves…

Remember that bit about my 80s obsession? Okay cool, well with that in mind, I’d like you to meet this incred unitard, this bodysuit in ‘tomate’ and these ash grey, super soft bike shorts. Also, Gil Rodriguez makes the swimmers are the bomb if you haven’t heard.

Ernest Leoty


View this post on Instagram


Our tailored activewear is focused on style, comfort, and technical performance.

A post shared by Ernest Leoty (@ernestleoty) on

When phrases like “couture for leisure” and “designed with a Parisian sensibility” are thrown around, you know your bank account is in grave danger. I’ve been meaning to sign up for an adult ballet class for eons now and I think Ernest Leoty is just the motivation I need to pirouette my way right into one. I can’t wait to live out all my Centre Stage fantasies in the French brand’s elegant clothes, which are the perf barre-to-bar option ;).

See below for the most j’adorable picks…

This cream corset-inspired singlet top is almost TOO nice to wear while exercising (see what I mean about the b2b ^ claim), this red triangle bra is your new yoga BFF and this teal and navy bodysuit has convinced me to throw out all those preconceived notions about wearing exercise clothes outside of the gym. Bye, bye! Also, just sayin’, these maroon tights are so perfect, I cry.

Alo Yoga


View this post on Instagram


Our Ilona Bodysuit embraces the silhouette with a contoured, supportive fit. |@theyoginist #Leotylife #LeotyTeal

A post shared by Ernest Leoty (@ernestleoty) on

I was first intro’d to Alo Yoga when I was strolling along the streets of NYC earlier this year, and boy did it make me wanna lean all the way into the yogi world. If you’re in the need for a good excuse to whip out your mat and salute the sun, I suggest you give their ‘gram a squizz, then check out our favourites below!

Stretch it out in 3,2,1…

Everything they do is heaven, but especially: this dark green bra with matching shorties, these peach high-waisted leggings, and these multi-coloured pastel tights.



View this post on Instagram


Some days you just need your friends in practice #yoga #movement #zerowaste #knitwear #NAGNATA

A post shared by NAGNATA (@nagnata_) on

“Omigosh! This is the most adorable fkn page ever!”, said my brain when it was first introduced to Nagnata’s Instagram page. And for good reason. The glorious sustainable brand deals in organic cotton knitwear in all ya favey colours, from pastel purple to red (noticing a pattern?). While I probably wouldn’t be cutting laps around the park in their stuff, it’s definitely MFEO (meant for each other) with yoga/pilates.

The cutest of the lot…

I’d def downward dog in these cute lounge leggings in pastel purple/black and this matching bra. Also not mad at these red booty shorts, or these red and black ones, either!

Words, Madeleine Woon | Image, Gil Rodriguez