Okay, I can hear your laughter as I type. You’re assuming I’m some kind of mental defective, trying to convince you to get ‘suited and booted’ for your workout at the gym.

But I’m writing this post for a very good reason; the fact is few men seem to understand there’s a dress code when working out, and it’s there for a very good reason! Poor outfit design can lead to injury, reduced technical form and generally displays a lack of etiquette!

When it comes to dressing for the gym, try to keep things clean and classic. However tempting it may be to try on your designer jeans for the first time in public, you’d still be better off wearing traditional cotton t-shirts and athletic shorts.

Picking The Essentials

T-shirt: Ensure your gym sweatshirt’s woven from a breathable, natural fabric: cotton trumps polyester each and every time. Try to pick a colour that won’t create embarrassing ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ after working up a sweat.

Shorts: Stick with knee-length athletic shorts; make sure to choose a pair providing good mobility without being too baggy or (god forbid) ‘revealing’. Those who pound the treadmill or jog regularly should try shorts ending mid-thigh as they’re a generally better option for leg mobility.

Tracksuit bottoms, a.k.a. sweatpants: If you’re working-out indoors, tracksuits aren’t required unless you have deeply personal ‘leg issues’. Outdoors, they’re more useful, especially if you cramp easily in cold weather. Remember, keep it plain and simple – bright orange sweatpants with lime green zig-zags are still a reckless decision!

Trainers/Sneakers: You need strong support around your ankles and feet while exercising – the key implication being trainers or sneakers are the only way to go! Read up on gym guidelines before buying a pair of designer sneaks – some soles (e.g. black rubber) aren’t universally acceptable on gym floors.

Fashion faux-pas to avoid at the gym

  • No Lycra or spandex. Comfy? Maybe. Elegant? Certainly not! Any stretchy, tight-fitting fabric is a definite no-go.
  • No jewelry. Rings and chains will only get in the way during workouts or fall down the drain in the shower room. Leave your favorite trinkets at home.
  • Towel down the equipment. No one wants to sit in a pool of your sweat. Once you’re done with your chosen apparatus, always give the seat (and handles) a quick wipe down for the next person.
  • Don’t forget to wash your kit. Fitness centers aren’t the most hygienic places at the best of times; don’t add to the bacterial stink by wearing sweat-stained garb. Put your gym sweatshirts and shorts through on a hot spin-cycle regularly.

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About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

3 Responses

  1. Johnathan

    “Men’s Fitness Apparel: Dressing Up For The Gym”

    Feel free to leave a comment…

  2. James at DMC

    Ugh, I hate going to the gym and then having to use equipment that’s got that slimy wet feel to it! Yuck!