Motivation to exercise manifests in many forms. Perhaps it might be envisioning those post-workout endorphins, the feeling of moving your body or the delicious meal after a sweat session.
Cleverly-designed activewear can make it exponentially more enjoyable to work out, not to mention it can often slightly improve your performance by proxy — for example, that convenient pocket in your leggings that fits your phone perfectly, thereby providing music to spur you on as you run.
While loud logos and bright shades have had their day in the sun, so to speak, we’re gravitating towards more a more refined and elegant look; neutral colours, streamlined silhouettes and pared-back finishes. There’s no denying we’ve all become very familiar with leisurewear this year, but now we’re looking to update our wardrobes with more functional pieces that will help us want to get moving again.
People Like Us
Orakei-based boutique People Like Us stocks some of the best active and off-duty-wear brands. While the selection includes well-known labels like P.E Nation and The Upside, People Like Us owner Rachael Challinor is especially adept at finding lesser-known brands to offer her avid shoppers. Rozalia x Atoir specialises in stylishly minimal separates, while the In Motion Crop by First Base and matching leggings hit the sweet spot between simplicity and statement.
American label Ceres Sportswear creates sweatpants, jumpers, leotards and leggings with a vintage-inspired edge; think 80s workout gear in the colours of now — navy blue, oatmeal beige, pops of green and neutral whites and greys. Mastering the comfort-chic balance that allows its pieces to be worn for far more than just to exercise, we particularly love the Ballet top and the Ceres dress.
Available locally at Workshop, Vaara specialises in womens activewear that is as aesthetic as it is functional. The long-sleeved Evelyn Rib Base Layer is the perfect layering piece, with a mock-style neckline, and is made from a smooth jersey rib. The Juno Soft Touch bra is great for yoga or stretching, with a contemporary square-shaped neckline.
A worldwide community numbering in the hundreds of thousands follows and covets Swedish activewear brand Aim’n. With an Oceania branch of the brand that offers free shipping within New Zealand, we’ve got our eyes on the Ribbed Seamless tights in the shade Espresso, and the white Ribbed Seamless Crop Long Sleeve top.
Famed for its high-performance workout gear made from recycled plastic bottles, Girlfriend Collective lasts the distance for even the most active among us. Also stocked on Nordstrom, which ships to New Zealand, the high-waisted leggings are comfortably compressive and the crop tops offer support for both low and high-intensity exercise.
While Pangaia is definitely on the leisurewear side of the spectrum, the brand is too notable for us to leave out here. Touting itself as a sustainable label thanks to its use of recycled materials, earth-friendly dyes and organic cotton, Pangaia has gone viral several times over for its hoodies, sweatpants, shorts and T-shirts that speak to the collective 2020 mood. We particularly love the pastel colourways, like this soft green hoodie and these light blue track pants.