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It’s something people have strong opinions on – should you wear activewear casually, in public. Should you wear lycra onto a plane?
Personally, I’m a fan.
Activewear is the best travel wardrobe ever created, and I’m not ashamed to say it; leggings and a sports bra are the perfect clothes to travel in.
It’s called athleisure, and while Paris your gym clothes might spark reactions from certain cliques, I probably think the same of women wearing stilettos to explore as they do of me (though kudos to their pain threshold – seriously!!).
Active wear is built to be comfy, easy to wash, odor resistant, and means you can pack less. Fabrics can take a beating while still looking fresh, and wearing it is practical, versatile and effortless.
Athletic brands like baleaf.com (shoutout to them for their 8th birthday – enter their giveaway here to win a range of prizes) battle it out these days for who’s collection is the cutest and most chic.
So when I’m asked ‘should you wear active wear while traveling?’ my response is a resouding ‘Hell Yes!’.
Comfortable & Practical
Sitting on a plane for hours calls for comfort. You have to deal with long delays, limited legroom, temperature fluctuations, and yoga is usually required to get comfortable falling asleep.
Activewear like leggings are flexible, soft, and they stay in place. The clothes move freely and naturally with you, and there are no restrictive or uncomfortable pressure points like you have with jeans.
They don’t smell (more on that below), and are resistant to stains, meaning you’re looking and feeling fresh after a long flight, or can head straight to dinner after a long travel walking day.
My Laureate Thermal Zipper Pocket leggings are breathable, skin-friendly & moisture-wicking, and their soft, brushed fleece lining traps heat and keeps you warm and cozy for those temperature fluctuations on the plane.
And as an added bonus, they also have super deep pockets, which fits all of your travel essentials.
Travel is already uncomfortable enough, so honestly, people can say what they like about ditching spandex for the plane. I will wear my yoga pants and I will not be ashamed.
Washes & Dries Easy
Activewear is easy to wash, and it dries quickly. The fabrics they are made from are ridiculously easy to clean, and there’s no high maintenance on the washing front.
They’re strain resistant (and often water resistant), so you won’t be soaking for long periods of time, or dry cleaning. And they’re completely wrinkle free, meaning no wasted time on ironing.
My Flyleaf 7″ UPF50+ Outdoor Shorts are made from a fabric that is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) to shed light rain and stains. And it tolerates wash after wash after wash while still staying in perfect condition.
They’re quick and easy to hand wash if I don’t have access to a washing machine while traveling, and air dry in the bathroom overnight, ready for wear the next morning.
The sweat wicking fabric of athleisure is perfect for long days traveling, especially for active vacations, or in humid destinations where you’re spending a lot of time outdoors.
And flatlock seams mean there’s no chafing between your legs (a flatlock seam means the ends of two pieces of fabric are exactly connected to each other, with no overlapping or excess fabric which in other clothes may irritate the skin).
Active wear is effortless and can be dressed up or down quickly and easily as you need. It’s simple to transition between morning / day / night outfits, or transition from the beach to a fine dining restaurant.
Don’t believe me?
Pair your comfy yoga leggings with a flowy dress for exploring during the day. Wear it simply with your sports bra to the beach. Throw a sweater over it for a chic look for a casual outdoor dinner. Or a tunic for the evening.
Active wear is the perfect capusle wardrobe, allowing you to mix and match your fashion to create multiple different outfit combinations. And because they pack down so well, and are wrinkle free, it’s so easy to travel lighter, and pack less!
And it’s a great boost of confidence too – “good quality black leggings will help stabilize and tighten your stomach, lift your butt, and flatter your curves.”
If you find a good athleisure brand like Baleaf you’ll also look fashion forward, and maintain a classy look regardless of whether you’re in activewear!
They Can Take a Beating and Still Look Fresh
Activewear is made to take a beating; it’s meant to be worn at the gym where you’re putting it through all sorts of strain, sweat, and stress.
Gear like my Flyleaf Tie Dye Seamless Shorts still look new even though I wear them constantly, through many harsh environments, sweat in them, stain them, and wash them week after week.
I commonly wear these to the beach where they’re put up against very coarse sand particles, they often get wet walking along the waters edge, and I love the mesh panels that promote airflow.
They also pass the squat test (meaning you can’t see your underwear or skin through the stretched fabric when you bend over)!
Because Travel IS a Workout
I could easily rest an argument for active wear simply on this; travel is a workout, so it seems pretty logical to me that you would pack your activewear!
Every trip I’m on involves some degree of walking, exploring, adventuring, powerlifting (suitcases into the overhead locker), gymnastics (to contort into the seats of your flight), and general wandering.
Even if you’ve not actively planned an active vacation, you still find yourself walking around urban centers and exercising much more than you normally would at home.
Sore feet and working up a sweat is all part of the experience when you’re traveling, regardless of whether or not you plan on spending most of your time by the pool!
The Power of a Sports Bra
Sports bras are my secret weapon to staying comfortable while traveling (my sports bra above the Laureate High-Impact Sport Bra from Baleaf).
A well fitted sports bra offers support, while absorbing all of your upper body sweat. And there are no pressure points being that they don’t have any underwires which cut in while you’re squished into your plane seat.
They’re also perfect for staying versatile; strip down to your sports bra if you’re at the beach, or in a culturally appropriate city where it’s acceptable to wear them on the street (like Los Angeles).
Throw something over it for a quick cover up when you need.
There are certain considerations when traveling in activewear, like dress codes for airport lounges, and being sensitive to the time and place.
There’s a huge range of product choice when it comes to athletic wear, so it’s important to choose pieces which are both comfortable, practical, and make you feel great, while also remaining sensitive of your surroundings.
For instance, while I would definitely wear my sports bra as is to a beach, cover it up when you’re in a more conservative destinaion, or need to strike a more respectful style.
A sports bra is perfectly acceptable on the streets of LA, but completely inapproproiate (and you’ll likely be a target for harassment and even a fine), in a place like Dubai.
Professional athletes have been refused entry to airline business lounges for rocking up in their workout gear, though I’ve never been denied when I’ve put together something which is a chic ensemble.
So purchase your wardrobe with an awareness and sensitivity for time and place, but it’s absolutely possible to look stylish, classy, and culturally appropriate, if you choose the right brand, and the right pieces.
Shop & WIN the Best Travel Wardrobe Ever Created
There are plenty of active wear brands out there, but for a wardrobe that will last, with all of the above mentioned benefits, make sure you invest in quality.
My pieces in each of the above photos are all from baleaf.com who are a sustainable activewear brand on a mission to downsize and streamline people’s wardrobes with high quality, versatile and multifaceted athleisure clothing.
Founded in 2014, they’re a contemporary brand perfect for travelers, as they also co-design their pieces with their community of customers so they can create practical and long lasting designs.
Make sure you enter their 8th anniversary Giveaway on Instagram here, running until August 15 2022. Share your greatest active memories like the first mountain you have climbed, for a chance to win some great active gear!
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