Back to Basics: Dressing for a Workout

By Sarah Huntington 

We spend a lot of time in our workout wear, and like to feel good about what we’re wearing when we sweat — but sometimes I just want to reach for the basics. The crisp autumn air reminds me of lacing my sneakers for cross-country races, when I’d wear a beat-up, old tank top. While I don’t encourage the stained tank top look (but whatever makes you feel good is alright by me!), I love a basic, well-made outfit to get me through a hard workout — or a cozy hoodie to make a morning run in the fall not quite so chilly. (Get outside for a run in the changing leaves if you can this week!) Let’s get back to the basics of fitness wear, of course with a 21st century update.

Throwback Basics

The crisp autumn air has a certain nostalgic smell to it — reminiscent of playing in the leaves as a kid, and the chilly morning runs I've taken as an adult. These classic pieces fall back to the basics, including the vintage Nike swoop and callbacks to other eras.

1. ATHLETA BACK TO BASICS SEAMLESS TANK: An update to the classic white tank with a longer fit.  Shop

2. AFTER HOURS AGENDA "80’s KIDS" MEN’S VINTAGE BLACK TEE: This t-shirt is extra soft.  Shop

3. ALO GODDESS RIBBED LEGGINGS: For those of you who want to watch reruns of FAME and live forever.  Shop

4. NIKE RALLY WOMEN’S PULLOVER HOODIE: With brushed fleece and a bigger funnel neck, the pullover hoodie just got warmer.  Shop

5. NIKE RALLY FUTURA WOMEN’S CAPRI: Soft, worn in jersey feel and totally branded for ‘90s funk.  Shop

6. NIKE MODERN TEMPO RUNNING SHORTS: Totally classic for fall runs, with back pocket.  Shop

7. ASICS GEL NIMBUS 16 LITE-SHOW: As cool as it looks, a great, lightweight running shoe.  Shop

8. UNDER ARMOUR ALTER EGO "BATGIRL" SPORTS BRA: Channel your inner strength.  Shop


High Performance Basics

I ran the NYC Marathon a few years back. It was a long, rewarding journey, and I was happy to be wearing super reliable basics that got me through the race. These are the pieces I could rely on. 

1. CHAMPION MARATHON SPORTS BRA: A high to maximum sports bra, from an old-school company with a new school feel.  Shop

2. REEBOK ONE SERIES FITTED CAPRI: This classic black Capri is a must have for any workout wardrobe.  Shop

3. LULULEMON COOL RACERBACK TANK: Choose from a wide variety of colors.  Shop

4. BALEGA SOCKS: Love these soft tread, no show socksShop

5. NIKE FREE 1.0 WOMEN’S TRAINING SHOE: These shoes will go the distance.  Shop


Runner’s Go-To

As a runner, the right clothes are vital. Running wear has to be supportive but not too tight, closely fitted but not chafing. The right (or wrong!) outfit can change your entire run.

 1. CW-X VERSATX SUPPORT BRA: Supportive and lightweight.   Shop

2. OISELLE DISTANCE SHORT: From a company geared toward runners, this is the classic running short.  Shop

3. UNDER ARMOUR FLY-BY STRETCH MESH TANK: Inspired by an old-school pinney with a slimmer athletic fit.  Shop

4. SAUCONY KINVARA 5: I love these, and they are a Runner’s World Editors Choice pick.  Shop




Sarah Huntington was a collegiate basketball player and is now a runner and high school Head Basketball Coach. She lives in Wilton, CT and enjoys reading, writing, yoga, and has recently picked up kickboxing.