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You’re not imagining it: women everywhere are wearing dresses while exercising. The functional activewear piece has become ubiquitous over the past couple of years, and I’d surmise nearly every woman in your life either owns one or wants one.
The workout dress is an ostensibly simple design: an A-line dress (similar to the popular slip dress) made from a stretchy, lightweight spandex/nylon fabric that often includes built-in biker shorts. The style is lauded for its comfort and versatility (you can work out, go to the farmer’s market and, in some cases, even to dinner in it.) Not to mention, everyone looks good in the silhouette.
The current craze can be traced back to 2018 when Outdoor Voices released its now-famous and often-copied Exercise Dress. Now, brands like Alo, Girlfriend Collective and Abercrombie & Fitch are selling their own versions with great success. The style’s dominance in athleisure is also a likely product of the past year and a half’s WFH era, which has us sporting low-key loungewear 24/7.
I’m telling you all of this because, as a woman who owns a few exercise dresses herself, the stretchy skort dress is one of my favorite styles to wear, period. Whether I’m actually sweating in it or just need something quick to throw on to grab coffee, my workout dresses are reliable, practical and stylish. And it’s why I believe the exercise dress is one of the best and most thoughtful, gifts you can give to the woman in your life. So below is a list of hand-picked workout dresses from a range of brands, all boasting fun colors, sleek looks and unmatched comfort.
Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress
You’re looking at the workout dress that launched a thousand workout dresses: The Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress. The first workout dress I’ve ever owned, it has been with me through so much: working out, traveling, walks to the bodega. It’s beyond comfortable, super cute and features adjustable straps, plus two handy pockets in the built-in short.
Alo Airbrush Real Dress
Constructed from Alo’s supportive, sculpting fabric, this V-neck racerback dress is a supportive, flattering number.
Nike Bliss Luxe Training Dress
Nike’s training dress looks like a chic vintage shift dress but is built for high and low performance thanks to a stretchy, lightweight outer layer that sits on top of a flexible, performance bodysuit.
Halara Everyday 2-in-1 Activity Dress-Wannabe
After seeing a bazillion ads for this dress on TikTok, the social media marketing worked and I needed to try her out. Halara, a Hong-Kong based activewear brand I was unfamiliar with until they bombarded my “For You” page, offers a wide array of activewear, including a large selection of workout dresses. I went with their best-selling Everyday 2-in-1 Activity Dress-Wannabe and was pleasantly surprised. The spandex/nylon fabric is sturdy and smooth, the slightly flared skirt adds fun movement and unlike a lot of exercise dresses on the market, Halara’s comes with a built-in bra
Outdoor Voices Court Dress
This very cute tennis-inspired number features supportive 4-way stretch, sweat-wicking properties and cute cutout details.
Girlfriend Collective Paloma Racerback Dress
Girlfriend Collective took all the best qualities of its best-selling sports bra and put them into an equally flattering, compressive workout dress.
Abercrombie & Fitch Traveler Mini Dress
This simple style from Abercrombie & Fitch is a more affordable alternative to OV’s Excercise Dress. Available in a bunch of flattering colors, the Traveler Mini Dress features a hidden cellphone pocket and adjustable straps.
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