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Choosing the best activewear for your body shape


Brigitte Brianna Active Legging
Be honest.


How many of us avoid going to the gym, running outside, or doing any form of exercise simply because we hate the way we look in workout clothes?

Maybe not every woman can relate to this feeling (lucky you, if you can’t), but it’s a common concern for many of us. 

Rest assured, you don’t need to look like a supermodel to feel beautiful and confident in your activewear. But the right clothes (and fit) can have a big impact on your confidence level.

First, let’s make one thing absolutely clear: every body is beautiful. Some have curves, some have narrow hips, some are tall, some are short, etc. (You get the picture.)

No matter your shape and size, you deserve to find the perfect activewear to compliment all your gorgeous features.

(Before we hit the list, a little disclaimer: The suggestions contained in this post are just that -- suggestions from a variety of stylists and bloggers. At SexyModest, we believe the most important thing is choosing whatever clothing makes you look and feel your best.) 

If you prefer to skip the list altogether and just do some shopping already, be our guest! Just click here.

Otherwise, here are some guidelines for choosing the best activewear for your body shape. Enjoy!

The best activewear for: Rectangle body shapes

Crop sportswoman carrying sport mat and bottle of water before exercising

If your shoulders, hips, and waist are roughly the same width all the way down, then you probably have a rectangle-shaped body. Celebrities with this body shape include Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, and Eva Longoria. (Not a bad list!)

The trick with this body type is to create more curves. Clothing with rounded seams can help create this illusion, as can bright colors or patterns that draw attention to your waist and hips.

For tops: Stick with tops that have open necklines and ruched or pleated sides. (A padded sports bra helps as well!)

For bottoms: To add variety, choose bottoms that are different colors than your tops. Colored waistbands or details around the hips help accentuate curves.

Try to avoid: Monochromatic outfits.

The best activewear for: Inverted triangle body shapes

The inverted triangle body shape is characterized by broad shoulders, small chests, little or no waist, and slim hips. Celebrities with this body shape: Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, and Cindy Crawford. (Again, good company!)

Similar to the rectangle body shape, you’ll want to choose activewear that helps to create the illusion of curves -- but this time, you’ll want to focus on your lower half to even things out.

For tops: Keep it simple up top with basic colors and a fit that accentuates your waist. Tops with thicker straps will make your shoulders appear smaller.

For bottoms: Choose pants with bright colors, patterns around the hips, pockets, or stripes on the side.

Try to avoid: Horizontal lines -- they can make you look shorter.

The best activewear for: Spoon (or pear) body shapes

You might have a spoon body shape (also known as a “pear shape”) if your hips are larger than your bust and you have shapely legs and arms. Celebrities with this body shape: Cheryl Burke, America Ferrera, and Beyoncé. (Ummm...yeah. That’s another good list.)

For this body shape, it’s all about drawing attention upwards while rocking those curves down below. (Don’t try to hide them!)

For tops: Scoop necks and tops with wide necks help your shoulders appear wider, which balances out your figure. Don’t be afraid to choose bold colors up top as well!

For bottoms: Dark, plain prints work best for evening things out between your top half and your lower half. Choose leggings with a high waistband, or long, wide-legged trousers to elongate your lower half. 

Try to avoid: Light-colored leggings or extra large tops.

The best activewear for: Hourglass body shapes

The hourglass body shape is a classically feminine look. Your bust and hips are equally proportioned with a smaller waist in between. Celebrities with this shape include Marilyn Monroe and Scarlett Johnasson. (In other words: gorgeous women.)

For the hourglass shape, it’s pretty simple: show off those beautiful curves.

For tops: V-neck or fitted tops work best to accentuate your curves. Tops that hit just above the hip are most flattering.

For bottoms: High-waisted leggings are going to be your best friend. Pull attention upward to your most slimming feature -- your waist.

Try to avoid: Outfits that are too big or bulky -- or, on the flipside, outfits that are too tight.

The best activewear for: Apple body shapes

Image by Hannah Wells from Pixabay

The apple body shape is characterized by a large bust, a full mid-section, and narrow hips. Celebrities with the apple body shape include Rebel Wilson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Kate Winslet. (Beauties! Every one!)

For this beautiful shape, you’ll want to try to draw more attention to the lower half of your body.

For tops: Choose a loose top that cinches or ties at the bottom. V-necks will also help draw attention downwards.

For bottoms: Fitted capris work best to draw attention to those beautiful legs of yours.

Try to avoid: Pants with flared legs -- they may make you look boxy.

The best activewear for: Diamond body shapes

If you have a full mid-section with slim legs and arms, you might have a diamond body shape. Celebrities with this shape include Adele and Melissa McCarthy. (Beauty AND talent? That’s a good combo.)

You can choose activewear that lengthens your lower body while emphasizing your gorgeous arms and legs.

For tops: Workout tanks and tops that showcase your defined collarbone and shoulders are most flattering. Feel free to choose any color you like!

For bottoms: To create length, choose pants with a straight shape and a supportive waistband. 

Try to avoid: Tight-fitting tops.

The best activewear for: Petite body shapes

Photo by Alex Shaw on Unsplash

Okay, so “petite” isn’t so much a shape as it is a size (specifically, women 5’ 4” and under). In fact, petite body sizes can be any pear-shaped, apple-shaped, hourglass, or rectangle shape. But it’s worth mentioning what works best for these smaller frames. Celebrities with petite frames include Reese Witherspoon, Emilia Clarke, and Natalie Portman. (Once again -- good company to run with.)

Petites should opt for styles that increase length -- but not so much that they drown!

For tops: Choose t-shirts with front and side knots and tops with thin straps.

For bottoms: Stick with high-waisted, full leggings. Stripes along the sides can also add length. 

Try to avoid: Cropped pants and big prints.

Activewear tips for every woman -- regardless of body shape

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No matter if you’re pear-shaped, rectangular, petite, diamond, apple, or something else, there are certain rules of thumb every woman should follow when it comes to choosing the right activewear.
  • Invest in a good sports bra. No, sports bras aren’t just there to look cool -- they’re actually very important for keeping you comfortable and supported during your workout. (Trust us -- your future self will thank you. Just read this.)
  • Avoid cotton for long, sweaty workouts. Since cotton absorbs sweat, your clothes can become wet and heavy while you’re burning those calories. (Translation: major discomfort.) Instead, opt for fabrics that wick away moisture while keeping you cool (such as polyester and spandex). 
  • Choose clothes that are comfortable and durable. Whether you’re running, squatting, jumping, biking, or hiking, you want clothing that moves well with you. If you don’t feel comfortable moving around in your activewear, it’s time for new activewear. (P.S. Make sure your leggings pass the squat test like these ones do!)
  • Wear clothing that makes you feel like a rockstar. Despite the suggestions above, sometimes the things other people would choose just don’t work for you. If a certain top or pair of leggings makes you feel unstoppable, go for it!

  • Get going with SexyModest Activewear

    Ready to get moving? SexyModest has everything you need to revamp your activewear collection -- from leggings to shorts to hoodies and more!

    Check out the SexyModest Activewear collection today and download the free app to browse more options!

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