Outfitting Your Exercise

7 Nov

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At this point in my life, I’ve accumulated enough clothes for every occasion. I have my work clothes. I have my clothes that work well after work. I’ve got my bar clothes, not to be confused with my club clothes. I’ve got Sunday brunch clothes that can lead to the day party later. And, best of all, I’ve got my gym clothes.

I’ve been working out so much over the years that my gym-clothes drawer is spilling into other drawers. I’ve got a decent amount of running pants, more than enough running shirts, quite a few bras with a few pairs of shorts sprinkled in. I’ve learned how to dress for every workout. What I’ll wear on a summer run may not be suitable for working out at the gym at my job. The running jacket I have for the fall and winter serves as just a jacket when I’m going to a class or the gym. And I’ve got plenty of items to keep me happy.

But I like shopping. So…I’m gonna buy more stuff if there’s a sale or I see something I like.

Which brings us to two completely different incidences where choosing the wrong item could have wreaked havoc on my bank account.

Fashion designer Alexander Wang released his new collection in collaboration with H&M yesterday. He previewed the collection a few weeks ago, which was where we saw the newly slimmed down Missy Elliot. I looked at the clothes online, and some of them seemed really cool. I liked the crop tops, though I’m not ready to expose my stomach to the world outside the beach. Some of the pants and shorts were nice, too, and they looked like they’d function during one of my many high-intensity workouts.

Um…not so much.

I went to the launch yesterday—twice. During my lunch break, I walked up the block to H&M only to find there was a barricaded line outside the store. Then the line went inside where it snaked around another barricade. I hadn’t planned on a two hour lunch, so I decided to browse the store. I’ve always liked H&M, even though it’s Old Navy with better looking clothes. There were some cute coats and dresses I saw, but what really intrigued me were all the people walking around with Alexander Wang bags. Many customers went through the long line, bought their stuff and continued to shop. One woman I talked to had gone through the line and seemed unscathed. “How was it?” I asked.

“That shit was ridiculous,” she said. “They kicked me out after 15 minutes.”

The store I went to was allowing customers to peruse the items in 15-minute increments. They even had a guy with a bullhorn announcing when time would be up. Still, I got a pretty good look at the items from the second floor. Just about everything is black, which makes them useless during the cloudy, dark days ahead. Some items had reflective fabric, but most were just for show.

In fact, just about everything was for show. When I came back that evening after the crowd had died down, I got a chance to look at all the clothes. None of them really seemed able to withstand a vigorous workout. Some of the capris seemed OK, but who wears a crop top on a run in the middle of winter? Not this gal.

Then there were the prices. Like I said, I like H&M, but making high-quality clothing isn’t their thing. That’s why most of their clothes are so inexpensive. Even though Alexander Wang is a top designer, the prices for his branded material was outrageous. Tank tops for $35, non-functioning sports bras for $40.

Where he failed in performance wear that you can perform in, he excelled in some dresses. They were designed to fall in line with Wang’s collection, but they had a “we’re gonna kick it hard” kind of vibe. Still, those dresses were about $200, way more than I planned to spend. So, I bought the one piece of sports equipment I could afford: a water bottle.

This experience was different from the last time I went sportswear shopping, which was a couple of weeks ago. I went to the Under Armour sample sale. This, too, was a bit overpriced. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as Alexander Wang, mostly because the clothes have better functionality. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as H&M. Plus, if you’re looking for stuff you can sweat in, the sample is your best bet, not the Alexander Wang collection.

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