“We think designer and dedicated gym rat Rick Owens puts it best: “Changing your body is so much more hardcore than changing your clothes.” Thing is, doing one requires doing the other, and this creates a host of stylistic dilemmas. After all, the only thing worse than looking badat the gym is looking bad at the gym while thinking you look good. To help sort through this stylistic minefield, we queried a couple of experts—including Mr. Owens—for a few tips in how to sweat in effortless(-seeming) style.
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“Guys go to the gym for a reason: to get better, bigger, stronger, faster. It’s important to wear workout gear that will facilitate different types of exercise,” says ESPN analyst, former Giants QB, and Park & Bond Man of Style Jesse Palmer. “Relaxed ‘dry fit’ shirts work great, as opposed to the skin-tight version, and looser-fitting athletic shorts or track pants make it easy to do any sort of exercise, whether it be running, plyometrics or weight training.” Wisely, Palmer counsels against headbands and wristbands, which “scream spinning class.“
Lose the logos.
As you (hopefully) already know, outside of officially sanctioned athletic competitions and nostalgic ‘90s-style rap videos, jerseys—throwback or otherwise—are strictly off-limits for the gym. Same goes for embossed, emblazoned, bedazzled, and otherwise embellished items of clothing (if, for some reason, you’re not avoiding those already).
It’s not a fashion show.
Palmer may be the best-dressed guy on ESPN, but he’s firmly anti-fashion on the fitness floor. “Some guys wear designer shoes to the gym, with patent leather and Velcro straps—those won’t provide an edge for them on the treadmill.” Good advice, though we hasten to add that wearing Rick Owens sneaks to the gym is all kinds of badass.
Find your uniform and stick to it.
For years, Rick Owens’ day-to-day outfit was black sweatpants, black baggy shorts over them, a black or white cotton T-shirt, and a black cashmere T-shirt over that. “I don’t want to change outfits every day,” he says, “or even to change for the gym.”
Whether or not you emulate Rick’s commitment to the uniform in day-to-day dress, it’s good advice for the gym. So find what works for you, and buy it many times over (remember, workouts mean laundry). Owens cites an inspiration of his, the great designer Jean-Michel Frank, who supposedly kept a closet full of identical gray flannel suits, as the ideal. “An example of a man who knew himself,” he adds.
Having said all that, just because you’re working up a sweat doesn’t mean you throw out everything you’ve learned about your own personal style. We’re not suggesting you hit the treadmill in a pair of seersucker trousers from Etro, but you should make sure that your gym gear comprises things that reflect the way you dress when you’re not pumping iron.”
(Spotted at Park & Bond)