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Men’s fashion at the gym

| Wednesday, January 21, 2015


The fortress of the gym. Sweaty bodies everywhere, putting your hands in the air like you do care about your fitness status. Presumably the last place to hide from sartorial critique.

Until now. Incredulous at the idea of being fashionable while working out? Then read on, as I take on the “groutfit” culture putting up a final stand in the outskirts of Rockne and Rolfs with only a keyboard and clothing advice.

Personally, I’d like to start by telling you that I’ve decided to order a pair of compression tights. Intimidated yet? Keep reading.

Professional athletes tout tights’ ability to keep muscles activated and facilitate more effective warmups. Scientifically, they’re shown to wick away sweat and improve blood flow, all while allowing for sick splits. Plus, Shia LaBeouf totally rocks a purple pair on jogs.

If you can’t take the pressure of compression tights, try joggers, the current all-around solution for men’s fashion. Warm and modern, they leave space in just the right locales, while still keeping a trendy sweat feel. Even though my mom still scolds if I throw on a pair on our way to Boston, they’re the newest urban wear as well, so don’t be afraid to wear them out.

Looking for something shorter? Don’t regress to outdated shorts. Avoid short shorts, unless you’re attending a rollerskating SYR, or below the knee basketball “shorts.” Ball can still be life if you’re wearing compression shorts, or if you want to stand, throw on a pair of sweat shorts.

Now a quick hint on where to splurge: your feet. You can get the nicest active gear for your upper and lower body, but all that’s doing is making you less sweaty, and you should be showering at the end of a workout anyways. On the other hand, a tired pair of kicks brings down your entire game, messing with your stride and bone integrity. Updating your shoe game is crucial for maintaining the health perks you would be looking for in a long jog.

But please, keep away from the five-toed abominations of the past. Not only are they hideous, but studies have shown that they are in fact harmful to your posture and feet, rather than providing the “natural” gait originally promised. Instead, turn to five-fingered socks when out of the gym. Tight-fitting shoes, especially sneakers, do curl your toes and give you flattened, “hammer toes.” Toe socks let your digits take a breather, returning your piggies to a rounded, healthier state.

The final step in your workout transformation comes with the accessories. Your gym bag should not compete with your carry-on in terms of volume. It should neatly contain your change of clothes, perhaps with an extra compartment for shoes. I use a “retro” leather single-shoulder sling bag that has one opening tied off with ropes. Although I’m pretty sure they stopped selling these back when my dad pumped iron, a leather duffle does have its place in your locker.

And if you want to bring your A+ game, throw on a suit over it all to keep you warm while braving the polar vortex. Just don’t have a singlet on underneath. I officially ban them.

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About Daniel Barabasi

Daniel enjoys taking long walks on the lakes, debating grammatical punctuality and dancing in the swing fashion. In his spare time, he is a neuroscience major in the Class of 2017.

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