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Ready to refresh your gym wardrobe? Get fit, look fab, and streamline your closet by creating a workout capsule wardrobe tailored to your fitness needs.

Learn how many workout outfits you’ll need and tips for transitioning your wardrobe throughout the seasons. Use my workout capsule checkoff list for all your gym wear basics.

Visual collage with women's workout clothes, text and text box, on floral background.

So far, I’ve shared my holiday capsule wardrobe with you. Today, I’m excited to talk about how to create an athletic capsule wardrobe!

If you’re just starting out on a fitness routine, or want to streamline your closet, a curated athletic capsule wardrobe can help you reach your goals. Plus, it blends the best of both worlds: Style and Function.

In addition to keeping your closet organized, having a curated wardrobe ensures you’ll always have a clean workout outfit on hand.

While it’s great to think of a workout wardrobe as an investment towards your health (because it is), it’s important to stay on budget.

In this case, I love planning out my saves and splurges. Over the years, I’ve gone through many workout outfits, and I’m excited to share with you the pieces where your money will be best spent.

For more outfit ideas with high/low items, head to my post on purple outfit ideas!

Use the drop down Table of Contents menu to navigate this post.

How Many Workout Outfits Should I Have?

You’ll need to start each workout with a fresh, clean set of clothing. Unless you know you’ll be diligent about washing clothes after every workout session, I recommend having one outfit for every day you workout.

So, if you’re doing 3 days of workouts each week, you’ll need 3 outfits.

If you do laundry less frequently, you’ll want to keep two outfits on hand for every workout session.

In this case, if you workout 4 days a week, you’ll need 8 outfits. (4 days x 2 outfits = 8 outfits)

Transitioning From Warm Weather to Cold

Buying an entire new workout wardrobe for cooler weather isn’t necessary. Instead, swap out a few spring/summer pieces for items that will provide more warmth.

Personally, I love layering pieces in cold months, especially for workouts when you may start out freezing, but end up in a sweat by the end of your warmup.

Go From This to That


  • Tops: tanks & short sleeves
  • Jackets: lightweight
  • Bottoms: shorts, leggings, & capris


  • Tops: long sleeves (lined if preferred)
  • Jackets: lined & insulated
  • Bottoms: full length, lined leggings

Workout Capsule Wardrobe: Item Checkoff List

The following items are basics you’ll build your wardrobe with. You might need more or less of these items depending on the type of workouts you’ll be doing.

Sports Bra

A great sports bra allows you the freedom to move, and helps to prevent damage of the delicate breast tissue.

A medium support sports bra can get many by on lighter workout days, but for vigorous activities such as running, HIIT, or weight lifting, you’ll want full support.

The most supportive sports bras usually have wide adjustable straps, molded cups, hook and eye closures, soft underbands, and a high neckline.

Pink sports bra on white background.

Medium Support Sports Bra

This cute sports bra from H&M is like a bra and tank top in one.

Closeup of woman in athletic wear.
Cropped image of woman in pink sports bra.
Green sports bra on white background.


Whether you select tank tops, short sleeves, long sleeves, or thermal layers, look for athletic materials in light, breathable fabrics.

If you prefer a loose fitted top, layer it over a fitted tank or sports bra to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions.

Mesh Back Tank Top

Made from recycled polyester, this Reebok tank works to keep sweat at bay.

Light green tank on white background.
Cropped image of woman in cream sports bra.
Light green t-shirt.
Cropped image of a woman in athletic wear.
Cropped image of a woman in athletic wear.
Cropped image of woman in white tank.

Jackets and Vests

Whether you’re an early gym-goer or you head to the great outdoors for your workouts, a jacket or vest can take the edge out of the crisp air. I like zippers because I can remove them without messing up my hair.


Whether you go with capris, 7/8 length, or full length, high waisted leggings are a must. Lined shorts provide extra coverage while still allowing mobility.

Light brown leggings on white backdrop.

Period Proof Leggings

That time of the month will hinder your workouts no more. These Victoria’s Secret period leggings are absorbent and provide odor control.

Cropped image of woman's legs in pink leggings.
Cropped image of woman's legs in green leggings.
Pink shorts.
Cropped image of woman's legs in blue and cream leggings.


Good workout underwear must hold up to some pretty high standards. First, they should be seamless, no panty lines!

In addition to comfort and flexibility, they need to stay put (undies traveling up the rear is fun for no one). Last, for sanitary reasons, they should have a cotton gusset lining, keeping things healthy and dry around your lady parts.

Stay Put Undies

No one does workout undies better than Under Armour. Made with thick, stretchy fabric and reinforced stitching, you’ll never have panty lines or wedgies.

Six pairs of neutral underwear on white background.


Not all sneakers are created equal. Selecting the right shoes for a particular workout is a matter of safety. Whether you’re pounding the asphalt or gym floor with a high intensity workout, you’ll want shoes with good support and can easily grip the ground.

Likewise, if you’re squatting heavy weights, you’ll want shoes that provide a good base, keeping you planted and balanced.

Black and pink sneakers.

Training Sneaker

The Ryka Influence provides comfort and support for hitting those high impact workouts. These are my go-to for all my HIIT and weight lifting gym sessions.

A pink sneaker.
A green sneaker.
A pair of pink sneakers.

Extra Gym Essentials

Every good gym wardrobe needs moisture wicking socks and hair ties for maximum comfort and visibility during workouts.

Six pink and white socks.
Green headband on white background.
Rainbow hair ties.

How to Build a Workout Capsule Wardrobe

Use these steps as a guide to thoughtfully plan out an athletic capsule wardrobe that gives you exactly what you need.

1. Consider Your Workout

Set yourself up for success with clothing that supports your workouts. Think about how your body will move and peruse the internet for clothing designed for your specific workout.

Intense workouts require more support for the girls. Fitted shirts won’t slide up when you’re in a downward facing dog.

While loose fitting items are fine for low impact workouts like walking and light cardio, you’ll want something fitted for using gym equipment and free weights. Safety first friends!

2. Create Your Color Palette

Choose four to five shades you love and that flatter your skin tone. Select one or two neutrals, and the rest as accent colors. Et’ voila! Shopping just got easier and you’ll be able to mix and match items with ease.

3. Shop Your Closet

Go through your closet and see what items can be used in your workout attire. If an item is damaged or doesn’t fit anymore, it’s probably best to part ways with it.

Doing a closet clear out allows you to assess what items already work for your wardrobe and what you’ll still need to get.

4. Plan For the Season

Build your wardrobe starting with items you’ll need for the current season. You can always add items needed for changing climate only when it’s necessary.

6. Set a Budget

Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your new wardrobe. Most regular clothing stores have their own athletic line, so these days, finding great workout wear at all price points is easy.

With your budget set, you can determine what items to splurge on and which to save. (Hint, shoes always run on the pricier side, but are worth investing in the best your budget allows).

7. Shop

Now comes the fun part! Use your list to buy your new workout wardrobe. Keep scrolling for great product suggestions at affordable price points.

Workout Outfits

Once you’ve got the items for your athletic capsule wardrobe, it’s time to get styling! I selected 4 tops including tanks and short sleeves, 4 sports bras, 3 pairs of leggings, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 different sneakers, and a light jacket.

Collage of women's workout clothing with text at top and bottom.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

From these 17 items I curated six different outfits, which is more than enough for my four workout days each week. Adapt the pieces to your needs depending on whether you’ll need more or less outfits.

Would a curated workout wardrobe get you motivated to start a fitness routine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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