“If You Look Good, You’re Going to Feel Good”: Why Your Workout Clothes Matter More Than You Think

Here’s your permission to splurge on that strappy sports bra you’ve been coveting.

Loading the player...

These days, fitness wear is dominating the fashion market. It seems a new athletic attire brand, pattern, or strappy sports bra design is born every day. Seriously, did it like rain yoga pants one day?

The vast amount of workout clothes options may feel a bit overwhelming, and make you wonder if it’s worth it to throw down some cash for pink metallic stretch pants. What happened to going to the gym in a plain white tee and basketball shorts? I mean, you’re going to get sweaty anyway, so why make going to the gym feel like a fashion show?

As it turns out, there’s a reason fitness fashions are so hot right now. Gym goers have discovered something miraculous about investing in how you look when getting your sweat on: It may actually help you work out harder and more often.

“I really believe that if you look good, you’re going to feel good, and if you feel good, you’re going to perform well,” says Holly Rilinger, a Nike master trainer.

That statement? There’s definitely science behind it. Alongside feeling confident and sexy in your new cut out leggings, experts believe there’s actually a mental shift that occurs when a person dresses the part. They call it, “enclothed cognition,” which means people tend to embody the characteristics that they associate with certain fashions. For example, if you put on seeing glasses (and you don’t usually wear them) you may feel smarter, if you dress in a business suit you may feel more professional, and of course, if you wear nice fitness wear you may feel more athletic.

Prepping your gym clothes may not only help you work out better while you’re at the gym, but it may actually motivate you to go too.

“I put my exercise clothes on first thing,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a registered dietitian in New York City. “If I have the clothes on, I’m 80 percent there, and it’s 80 percent a sure thing that I’m going to get the workout in.”

Riligner believes that people should take as much pride in their workout clothes as they do their work clothes or going out clothes. “You want to go out at night and you want to look good, why not do the same thing for your workouts?” says Riliger. “You’re taking pride in the way that you’re dressing, and you’re picking out an outfit that really makes you feel good, naturally you’re going to perform better, you’re going to work out harder, you’re going to feel better.”