Workout attire for men

What to wear to get fit, look good (and not smell bad)

There are many reasons for a guy to work out. Exercise prolongs life and enhances well-being. Weight training builds muscles. Running, biking, rowing, and the like build cardio strength. Yoga and Pilates make us flexible. Team sports build camaraderie and foster competitive spirit. 

But as wonderful as all those benefits may be, the not-so-well-kept secret of men’s fitness is that we exercise because it makes us look good. We go to the gym or the track or the pool for the same reason that guys do most anything: because we’re vain.

Given this, there’s something ironic about the ways many guys dress when they workout. Spend some time around men playing sports or lifting weights, and you’ll quickly note the abundance of sweat-stained t-shirts, saggy pants, torn hoodies, and filthy baseball caps. Frankly, many guys arrive at the gym looking and smelling like they’ve been exercising for hours already because they’re wearing the same disgusting clothes they wore the last time they worked out.

This makes no sense.

Image by senivpetro on Freepik

What to wear when exercising

Whatever your sport or fitness activity, there are some general rules to choosing suitable attire.

First and most obviously, a guy should wear clean clothes. If you exercise multiple times a week (and you should), you’ll need multiple outfits and you’ll need to commit to doing laundry.

Second, a guy should remember this is 2024. Unlike just a few years ago, the apparel world is full of clothes made with new fibers, new technologies and new materials all designed to make you look good and stink less when exercising.

Third, a man should alter his exercise apparel based on the type of exercise he’s doing. If, for example, you’re committed to working the weights, you should invest in weight-lifting shoes. Running shoes are bad for weightlifting.  (Go ahead. Google it. We’ll wait.) Similarly, if you're a basketball player, wear basketball shoes. Runner? Get your gait analyzed at a runners’ store and invest in running shoes that suit you. Browse Taelor’s Curated Collections for outfit inspirations, based on the fitness activity you do.

Fourth, it’s worth noting that women can get away with things in gym attire that men cannot. Skin Tight booty shorts may look adorable on the woman on the mat next to you in yoga class. But those shorts look laughable on you.

Men’s exercise clothes: the basics

Regardless of what type of fitness activity you prefer, there are a number of staple items that any guy should have in his closet (or gym bag.)

Sweatpants are out of fashion. But joggers are very much in fashion. You should have a pair or two. Just remember to choose joggers in the right size.

“My main recommendation for guys are joggers,” says Joanna Medeiros, a stylist with Taelor. “But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you need joggers that fit and fit well.” Wearing joggers that are too big, too long or too short make guys look … well … silly. Unlike the tracksuit pants that were so popular a few years ago, the cut of joggers require guys to put a bit more effort into choosing a pair.


Shorts are another must-have item. Even in winter, shorts can be appropriate, particularly for runners. For everyone else, if the temperature isn’t in the single digits, pairing shorts with a sweatshirt is a classic look.

Don’t sweat it

If there is a single idea to keep in mind when choosing workout attire it is this: moisture wicking.

Most moisture-wicking clothes are made with synthetic fabrics that move sweat away from your body and toward the outer surface of the clothing item. Wearing moisture-wicking clothes will keep you dry and comfortable. Wearing such clothes means you can avoid that sticky, uncomfortable feeling that comes from perspiring in cotton t-shirts. 

Many moisture-wicking fabrics are also quick-drying, which means exactly what it sounds like. That can be particularly useful for outerwear that is exposed to rain or surf.

If you buy moisture-wicking clothes, please remember to read the care instructions. Many moisture-wicking items don’t perform well after they’ve been exposed to fabric softeners. 

Or you can avoid the whole how-do-I-clean-this problem by renting your performance wear throughTaelor. We carry a variety of moisture-wicking items from brands for customers to rent or purchase.


For example, one of our newest brand partners is KOUP, which makes anti-microbial, anti-odor, moisture-wicking performance wear that is made from recycled plastic bottles and infused with cinnamon extracts. 

Koup’s cinnamon T-shirt is a one of the best workout attire for men, known as: 

  • Natural anti-microbial properties and odor control using cinnamon extract
  • Ultra-lightweight, sweat-wicking, quick-dry, cooling - all achieved without chemical additives
  • Each shirt saves on average 8 plastic bottles from becoming waste and is 100% recyclable

Looking for fitness and workout attire options you can rent from Taelor or more tips on choosing workout attire? Check out this video from Aydreon Wynn, fashion influencer and Taelor partner.

Rent Workout Attire from Taelor

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