Hit the gym: Stylish fitness gear for bodies of all shapes and sizes

Some fashion-forward pieces to wear for both night-time glamour and day-time yoga

There’s no better month for workout motivation than January and this is traditionally when gym traffic increases.

Jane Shortall is a Dublin-based dance instructor, who developed a series of fitness “Confidance” classes. Dance, she says, burns fat, tones muscles and improves the cardiovascular system. Such movement, she continues, also increases brain function, concentration and releases endorphins – hormones which make us feel more alert.

If you are a member of a gym or were given a gift membership for Christmas, your first question might be about your workout wardrobe. Not all of us want to wear tight, figure-hugging synthetics, and not all of us are whisper slim, despite the brand images of aspirational shapes that are foisted on us. Hitting the gym in stylish clothes should be possible for all body shapes. Larger women may prefer dark colours when working out, says Shortall.

Modern activewear is really shaping up in this regard, with technologically advanced seamless tops; raised waistbands which make legs look longer; the use of luxury fabrics such as velvets alongside lycra and mesh; and the borrowing of patterns and prints from high-fashion ready-to-wear pieces.


Bodysuits are often bought as much for night-time glamour as for day-time yoga, and leggings now supplant jeans as everyday wear with big sweaters.

Shorthall shows how a gym kit thrown on first thing in the morning can be both stylish and practical before you hit the barbells or follow her choreographed routines to the best of uplifting tunes, whether Sister Sledge or Beyoncé.