What to wear to the gym? Here’s the best gear that also looks good

Jane Shortall of ConfiDANCE urges people to find an activity they enjoy this new year

She is small, wiry and super trim, with a silhouette honed from daily fitness and dance sessions that are her life’s work and business. Jane Shortall is well known for her ConfiDANCE workshops and is messianic about fitness, strength and confidence rather than weight or size. Regularly booked for work on movies and TV commercials advising actors on poise and posture, she is also her own best advertisement for what she does. Being style conscious, she is always on top of the latest and best leisure and active wear.

This being the month when gym membership soars after Christmas, Shortall cautions about people being over ambitious about getting fit and going at too fast a pace to keep up, and then giving up and reverting back to old habits.  What is key, she argues, is to find an activity you enjoy, that raises the adrenalin and that gives such “a kick of energy” that you want to do it again, whether it is Pilates, yoga, dance, running or whatever – “and there is something out there for every age, type and size,” she says. In her experience, “if you exercise for one hour three to four times a week at medium intensity, you will start to notice the difference and feel lighter and less sluggish after three to four weeks”.

In the meantime, what to wear to the gym? Performance fabrics in the past few years have changed active and leisure wear dramatically, with compression and breathability elements that slimline the silhouette and, after hot yoga or running, leave you odour free with quick dry pieces. Seam-free jacquard sports bras and four way stretch fabrics, for example, are designed for comfort and movement.

For those like Shortall who want the best gear that works but also looks good, with brighter, bolder colours, she has selected some workout items here that do duty both in the gym and on the street. Matching sets, when top matches bottom, can often look the best, but there are other options too.


Jane Shortall will be teaching a Fat Burning Fun Fitness ConfiDANCE workshop at The Space Between on Fenian Street, Dublin on Saturday January 25th from 2-4pm. €35. janeshortall.com

Photographs: Bríd O Donovan Make-up: Tara McHugh

Location: Little Bird Coffee and Yoga, Portobello.