What to wear at fitness workouts? Here are some ideas for fitness clothes for women over 40!

by Sylvia

fitness clothes for women over 40 | 40plusstyle.com

I focus a lot on ‘regular’ clothing on 40+Style. However, for many of us, myself included, sport and fitness is an important part of their daily routine. Style shouldn’t step as soon as you enter the fitness room so today we will look look at some great fitness clothes for women over 40.


What is important in fitness clothes?

Here is what I personally find important in fitness clothes.

1. Fitness clothes need to be comfortable

This is very important as these clothes have a clear function. It’s hard to focus on your workout or yoga session when your clothes are too tight. I personally find that many inbuilt bras are too tight and stop me from being comfortable. For that reason I often choose tops with inbuilt bras 1 or 2 sizes up. They still give enough support but not are not so tight that they prevent me from breathing properly.

2. Light fabrics that are especially created for sports are often better

Although I dislike synthetic fabrics, fabrics especially created for sports often perform better than cotton. They do a better job at keeping you cool.

3. Choose tops that match your climate

As I live in Singapore, I have very open tops. In colder climates I would choose more coverage.

For my tennis clothes I now always use covered tops during the day to protect me from the sun, while I choose open tops for the evening.

I don’t need a coverup here, but would definitely have one in a cooler climate. Make sure that you have one or two that match your outfits.

4. Mix and match as much with fitness clothes as your other clothes

Although I sometimes buy ‘sets’. I find it a lot more fun to buy tops and bottoms that I can mix and match with each other. Even if I do buy a set, I will often wear the top or bottom with something else.

5. Pay special attention to your underwear!

Hugely important! If you wear pants in stretchy fabrics you can clearly see the outline of your panties. Choose superthin seamless underpants that are invisible. Although you can wear g-strings too, they often create very defined buttocks and I personally don’t like the look of that.

6. Make sure your pants are not sheer!

Leggings can be quite sheer and in clear light you can see everything. Be sure to choose a fabric that is not sheer to avoid this.

blackleggingswithbrightpinktop bestfitnessclothesforwomenover40

You can opt for a loser style in pants or a choose a leggings style. In the past I personally always opted for wider options until I recently embraced close fitted leggings. Now I prefer the look of those and they are super practical for both yoga and fitness classes.


I like my neutrals just as much as brighter colors. If you normally don’t choose bright color for your clothes, you may want to give it a go for your fitness class and have some fun with color!




I never really match my shoes to my outfits as may be clear from these photos. I’m actually due for a new pair of trainers as I tend to use these for everything, both fitness and tennis which is a bit silly.

But I always make sure I feel good in the fitness clothes I wear and will mix and match as much as with my regular clothes. I suggest you do too!

Some of my favorite brands include Lululemon, Adidas and especially Stella McCarney for Adidas, although the latter is featured more with my tennis clothes and yoga clothes.

I made a selection of fitness clothes for women currently available online, so if you need anything, happy shopping!

Do you pay attention to your fitness clothes? What do you like to wear?


Photography by Marjouri Joy Santos

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann

Nice choices, you look great in exercise clothes too! Top with the tie in back is cool. Have not seen anything like this before. Good tips.

blue hue wonderland


2 Sylvia

Thanks Ann. Looking at these pictures I feel I could definitely improve on it though. I need to get new shoes!


3 Accidental Icon

There is an interesting article in the Atlantic about the effects of wearing exercise clothes on your desire to work out and how the company Luleumon has used this research in their brand. In my post “Grey Matters” I write more about the effect clothing has on how you think, feel and act. Do you feel different (e.g.more fit) when you wear your fitness clothes? I do! Paying attention to what you wear to exercise is more important than you think! Thanks for bringing our attention to it Sylvia.
Accidental Icon


4 Sylvia

Yes, I can imagine that. It does have a positive effect on me too!


5 Suzanne

I love the light green/yellow paired with the brown.

I must admit I hate buying workout clothes. Hard to believe that I hate shopping for any clothes but I really dislike it. I workout at home and no one sees it so I find it a bit of a chore. I have at one time run on the treadmill in just a bra and panties. LOL



6 Sylvia

lol That is what I would wear if I exercized at home!


7 Sabina @Oceanblue Style

Love the purple here Silvia. And great advice though I still go for comfy when doing yoga. But I will be doing that at home. When running definitely tight. And layers! Sabina OceanblueStyle


8 Greetje Kamminga

Never anything I would wear. Something that would hide my flaws like a little dress or a little flared skirt.


9 Allison Smith

I love the yellow top. My fitness wardrobe is almost entirely black. In terms of your tip of dressing for your climate that is not exactly ideal in a Sydney Summer so I will be trying to introduce a few lighter colours this season to beat the heat. You mentioned above you need new shoes (don’t we all … always!). I love Mizuno sneakers. I have never found anything that fits my narrow foot better. I’m currently on the hunt for a new pair 🙂



10 Sylvia

Thanks for the tip Allison!


11 rama

I love wearing T- shirts, especially the ones that have broad neck, but for the last 4/5 years I have put on weight around my waist, due to menopause and its side effects. No amount of exercising , eating healthy( both of which I have been doing for years) has any effect on me.
I have lots of beautiful leggings/ tights, but no proper exercise tops to wear which can hide my tummy. I feel very conscious, because I am a fitness instructor. I end up choosing some slightly loose daudy cotton tops to wear.
And another thing I hate with these T-shirts is that they look okay as long as they are new, once they have been washed they lose their fitting, they look nice only on thin people like you.
Do you have some ideas to help me?
Thank you.


12 Sylvia

Hi Rama. Sport tops can be tough. Ruched tops would be best but they are not easy to find. The yellow top above is not clingy at all. It fits around the bust and kind of drapes over the tummy area. Something like that may be good too. I usually buy good brands like Adidas and Nike and have found my tops keep their shape well. I think it pays to buy good quality. What also helps is to have leggings that cover your tummy That way your tops will fit and drape nicer. Hope that helps a bit… Good luck finding some great tops!


13 Petra

I like what the Accidental Icon has to say about the effects of wearing exercise clothing. Whenever I’ve worn it in the past I always feel I am one of “those” women who is always active, healthy, and puts great importance on a fitness regime. I am NOT one of those women in real life! But I do like the feeling whenever I wear anything remotely “sporty”. I love all the gorgeous sporty styles out there, especially the lounge-wear range – I would love to wear this style all the time, even tho’ I’m not sporty in any way. Now that I’m living in a slightly cooler climate, perhaps I could fit this type of gear into my wardrobe and see what happens 🙂 Would love to read more about this (hint hint)!!!


14 Sherry Edwards

I love your look. You have a great body and you’ve earned the right to show it off. (I don’t want to see anymore loose baggy clothes on you, ha! ha!) I also like how you kept your look simple, minimal make up and no jewellry. One of my pet peeves is women who work out as if they are going to a club.

P.S. Yes, your shoes are “well worn” but that proves you’re exercising!!!


15 Julie

This is great, but I’d like to add a couple comments:
– A good bra is essential and you should get fitted – running shops are great for this (if you can, look for a woman owned one for that more knowledge and attention).
–It can be spendy, but will save your back, and make your workout that much more comfortable. Nothing like a making a workout worse, especially if you are just starting or getting back into it, than the gals getting in the way or getting sore.
–I’ve heard that your bra shouldn’t have a birthday, especially if it gets lots of wear and you do medium to high impact activities.

-Good shoes are imparative and you should get fitted.
–If your shoes don’t have the proper support, or are wearing out, you can cause other injury, and again ruin an otherwise good workout, or make a hard one worse.

-The right clothes, those that are comfortable and wick away sweat, don’t hold stink, and don’t cause chafing, can make a huge difference in enjoying/survivng a workout and keeping you at your chosen exercice.
-Look for flat lock seams that won’t chafe, or added layers that can help, such as an athletic skirt with built in shorts (skort) to deal with thigh rub.
-BodyGlide and the like can help problem chafing areas – I haven’t used this kind of thing, but know a lot of women that do and swear by it.

I’ve had some success with clothes from the GAP brands: Old Navy, Gap, and Athleta, Champion’s C9 at Target, and Fabletics, I’m also a Runningskirts devotee, and one or two Skirt Sports skirts. I used to only wear Champion JogBras, and now am sold on Brooks/Moving Comfort bras – their Fiona is a good basic in lots of sizes.


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