Categories
Dress Exercise

Consciously curating your collection of activewear

When we think about a capsule wardrobe, we wouldn’t usually include our activewear. It makes sense, I mean you wouldn’t pair a neon yellow sports bra with your black tailored work trousers (or maybe you would? I guess it depends on your personal style…). But this means we often neglect to consider the sustainability of our workout wear. The all-encompassing textiles industry is one of the most resource intensive and environmentally polluting industries globally. With the fitness and wellness industries booming, more and more people are investing in activewear (Quartz, 2017; Telegraph, 2016), therefore it’s crucial we all become more conscious about our collection of sportswear.

Well, where to begin? What should you consider? Whether you’re thinking of buying something new or reviewing what you already own, here are some of the key questions to ask yourself…

Does it fit you well?

Usability is essential when assessing any area of your wardrobe, especially when it comes to what you’ll wear for exercise. We workout to both look and feel good. If your exercise clothes don’t work for you, you might feel less confident when stepping into the studio and therefore less likely to give your training session everything you’ve got because you’re pre-occupied with your top hugging your tummy too tightly or your leggings slipping down your behind. WRAP has found 30% of clothing in the average wardrobe hasn’t been worn for a year, often because it doesn’t fit anymore. If you’re not using an item because it doesn’t fit quite right, why let it take up precious space in your home?  Only purchase activewear that makes you feel as a great as you do after an amazing workout.

 

How often will you wear it?

Think about your personal style. We’ve all got caught up in fast fashion trends before, seeing our favourite influencers wearing the same print or cut clothing and wanting to be part of it, then a month or two later wondering why we went for something so wacky. Assess why you want the piece you’re considering purchasing. Is it part of a short-lived trend that you’ll regret buying into in a few months time? Think about the items you own that you do and don’t wear regularly. Which pile will this new piece fit into? Do you have other items that will compliment it? Style is about longevity, so pick pieces you know you’ll wear for years of sweaty, stretchy sessions to come.

 

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Photo source: Cassey Ho

 

How long will it last?

What material is it made from? Does it feel durable? Breathable? Supportive? Are there already bobbles before it’s been bought? Does the stitching look strong enough? There’s nothing worse than diving deep into a squat and hearing your leggings rip, revealing all! Assess the quality of the item, choosing quality over quantity every time.

 

Does the brand ethos align with your values?

Dig a little deeper into the company that made your clothes. What can you find out about their sustainability strategy? Are they socially or environmentally conscious? See if their values align with your own. If it’s the way in which workers are treated that you care about the most, then find out what the company does to ensure fair and safe labour conditions throughout their supply chain. Our perhaps you’re passionate about waste, do they use any recycled fibres in their product? If you can’t find out what you want to know on their website, email or call their head office to find out more. Even if you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, that call or email might trigger internal discussions that get you the answer you want in the future. You are what you wear, only buy into brands that share your beliefs.  

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Photo source: Blair McKarnin

 

Do you need it?

So it fits you well, it matches your personal style, the quality seems high and you love the company’s ethos, but you already have 3 pairs of leggings with a similar print and mesh bottom. Now it’s time to be strict on yourself – how many pairs of leggings do you really need? Say you exercise on average 4 times, and you get really sweaty 2 of those 4 times. Perhaps you need 2 pairs of leggings for the week. Then possibly a spare pair or two in case you can’t wash and dry them in time, or they get an unfixable tear. That’s 4 pairs of leggings you’ll need at the very most. We’re all guilty of owning more than we need. In the UK, a study by Oxfam and M&S (2016) found adults wear just 44% of clothing they own regularly. That’s a waste of resources, money, time and space! Reducing the number of items you have and working towards a more minimalist wardrobe is great for both space saving and avoiding morning outfit stress!

 

Keep an eye out for my next blog post on my sustainable sportswear discoveries coming soon!

Categories
Eat Exercise

What I did last week: Sustainable sportswear, organic beauty & a food waste feast

As I’ve had a particularly good week of sustainability and wellbeing events, I thought I’d share a little summary with you. I can’t guarantee this will be the first of a new series of posts as my average weeks aren’t quite so eventful, and quite frankly because I’m not sure anyone wants to know what I’ve done all 52 weeks of the year, but I hope this one will be of interest and may inform you of companies or events you wouldn’t have otherwise have heard of. Here goes…
1. Sweating in Sundried

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So I started Saturday off with a HIIT class taken by well-known fitness and food personality Clean Eating Alice at Third Space London. Here I tested out one of my latest sustainable sportswear discoveries, Sundried. Kitted out in my black and red kit, I was ready to get my sweat on. The class certainly didn’t disappoint – a thorough warm up was followed by sets of four exercises we repeated three times to work the whole body. Alice was great too – bubbly, technical and clear, with a great playlist to help you power through the burn! As for my Sundried attire, I love it! It sucks you in all of the right places helping you feel firm, yet it’s still breathable so you don’t feel suffocated during cardio bursts. I’ll tell you more about the company in my upcoming post on sustainability-conscious activewear brands, but as a short summary – Sundried are focused on providing low carbon sportswear that’s ethically produced in one of their two European factories. If you can’t wait to find out more then visit their website here and use the discount code “ZARA” for 50% any purchases!

2. Soil Association’s Organic Beauty Pop Up

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Last week was Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week, celebrating certified organic companies. As part of the Soil Association‘s Campaign in this area, they held a pop up in Shoreditch with a shop and a number of events. I managed to get myself a ticket for a lesson in essential oils with Neal’s Yard Remedies, so after showering off my sweat from the HIIT session I went straight there. I absolutely love essential oils and the impact they can have on your mental state, so it was great to learn a bit more from the experts and to make my own body oil. They also gave us a sample of their new Frankincense Intense Lift Serum and showed up ways to massage the face to aid relaxation. I’ve tried it since and found it to be the perfect addition to an evening ritual, helping you to de-stress after a long day and get ready for bed.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of certified organic beauty and to read what I found out when digging into what the “organic” label actually meant for the beauty products I own, then please check out my last post here.

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3. TABLE – community dining to combat food waste

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Following my regular Sunday morning barre class, I made my way to Somerset House to meet my friend Eliza for a catch up over a feast of seasonal scraps. For TABLE at the Spring Restaurant, chef Skye Gyngell masterfully put together a sharing menu of delicious dishes with food waste and donations from local farms and restaurants. It was a community dining experience designed to elicit conversation between strangers as well as to contribute to the fight against food waste. Compiling ingredients that would often be overlooked, dishes included Yesterday’s porridge sourdough bread, beetroots with coffee milk labneh and broken rice with nettles and lemon leaves. My personal favourite (as always with such a sweet tooth) has to be desert – Nespole Basbousa and spent coffee grounds. To read more about TABLE click here, and to learn more about issues surrounding food waste and for recipes using up common leftovers visit Eliza’s blog: https://lifebylizasite.wordpress.com

4. Training for TotalBody London x Breast Cancer Now

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As part of the wonderful Chiara Pellegrino‘s (4fitnessake) TotalBody London team I’m lucky enough to attend a number of her fitness events, so this week I’ve been learning her latest choreography for demonstrating at the next event on Saturday morning. For this event she’s raising money for Breast Cancer Now with Callumn Nicholls from Third Space London and Duncan Morris from M&S who are taking on the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro later in the year and aim to raise £20,000 towards vital breast cancer research. The class is a 45 minute workout that hits every muscle in the body. With a great playlist and three cardio routines, you have fun whilst keeping fit and healthy. Chiara is focused on providing a class you’ll enjoy that takes your mind away from the everyday stresses of life whilst transforming your physical form. It’s not too late to get a ticket – buy yours now on Eventbrite by clicking here.

Did you go to any of these events? What did you think? What would you like me to write more about? Let me know by commenting below!