First off, thank you for such a great question! My female take on gym wear has raised some, err…healthy debate in the past, so it’s nice to know my opinion in the workout style arena is still being solicited, at least from time to time.
As for the answer? Well, it depends on one thing – location location location.
Do you live in a city where you drive a car to work, and park in a vast lot, or maybe a dark, subterranean garage? Where the closest thing you get to human interaction before you hit your lobby is talking back to the morning drive-time DJ on the radio?
If that’s the case, then by all means, do it up with a functional-minded sporty gym bag whose logo is splashed across the side in florescent, metallic colors. Because if you’re leaving that thing in the backseat of your car, I don’t really care what it looks like.
However, if you live in a big city where your commute is more public, it makes sense to be more studied in your look.
Think about it this way – if you saw a girl on the subway one morning in a lovely dress, hair all done up, makeup just so, and….a big pair of ugly orthopedic sneakers on her feet? Those sneaks would kind of ruin her overall look for you. When function trumps fashion, you can tell. Especially when it’s at odds with an otherwise stylish outfit. Same with a big ol’ gym rat bag toted by guys – it kind of ruins the overall “grown man” vibe you’ve put together with the rest of your ensemble.
Now, if I lived in a driving city, I’d be al-l-l-l up in my Uggs or some such hideous-but-comfy shoe while driving to and fro, with a quick change before I got out of the front seat. Heck, I might even throw my gym stuff in a backpack if that’s all I had around. Alas, I live in New York (not a sentence I say too often – I don’t think there’s that much “alas” about NYC), it’s worth my while to be a bit more “on” while getting where I’m going. It’s the same for guys. You never know who might be looking.
If you’re currently in the market for a gym bag, I feel like it just makes sense to get a waxed canvas or leather duffel bag, no matter where you live. It’s much more versatile than a sporty gym bag – where else can you use a shoulder bag with a Nike swoosh the size of your head outside of the gym? But a buttery leather weekender bag? You can take that thing anywhere you go, no dark parking lot required. Something simple, like the one above from L.L. Bean Signature is perfect.
How do you tote your workout wear? Are you considering an upgrade?