I am a workout fanatic. As obsessive as I am about working up a sweat, I also enjoy dressing the part. I want to look good while I strain my body to feel good. My go-to gear is pretty simple: breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that actually stays in place. At least one piece of the pairing must add a pop of color too. These items embody my practical prowess.

(credit: Nike)

Nike Pacer Shorts

669 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 
(312) 642-6363
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm
Sun 10am-6pm

Nike Pacer Shorts are for runners and non-runners alike. These Dri-FIT shorts are low-rise and really comfortable with a mesh inset. My dresser drawer is lined with different colors and patterns all at $32 each. These shorts will last you a long time. 

(credit: Lululemon)

Slipless Headband

900 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 
(312) 951-5923
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am – 7 pm / Sun 12 pm – 6 pm

An accessory for those trying to be sporty while also being girly. I never thought I’d like or find a headband to keep my hair back while not requiring constant readjustment. It really does stay in place (thanks to a thin rubber lining). Choose from a rainbow of colors, they cost $12.

(credit: Gap)

gFlex Capris

555 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 
(312) 494-8580
Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am-9 pm
Sun 10 am-7 pm

Yogies will love these capris from the Gap. The nylon capris are perfect for a variety of activities and accommodate many body types. They’re fitted through the thigh, cropped below the knee with a slight flare, and come with pockets – who doesn’t love pockets in their workout clothes? Price tag is between $36.99-$45.99.

(credit: Nordstrom)

Puma Volcano Tote

520 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 
(312) 379-4300
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm
Sun 11am-6pm

Lug your gym essentials in this double-handle bag. I can’t resist a good handbag and this style is optimal for everyday use. It includes top-zip closure, interior pockets, and totals $59.95. Best of all it doesn’t look like the traditional gym bag, so you’ll still look stylish as you lug around your gym clothes. 

(credit: Under Armour)

Tank or Tee

Sports Authority
3134 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 
Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am – 10 pm / Sun 10 am – 9 pm

Sleeves or no sleeves? I like both depending on the activity and weather. This Under Armour Tee fits loosely without being bulky. The fabric repels moisture to keep you dry. Choose yellow or purple for $19.95.

(credit: Old Navy)

Women’s Print Running Tanks

Old Navy
35 N State St (at W Calhoun Pl)
Chicago, IL 60602 
(312) 551-0522

Clothing stores are increasingly integrating an activewear line into their regular product line. Old Navy is a great example, with its print running tanks (try lagoon). They’re racerback style and made of breathable fabric. $12.50 each.

(credit: Lululemon)

Running Key Cuff

900 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 
(312) 951-5923
Hours: Mon-Sat 10 am-7 pm
Sun 12 pm-6 pm

Here is a practical purchase; the key cuff is a best buy for anyone looking to hold a key, credit card, CTA pass, or a couple bucks conveniently. Swing by the grocery store post-workout. The accessory stashes your stuff in its fold-up design without the extra bulk. Sold in a variety of colors for $10 at Luluemon.

Jenny Schooley is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She currently works in publishing for an academic organization.