What Not to Wear to the Gym

Does This Describe You?


In this age of 24/7 athleisure wear, you'd think that getting dressed to go to the gym would be a no-brainer. However, at any given moment at a health club near you, there's a woman with a face full of makeup, her boobs spilling out over her too low-cut tank top, and a thong peaking out of her yoga pants, chatting at full volume on her cell phone, irritating everyone within eyeshot and hearing distance. Avoid being that lady by remembering to leave the following items at home before your next sweat sesh.

Waist Trainers

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If you are one of the many women who is sadly taking health and beauty advice from a Kardashian and wearing a waist cincher to the gym, we have news for you: Waist trainers won't make you lose any fat around your waist, and they restrict your movement and breathing, making them the worst possible thing you could wear while working out. According to, you know, actual doctors.



Hats are generally worn to keep the sun from shining down on your face, so, if you're wearing one at an indoor gym, it makes everyone around you think that you don't have a strong grip on how walls and indoor lighting work. Unless you're Kate Middleton, no one really cares how you look when you sweat, so drop the faux-celebrity, diva act and leave your hat at home.

Your Hair Down


Did your hair band snap? Because, otherwise, we are completely mystified by you, woman who does cardio workouts with her long hair down, allowing sweat to glue it to the back of her neck. Not only do we not appreciate your hair spastically whipping around in Zumba class, but it literally takes .9 seconds to throw one's hair up into a messy ponytail. So there is no excuse. Plus, there are just way too many cute, workout-appropriate up-dos you are missing out on.

Thong Underwear


"What's wrong with wearing a thong?" you might be asking yourself. After all, you'd rather die than have VPL (visible panty line) underneath your yoga pants. However, despite the aesthetics, if you are wearing a thong while you work out, you are basically suffocating your vagina and upping your chances of contracting a yeast infection or a UTI, claims Dr. Nicole E. Williams, an OB/GYN who spoke to Elle about the dangers of thongs at the gym. So, it might be in your best interest to throw some granny panties on before you work out.

Baggy Clothes


No matter how self-conscious you may be about your body, wearing oversized or loose clothing to work out in is definitely a gym etiquette no-no, despite a baggy shirt's ability to hide that 10 extra pounds you haven't shed yet. This doesn't mean that you need to don an ab-exposing crop top or yoga pants that leave nothing to the imagination. However, if you wear form-fitting clothes to your Crossfit or Pilates class, you'll have the advantage of being able to better see your alignment and posture and whether you're doing each move correctly.

Low Cut Tanks or Booty-Baring Shorts


It's one thing to hear LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" in your head as you make your way around the weight room, it's another to dress like you're headed out to a bar rather than a barre class. Tank tops are typically standard wear for gyms, but if they're too tight or low-cut, you risk your boobs spilling out and making everyone else uncomfortable (or else, distracted) around you. Ditto shorts that are too short. No one wants to see your butt cleavage.



While B.O. is nobody's friend, exercise rooms are notorious for being poorly ventilated, so even just a light spritz of Justin Bieber's Girlfriend might make everyone around you nauseous, especially as gym-goers are often exerting themselves and breathing extra hard. Don't be that person who leaves behind a trail of perfume stench everywhere she goes.

Bluetooth Headset


While some fitness chains have brilliantly implemented a no-phone cellphone rule (and, consequently, booted out chatty rule-breakers), bringing a headset to your workout is the quickest way to make enemies at the gym. It's one thing to leave your phone on in case of a work emergency; it's another to have an absolutely inane conversation about what color pedicure you should get while your fellow gym-goers are busting a nut beside you in an attempt to achieve a PR. So, nix the multi-tasking and leave the Bluetooth at home, please.



Even if you're hoping to lock eyes with a cute, buff guy across the elliptical station, most beauty experts do not recommend wearing a face full of makeup to the gym. Not only will you look ridiculous with mascara running down your cheeks as you exercise, but as soon as your start to sweat, your makeup will seep into your open pores and clog them. So instead of some hot guy's phone number, what you'll end up with is a face full of blemishes instead.

Cotton Anything


Cotton sweatpants may seem like a comfortable thing to wear to yoga class, that is until you realize half way through Tree Pose that a giant sweat stain has formed in your crotch area, making it look like you peed your pants. That's why you should stay away from anything made of 100-percent cotton when you're working out, and, instead, choose moisture-wicking materials that will leave you dry and odor-free. (Your fellow yogis will thank you.)

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What Not to Wear to the Gym