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Activewear for Fall and Winter – Part 1

active wear
November 12, 2019

Hello dear gal! Today’s weather is a stark reminder of why we need different workout wear for this time of year. So today I’m sharing my findings from recent try-on sessions with three different brands of activewear. This is part one in my Activewear for Fall and Winter posts.

You could say I “took one for the team!” I had forgotten how much I loathe trying on leggings and sports bras until I was strapped into some and couldn’t get out of them. Hahaha! Seriously, trying on workout clothes is not for the faint of heart. So my goal is to keep you from having to go through what I did. You, sweet gal, just sit there at your computer or handheld device and take notes. I did the hard, sweaty and sometimes frightening work for you!

Activewear for Fall & Winter Part 1

What I Looked for in Activewear for Fall and Winter

I asked viewers of my recent Instagram story what you’re looking for in activewear for fall and winter. The answers varied widely. So, while I did try on a variety of pieces, the items I chose may not fit your criteria. After all, we all look for different things and exercise in various ways. Some require reflective clothing so they can run at dusk. Others want lots of layers for extreme cold. And still others, like me, still want lighter pieces for indoor workouts.

So today and tomorrow I’m showing a variety of pieces from various stores and brands. But the main thing I’m offering you here is my assessment of different brands. I’m going to give you the 4-1-1 on how they fit, move, go on and off, etc. While I’m providing shopping links to everything, I’ll also give you an honest assessment. Let’s get started!

Today we’ll look at the higher end selections and tomorrow I’ll provide more economical choices.

Zella at Nordstrom

First up, I tried on a few pieces of activewear for fall and winter from Nordstrom’s Zella brand. I have several pieces from Zella already and find them to be cozy, comfortable and durable. I especially like their Taryn Ultrasoft Recycled Jogger Pants.

Here I tried on pieces I would be likely to wear to our rec center for a strength training workout. So I wasn’t necessarily looking for reflective gear or extreme warmth.

Zella activewear is what I’d consider to be mid-range, price-wise. It’s not cheap, but you will find it on sale occasionally. And Nordstrom eventually moves some pieces to Nordstrom Rack where you can get it at an even lower price.

Activewear Nordstrom
Rhythm Sports Bra // Liana Long Sleeve Recycled Blend Performance Tee // Zella Live In High Waist Pocket 7/8 Leggings

Rhythm Sports Bra // I wasn’t all that impressed with this bra, but now that I’m looking at it online I notice it runs small. That may be why I didn’t like it. That’s the benefit to shopping online, really. You can check reviews and sizing guidelines. Keep in mind that I’m small up top and don’t look for bras with much support. I just don’t need it. Heck, I don’t even fill those bras up! So you’ll have to look for guidance on that elsewhere. Wearing a size medium.

Liana Long Sleeve Recycled Blend Performance Tee // I’m wearing a medium in this performance tee, but it fits me more snuggly than it does the gal in the online catalog. So I think it runs pretty small. I’d still choose the medium, and I do like this comfortable, breathable tee for working out. Wearing a size medium.

Zella Live In High Waist Pocket 7/8 Leggings // I have a pair of these leggings in a different pattern and find them to work great. They’re a nice thickness without being heavy. But they do keep you “pulled together.” I also like that these are high waisted. Wearing a size medium.

Zella Ava Quick-Dry Tee // Zella Live In High Waist 7/8 Leggings

Zella Ava Quick-Dry Tee // This short sleeve 74% polyester, 18% lyocell, 8% spandex tee is a definite win for weight training workouts. I like the loose fit and the breathable fabric. Also, I like the black, but it comes in other colors, too. This is my first experience working out at a community gym, and I’m finding that I prefer to wear activewear in dark colors. I don’t want to be too bright and stand out too much. Make sense? Wearing size medium.

Zella Live In High Waist 7/8 Leggings // These leggings are a little more “stand-out,” but I don’t mind since they’re in dark colors. Again, these 7/8 leggings are comfortable and easy to work out in. The high waist especially makes me feel confident since it cuts down on the “muffin top.” Ha! Wearing size medium.

Overall, I liked everything I tried on from Zella at Nordstrom. And remember to check out the selection at Nordstrom Rack, too.


I first heard about Lululemon when my daughter had to wear all black active and athleisure wear for four years of college in her theatre program. Abby never owned any Lululemon, but some of her classmates did. She never could understand how they justified spending so much on clothing they wore to sit on dirty floors and sweat in. So, yeah, these are pricey workout clothes. But I’ll let you decide if they’re worth it or not.

I wanted to see what all the hype was about so I visited the Lululemon in our local mall. Let’s see what I tried on.

Activewear Lululemon
Ready To Rulu Pant // Outrun the Heat Short Sleeve //

Ready To Rulu Pant // These are really “commuter pants,” something you’d wear to and from work, according to the Lululemon website. I suppose they’re more athleisure than activewear, but they’re great for a brisk walk or just an active day. I’m glad to see they fit the model on the website the same way these 8s fit me. They’re a close-fitting, but comfortable jogger. Wearing size 8.

Outrun the Heat Short Sleeve // This relaxed fit shirt is made of UV protective fabric and was created for running. Because I do sprints on an indoor track, this is perfect for my winter workouts, too. But you might prefer the Runderful Long Sleeve tee for outdoor workouts. Wearing size 8.

I have no idea what sports bra I tried on at Lululemon, and they have so many to choose from for different needs, I’d hate to steer you wrong. So I’ll just link to them all here. They do have a wide assortment and seem to be sensitive to different body types.

Activewear Lululemon
Outrun the Heat Short Sleeve // In Movement Crop 23″

In Movement Crop 23″ // Lululemon lists these as ultra-breathable tights for hot runs. Obviously, I was a little clueless when I chose these for winter workouts. Ha! But they’d definitely work for my indoor workouts, too. They’re comfortable and feature a high waist. I found all Lululemon pieces to fit pretty true to size. Wearing size 8.

Activewear Lululemon
Fast and Free Tight 28″ Non-Reflective // Breeze By Long Sleeve Training Shirt

Fast and Free Tight 28″ Non-Reflective // These are very lightweight running tights, but they’re not reflective. They’re fast drying and quite comfortable. They didn’t have an 8 for me to try, so I’m wearing a 10 and I’m still not sure I like how “revealing” they feel or look. I’m all for fast, but I may not be into feeling that free. Ha! Wearing size 10.

Breeze By Long Sleeve Training Shirt // This exact print doesn’t seem to be available online, but this is a sweet shirt. It’s very breathable and made for getting through a tough workout…but with long sleeves. It felt comfortable but not so loose that it would get in the way of working out. Wearing size 8.

Here is a shopping widget with the items I tried. These are affiliate links, as are the text links above. If you purchase anything through them I potentially earn a commission. Thank you for shopping my links.

All in all, I liked the Lululemon activewear for fall and winter, but I left thinking I didn’t care to spend that much on something I would mostly just sweat in. Ha! But I did feel “inspired” in these pieces. So if looking and feeling good in your activewear is what is needed in order to hit the pavement or the gym, it might be worth it.

Athleta Activewear

I’d received catalogs from Athleta for years but had never tried it, so I was anxious to step into Athleta at our new mall and give it a whirl. This activewear is also a bit of a splurge, alongside Lululemon. But I do hear better things about Athleta as a company and I like the fact that they feature women wearing a full range of sizes in their catalogs. (Athleta is a sister store to Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.) Finally, Lululemon seems to be geared more toward yoga while Athleta appears to be workout clothing for the more rigorous athlete. Not that I’m all that rigorous! Ha!

Let’s see what I found at Athleta.

Activewear Athleta
Foresthill Merino Wool Ascent Tank // Rainier Reflective Tight in Powerlift

Foresthill Merino Wool Ascent Tank // I love that this breathable tank fits close to the body but is actually a loose fit. In other words, it’s not tight at all. That’s how I prefer my tees and tanks for weight training. I don’t want anything hanging away from my body when I’m down on my hands and knees doing planks or push-ups, for instance. But I also don’t like tight fitting shirts. I brought this shirt home. Wearing a size medium.

Rainier Reflective Tight in Powerlift // These leggings are meant for medium to high impact workouts in cold climates. And the reflective details on the garment make it perfect for dust or dawn runs or power walks. These high waist leggings feel so amazing on. Best thing I tried on. Which is why I bit the bullet and bought these babies! I had no intention of buying high-priced athleticwear, y’all. But these leggings won me over! Wearing size Medium.

Activewear Athleta
Flurry Base Layer Turtleneck // Rainier Reflective Tight in Powerlift

Flurry Base Layer Turtleneck // If you need a base layer under another shirt and/or jacket, this turtleneck is a nice option. It’s lightweight, so soft and body-skimming. It would work great under ski clothing, too.

Activewear Athleta
Flurry Base Layer Turtleneck // Rainier Reflective Tight in Powerlift // Rock Ridge Primaloft Vest

Rock Ridge Primaloft Vest // I fell in love with this lightweight primaloft vest. I suppose the black isn’t practical for running, especially if you ever run at dusk or dawn. But it’s available in a bright orange and a pale grey that would work well in twilight. And it’s reduced in price in some of the colors.

Activewear Athleta
Flurry Base Layer Turtleneck // Lightning Static 7/8 Tight // Triumph Hoodie

Lightning Static 7/8 Tight // These 7/8 tights are made for workouts in the gym, studio or outdoors. They feature a high rise waist and good compression for a snug but easy fit. Honestly, I love every pair of tights or leggings I put on at Athleta. Wearing size medium.

Triumph Hoodie // I tried on this hoodie because I need something like this when I walk to and from my workouts or as I walk the dog. I like that this hoodie features thumb holes for full arm coverage and it’s amazingly soft.

Activewear Athleta
Flurry Balaclava Hoodie // Asym Colorblock Tight in Plush Supersonic

Flurry Balaclava Hoodie // This hoodie tee is made of lightweight, seamless fabric that is moisture wicking and breathable. It’s perfect for that twilight run and you can pull the hoodie up around your face to where just your eyes show. In fact, it even has a ponytail hole. I ended up buying this hoodie in the light grey color here. I’m anticipating wearing this when I run sprints outdoors or go for power walks. Wearing size medium.

My Fitness Program: In case you’re new to Dressed for My Day, my fitness program of choice is FASTer Way to Fat Loss. It emphasizes strength training for the full body over cardio and teaches carb balancing instead of full blow keto. The FWTFL provides you with home or gym workout options. You can find out more here. Or read my post about it here.

Asym Colorblock Tight in Plush Supersonic // These high waisted tights feature a zipper pocket in the back for your phone or other essentials. They have a soft, brushed interior for warmth and softness. Wearing size Medium.

My overall impression of Athleta is that their clothing exceeded my expectations. While I could take or leave Lululemon for the price, I ended up buying the Flurry Balaclava Hoodie, the Rainier Reflective Tight in Powerlift and the Foresthill Merino Wool Ascent Tank at Athleta. In fact, I wore the hoodie and the tights yesterday for a long walk in temperatures that ranged from the 30s to 40s with this vest from Talbots and I felt so comfortable and charged. And I actually hopped out of bed yesterday morning excited to put on these pretty but oh so functional clothes and begin my workout.

Tomorrow I’m featuring my economical activewear from my try-on sessions at Kohl’s and Target along with a few pieces from Talbots. But I can tell you now that nothing I tried on at any Kohl’s or Target felt anywhere as comfortable and functional as what I purchased at Athleta. Yeah, I’m going to have to stay out of that store! But meanwhile, I’m happy with the investment I made in these few pieces. And I think they’ll produce good dividends as I’m a little more motivated to put them on in the morning to go sweat. Ha!

If you have questions about any of the items featured here or my overall impressions of the stores highlighted here, please let me know in the comments section below. I’ll be glad to get back to you with an answer as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading today!

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Blessed for My Day

I struggle some many days to get dressed for my work out and to work it in to my day. Basically, I don’t like to sweat. But I do sweat. A lot. Yeck. Still, I know that there is nothing to be gained from opting out of my workouts. In fact, when I refuse to workout, I lose…muscle, confidence, health and vigor.

In the same way, when I get tripped up by the distractions of life and fail to pursue Jesus hard, I lose. I lose opportunity for growth, intimacy with my Creator, potential ministry opportunities, blessings and endurance. Today let’s purpose to get our physical workout in…even if it’s just a walk around the block. But let’s also determine to run with endurance the race set out before us spiritually. Let’s choose to make time for reading the Bible, prayer, praise and meditation.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2

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xoxo, Kay
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11 thoughts on “Activewear for Fall and Winter – Part 1

  1. I love my Athleta clothes! So very comfortable even though they are pricey!! As always, thanks for giving us your take on workout wear!! It’s cold here in Dallas today, so I’ll be layering up a bit and heading to the gym soon!!

  2. Thanks for doing the workout for us! I love lululemon but haven’t tried athleta! I really like what you tried on, especially the vest! Very wise words on prioritizing time and putting Jesus first each day. It truly gives me more energy and productivity in EVERY way! Prayers for your Husband. May God command His angels concerning him and protect him as he travels. . Have a blessed day!

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Jalisa. I realize pricey activewear is not for everyone. And not for every workout! Ha! But I truly can tell a huge difference between the Athleta and some of the other things I tried on. Thanks so much for your sweet prayer!

  3. Kay, praying James has safe travels ? I have some of the Zella tights and love them. I’m not inclined to pat big bucks for what I sweat in, but a new workout outfit can be inspiring.

    1. Thank you so much, Joan. I enjoy my Zella, too. No complaints there at all! I like hearing from my readers so I know what you gals like. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. I’ve said a special prayer for safe travels for James today! Thank you for doing the dirty work for us by trying on the athletic wear. We have a WiiFit Plus that I use at least 3 mornings every week. After getting dressed, I get my workout in while the coffee is making. Because I have a skin disease that sweat in certain areas makes worse, so wearing clothes that are the least bit snug is something I have to avoid. And I need to avoid a workout that makes me sweat, but I still feel better from doing some of the Balance and Aerobic exercises, and I see a difference in how my clothes fit. Congratulations to your daughter! I hope that she will enjoy the new job. As you know, the cold attic air has finally hit GA!

    1. Thanks so much for praying for James. Yes, it is plenty cold in Georgia today. That’s for sure! Thanks for sharing about your workout. I love having a pulse on my readers. Have a great day!

  5. Thanks for the hard work on this post. I hate trying on leggings and sports bra’s in the store. Athleta has awesome stuff. They have pretty good sales as well if you can wait for the them. I haven’t tried any of the other brands but might have to try the Zella. This post is very timely as it is suddenly freezing outside!

    1. Hahaha! Yes, it’s suddenly freezing here, too. Ha! Good to know about Athleta and sales. I’m going to keep an eye on them from now on. I really love what I found there.

  6. Thanks Kay for your time and effort on this ( well, really every) post. Your specific Athleta choices peaked my interest in a brand I’ve not tried before.