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How To Build Your Ideal Workout Capsule Wardrobe

Women taking break after workout session in studio. Group of females in sportswear with exercise mat, water bottle and medicine ball on white background in their workout capsule wardrobe.

Jacob Lund

Is working out part of your daily routine and you’re considering a workout capsule wardrobe?

Then it’s time to build yourself a fitness capsule wardrobe.

A capsule workout wardrobe is a small collection of versatile, high-quality, and affordable workout gear that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits.

This athleisure wardrobe is an essential to have, especially if you’re a workout junkie.

Learn how to build a chic, cost-effective, and practical capsule workout wardrobe with our comprehensive guide in this article.

You’ll learn how your athleisure capsule wardrobe can help you save money and streamline the process of getting dressed for the gym.

Let’s elevate your workout game!

Assess Your Current Workout Wardrobe

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Check your closet and look for clothes that either doesn’t fit anymore or are worn out. Make a point to donate clothes that are still in good shape.

This way, you have an estimate of what exactly you need that is missing.

Here’s how to do it.

Checklist Items to Consider

When assessing your current workout wardrobe, consider the following ideas:

  • Functionality: Are the items in your workout wardrobe suitable for the types of physical activity you engage in?

  • Fit: Does the items fit properly and allow for a full range of motion? This about your squatting, RDL’s, Lunges etc…

  • Style: Does it look good on you? Stylish workout clothing can make your workouts more enjoyable.

  • Wear and Tear: Are the items showing signs of wear and tear, such as holes, fading, or stretched-out fabric?

  • Comfort: Are the items comfortable to wear during physical activity?

  • Appropriateness: Are the items appropriate for your fitness level and goals? Make sure pants aren’t too short to create any discomfort.

  • Personal preferences: Are the items matching your style and preferences?

Set a Budget

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Setting a budget when creating a workout capsule wardrobe will help you to not only buy what you need, but also avoid buying things that you do not need.

Tips for Setting a Budget

Set a dollar amount: Decide on a specific dollar amount that you want to spend on your workout capsule wardrobe.

If your favorite brand is too expensive, head to Goodwill. They have classic pieces from sporty sweatshirt to sneakers.

Set a percentage of your overall clothing budget: You can also decide to allocate a specific percentage of your overall clothing budget to your workout capsule wardrobe.

To give you an idea of how much you can allocate to activewear, you can set a percentage of your clothing budget to it and calculate the dollar amount.

Let’s say your monthly clothing budget is $500, 20% of that would be $100 ($500 x 20% = $100).

So, $100 is the amount you want to allocate for your activewear in your capsule workout wardrobe.

Consider the cost per wear: When shopping or looking for inspiration, consider the cost per wear of the item. Certain items add up quickly.

This will help you determine if the styles or purchase pieces are worth the investment or not.

Budget Friendly Athleisure Brands/Websites

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  • Target

  • Aerie

  • Gym Shark

  • Amazon

  • Old Navy

  • Fabletics

  • H&M

  • Champion

  • Online marketplaces: Websites such as Amazon, eBay, Mercari, Depop, and Poshmark are great places to find affordable activewear.

  • Discount retailers: Retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Ross, and Marshall often have a great selection of activewear at discounted prices.

Pro-tip: Make sure to go on Saturday morning (when they have new shipments assembles) or Mondays, when you can get first dips of new items added.

Note: Keep in mind that setting a budget for your workout capsule wardrobe is crucial, but don’t let it prevent you from investing in high-quality, long-lasting activewear that will be worth the investment.

Choose Versatile Pieces

Free image of a woman working out in athletic attire outside

When creating your workout capsule wardrobe, choose clothes that are a good support for your body. This way you feel good while you exercise.

Versatile Outfit Pieces Ideas

  • Outfit 1: High-Waisted Leggings, Crop Top, Sports Bra, Running Shoes

  • Outfit 2: Bike Shorts, Hoodie, Tank Top, Sneakers

  • Outfit 3: Yoga Pants, T-Shirt, Zip-Up Jacket, Cross-Training Shoes

  • Outfit 4: Compression Tights, Racer back Tank, Baseball Cap, Tennis Shoes

  • Outfit 5: Leggings, Long Sleeve Shirt, Lightweight Vest, Hiking Boots

  • Outfit 6: Athletic Shorts, Tank Top, Windbreaker, Trail Running Shoes

You can pair up some of these random workout pieces to create different colors to match outfits. Like higher waist black leggings to soft, comfy sneakers. It’s single and doesn’t require a ton of effort.

Tips for Choosing Versatile Pieces

  • Look for neutral colors: A smart strategy when building an activewear capsule wardrobe is to focus on neutral colors such as black, white, gray, and navy.

  • Look for basic cuts: Basic cuts such as a tank top, leggings, or a sports bra are versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

  • Avoid prints and patterns: Prints and patterns can limit the versatility of a piece, as they’re harder to match with other items.

  • Consider the fabric: Choose pieces made of moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabrics that are comfortable for your workout and easy to care for.

Invest in Quality Pieces

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When you are creating a workout wardrobe, it is better to spend more money on fewer, higher quality items.

These items will last longer before they need to be replaced and will look better for longer.

Quality Fabrics

Shopping for your athleisure capsule wardrobe:

  • Moisture-wicking: When choosing workout clothes, consider moisture-wicking fabrics that are designed to keep you dry and comfortable while exercising.

  • Breathable: Breathable materials allow air to circulate and keep you cool and dry during intense workouts.

  • Stretchy: Stretchy materials provide flexibility and freedom of movement during your workout.

  • Durable: Durable materials can withstand wear and tear and hold their shape over time.

Quality and Durable Activewear Brands

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Just because you need affordable active wear doesn’t mean you can’t buy quality.

By using apps like Rakuten and Honey, you get to save money and rack up some point for your next purchase.

If you’re a huge fan of these brands, these apps will definitely help save money.

Brands You can Invest in Quality Pieces

  • Lululemon

  • Alo Yoga

  • Athleta

  • Nike

  • FP Movement

  • Girlfriend Collective

With these brands, you can find a layering piece for your tank tops, workout tees, leggings, jackets, or a pump cover like the tunic sweatshirt.

Note: Some of these brands can cost more than your budge. Make sure to download the Rakuten App to get cashback discounts while you shop.

Care for Clothing Properly

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It is important to take care of your activewear. Workout sneakers, for example.

Cleaning and making sure they are in a breathable environment make a difference. It’s the small details that count.

Caring for Various Activewear Fabrics Tips

  • Synthetic fabrics: Synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon can be machine washed and dried on a low heat setting. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as they can damage the fabric.

  • Technical fabrics: Technical fabrics such as moisture-wicking or quick-drying fabrics should be washed on a delicate cycle and hung to dry. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener.

  • Cotton fabrics: Cotton fabrics can be machine washed and dried on a low heat setting.

  • Removing sweat stains: To remove sweat stains from your activewear, mix equal parts white vinegar and water, and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for 10–15 minutes before washing as normal.

  • Drying technical fabrics: Avoid using a dryer for technical fabrics as the heat can damage the moisture-wicking properties. Hang to dry or lay flat to dry.

Tips for Storing Clothing Properly

Woman selecting outfits for a photoshoot on a hanger in an image
  • Hanging: Hang activewear on hangers to help maintain their shape.

  • Folding: Fold activewear neatly and store them in a drawer or on a shelf to prevent stretching and wrinkles.

  • Avoiding direct sunlight: Avoid storing activewear in direct sunlight as it can cause fading.

  • Avoiding damp areas: Avoid storing activewear in damp areas as it can cause mildew or odor.

Note: Properly maintaining your activewear is key to ensuring its durability and longevity. Always heed the care instructions on the label and be mindful of how you wash, dry, and store your clothing.


You need a solid pair of clothes for good support to enjoy your workout when training. Look for clothes made from fabrics that promote both dryness and comfort.

You can make your workout clothes last longer by following the care instructions on the label and being careful when you wash, dry, and store them.

With a bit of research, you can find quality activewear that fits both your budget and workout needs.

Don’t forget to download Rakuten and Honey App for discounts and points towards your purchase.


Do workout clothes count in a capsule wardrobe?

Yes, workout clothes are essential in a capsule wardrobe. These activewear pieces are versatile, of high quality, and affordable, allowing you to mix and match them to create multiple outfits.

How many workout outfits should I have?

Having a sufficient amount of activewear to get through a full week without repeating outfits is a good starting point.

What are proper workout clothes?

Proper gym clothes are made of materials that are high quality, breathable, and will not absorb sweat. They should also be flexible, so you can move around easily.

How do I look classy in activewear?

To look classy in activewear, wear neutral colors, basic cuts, and high-quality fabrics. You can also accessorize with a scarf, denim jacket, or sunglasses.

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