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I wear black basics for every workout but *this* new trend has me going bold


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Photo: Carbon38

Though I’m constantly reporting on fitness fashion trends—plant-lady leggings, graphic color-blocked workout clothes, new stylish swimsuits you can actually be active while wearing—IRL, I’m the type to wear black leggings on the regular. Whether I’m hitting a hot vinyasa class, ballet, or simply running errands, they’re my safe space as far as my activewear is concerned. I know, snooze.

Out of the studio, I’m quite feminine with my style—you’ll often catch me in floral-printed midi dresses, colorful skirts, and flouncy tops. But it’s been hard to translate my tastes at the gym, where utility still wins over whimsy (sigh). So, when I came across the ruffle activewear trend, it piqued my interest as a look I might actually consider.

“Ruffles are a trend that’s here to stay,” says Stephanie Dardenne, director of merchandising at Carbon38. “They’ve come down the catwalks and are making their way to the studio.”

The luxury activewear retailer introduced me to ruffle activewear when I was researching new trends for summer and has since launched its own collection dedicated to the design element. But it’s hardly alone. Free People, Beyond Yoga, Koral, Target, and a number of other activewear makers at the high and low ends of the market are challenging the category’s “no frills” reputation by releasing ruffles—and proving they’ve got versatility.

“It allows me to feel sporty yet feminine, even during the toughest workouts.”

“This trend can be worn in many different ways,” Dardenne explains, noting her favorite combo is a pair of high-waisted leggings with a bra or bralette. “It allows me to feel sporty yet feminine, even during the toughest workouts. I wear it to my HIIT classes that are filled with battle ropes and burpees.”

If you’re bold enough to rock a ruffled crop at the gym, you deserve all the praise hand emojis for your fashion-forward attitude. But even if a flouncy bra doesn’t exactly feel like something you’d wear to break a sweat, it might on a balmy summer night out. Here’s a heat wave-friendly style hack for you: Don activewear that looks like ready-to-wear when the mercury rises because it’s sweat-wicking, breathable fabrics are fast drying in a way your fave going-out top is not. Translation: You’ll actually feel as cool as you look. (When she’s not wearing hers for workouts, Dardenne likes pairing her frilly tops with vintage jeans.)

Whether you stick to an all-black safety zone like my former self or live to serve full looks for every workout, shop my frilled activewear picks ahead. You may just ruffle a few feathers at the gym.

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