I wear leggings pretty much every day once the temperature drops below 70 degrees. But when I came across their close cousin—the one-piece unitard (AKA the latest activewear trend)—I couldn’t help but be a bit skeptical. Not only are they pretty revealing—at least for someone relatively modest when it comes to baring it all—they also seem to offer limited support in the bust, something my 34DD chest absolutely requires. Even for low-impact activities, like yoga and spinning, I’ll find myself wearing something designed for so-called “high-impact” workouts because my boobs need all the support they can get.
Still, despite the potential challenges (not least of all going to the bathroom), I became obsessed with the idea of wearing a unitard for every workout. Particularly because, I love the idea of just having one piece of clothing to slip off and on that contours to my body so that fabrics don’t get caught or snag during class—not to mention the fact that it eliminates a piece of laundry altogether. And then, of course, it nixes the entire activewear outfit-choosing process, an unnecessary stressor I place on myself.
Not being the most risqué dresser, I was genuinely anxious the first time I put on the onesie. It was tight as all hell and a little hard to get into.
As far as challenges go, this one’s never been easier to execute—it seems like every activewear designer (think: Ultracor, Live the Process, Outdoor Voices, Rumi X, Koral, Beyond Yoga, No Ka’Oi, Adidas…I can go on) has added one to its collection as of late. And although I was drawn to the futuristic, all-black luxe designs at Michi, as well as the cheap derivatives from my faves at Forever21, I decided to think performance first when choosing my test jumpsuit, and opted for a one-piece from Lululemon. Specifically, its Balance & Resist Onesie ($128). Check it out below on a fitness model who, no, is not me.
And from the back…
Unlike many of the other unitards I’ve seen, the back wasn’t completely exposed (so there’s some built-in bra support) and it didn’t feature strategic, graphic cut-outs the way the racier styles would. The one snafu: the unitard is entirely heather grey head-to-toe. And while I love an amazing groutfit (AKA gray outfit), it left literally nothing about my body to the imagination. Not only could you see a bead of sweat the second it formed, but also every, well, feature of my body, too. (I mean, I couldn’t even wear a thong, guys.)
Not being the most risqué dresser, I was genuinely anxious the first time I put on the onesie. As mentioned, it was tight as hell and a little hard to get into (blaming that on some recent overindulgences, but I digress). My first stop: SoulCycle. You know, the most fashionable of fitness boutiques. (I mean they literally just designed this highbrow collab with Public School, New York City’s most stylish downtown darlings.) What’s more, the ride was full of fashion editors, as well as famous Instagrammers who were busy filming themselves on the bikes while I cowered in the corner with a Spritual Gangster tank atop the one-piece.
Thankfully, a friend from the biz ended up on the bike next to me, and with her support and the lights turned down, I took off the tank and spent the next 45 minutes soaking through a mix of beats, uphill climbs, and straight-away sprints. And as any SoulCycle devotee can attest, the class can be transformative and tune you out of your own head entirely, something that happened to me on that rainy Tuesday. By the cool down, I felt svelte (if sweaty) AF and comfortable in my unitard (but I did skip the stretches so I wouldn’t have to see everyone with the lights up and my Lulu one-piece a newer shade of dark charcoal grey).
Full disclosure: I did throw the tee back on top once I left. I just didn’t feel comfortable slithering around NYC in a tighter-than-thou unitard. But with a chic sweater tossed over top, I could see myself getting into this. Maybe.
I had to put my girls first and head home.
Next up: Sprints at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. I’m not a very fast runner, but I am a diligent exerciser, and I often switch up my workouts to keep my body guessing. I’m not even currently training for a race, but something felt right about speed work that day. Must have been the fresh, crisp fall air. Once I hit the track, though, I only did about two 400-meter repeats before I had to stop—not because I was cold or tired, but because of the low support that the built-in bra provides and my aforementioned DDs. And as much as I’d like to have finished up a full workout that day, I had to put my girls first and head home. Even after that little bit of cardio, I had some chafing under my breasts and on my shoulders. (Sad face.) Needless to say, I won’t be running in any kind of one-piece again. Because ouch.
The final workout that I sported my unitard at (which, for the record, please know I washed it in between wears because dirty activewear is not OK.) was my favorite—vinyasa class at my local yoga studio. Come 8:30 p.m., the lights are dimmed, the room is hot, and I get Zen in 60 minutes flat at the little low-key neighborhood spot that I’ve been going to for years. So yeah, I’ve taken off my shirt and flowed in just a sports bra there before.
But wearing a unitard to a yoga class was like a heaven-sent gift that I never would have expected to love, but absolutely adore now. Perhaps it’s because of Lululemon fabric’s tech specs, like the signature four-way stretch that feels too soft to give the ample support it does. Or maybe it’s because it was so skintight that no matter which way I attempted to contort my body, nothing slipped out of place (clothing or body parts). My tree pose was on point, camel pose felt like a breeze, and I was even able to lift into full wheel, something I’d slacked off on this summer and I’m just working my strength back toward.
When class ended, I didn’t put my tank top over the unitard. I felt kinda sexy, to be honest. And while I probably wouldn’t wear it out in public, per se, you better believe I’ll be wearing my onesie (I’m officially striking the word unitard from my vocab) to my next hot yoga class tomorrow, too.
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