Science Just Gave Me the Best Excuse to Buy New Leggings

Photo: Getty Images/JGI/Jamie Grill
Every night before I go to bed, I lay out my workout clothes and pack up my gym bag. This is in part because there is arguably nothing more stressful than searching for a sports bra in your closet at 5:49 a.m. when you have to be at the gym at 6 o'clock, and also because I plan my gym outfits like some people plan their work outfits. There are colors that need to be matched, silhouettes that go together better, and don't even get me started on textures and fabrics. I'm not rolling into my gym wearing just any old leggings and tank combo—I'm coming in with a look.

But as we enter the new year, a time when I arguably should be most pumped about getting to the gym because of "resolutions" or what have you, I find myself kind of meh about the whole thing. I've been having trouble motivating myself to exercise, and once I finally get there, I struggle to push myself the way I normally do. Because I prefer to blame intangible things instead of doing any real soul searching (just kidding… mostly), I decided that my lack of motivation to go to the gym can be traced to my blah attitude about my current workout wardrobe. Naturally, I went to the internet to back up my theory, and it turns out science actually has a term for this: enclothed cognition.

Admittedly I will take almost any excuse to shop, but this is a lot more legit than "I might go to brunch this weekend so I need a new dress." Researchers have found that the clothing we wear influences us when there is a symbolic meaning associated with the clothes. Basically, if a pair of workout leggings makes me think of a badass warrior goddess who can deadlift really heavy weight, I'm likely to channel that energy when I wear them. Also, a personal anecdote: When I feel like I look good at the gym, I'm more likely to continue going because it boosts my confidence. All this to say, it's time to get motivated with some new workout clothes. Here's what I'm eyeing.

"Help," says my credit card.

"Sorry, it's science," says me.

Sweaty Betty Luxe Contour 7/8 Legging, $105 

I'm a huge fan of Sweaty Betty's contour leggings—they're super comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. This cute and subtle animal print is exactly the motivation I need to get out of bed when my alarm goes off at an ungodly hour in the morning.

Lululemon Reveal Tight En Avante, $118

I admittedly already own quite a few pairs of leggings with mesh accents, but the dark berry color and funky pattern on these Lululemons are perfect for jazzing up my wardrobe of basic black.

Outdoor Voices Megafleece Pullover, $135

It's cold in the morning when I head off to my CrossFit box, and this oversized fleece jacket is just the Rx my outerwear selection needs.

Koral Amber Mid-Rise Sprint Legging, $115

There is literally no way I will be able to skip my Monday morning workout when these sparkly babies are on deck.

P.E Nation Altitude Crop, $99

This striped, khaki sports bra is helping me fulfill my resolutions of both getting into a really solid gym routine and wearing more crop tops. I think that's what they call a win-win.

Forever 21 Active Colorblock Windbreaker, $25

The color blocking on this bright windbreaker is worthy of a chef's kiss-emoji. (Plus, it'll make me more visible when I'm walking to the gym and the sun hasn't quite come up yet.)

Varley Bedford Leggings, $115

I recently added snakeskin boots into my wardrobe, so I feel like snake print leggings are a natural progression. I'll probably scoop up the matching sports bra as well. The ensemble gives me major Taylor Swift Reputation vibes, which I'm all about channeling.

While you're at it, you should probably add some cool winter white sneakers into your fashion rotation. (Also, I'm currently coveting all these fleece pullovers.)

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