(style) How to buy bargain sportswear (without looking cheap or ruining your boobs)

For fickle fitness fans (like me) it’s great that new boutique studios are popping up all over the place.  One small problem though: shelling out for all these hot new classes means there isn’t much ££ left for the cool kit these premium places demand.

But it IS still possible to impress on the bike or at the barre if your budget is more H&M than Lucas Hugh, you just need a few clever shopping tips...


1. AVOID DODGY SWEAT PATCHES (the easiest way to spot someone who has scrimped on their sportswear) by choosing busy patterns on legs - like these styles from F&F at Tesco (£16) - and black or navy on top.

 Leggings £16 F&F at Tesco

Leggings £16 F&F at Tesco

2. LAYERING looks expensive (and also like you know what you are doing in any fitness-type situation). Try a flash of bright crop top or bra under a simple vest and slouchy jumper. 

3. ALL BLACK is the easiest way to look chic in cheaper kit. It’s totes New York, and even net-a-porter’s sportswear home page is a sea of simple black, white and grey pieces right now. Outfits like the below from Topshop and H&M are also actually totally ok to wear to the pub incase you get distracted on the way to Pilates.

4. WATCH YOUR HEMLINES: muffin top flash = zero fitspo class. Go for leggings with high, thick waistbands that will stay put in yoga or out on a run, and long T-shirts and vests that won't ride up mid stretch.

5. THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAIL: Look for mesh inserts, shiny panels, over-sized hoods or clever cut-outs to up your style points. 

6. DON'T SCRIMP ON TRAINERS: This is one piece of kit that you need to trust the experts on so choose a known brand over Primark pumps. Only serious sneaker heads will know (or care) what season you are wearing, so try Sports Direct or JD Sports for branded feet in black or neutrals with a flash of colour that will go with everything (and don’t actually need to cost a lot).

7. The good news is you CAN scrimp on sports bras because the retailers stepping into the gym have paid proper attention to these. I have styles from Tesco, M&S and Victoria’s Secret that work just as hard as my Shock Absorber ones, with M&S and Tesco offering the broadest size range. Look for 'HIGH IMPACT' HARNESS-STYLE BRAS that will minimise bounce. And if you're using and washing regularly don't forget to swap for a new one every six months or so.