Fashionable Athletic Apparel for Injuries

Gym fashion hit a new level in the 80’s with bright colors and Spandex everything, and at this point, those days seem to be long gone. However, if NYC Fashion Week has taught us anything, it’s the old styles can be rejuvenated, and more general speaking, style is highly subjective and open to interpretation.

But what about the Average Joe who wants to look good at the gym without sacrificing function and taking uncomfortable style-point risks? Sure, a pair of knee length shorts and a t-shirt never look out of place, but there are definitely more options available that can allow you to maximize your athletic wardrobe while still feeling confident and comfortable.

 In this article, we will list a couple different style combinations for you to consider, and we will try and place an emphasis on function, especially in terms of preventing or guarding any existing injuries that you may have.

The Mainstream Athlete

This look is pretty easy to accomplish, and while it’s not really unique, it still has the power to evoke envy from your gym counterparts. This type of apparel includes mainstream athletic brands, such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma. Additionally, other slightly less-known brands are also creating apparel that fits this description, such as New Balance, Under Armor, and Saucony.

What to Look For: First, keep in mind your priorities. Remember, you’re looking for something that is both stylish AND functional. Find the article of clothing that you’re looking for, and from there, browse for different color schemes and styles. Bright colors will be in abundance, and wearing bright vibrant colors is an incredibly easy way to up your style points.

What to Avoid: If you’re not a competitive or elite athlete,  don’t try to look like one. For example, Under Armor is very well known for it’s skin-tight apparel that focuses on maintaining certain temperatures, moisture-wicking abilities, and even particular textures for adhesion to protective equipment. If you’re a weekend warrior, you don’t need to look like Spider Man.

Our Recommendation: Use bright vibrant colors to accent your wardrobe, with neutral tones covering the majority of your apparel. For example, grey shorts with brightly colored shoes is a nice combo, and matching it with a light-colored shirt with trim matching the shoes (or another bright color) is an excellent choice.

Addressing Injury: If you have a muscle, bone, or joint injury that you are rehabilitating while working out, you can actually find some pretty stylish sports medicine products that will help you protect the injury while still looking good. For example, Nike ankle braces can be worn with Nike sneakers, and even if the colors differ, the matching logo will still make the combination of ankle brace and sneaker look coordinated and fashionable.

The Weekend Warrior

This one is a little more tough because there are actually surprising amount of options that can differ considerably. The first things that come to our mind for us are bright colors, throwback/vintage looks, and/or tank tops.

What to Look For: Tank tops are surprisingly versatile in this sense. If you’re sufficiently jacked, you can be bold and utilize a tank with extra large arm and neck holes and thin fabric. Otherwise, any tank can actually do the trick. This can be anything from an Earth-toned tank, an old work tank with stains or paint on it, to the most functional athletic tanks provided by the aforementioned mainstream athletic brands. This type of shirt hones in on the Weekend Warrior ideology of needing just enough to look good while getting a swell on, while still respecting the notion of function to a certain degree.

Tanks are also a great way to open the door to accessories. Some try to up their game with a chain, maybe a watch or FitBit, and tanks also allow for tattoos to be more visible, which offer bonus style points.

What to Avoid: If you want to avoid a more mainstream athletic look, you can try for a “clunkier” look, which is becoming increasingly trendy in the gym. This would include items like old cross-trainers or workout boots, usually in darker colors, with socks extending at least part way up the shin. If combined with gym-appropriate pants like joggers, this can give a sturdier appearance that provides undertones of strength and a hard work ethic.

However, keep in mind that this does not mean you should look lazy. If it looks like you just rolled out of bed, you’re going to look like a lazy slob that probably sweats a lot and gets super stinky at the gym. Contrast this with a look of being a hard worker that maintains a dominant appearance.

Our Recommendation: Go with what works for you and your body type, as well as your personality. Don’t try to create an entirely new persona, as this will more than likely be interpreted as fake (and correctly so). If you’re between the ages of 18-35 and are reasonable tones in the upper body, a tank is probably the easiest route. If you’re a bit larger with some meat and fat on your bones, highlighting your dominant appearance by emphasizing strength can usually work.

Addressing Injury: We spoke a lot about tanks in this section, particularly in regards to their versatility. One more accessory that you can add to them are compression sleeves, whether it be for you wrists or elbows. These sleeves can add a little more support for your joints, but also help diminish pain by providing compression to the joint and the area around it. If you can pull it off, wearing a single elbow sleeve on one arm only can look pretty snazzy, but if you don’t appear athletic to begin with, this can be highly risky in terms of style points.


It’s always hard to keep up with fashion trends, and with so many “rules”, it can be an uncomfortable process to try and keep up with the times. However, one thing we have always found to work is to simply do you. If you feel comfortable and confident with a certain style, keep going with it! If you want to add to this by updating a couple things, take your time looking around until you find something that you like, and then after that ask a couple people what they think, focusing more on your own opinion. That’s what makes style great. Everyone has his or her own unique styles and opinions, and that’s the fun part about getting dressed in the morning!

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