Move over, Myers-Briggs; figuring out your personality type might be as simple as taking stock of what styles you slip on for a CrossFit WOD or Pilates class.
“Our personality traits correlate with lots of our lifestyle choices—what type of person we’re likely to marry, our political affiliation, and our favorite kind of music—and what we wear to work out is no different,” says Anabel Maldonado, psychologist and founder of the Psychology of Fashion. “There are fewer activewear choices than day-to-day clothes, but personality is still a key driver for how much you spend on it, how many options you need,
From fabrics and prints to how tight your top fits, your favorite sweat style says a lot about you—especially since so many workout warriors go straight from barre class to brunch.
Here’s what your go-to activewear look says about you:
Martin RuschIf you… go head-to-toe black
You might… be no-nonsense
Relying on an allover black uniform is the same as keeping a handful of 9-to-5 outfits on heavy rotation; it makes everything easier.
“People who wear all black can make more decisions—they really want to focus on working out, not so much on what they’re going to wear,” says Dawnn Karen, fashion psychologist, founder of the Fashion Psychology Institute, and author of Dress Your Best Life, out next year.
You’re likely juggling a lot, different roles at work and at home, and prefer to streamline where you can, she says.
Plus, reaching for go-to black pieces can feel like putting on armor, says Maldonado; it’s a way to protect and prepare yourself for a tough session ahead.
Martin RuschIf you… go for the bold
You might… be self-assured
You like strutting your stuff and are just as bold as those peacock print leggings. “Someone who mixes and matches bold colors is very confident about herself, her body, and her aptitude for working out,” says Maldonado. “Colors and bold patterns put you on display and draw others in, so this isn’t someone who lacks self-esteem.”
Bonus: “The brighter the colors, the happier you’ll feel, the more excited you’ll be to work out,” says Karen.
Martin RuschIf you… try out every new trend
You might… be open-minded
Regularly rotating to new pieces shows you’ve got a need for novelty.
But keep in mind, says Maldonado, that always looking for the next top trend could also mean you don’t have a strongly defined sense of self… which could also mean you don’t stick to a workout plan: “This woman’s commitment is based on what’s trending; if it’s not trending, she’s not there,” says Karen.
Getty ImagesIf you… slip on any old tee to sweat
You might… be laid back
You’re easygoing at heart and couldn’t care less what other class-goers think of you—but that might also mean you’re not super-dedicated to revving up your heart rate on the reg. “Old sweats and a sloppy appearance could mean it is highly unlikely that this person is doing their best or working out diligently,” says Maldonado. (Don’t @ me if you disagree.)
She notes that this person would also score low on conscientiousness and neuroticism, meaning you exercise because you enjoy it but don’t care about crushing the competition.
Getty ImagesIf you… stick to matching sets
You might… be type A (i.e. highly competitive, organized, and obsessed with details)
Insist on suiting up before getting your sweat on? You’re probably highly conscientious and neurotic, says Maldonado—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A neurotic person, she explains, will work out to nix negative moods and anxiety, and a mood boost is always a good thing! But you might be a little too aware of what other gym-goers think of you.
“You’re more likely to feel a need to dress stylishly while working out and more likely to overspend on activewear so you can be the best-dressed person in class,” she says. Before you hit pause on adding another high-neck sports bra to your cart, know this: Investing in yourself and what gets your heart pumping—literally and figuratively, is A-okay. Just maybe consider regularly practicing financial self-care as well as yoga, no?
Whatever your activewear style, here’s a foundational core workout you can do anywhere…wearing anything:
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