The M Dash

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Pack Your Gym Bag: Our Best Post-workout Pieces

For many of us, if we don’t set the alarm for an early-morning gym session, exercise won’t happen, period. But sometimes the biggest deterrent isn’t waking up or working out—it’s the annoyance (or impossibility) of changing into an office-appropriate outfit in a crowded, clammy locker room afterwards. (The stuff of nightmares: when you can’t stop sweating, even post-shower, and have to wrestle yourself into a blouse that needs to look good at your 9:00am meeting… in 30 minutes.)

The key? Pack your gym bag the night before, have your post-shower routine down pat (in a pinch, a slicked-back bun always looks elegant), and bring a streamlined outfit that won’t wrinkle en route or make you start perspiring all over again once you put it on. Below, our picks for looking polished post-workout, based on a sweat scale of 1 to 3.

1. Super sweaty (spin class, hot yoga)

If you’ve ever had to put your sports bra in a baggie, you know what kind of workout we’re talking about—even a cold shower won’t cool you off entirely. You’ll want a lightweight, sleeveless, zip-and-done dress that won’t get dark spots if you’re still, um, a little damp. The Lydia is a polished option, especially for petites, as is the Emily and the Shirley. If you’re taller, go for the Annie, or the Aditi. These are both made from a stretchy, breathable blend that dries quickly and holds its shape—whether it’s been squashed in a duffel or worn for twelve hours straight. In case you get chilly later, keep a jardigan close at hand.

2. Medium sweaty (dance class, weight-lifting)

Even after a lower-impact workout, it’s still easy to get overheated, and there’s nothing worse than feeling sticky right after you’ve rinsed off. You’ll want to avoid long sleeves and separates (too much to deal with), but thicker, tailored fabrics—like our double-knit jersey—will have you looking crisp and fabulous. The Rachel dress (shown above) is a great choice, as is the Lydia. Or you can try the ever-popular Tory dress, which features discreet, sweat-absorbing pads inside the sleeves to keep you fresh as a daisy.

3. Slightly flushed (gentle yoga, brisk walk)

In this case, your top priorities are packability, efficiency, and comfort—changing out of yoga clothes into something stiff, creased, or constraining is no one’s idea of a good time. For a one-step solution, try the classic Etsuko or Alexandra dresses, which all feature elbow-length sleeves. Alternatively, you can mix and match our jersey separates: the Fey top, the Winfrey top, and the Soho skirt are designed for easy combinations. Finally, if you’re more of a pants person, try the Foster: it looks like a polished trouser, but feels like yoga tights. If the Fey feels too fitted, substitute the draped Deneuve top, and you’ll be ready to take the day by storm.

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