(CNN) –

The growing popularity of fashionable sportswear has made it possible for you to wear it outside the gym. It’s permeated every corner of culture, from haute couture fashion shows to the offices of Silicon Valley executives – and in fact, it’s suitable for any occasion where you just want to be comfortable.

The most important thing when looking for your next piece of sportswear is the type of activity or exercise you prefer: Whether you are a runner, yogi, athlete, cyclist or something else, there is a fashionable sports brand for you. We hand tested a number of these items to see where each brand excels the most. So if you’re ready to update your wardrobe and work out in style, check out these eight sportswear brands we absolutely love – from the oldest to the newest.

Alo Yoga was founded in 2007 as a sportswear brand specifically for yoga enthusiasts. Since then, the brand has become loved by everyone from the bar-obsessed to loyal Pilates enthusiasts and celebrities as a street style option. And there’s a good reason for that.

The brand’s super soft and comfortable sportswear is probably the most luxurious fitness wear I’ve ever worn. It may not be the best option for those running marathons or working with heavy weights, but it does offer a bit of luxury if you prefer low-impact exercises like yoga or barreau. As for leggings, the two models 7/8 High Waist Aerography ($78; aloyoga.com) and High Waist Aerography ($118; aloyoga.com) are extremely soft, comfortable and flattering.

The high waist airbrush is perhaps Alo Yogi’s most classic leg. There are no side seams and it is made from a patented airbrushed fabric that uses antimicrobial technology that wicks away moisture. It’s perfect for taking anywhere from the gym to celebrities like Gigi Hadid. The Legging HighWaist Airlift is like a second skin; it’s soft and supple like butter, yet supportive. They have a very high waist, which makes them excellent to combine with various tops or sports bras.

Alo Yoga Tops

PHOTO:
Alo Yoga

While we haven’t tested any of Alo’s current tops, we have worn some of his old long sleeve products, which were warm and light. The brand also offers many other tops, including the best-selling Real Bra Tank ($72; aloyoga.com), which keeps you supported and stylish during your workouts. This tank has a built-in lifting bra that provides light to medium support, so you can go straight from yoga class to the corner cafe without missing a thing.

Training with these items, and with Alo Yoga products in general, feels just a bit more special than wearing your usual workout clothes. And while they’re probably not the cheapest workout options on the market and are best suited for low-impact work, we can guarantee they’ll get plenty of compliments, both outside and in the gym.

Girlfriend Collective is a brand that focuses on slow fashion – meaning investing time and energy – to produce clothing that is more ethical and has less impact on the planet. Take for example the Compressive High-Rise Legging, which is made from 25 recycled water bottles. And while many synthetic fabrics (like nylon and polyester) are made from plastic, Girlfriend chooses materials that would otherwise pollute landfills and threaten wildlife.

But you don’t have to compromise on quality when you buy from Girl’s. Actually, the opposite is true. High Rise Legs ($68; girlfriend.com) and Paloma Bra ($38; girlfriend.com) are among the cheapest options on this list, making their super-high quality even more impressive.

Compressed legs really do an incredible job of lifting the back. They also sit very high on the waist, which is great if you don’t want to worry about having to pull your leggings up during a workout. The Paloma leggings and bra are sweat-resistant and comfortable in warm environments, although they’re not the lightest we prefer for everyday use.

The Paloma bra is also quite long, so if you buy the two pieces together – which we highly recommend because everyone will ask where you got your cute set – your entire belly won’t be exposed. Another interesting feature is the absence of visible markings, noisy logos on the back of the leggings, which we found refreshing.

The best part is the possibility of customization, both in terms of fit and style. The Paloma bra is available in sizes XS to XXXL, and the compression bra works in sizes XXS to 6XL, with the added option of choosing from three different inseam lengths. Yes, for recording! And when it comes to flowers, there is something special for everyone.

A beloved part of Girlfriends Better for the Planet philosophy is the ReGirlfriend program, which encourages customers to send in their old bras, leggings and compression shorts in exchange for a $15 store credit. The friend then recycles the old materials into new ones, closing the loop and creating more waste. So maybe it wouldn’t hurt to order a piece in each color?

If you’re looking for brand recognition, you’ll be hard pressed to find a sportswear piece more ubiquitous than Lululemon’s leggings. Popular with yogis, runners and influencers, the popular brand’s sportswear is known for its trendy look and incredibly soft materials.

The Align legging ($98; lululemon.com) from Lululemon has cult status thanks to its butter-soft Nulu fabric and flattering shape. If you haven’t stocked up on a pair of Lululemon leggings yet, the Align collection might be a good place to start. It’s not just about leggings, but also cycling shorts, super high waists, wide legged pants and even tops that are perfect for all types of exercise.

Lululemon

PHOTO:
Lululemon

But Lululemon offers much more than the Align collection, with pieces for every lifestyle, whether you go running every day or just want comfortable clothes to relax in. The sports bra line is almost as popular as the leggings, and the Energy bra line is ideal for all types of training. These versatile sports bras are available in cup sizes B to D and can be worn with a high neckline or a long line.

If you’re committed to living the WFH, Lululemon has tons of size and comfort options for you too. From comfortable sweatshirts and sweaters to luxurious joggers and pants, you’ll find everything you need to stay comfortable all day.

Lululemon is one of the most popular brands in sports entertainment, and for good reason. A wide selection of stylish, comfortable and versatile clothing allows you to handle almost any workout.

Free People’s activewear collection has a unique bohemian style that sets it apart from other brands. From a wide range of bold colors to soft, stretchy fabrics and cuts, the small details of the brand’s pieces make it a fun step beyond the basics of typical athletics.

A playful element of the brand’s aesthetic is evident in the Good Karma set, which includes the Good Karma square-neck bra ($48; freepeople.com) and the Good Karma 7/8 high-cut leggings ($78; freepeople.com). Both pieces come in a wide range of colors, from essential neutral wardrobe elements to bold and bright options like neon yellow, tropical pink and super bright blue.

They are made from a combination of spandex and nylon, making them incredibly stretchy and incredibly tight, which is important since they only come in two sizes. Although they held up well during our training sessions, we found ourselves talking about them outside of training. These pieces are easy to wear as casual wear, and the wider leggings give a slightly dressier look.

When it comes to the special little things, the High-Rise 7/8 Length You’re a Peach Leggings ($98; freepeople.com) has absolutely captured our hearts. For starters, these are the perfect leggings for a workout. They’re thick enough to fit perfectly – you won’t have to worry about your underwear ripping – and they’re made of such a reliable material that you won’t have to worry about it ripping.

The 7/8 length is also perfect for little ones, and the curved detail adds a fun touch. Leggings have a high waist that fits perfectly, but a real showstopper? Reflective accents to help you be seen when you work out at night and to accentuate your curves.

Finally, the fleece jacket Hit the Slopes ($148; freepeople.com) is a unique and elegant version of the typical fleece jacket. The button fastenings are of the highest quality, and thanks to the multiple zippered pockets, you’ll never have to carry a purse or handbag to the gym again.

Carbon38 creates super stylish sportswear and its own product line. And when it comes to sensational, modern pieces that will leave the fashionable women in your life speechless, Carbon38 is definitely your choice.

The High Rise 7/8 Takara Legging signature ($105; carbon38.com) is something we’ve never seen before. The material is smooth, with a glossy finish that’s not as dramatic as in the photos on the site (so don’t worry if the photo intimidates you a bit – it’s good, but not quite liquid). We paired it with a camouflage bra ($68; carbon38.com), which goes perfectly with what is probably the hottest workout outfit we’ve ever seen, let alone tried.

The material is compressible and the wide waistband of the High Rise 7/8 Takara Legging is very comfortable. Again, it may not be the sportswear you run a marathon in, but it’s perfect for lunch with friends. And that’s what sets Carbon38 apart as an activewear brand – it’s a truly fashionable brand that uses activewear as a way to incorporate comfortable yet fashionable items into your everyday life.

The Harvest Tank ($39; carbon38.com) is simply one of the most flexible tank covers we’ve ever tried. It has the perfect length to pair with high-waisted leggings, and is just cool enough to show off with a cute sports bra you have on hand.

Spanx started out as a close-fitting garment, but from the beginning the brand grew into a producer of sterling leggings and outdoor clothing.

Faux leather leggings ($98; spanx.com) are very popular, and it’s easy to see why. We have tried them ourselves and we find them elastic, breathable and stylish. They have a high waist and a streamlined belt, and have no center seam – so whether you’re shopping or doing yoga at home, you’ll look comfortable and chic.

Faux leather Spanx legs

PHOTO:
Nordstrom

If you are looking for more traditional clothing for an active lifestyle, you can also go with Spanx. The brand offers sports bras, cycling shorts, more leggings and even a sports skirt. The Get Moving Skort ($72; spanx.com) is another popular Spanx product and has a built-in lining that filters out sweat and moisture. It even has pockets so you can keep your phone and keys handy while you sweat.

The brand also offers a wide selection of sizes and seams, including small and large, which is a great advantage if you never find a pair of leggings that fits you. So if you want maximum comfort and style for the toughest workouts, look no further than the Spanx collection of leggings, tops and other essentials.

When it comes to sportswear for people who love a good workout, Sweaty Betty is the winner as far as we’re concerned. The brand has been around for over 20 years and since then has been producing absolutely caustic clothing suitable for the gym or studio, but also for everyday use.

We wore the Power Mesh 7/8 Workout Legings, which have since been replaced by a pair without arms called the Power 7/8 Workout Legings ($100; sweatybetty.com). The pair we tried on were made of a smooth fabric that seemed optimally suited to the task. They were very sweaty, and the fabric is almost more comfortable while working out. Today’s weight-bearing legs are made of the same material.

However, the Power 7/8 training leggings do not have a high waist, making it a great option if you prefer to wear leggings with a longer top, as opposed to a sports bra or crop top. We’re fans of the zippered pocket on the back, which (although our iPhone XR won’t fit in it) is the perfect size for keys, a credit card, and a little cash.

We also tried the Seamless Athlete Workout Tank ($48; sweatybetty.com) and the Stamina Sports Bra ($40; sweatybetty.com), and the Seamless Athlete Workout Tank is exactly what it appears to be: a super sexy tank, perfect for just about any activity we can imagine. It’s sweaty, flattering and goes with any leggings.

While some sportswear hugs you and accentuates your curves, we’ve found that all of Sweaty Betty’s pieces are more compressive and really hold everything together. Therefore, we believe that leggings and tank tops are perfect for runners, boxers and anyone who prefers a more energetic workout.

The Stamina sports bra is designed for medium support up to the C-cup and we found it ideal for low-impact work. Yet, the sports bra is so comfortable that you can wear it in the gym and keep it on all day. It’s not squishy or cumbersome and fits perfectly with the athlete’s incessant training tank. The pieces we tried worked very well during workouts and we felt clean and light, even after sweating.

Outdoor Voices is a brand that understands everything about sports and leisure as a lifestyle. She insists on the idea of liberating fitness from performance and believes activity can be part of everyone’s daily life – and her sportswear reflects this.

Outdoor Voices offers a wide selection of sportswear for a variety of activities. Our favorite piece from the collection is this workout dress ($100; outdoorvoices.com), which we’ve already written about extensively. In many ways, it embodies everything Outdoor Voices stands for as a sportswear brand: It’s super versatile, ideal for activities that fit into your daily life (like walking, jogging, hiking with friends or biking) and brings something fun, simple and unique to sportswear.

As usual with Outdoor Voices, it’s not about performance, it’s about comfortable and functional components that fit any lifestyle.

As for more traditional workout clothes, we tested the Doing Things bra ($58; outdoorvoices.com) and found it comfortable and snug, though in our experience it wasn’t completely sweat-free. During the steering lesson, we sweated a bit in our sports bras and went for a walk. Therefore, we strongly recommend them for outdoor activities or occasional activities where you will not sweat too much.

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